Heritage Highway Road Trip
The Heritage Highway traces much of the original route between Launceston and Hobart, built by convict road gangs in the early 1800s. Drive through rolling farmlands, explore charming Georgian villages, stay on historic pastoral properties and savour the rich and colourful history of the place and its people.
Access the Heritage Highway from Hobart or Launceston, from the East Coast via Campbell Town or Fingal, or from Port Arthur via Richmond.
Credits to Tourism Tasmania, Rob Burnett, Sarajayne Lada, Lusy Productions, Chris Crerar, Heath Holden, Alastair Bett, Samuel Shelly, Kathryn Leahy and Espectra Photography & Design.
Depart from Launceston
Evandale, charming colonial village
The first stop is Evandale, one of the best preserved historic towns in Australia. Its late-Georgian and early-Victorian buildings and relatively untouched streetscape offer a unique glimpse into Australia's past, with some buildings dating back to 1809.
Given the rich diversity of the town, it's worth taking half a day to wander around with a good detailed local map. A shorter visit should at least include a walk down the High Street - one of the most attractive historic main streets in Tasmania.
Buildings of particular interest include the former Presbyterian Manse (1840), a typical colonial building opposite Barclay Street in the town's High Street, and 'Blenheim' (1832), a one-time hotel on the southern corner of Barclay and High Street. Also worth a look is St Andrews Uniting Church (1840) with its classical bell tower and Doric columns.
There are also a number of buildings at the intersection of Russell Street and High Street including the Clarendon Stores (1836), an early saddler's shop (1840) and the Prince of Wales Hotel (1836).
During February the town hosts the National Penny Farthing Championship, drawing enthusiasts from across Australia and the world.
After Evandale, it’s on to the gracious Clarendon homestead, just 11 km south, on the banks of the South Esk River, with its elegantly furnished rooms overlooking extensive formal gardens, beautiful parklands and the original farm buildings
Clarendon - National Trust
Picnic on the riverbank at Perth
Also on the banks of the South Esk are the townships of Perth and Longford, about 20 minutes from either Evandale or Launceston.
Lunch at Longford
Alternate to Perth, you can stop for lunch in Longford, a pretty, classified historic town, known for its convict-built houses and English country landscape. Play the skulduggery game “Where there’s smoke” and solve a crime that actually happened in the 1930s.
A short drive from Perth are two World Heritage listed estates - Brickendon and Woolmers. Brickendon is an historic working farm continuously owned and managed by the Archer family for almost two centuries.
Brickendon Estate - UNESCO World Heritage Site
The adjacent Woolmers Estate is a time capsule of early nineteenth century life, home to the National Rose Garden and beautiful in summer.
Woolmers Estate - A World Heritage Listed - Australian Convict Site
St Andrew’s Inn
After Perth and Longford, it’s on to Campbell Town via Epping Forest and Cleveland. You might like to stop for refreshments at St Andrew’s Inn in Cleveland - a typical 19th century coaching inn where horse-drawn carriages stopped en route between Hobart and Launceston.
St Andrews Inn
Continue on to Campbell Town, a popular stopping point for travellers between Launceston and Hobart, and the historic heart of Tasmania, with more than a 100 houses over 100 years old.
The Red Bridge
Stroll along the banks of the serene Elizabeth River and see the Red Bridge, built in 1838 by convict labour using over one million convict-made bricks, then follow the intriguing convict brick trail through the heart of the town.
The Red Bridge
Heritage Highway Museum
Alternate to the Red Bridge, visit the Heritage Highway Museum in the historic court house to learn more about the town’s history.
Service Tasmania and Heritage Highway Museum - Campbell Town
Depart Campbell Town, bound for Hobart
Timeless village of Ross
Just 10 minutes from Campbell Town is the timeless village of Ross with huge English elms lining the main street and the famous Ross Bridge.
Ross Bridge (1836), built by convict labour and featuring 186 intricate colonial carvings.
Tasmanian Wool Center
Pop into the Tasmanian Wool Centre to learn about the importance of sheep grazing in the area.
Tasmanian Wool Centre
In Oatlands, you’ll find the largest collection of colonial sandstone buildings in a village environment in Australia, many built by convict labour.
A unique landmark in Oatlands is Callington Mill, Australia’s third oldest windmill, which also houses the Heritage Highway Information Centre. The mill was built in 1837 and restored to working order in 2010. The artisan Companion Bakery uses flour from Callington Mill to make the organic sourdough wood-fired bread available in its cafe.
About 30 minutes off the main highway from Oatlands is the town of Bothwell with 53 National Trust Classified buildings, including the church of St Michaels and All Angels, with an unusual feature inside – a fireplace.
Australasian Golf Museum
Bothwell also has the oldest golf course in the Southern Hemisphere, dating back to the 1820s, while the Australasian Golf Museum is reputed to have the most interesting golfing memorabilia outside of St Andrews in Scotland
Australasian Golf Museum
Back on the main highway to Hobart, and easily overlooked, is the tiny township of Kempton. A stroll through the main street of this historic village reveals another charming collection of colonial homes, cottages, churches, shops, taverns and coaching inns, all within a distance of one kilometre.
Fancy to learn about spirits? Old Kempton Distillery runs tours daily. Each tour includes an 8min introductory film, behind the scenes, access to distillery and bond store and a fully guided tasting of 4 Old Kempton Spirits in one of the dedicated tasting rooms at Dysart House.
Visit Pontville for more fine examples of colonial architecture including sandstone churches, a convict-built bridge, hotels, stately homes and workmen’s cottages.
The site was established as a garrison town in 1821 and boomed in the early days for its timber, quarries and proximity to the hunting grounds of the Southern Midlands, which had been fire-stick farmed over thousands of years by Aboriginal Tasmanians.
As one of Tasmania's oldest settlements, Pontville offers plenty of history to explore with several churches and cemeteries as well as the ruins of the first shops and garrison buildings. There are many fine Georgian residences, an old pub and heritage accommodation on the banks of the Jordan River.
For an insight into Tasmania's colonial heritage, visit Shene homestead (1819), a 19th century country estate.
Come behind the scenes of the distillery and hear first-hand how Shene Spirits are distilled. This whisky pairing lunch will be a moving feast (prepared by Scott Heffernan of Frank Restaurant and Bar), roaming the Estate with a single malt in hand. Bookings are by appointment only. Cost per person is $130 and includes the distillery tour, tastings and a three-course roaming lunch.
Alternatively for the ultimate whisky and gin connoisseur, book a tour of the Distillery and hear first-hand the art of producing Mackey Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky and Poltergeist Gin. Tour tastings include Head Distiller’s limited release whisky, available exclusively at the Estate.
St Mark’s Church
Take in the beautiful St Mark’s Church (1839), with its distinctive Romanesque architecture designed by convict architect James Blackburn, then stroll through the old graveyard, with its stories of the suffering and success of early settlers.
St Mark's Anglican Church
Arrive at Hobart
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