This is a comprehensive regional guide to the Midlands in Tasmania. Here you will discover the many things to see and do in the region. Remember also that you can combine this itinerary with our other regional guides to create an in-depth itinerary for your ideal holiday.
The Midlands or Heritage Highway on the A1 is between Hobart and Launceston and has a distinctive English countryside feel. There are many historical towns on this route, all well worthy of a detour to explore their history, antique shops and cottage gardens. Notable towns are Evandale, Longford, Ross, Oatlands, Bothwell and Richmond.
Head south on the Heritage Highway, then east on the B41 to Evandale, a historic and beautiful town located just past the Launceston Airport. The town is best known for its popular market held every Sunday from 8am to 1:30pm. Evandale also hosts the extremely popular National Penny Farthing Championships every year in February.
As you head through Perth, take a detour on the B52 to the town of Longford. Longford is home to the well-known Christ Church. The church’s bell and clock were gifts from George IV and its grounds are the site of the First Settlers Cemetery. The three historically significant estates to visit in the area are Woolmers Estate & Rose Garden (1816), Panshangar Estate (1821) and Brickendon Estate (1824). Longford itself has many antique galleries, art and craft shops – with one specialising in doll houses and miniatures. In Longford, also enjoy trout fishing or a walk around the Memorial Park.
Situated in the important wool-growing district is Campbell Town, established in the 1820s as a probation station between Launceston and Hobart. There are many cafés suitable for lunch or a snack, and the park area is a great place for a picnic lunch. Among the attractions is one of Australia’s oldest bridges – the Original Bridge (1822), and the Elizabeth Campbell Wetlands area. Lining the streets of Campbell Town is the Convict Brick Trail. Engraved in each brick are authentic profiles of convicts transported to Australia, their crime and sentence.
West of Campbell Town are the Great Lake and Lake St Clair. The Lakes region is a trout fishing paradise, with Great Lake, Lake St Clair and Arthurs Lake being particularly popular.
At intervals along the Heritage Highway are shadows of our past – keep an eye out for the steel plated handcrafted sculptures depicting scenes from the areas colonial history.
One of the oldest bridges in Australia can be found in the historic town of Ross, arguably one of the finest nineteenth century villages in Australia. The bridge was built by convicts in 1836 and earned convict stonemason Daniel Herbert a free pardon from his sentence. Visit the Ross Female Convict
Station historic site, which operated from 1847 until 1853. The Ross Bakery has been operating on the site for more than a century and has the capacity to bake more than 300 loaves of bread and still uses the original semi-scotch brick wood-fired oven. The Tasmanian Wool Centre has a small museum and various wool products for sale. The Ross Village Toymaker is a craft shop featuring all handmade toys. Superb brown trout fly-fishing close to Ross is at the Macquarie River, Lake Tooms and Lake Leake.
Roughly halfway between Launceston and Hobart is Oatlands, located on the shore of Lake Dulverton. The town contains Australia’s largest collection of Georgian sandstone architecture with eighty-seven historic buildings on the main street alone, many of which are now craft shops and galleries. Oatlands’ main attraction is the Callington Flour Mill, built in 1837, with its working windmill and authentic heritage environment. The convict-built courthouse is another historic building of interest. There are walking tours of the town, and candlelit ghost tours in the evenings. Fishing enthusiasts will find a great opportunity to fish at Lake Sorell, north west of Oatlands, and also at Lake Crescent.
Close to Oatlands is St Peter’s Pass, a park area with barbeque and toilet facilities. Continuing in the tradition of the late Jack Cashion, the local residents keep up an excellent display of topiary sculptures along the road in and out of St Peters Pass.
Situated on the banks of the Clyde River is Bothwell. Settled by Scottish farmers in the 1820s, Bothwell remains true to its Scottish heritage with the town’s Nant Distillery, one of Australia’s top whisky distilleries. Many of Bothwell’s buildings date back to the early 1800’s, with a number of them being recognised by the National Trust. Built in 1837, Ratho Golf Course is the oldest golf course in the southern hemisphere, and can still be played with its unique square putting greens and grazing sheep who maintain the fairways. The Ratho Farm Homestead has also been beautifully restored. In town, you can also visit the Australasian Golf Museum and the Thorpe Water Mill (c.1823), which is powered by water and has been restored to produce stone ground flour.
Completing the Heritage Highway in the south is Brighton. Just 2 minutes from Brighton on the C325 you will find the Bonorong Wildlife Park, a wildlife park and sanctuary for Tasmania’s injured and orphaned wildlife.
East of Brighton is Richmond, notable for its historic significance to Australia. Completed in 1825, Richmond Bridge is Australia’s oldest known large stone arch bridge. Richmond also boasts both Australia’s oldest gaol and the oldest remaining Catholic Church, making it the perfect place to explore Tasmania’s rich heritage. An authentic model replica of Hobart in 1820 is found at the Old Hobart Town Model Village. Along the main road are many wonderful cafes and restaurants, all offering delicious food. For those with a sweet tooth, the Lolly Shop is a must. Zoodoo Wildlife Park is an exciting hands-on wildlife park in Richmond, with a large range of native, agricultural & exotic animals including Bengal tigers and rare white African lions.