Tasmania is renowned for its incredible scenery and multi-day drive journeys and now there is a new experience to enjoy. The Heartlands Drive Journey is Tasmania’s newest adventure and takes travellers on a journey along the Heritage Highway, through the Central highlands and into the Meander Valley. It’s here, on your journey through the heartlands, you’ll discover heritage towns frozen in time, boutique distilleries hidden behind historic facades, cosy cafes filled with the scent of freshly baked goods and a wilderness ripe for exploring.
Day 1: Hobart – Bothwell
Setting off from Hobart, the first stop on your journey is Shene Estate. The grand sandstone gothic revival stable includes a coach house, tack room and stablehand quarters. It is also now home to a distillery producing award-winning gin and whisky. Enjoy a tasting onsite or pick up a bottle of your favourite tipple to take away. The Tasting Room and Cellar Door is open daily from 10am – 4pm. Continue on your journey to the historic town of Kempton. Once a coaching stop for travellers from Hobart to Launceston, this small country town has retained much of its heritage charm and continues to welcome travellers today. Head to the Old Kempton Distillery, located in the old Grand Coaching Inn (c. 1842) and taste some of Tasmania’s top whiskies and gins. While you are there, enjoy a hearty lunch at the distillery’s cellar door. The final stop of the day is Bothwell. Stretch your legs and enjoy the fresh tassie air with a round of golf at Ratho Golf Course before enjoying a leisurely stroll through the town. Settle in for the night at Ratho Farm or the Bothwell Grange Bed and Breakfast.
Day 2: Bothwell – Cressy
On day two of your journey through the Heartlands, head north to the Highlands Power Trail. This self-guided driving trail provides an insight into the history of hydropower within Tasmania. Take some time to explore the Waddamana Power Station with a tour through the turbine hall and explore the exhibits illustrating what life was like in the early days of its construction. Following your visit to the power station, head to Miena to enjoy a hearty lunch at the Great Lake Hotel. Take care in the wintertime as Miena can get very frosty and snowy. You can check the road conditions here. Following lunch it is time to hit the road again and head to the extremely pretty, Liffey Falls. The walk to Liffey Falls is around a 45 minute, 2km return trip from the top car park and is a tranquil stroll through the mossy forest. Liffey Falls is one of Tasmania’s most popular waterfalls and you will soon see why. Cascading over multiple levels and surrounded by lush greenery, the falls is a truly beautiful sight. After taking plenty of time to enjoy the falls, head to Cressy and enjoy a country Farmstay at Cressy House Estate or stay in the beautifully refurbished granary at The Granary Richmond Hill.
Day 3: Cressy – Evandale
Rise and shine! Start the day off day 3 of your road trip in style with a scenic hot air balloon ride over the Northern Midlands countryside with Hot Air Balloon Tasmania. After taking in the fresh country air and picturesque views from the sky, jump back in the car and make your way to Brickendon, just out of Longford. Listed as a Tasmanian World Heritage Site, Brickendon Historic Farm and Convict village is one of Tasmania’s oldest farming properties and one of the most historically significant rural estates in Australia. Enjoy a wander around the farm’s convict buildings before heading across to neighbouring Woolmers Estate, also heritage listed, to enjoy a tour of the house and grounds. Following your morning adventures head to Evandale and wander the beautiful streets, browse the stores and marvel at the town’s old churches. If visiting on the weekend, be sure to take some time to wander around the Evandale Sunday Market. For lunch, enjoy a meal in the Clarendon Arms or find a spot in the pretty courtyard at Ingleside Bakery. In the afternoon take some time to discover Clarendon Estate. Built-in 1838 by convict labour, Clarendon is a three-story Georgian house with stunning gardens that visitors can explore. That evening, rest your weary head at Briar Lane or Arendon Cottage in Evandale.
Day 4: Evandale – Oatlands
On day 4, hit the Heritage Highway from Evandale and make your way to the beautiful town of Ross. If you have time, be sure to drop into Campbell Town on the way and discover the Convict Brick Trail or pick up a coffee and wander around the town. When you arrive at Ross, make your way to the Ross Female Factory. Built-in 1833, the Ross Female Factory acted as a probation station for female convicts during the period of 1847 and 1854. While little of the site remains, visitors can explore the Overseer’s Cottage which now acts as a museum providing insight into what life was like for female convicts in the 1800s. While you are in Ross, enjoy a stroll across the historic Richmond Bridge before stopping into the town’s delightful cafes for lunch. Be sure to try Ross’ famous scallop pie from Bakery 31 and the very popular vanilla slice from the Ross Village Bakery. After taking some time to walk the quaint streets and visit the local stores in Ross, make your way to Oatlands. Oatlands is one of Tasmania’s oldest settlements and is home to over 150 sandstone buildings. Spend the afternoon enjoying the tranquil countryside with a stroll around Lake Dulverton – keep an eye out for the quirky cattle sculptures that can be found in the shallows of the lake. In the evening, enjoy a tipple at The Imbibers before dinner at the town’s pub, The Kentish. Spend the night at Raffah House, The Elm Barn or The Lodgings.
Day 5: Oatlands – Hobart
Wake up and enjoy a coffee from the Vintage on High in Oatlands before picking up the ‘Oatlands Key’. The Oatlands Key gives visitors the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of some of the town’s most important historic buildings, including; the 1829 Supreme Courthouse, 1836 Gaoler’s Residence, and 1827 Commissariat. You can pick up your key from any Oatlands business displaying the Oatlands Key sign. A deposit is required at the time of obtaining the key, which is fully refundable on its return. For lunch, load up on delicious pancakes from The Pancake and Crepe Shop (they have savoury lunch options also) before enjoying a wander through Oatlands’ antiques, galleries and boutiques. Jump back onto the Heritage Highway and make your way back to Hobart.
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Header Image: Glenda Williams