The Heritage Highway is a charming mix of old and new. The well-preserved Georgian towns and grand historic estates offer a glimpse back in time to the days of convicts and bushrangers. Today, the quaint villages and 19th century estates are a delightful setting for modern shops, galleries, cafes, restaurants, and distilleries.
Take your time exploring, give your imagination free rein, and enjoy all the modern comforts. We’ve put together some tips to help you plan your adventure.
1. Step back in time
The Heritage Highway is dotted with well-preserved Georgian villages. Visit the quaint towns, wander the historic streets, and imagine what life was like in the 19th century. Pop into the shops, galleries and cafes, admire the gothic churches, and discover famous landmarks such as the Ross Bridge (c. 1836), Campbell Town’s Red Bridge (c. 1838), and the Callington Mill Historic Precinct (c. 1837).
Self-guided walking tours are an enjoyable way to see the sights and learn about the history of each town. For tips from the friendly locals, pop into the region’s Visitor Information Centres for a chat.
2. Head along to community events
The Heritage Highway is home to a vibrant community, with many wonderful events and festivals on throughout the year. There are regular local markets, art exhibitions, live music, food and drink, and riding days, as well as garden open days, rodeos, and agricultural shows. See our Events Calendar to find out what’s on.
3. Eat & drink
There are loads of lovely places to grab a bite to eat or quench your thirst along the Heritage Highway. Choose from hearty country pub meals, winery lunches, bakery treats, tasty cafe meals, and delicious restaurant fare. Highlights include the famous vanilla slice and scallop pies at Ross, fresh berry ice-cream at Avoca, pancakes and crepes at Oatlands, Friday night wood-fired pizzas baked in an original scotch oven (c. 1926) at Cressy, and award-winning spirits at grand 19th century estates in Kempton and Pontville.
4. Taste whisky & gin in the south
Spend some enjoyable hours at the Old Kempton Distillery at Dysart House (a grand coaching inn, c. 1842)—we highly recommend the ploughman’s platter and the Devonshire tea! Take a distillery tour to learn all about (and taste) their award-winning whisky. On Sundays throughout the warmer months, relax in the charming courtyard with cocktails, nachos, and live music.
Discover gothic Tasmania and hear bewitching tales from the past with a guided tour of Shene Estate & Distillery (c. 1819) at Pontville. The details throughout the beautifully restored estate are incredible, from carefully placed relics to the ‘daisy wheels’ (witch marks) scratched into the walls. Shene’s award-winning Poltergeist Gin is divine (you can also pick up a bottle from their Sunday roadside stall).
5. Explore historic estates
Together, Brickendon (c. 1824) and Woolmers Estates (c. 1817) make up one of Tasmania’s UNESCO World Heritage Convict Sites. Located near Longford, both are open to the public and offer a fascinating insight into rural colonial life. Kids will love meeting the farm animals at Brickendon, and everyone will love the stunning National Rose Garden at Woolmers. You can even stay in beautifully restored historic cottages on the estate grounds.
Clarendon Estate (c. 1838) is a grand colonial estate set among parkland on the banks of the South Esk River at Nile. Book yourself on a guided tour of the elegant house and explore the leafy grounds. Highlights include convict quarters, a heritage walled garden, several farm buildings, and a rare avenue of elms. The Australian Fly Fishing Museum is also onsite.
6. Be a water baby
Over the warmer months, cool off at the local swimming pools at Campbell Town, Cressy, Ross and Oatlands. You could also paddle in one of the region’s peaceful rivers, and perhaps even cast a line out (Cressy is a top fishing spot). Set up camp at Lake Leake and enjoy a few nights away.
7. Get back to nature
In the south, enjoy a day of adventure at the Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary. The Lake Dulverton Conservation Area is a beautiful spot for birdwatching. Visit the amazing Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary to meet our local wildlife and learn about their delightful quirks. In the north, conquer Jacobs Ladder and enjoy the incredible views and walks in the Ben Lomond National Park.
8. Enjoy the local parks
There are some awesome parks throughout the Midlands, with play equipment, outdoor exercise equipment, and BBQ/picnic facilities. We must give a special mention to the playground at the Longford Village Green—it was recently redeveloped with whizz bang electronic play equipment!
9. Stay awhile
There are lots of lovely places to stay in the towns along the Heritage Highway, including charming heritage cottages and homesteads. There are also some great spots to camp, with several RV friendly towns, including Oatlands, Kempton, and Longford.
To see what’s on, check out our Events Calendar.
We love it when you share your adventures with us! Tag @MidlandsTasmania and use @MidlandsTasmania or #HeritageHighway and we’ll share our favourite photos on @MidlandsTasmania, Facebook, and in our Blog.
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