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Launceston to Hobart: The Heritage Highway Road Trip

From quaint country towns to stunning mountain vistas, Tasmania’s Heritage Highway, stretching from Launceston to Hobart, is an unforgettable road trip.

This scenic route will take you from the charming city of Launceston to the vibrant capital city of Hobart, showcasing the rich history and natural beauty of Tasmania along the way. The quaint towns along the Heritage Highway mostly sprung up as 19th century coaching stops and military outposts between Launceston and Hobart. Today, the well-preserved towns are fascinating to visit, offering a delightful mix of old and new.

The Heritage Highway makes a great road trip—especially in our modern cars, rather than a horse and cart! If you only have one day, there are lots of interesting stops along the way that will enrich your journey. If you have the time, stay overnight in each town and explore the many attractions in more depth.

We’ve put together some tips on things to do in each place (listed from north to south, so go from bottom to top if you’re traveling Hobart to Launceston). There is a lot to see and do, as well as a lovely range of places to eat and drink, so this is by no means an exhaustive list. Pop into the Visitor Information Centres along the way for insider travel tips. Drive safe and enjoy the journey!

1. Evandale

Evandale was established as a military post in 1811 and is today a National Trust-classified Georgian village.

Wander the quaint streets and enjoy the old-world village atmosphere, admiring the historic buildings and churches.

Pop into the local shops and galleries, drink at the Clarendon Arms (with live music on Sundays), brunch in the courtyard garden at Ingleside Bakery Cafe, and browse the Village Store and the weekly Evandale Sunday Market.

Nearby, Nile is home to the magnificent National Trust-listed Clarendon Estate and the Australian Fly Fishing Museum.

Another worthy side trip is the 45-minute drive east to the Ben Lomond National Park (Parks Pass required) to conquer Jacobs Ladder, hike, do some wildlife watching, and ski or snowboard (in season).

2. Perth

A short 15-minute drive from Launceston will land you in Perth, a heritage town with many natural and cultural attractions. 

Perth was settled in 1821 and boasts scenic views towards the Great Western Tiers. Admire the historic buildings on a self-guided walking tour, visit the Southern Sky Cheese Company and the Tasmanian Honey Company, go antiquing, play at the Train Park, relax by the river, and catch some action at Symmons Plains Raceway. Touring the award-winning wineries at Relbia is a neat side trip for those who appreciate a good drop.

3. Longford

Longford is a picturesque town brimming with historic charm and natural beauty, with many of its heritage buildings dating back to the early 1800s.

Enjoy a glimpse back in time at joint World Heritage Convict Site Brickendon and Woolmers Estates, or Visit Christ Church (c. 1839) and hear Voices from the Graves.

Take a self-guided walking tour around town and browse the local antique, art and gift shops.

The local eateries offer a great range of food, while Bell & Gong wines are a local drop just a short drive down the road.

Retrace the Grand Prix route from the 1950s-60s and check out the racing memorabilia at the hotel.

Longford. Image Credit: @midlandstasmania
Accommodation options in Longford. (view all)

4. Cressy

Cressy is a lovely little township nestled below the Great Western Tiers on the Norfolk Plains. Cressy is a hot spot for fly fishing—the Tasmanian Trout Expo is held here every September.

Head to Brumbys Creek and try your luck with the trout or learn the local secrets on a guided tour.

Enjoy a delicious treat (or Friday night pizza) at the Rustic Bakehouse. Stay in luxury heritage accommodation at The Granary Richmond Hill (c. 1823) or Cressy House (c. 1827) Estate Farm Stay.

Nearby arts hub Poatina Village makes an interesting side trip or additional night on your itinerary.

The Granary Cressy
The Granary Cressy. Image Credit: @granaryrichmondhill
The Red Bridge, Campbell Town 📷 @islandlight_tas
The Red Bridge, Campbell Town 📷 @islandlight_tas

5. Campbell Town

Campbell Town is the go-to driver reviver stop today, with a great range of eateries along the main street.

Explore the town on foot and admire its impressive collection of colonial buildings, picnic by the Red Bridge (c. 1838) and admire the chainsaw sculptures.

Walk the Convict Brick Trail, go antiquing, find something to read in a convict-built cellar at The Book Cellar, enjoy caffeine and art at Gallery 81, and check out the giant log in the park.

Drive half an hour east for a trout fishing side trip at Lake Leake (you can camp or stay at the Lake Leake Inn).

6. Ross

The convict-built village of Ross was established as a garrison in 1812 and became an important coach horse change and livestock market. This fine heritage town is a joy to wander, with grand old elm trees lining the main road.

Admire the beautiful Ross Bridge (c. 1836) and try to interpret the 186 convict carvings over the arches.

Up on the hill, the Ross Uniting Church (c. 1885) looks straight out of a fairy tale with its Gothic Revival-style architecture. Learn about the experiences of female convicts at the Ross Female Factory Historic Site.

Delve into the region’s agricultural heritage and purchase a special keepsake at the Tasmanian Wool Centre.

Taste famous scallop pies and vanilla slices at the local bakeries. Step inside the red phone box and Dial-a-Local to hear stories of days gone by.

Ross Bridge 📷 Darren Wright
Ross Bridge 📷 Darren Wright
More from Ross
Callington Mill 📷 Darren Wright
Callington Mill 📷 Darren Wright

7. Oatlands

The Georgian town of Oatlands boasts the largest number of historic sandstone buildings in Australia.

Many of the original buildings are now shops, galleries and eateries. You can also pick up the Oatlands Key from businesses on High Street and take a self-guided tour of the historic Oatlands Military Precinct.

Callington Mill Distillery is a must-see. A distillery on a scale like no other in Tasmania and offers immersive and unique single malt experiences.

Follow the quirky Topiary Trail around town and stroll around the waterbird sanctuary Lake Dulverton.

The Heritage Hub offers a variety of courses and events throughout the year. The Oatlands Heritage & Bullock Festival in August is a vibrant highlight.

More from Oatlands, Tasmania. (view all)

8. Kempton

Kempton is a quaint little gem of a town. Try your luck antiquing and check out the old Presbyterian Church (c. 1886), aka ‘The Blue Place’, for a charming photo opp.

Visit the Old Kempton Distillery at Dysart House for tours, tastings, and delicious food in their 1840s coaching inn (there is also live music on Sundays through the warmer months).

The Kempton Festival & Sheep Racing Championships, on every February, are lots of fun.

For those with electronic vehicles, Kempton has a charging station. On the drive between Kempton and Tunbridge, keep your eyes peeled for historic characters on the Shadows of the Past Silhouette Trail.

Other great attractions nearby include the Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary at Bagdad, Lark Distillery at Pontville, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary at Brighton, and the Coal River Valley wine region.

Held annually in August, Tasmanian Whisky Week is held across the state in distilleries, bars, barns, stables, restaurants and hotels.

Heritage Highway Itinerary

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