The beautiful Coal River Valley, a region known for its history, exceptional wines and the picture-perfect town of Richmond. The beautiful countryside is just 25-minutes from Hobart but once you arrive in the valley, you could be miles from anywhere.
There are lots of fabulous things to see and do in the Coal River Valley, but we thought we would start you off with 9 to help get a taster of this lovely part of southern Tasmania.
1. Visit a vineyard
The Coal River Valley is the ideal location for cool-climate wine production and when visiting the region you will notice the large number of vines that grace the landscape. There are some great cellar doors to visit to taste the local wine, many of which also have restaurants so you can spend the afternoon with a glass (*cough*, bottle) of vino and lunch of local flavours. Pooley Wines have a lovely outdoor area to enjoy a wine with views overlooking the Richmond township and surrounding countryside. Their home-made wood-fired pizzas are also the perfect accompaniment to your afternoon. Puddleduck Vineyard offers a quirky reverse-BYO whereby you bring the food and they supply the wine. The Coal Valley Vineyard’s cellar door offers expansive views across to the Coal River. Domain A and Stoney Vineyard also call this region home and cellar door visits can be made by contacting ahead. Their wine flights are a great option for those looking to taste a little of everything. Wobbly Boot Vineyard is open every Saturday and Sunday and is dog-friendly so you can bring your canine friends with you. Speaking of dogs, Every Man and His Dog Vineyard is open Wednesday – Monday and is a great place to visit. The beautiful gardens at Riversdale Estate should definitely be explored following your wine tasting at their cellar door and their Peter Rabbit Garden offers plenty of fun for the kids. Nocton Wines also has a lovely little cellar door to enjoy a guided tasting and Frogmore Creek offers a spectacular cellar door and restaurant so you can wine and dine all afternoon. While you are at Frogmore, be sure to check out Tasmanian artist Tom Samek’s floor mural depicting the colourful history of the Tasmanian wine industry in picture and verse.
Explore these vineyards without the concern of a designated driver with a premium tour. Stelavino, Ageing Barrel Tours, Apple Isle Wine Tours and Drink Tasmania Premium Tours all run tours in the area and offer further insight into winemaking in the Coal River Valley.
While there are 33 vineyards in the Coal River Valley, not all have cellar doors and some are only open on select days or by appointment so be sure to check ahead before planning your visit.
2. Picnic by the historic Richmond Bridge
Built by convict labour in the 1820s, the Richmond Bridge is the oldest bridge in Australia and one of the region’s most popular attractions. Pick up some goodies from the local cafes and grocers or stop by Barilla Bay on your way to Richmond for some freshly harvested and shucked Tasmanian oysters, and enjoy a picnic on the grassy banks overlooking the bridge. Of course, a bottle of local sparkling wine from one of the surrounding vineyards to wash it all down with is essential. In strawberry season, you can also pick your own strawberries from Strawberries at Littlewood to enjoy with your picnic (these are seasonal so best check ahead via their Facebook page for harvest updates).
Following your picnic, enjoy a stroll over the bridge and along to the Brinktop Reserve and Richmond Park Track. This lovely little walk takes you past one of Australia’s oldest properties (c.1820) and up Brinktop Hill which offers scenic views of the Coal River Valley and Richmond township.
3. Discover the history
Richmond has a fascinating history and the best way to explore this history is via a self-paced walking tour of the town. In the early 1800s land grants were provided to encourage settlement in the area and when the Richmond Bridge was constructed in 1823 it facilitated travel to the east coast and Tasman Peninsula, placing Richmond as a natural overnight stop to these regions.
Some notable building of historic significance include the Richmond Gaol, the oldest gaol in Australia, St Lukes Church (c. 1834), St John’s Roman Catholic Church (c. 1837), the Old Post Office (c. 1826) and the Richmond Courthouse (c. 1825).
4. Get cheesy
If there is one thing the Coal River Valley does well, it’s local produce. Cheese (and chocolate) aficionados will love the High Cheese setting available from the Coal River Farm. Enjoy views over the valley while tucking into some locally made cheese on a tiered stand and a glass of wine. Wicked Cheese is also a fabulous stop on the road to Richmond. Tuck into a cheese platter crafted with Wicked’s finest or pick up some of their award-winning cheeses as a gift for your family and friends. Their cheese range varies from cheddar and brie to chilli camembert and whiskey cheddar and are wickedly delicious.
5. Browse the antique stores
The town of Richmond is filled with beautiful antique stores and it only takes a wander along Bridge street to find them.
Warwick Oakman Antiques specialises in fine quality 18th and 19th century English and Australian furniture and decorative arts and is an antique hunters delight. Down the street, you will find Walker and Walker who house antiques and rare collectable items along with Red Tree Design which offers an array of unique items. Third generation antique dealers Walter & Co source beautiful antiques locally and around the world. Here you will find English Georgian and Regency pieces alongside 20th-century design, art, rare objects and Australian colonial furniture.
6. Stay for lunch
Richmond was one of Australia’s first food bowls supplying produce to Tasmania and the rest of the country. These days, the region continues to farm an array of produce and there are plenty of great places to take a break and enjoy some brunch, lunch or dinner. Within Richmond Village, you will find a range of cafes and bakeries. Wattlebanks, Ashmore on Bridge and Czegs all have great menus and tasty coffee and the long-established Richmond Bakery is a must for a sausage roll and sweet treat. For a refreshing ale, be sure to visit the Richmond Arms Hotel. The Coal River Farm has a menu featuring the finest local produce and for those after something a little bit special, Frogmore Creek Vineyard offers not only a feast for the stomach but for the eyes too. For dessert, enjoy a scoop (or two) of ice cream from the Coal River Creamery or let the kids go nuts at the lolly bar at Sweets and Treats.
7. Explore a miniature Hobart
Southern Tasmania is full of interesting heritage and now you can catch a glimpse of what life was like in Hobart’s early years. Found along Richmond’s main street, the Old Hobart Town Model Village is a miniature replica of Hobart in the 1820s. The model village offers a unique and interesting glimpse into the early history of both Australia and Tasmania, along with it’s notorious and harsh convict past. Wander up miniature Macquarie street and see if you can spot name some of the buildings that still exist today.
8. Visit the craft market
Taste the flavours of the Coal River Valley and discover handmade art and craft at the Richmond Village Market. With the large array of fresh, local produce available in the region and some crafty locals, there is a little something for everyone. The market runs every Sunday from 10am – 3pm on Bridge Street.
9. Enjoy a wildlife encounter
Opened daily, ZooDoo is a great place for families. Explore the wide range of wildlife from near and far and learn more about the zoo’s unique residents. There are lots of wonderful things to see and we encourage you to check the ZooDoo schedule so you don’t miss out on seeing your favourite animals. For those wanting to get up close and personal, be sure to book a wildlife encounter.
For a rather unique experience, be sure to visit the Pooseum in Richmond. The Pooseum is a quirky science museum dedicated to all things poo (animal droppings that is). A great outing for the family, the Pooseum offers plenty of information and entertainment along with plenty of opportunities for witty jokes.
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Header Image: Scott Broadhead: Instagram @aroundminiaustralia