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An Adventure in Tasmania’s Central Highlands

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Get your heart racing in excitement with an adventure into the geographical heart of Tasmania. Discover the many attractions of the Central Highlands, including golf, fishing, whisky, history, and World Heritage Wilderness.

We’ve mapped out a suggested itinerary below. There’s a fair amount of ground to cover, so we recommend a leisurely pace over a few days.

1. Bothwell

Bothwell is just over an hour’s drive from Hobart. A boatload of Scottish pioneers settled the town back in 1822 and it seems a golf course was their top priority. Visit the Australasian Golf Museum, near the lovely Queens Park, to learn about the evolution of the game, then why not enjoy a round on Australia’s oldest golf course at Ratho Farm.

In the village, admire more than 50 Heritage-listed buildings, including elegant churches and quaint stone cottages. The Central Highlands Visitor Centre can help with information and travel tips.

Stay in convict-built cottages at Ratho Farm, try your luck fly fishing for brown trout in the river, and enjoy a tipple in the lounge. Visit Nant Estate for a tour and taste of their Single Malt Whisky.

2. Steppes Historic Site

See how early settlers lived at the Steppes Historic Site, on the Lake Highway 35 km northwest of Bothwell. The site is a great spot for a bush picnic. Wander along the walking path and admire the bronze sculptures by renowned Tasmanian artist Stephen Walker. The reserve is always open, although the interior of the homestead and some of the outbuildings can only be viewed on open days.

3. Waddamana

The Waddamana Power Station was Tasmania’s first power station and the centrepiece of the Great Lake Power Scheme. The heritage site is now open to visitors, telling the story of hydroelectricity in Tasmania. Tour through the turbine hall, gaze up at the penstocks, admire original machinery, view historical photos, and gain an insight into early village life. The site is open daily between 10am and 4pm (entry is free).

Waddamana is the half way point on the Highlands Power Trail, a self-drive journey through the Great Lake Power Scheme. Learn about the state’s history of hydro power and the challenges faced by workers.

4. Miena/Liawenee/Great Lake

Great Lake and surrounds makes a wonderful getaway if you are into trout fishing and exploring the wilderness. Great Lake Hotel is a great place to stay or grab lunch or dinner.

For an unique experience combining the remoteness of the wilderness and ultimate comfort, book yourself into Thousand Lakes Wilderness Lodge. The lodge was originally built back in 1980 to train and prepare Antarctic staff for expeditions. Today, it is the perfect base for fly-fishers and adventure-seekers.

5. Derwent Bridge

Tassie tigers once roamed the wilderness around Derwent Bridge, so keep your eyes peeled (to be fair, you are much more likely to see a wombat). Nearby Lake King William is a favourite spot for trout fishing enthusiasts.

Discover the inspirational stories of people who shaped the Central Highlands at The Wall in the Wilderness, an ambitious Huon pine-panelled relief sculpture by the talented Greg Duncan. The living art will be 100 metres in length once complete, and depicts the stories and people of the area, including Tasmanian Aboriginal people, timber harvesters, pastoralists, miners, and Hydro workers.

Derwent Bridge is also a good spot to lay your head for the night. Derwent Bridge Wilderness Hotel has great meals and some cosy accommodation offerings, including budget bush walker rooms. As the name suggests, Derwent Bridge Chalets and Studios has self-catering units for couples, families and groups.

6. Lake St Clair

Pristine glacier-carved Lake St Clair is Australia’s deepest freshwater lake, located at the southern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Enjoy a cruise on the scenic lake, walk in the fjord-like surrounds, explore the giant myrtle forests, or climb one of the rugged mountains. The Lake St Clair Visitor Centre has plenty of maps and advice to offer explorers. Stay in luxury, hovering atop the lake, at Pumphouse Point.

7. Tarraleah

Tarraleah was once home to the Hydroelectric scheme workers and their families. Today, the village offers a unique getaway, with a range of accommodation options, tours and activities. Hand feed the majestic Highland cows, walk the many wilderness trails, take a kayaking, mountain bike, or fly-fishing tour, and then settle in for a whisky tasting.

8. Ouse

Stop in Ouse and call into Lawrenny Estate Distillery’s cellar door (open daily from 10am to 4pm). The distillery produces whisky, gin, vodka, and cold brew coffee liqueur—all a product of the pristine Tasmanian environment. The water used flows down through the Derwent River from Lake St Clair, right to the distillery door.

9. Hamilton

Curringa Farm, near Hamilton, offers an immersive farmstay experience. Relax in beautiful self-contained accommodation, enjoy the sweeping country views, wander the farm, watch the working farm dogs do what they do best, and make friends with the sheep.

Hamilton itself is a pretty township where you can have a wander around the the old sandstone buildings, enjoy some local fare at Jackson’s Emporium, browse (or shop) in the Kingdom Gallery at Glen Clyde House, or take a stroll along the banks of the Clyde River.

Not far from Hamilton is Rathmore, a beautiful historic property set on 92-acre sheep farm that epitomises Tasmanian country living.

10. Gretna

Gretna may only be a tiny hamlet, but it is home to some outstanding accommodation. Trout fishing enthusiasts will love 28 Gates Luxury Farmstay and Private Fishery which is surrounded by 5000 acres of land, including four lakes stocked with Wild Brown, Rainbow, Tiger and Brook Trout. Guides and/or photography tuition available by request.

Keep heading south and you’ll find Truffle Lodge, a luxury wilderness camp on the banks of the Derwent River where activities include fly fishing, kayaking and biking, wild-life spotting, and walks in the truffle orchard.

Journey map:

For regional self drive itinerary suggestions, see Journeys.

We love it when you share your adventures with us! Share your snaps by tagging @hobartandbeyond and using #HobartandBeyond on Instagram and Facebook – we’ll share our favourite pics on social media and in the blog.

Related posts:
Autumn Events in Southern Tasmania
On Location: 5 Films & TV Shows Shot in Southern Tasmania
15 Places to Stay in the Derwent Valley & Central Highlands
Top 10 Things to Do in Hobart
5 Historic Sites to Visit in Hobart & Beyond
12 Amazing Eateries in Hobart & Beyond

Header image:
Tarraleah | @carmelboyd_/Instagram

Isabel Galloway

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