As one of the oldest settlements in Tasmania, the riverside town of New Norfolk has a colourful past – it’s certainly worth scratching the surface to reveal the different layers to this region! The town was established in 1807 by evacuees from Norfolk Island after the closure of the island’s prison, and soon became a hub for hop-growing. Today, New Norfolk is the main residential and commercial centre of the Derwent Valley and is well known for its antique shopping. With many a treasure from yesteryear to be unearthed, here are our picks of things to do around New Norfolk.
Explore the historic town
Go for a leisurely stroll around the town, hit up the antique stores and soak up the history. Check out the traditional village square – it’s one of the last remaining in Australia. St. Matthews, Australia’s oldest Anglican church (1823), is also worth a look. Don’t miss having a peek at the Willow Court Historic Site, which was home to the oldest, continually run asylum in Tasmania and continues to inspire artists and haunt visitors with its dark and eerie past. Call into the Bush Inn to hear a few stories – the local watering hole opened in 1815 and has been continually licensed since 1825. On the northern side of the River Derwent, see if you can find the grave of Betty King, nee Elizabeth Thackery, whose headstone states that she was “the first white woman to set foot in Australia”.
Admire the scenery and enjoy the river
New Norfolk is pretty as a picture! Early settlers went nuts planting poplar trees as wind barriers to protect the hops, and these are particularly stunning when they turn a bright gold in autumn. The river is the epitome of tranquility – the perfect spot to disconnect from the everyday hustle and bustle. To really unwind, treat yourself to a night or two at the grand Woodbridge on the Derwent. Enjoy the views, go for a stroll along the riverside, enjoy a refreshing dip, cast a line out, or head out in a kayak for a different perspective.
Climb to Pulpit Rock Lookout
One of the best places to view New Norfolk has to be from Pulpit Rock Lookout, which is just a short drive out of the town. The view up the river towards the township is incredible, so don’t forget your camera!
Nurture the foodie in you
All that exploring is bound to work up an appetite. Along with the pubs and cafes in town, there are some gorgeous spots around the wider area to indulge. For wine lovers, the exquisite Derwent Estate Wines and Stefano Lubiana Wines & Osteria are located a short drive away in Granton, and scenic Meadowbank farm and vineyard is in the opposite direction near Glenora. For a unique experience, take a class with cookbook author and regular ABC guest Sally Wise at Sally Wise Cooking School in nearby Molesworth.
Go for a drive to the Salmon Ponds
The Salmon Ponds, circa 1861, is the oldest trout hatchery in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a gorgeous spot to visit and just a short drive from New Norfolk. Wander around the idyllic ponds, watch the trout glide peacefully through the water, check out the Museum of Trout Fishing, and have a bite to eat in the cafe. If you’re really lucky, you might even see a platypus!
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