Embark upon the ultimate road trip through Tasmania’s Western Wilds. Take your time on this iconic wilderness journey and let the epic story unfold.
Warning: this is one of those adventures that will move you and potentially keep your jaw on the floor. You might even experience some kind of emotional transformation.
About the Western Wilds
Take the road less travelled… Head west!
A different kind of wild west
There are no tumbleweeds blowing in the wind, you won’t be challenged to a shoot out, and a beanie is more appropriate than a cowboy hat. Discover ruggedly beautiful landscapes, including the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. See dramatic mountain ranges, deep glacial valleys, mystical rainforests, alpine plains, wild rivers, windswept coasts, and unique wildlife. Your journey might include a multi-day walk, cruise, train journey, or drive-up river crossing. Convinced yet?
Stop for a story
Discover the real untold side of the west by taking your time, planning a couple of days to stay in the region, and uncovering some Wild Stories on your journey. Unearth moving tales about the landscape, flora and fauna, as well as the people of the past and present. Learn about the region’s rich and ancient Aboriginal heritage and culture. Discover the astounding accomplishments of the brave and resilient early explorers and pioneers. Ponder the great challenges that were overcome in the untamed wilderness and the grand visions that live on today.
From Hobart, there are two main journeys that explore the southwest (check out the map). You can do them individually, or connect them and continue on towards Queenstown on the West Coast for the full Western Wilds experience.
To start, head to New Norfolk, a 35-minute drive northwest from Hobart. We’ve put together some suggested stops below, but please create your own adventure and be open to seeing where the journey takes you!
JOURNEY 1: New Norfolk – Maydena – Strathgordon
The town of New Norfolk is one of the oldest in the state, having been established in 1807 by evacuees from Norfolk Island after the closure of the prison. New Norfolk is teeming with history waiting to be uncovered. Walk along the banks of the River Derwent, admire the poplar trees, see the traditional town square, visit a former asylum at the Willow Court Historic Site, go antique shopping at the Drill Hall Emporium, and admire the views from Pulpit Rock Lookout.
Keep heading west and you’ll stumble upon the small towns of Maydena and Westerway flanking Mount Field National Park. If you’re looking for somewhere to base yourself on this journey, check out Hawthorn Lodge and be sure to ask them about their uncensored story of ‘hops taming the wild’ over some afternoon tea. Mountain bikers will have an awesome adventure at Maydena Bike Park, but there is so much more to see and do there. There are a range of great rainforest walks that take in local wildlife, towering Swamp gums, river and cave systems, glacial lakes and ancient heath groves. If mountain biking isn’t your thing, check out Tassie Bound Adventures and hear some local tales from a kayak as you paddle down rivers and over lakes.
At Mount Field, visit the famous Russell Falls, look for a platypus, and explore the range of walks within the park. Before you head off on your next adventure, visit the Waterfalls Cafe for a bite to eat. Another special place nearby is the Junee Cave System near Tyenna. While you can’t enter the caves, it is a lovely short walk along the river.
Epic Strathgordon is literally the end of the road! We can almost guarantee your jaw will be on the floor as you enter the Southwest National Park and drive through the Sentinel Range and The Needles. Visit the awe-inspiring Gordon Dam (abseil down the 140 metre wall if you’re feeling particularly brave) and stay overnight at the Pedder Wilderness Lodge.
JOURNEY 2: New Norfolk – Hamilton – Miena – Lake St Clair
Hamilton was settled in 1808 alongside the Clyde River, with the Central Plateau as its backdrop. Today, you’ll find a handful of shops and galleries on the main street dating back to convict times, rolling farmland, and plenty of sheep. Be sure to book a night at Curringa Farm and stop into Jackson’s Emporium for the best coffee and to hear local tales of bygone time from the shop keeper. Half an hour north, the quaint town of Bothwell (est. 1822) is known for whisky, golf and fly fishing. On the way to Miena, stop for a bush picnic at The Steppes Historic Site. Miena is a small fishing village that sits on the shores of the Great Lake, on the edge of World Heritage Wilderness. Explore the area’s lesser-known bushwalks, fish, mountain bike, and relax.
The extinct Tasmanian tiger once roamed the wilderness around Derwent Bridge, in the geographical centre of Tasmania (today the wombats roam free). In the cooler months, it can snow. Lake St Clair is the deepest freshwater lake in Australia, carved out by ice during several glaciations over the last two million years, and is surrounded by beautiful forests and rugged peaks. If you’re looking for a touch of luxury on your Western Wilds visit, stay at Pumphouse Point. There are a range of stunning walks to explore, varying in length. From Lake St Clair, head back to Hobart via Tarraleah or continue on to Queenstown and the rugged west coast.
Eateries & Accommodation
Take your time to taste the array of local cuisine and rest your head in some special places.
Where to Eat
There are some amazing spots to grab a bite or brew, including:
- New Norfolk: The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery or the Bush Inn Hotel (Australia’s oldest continuously licensed hotel)
- Bushy Park: Lazy Teas, Hawthorn Lodge
- Westerway: The Possum Shed Cafe
- National Park: Waterfalls Cafe & Gallery
- Hamilton: Jackson’s Emporium
- Meadowbank: Meadowbank Vineyards & Winery
Where to Stay
Accommodation options include fun farmstays, charming heritage buildings, and luxurious boutique hotels. They all have their own stories to tell:
- Hollow Tree (between Hamilton and Bothwell): Rathmore
- Bushy Park: Hawthorn Lodge
- Gretna: 28 Gates Luxury Farmstay and Fishery or Truffle Lodge
- Hamilton: Curringa Farm
- Bothwell: Ratho Farm
- Bronte Park: Highland Cabins & Cottages
- Maydena: Giants Table and Cottages
- Lake St Clair: Pumphouse Point
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.
Our Guide to Exploring kunanyi / Mt Wellington
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Beyond Hobart: Our Guide for Exploring Southern Tasmania
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An Adventure in Tasmania’s Central Highlands
Strathgordon | @tristanlyness_photography/Instagram