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Heritage Highway
Heritage Highway
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Total 200 km

Heritage Highway

The Heritage Highway traces much of the original route between Launceston and Hobart, built by convict road gangs in the early 1800s. Drive through rolling farmlands, explore charming Georgian villages, stay on historic pastoral properties and savour the rich and colourful history of the place and its people. Access the Heritage Highway from Hobart or Launceston, from the East Coast via Campbell Town or Fingal, or from Port Arthur via Richmond.

Start: Hobart or Launceston

Duration: 1-2 days

Print: Heritage Highway [PDF 231KB]

Launceston – Campbell Town

  • Departing from Launceston, the first stop is Evandale, a charming colonial village with Georgian buildings dating back to the 1820s.
  • An alternative route to Evandale is via Ben Lomond, a 40-minute drive from Launceston. Ben Lomond is the largest single alpine area in Tasmania and in the summer is a spectacular place to walk and spot wildlife, while its magnificent views add to the thrill of rock climbing, mountain biking and abseiling.
  • After Evandale, it's on to the gracious Clarendon homestead, just 11 km south on the banks of the South Esk River, complete with servants wing and many farm buildings. The house's elegantly furnished rooms overlook extensive formal gardens, beautiful parklands and the original farm buildings.
  • Also on the banks of the South Esk are the townships of Perth and Longford, about 20 minutes from either Evandale or Launceston. Picnic on the riverbank at Perth or stop for lunch in Longford, a pretty, classified historic village known for its convict-built houses, English country landscape and the home to two of Tasmania's World Heritage Convict Sites: Brickendon and Woolmers Estate.
  • Brickendon is an historic working farm continuously owned and managed by the Archer family for almost two centuries, while the adjacent Woolmers Estate is a time capsule of early nineteenth century life, home to the National Rose Garden and beautiful in summer. Wander the Convict Farm Walk between the two properties to see what life in the 1820s was like for the convicts assigned here – the route takes you through the Brickendon Farm Village and across the Macquarie River via a suspension bridge to the Woolmers homestead and National Rose Garden.
  • Continue on to Campbell Town via Epping Forest and Cleveland. Stop for refreshments at St Andrew's Inn in Cleveland - a typical 19th century coaching inn where horse-drawn carriages stopped en route between Hobart and Launceston.
  • Farther on is Campbell Town, a popular stopping point for travellers between Launceston and Hobart and the historic heart of Tasmania with more than a 100 houses over 100 years old.
  • Stroll along the banks of the serene Elizabeth River and its Red Bridge, built in 1838 by convict labour using over one million convict-made bricks, then follow the intriguing convict brick trail through the heart of the town.
  • Visit the Heritage Highway Museum in the historic court house to learn more about the town's history.

Campbell Town – Hobart

  • Just 10 minutes farther on from Campbell Town is the timeless village of Ross with huge English elms lining the main street and the famous Ross Bridge (1836), built by convict labour and featuring 186 intricate colonial carvings.
  • Don't miss the nearby female factory prison site and original burial ground on the hill.
  • Learn about early life in Ross and the importance of sheep grazing in the area at the Tasmanian Wool Centre.
  • Continue on to Oatlands and keep a look out for the old coaching inn at Tunbridge – now a stately private residence.
  • Also spanning the river at Tunbridge is the convict-built Blackman's River Bridge. Dating back to 1848, it's the oldest wooden span bridge in Australia.
  • Continue on to Oatlands and its sandstone-lined streets. Oatlands has the largest collection of colonial sandstone buildings in a village environment in Australia, many built by convict labour.
  • Still in Oatlands, look out for the hard-to-miss Callington Mill, a unique landmark. The mill is Australia's third oldest windmill, built in 1837 and restored to working order in 2010.
  • Another landmark, St Pauls' Catholic Church, was designed by Augustus Welby Pugin, the father of Gothic Revival architecture.
  • Detour on your way south to the wineries of the Coal River Valley via Colebrook and the fascinating remains of the convict Probation Station built in 1841.
  • Continuing on the main highway from Oatlands, take a 30 minutes detour to the town of Bothwell with 53 National Trust Classified buildings including the church of St Michaels and All Angels with its unusual feature inside – a fireplace.
  • Bothwell also has the oldest golf course in the Southern Hemisphere, Ratho, dating back to the 1820s. The Australasian Golf Museum housed at Ratho is said to have the most interesting golfing memorabilia outside of St Andrews in Scotland.
  • Back on the main highway to Hobart and easily overlooked is the tiny historic village of Kempton. A stroll through the main street reveals a charming collection of colonial homes, cottages, churches, shops, taverns and coaching inns, all within a distance of one kilometre.
  • On the final approach to Hobart through Mangalore and Bagdad, look out for the magnificent old homes by the side of the road – Marlbrook, Oakwood, Wybra Hall and Shene - seen in the distance with its gabled outbuildings and clock tower. Call ahead to book a tour. All are testament to the wealth of some of the early European settlers who prospered from wheat-growing.
  • Continue to Pontville for more fine examples of colonial architecture including sandstone churches, a convict-built bridge, hotels, stately homes and workmen's cottages.
  • Take in the beautiful St Mark's Church (1839), with its distinctive Romanesque architecture, designed by convict architect James Blackburn, then stroll through the old graveyard with its stories of the suffering and success of early settlers.
  • At Brighton, take a short detour to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, home to kangaroos, eastern quolls and Tasmanian devils.
  • Continue on to Hobart.
Leg Time / Distance
Launceston - Campbell Town  50 min / 67 km
Campbell Town - Hobart 1 hr 30 min / 133 km