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Rivers Run
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Total 392 km (return)

Rivers Run

The Rivers Run, in the heart of Tasmania, is a scenic journey through a range of landscapes, from tranquil rivers, rolling hills and fertile valleys to rugged mountain wilderness and giant forests.

The lifeblood of the region is the Derwent River, which flows from its source high in the mountains near Lake St Clair, through the Derwent Valley via waterfalls and a network of streams and marshes, and eventually to the sea at Hobart.

Start: Hobart

Duration: 3 - 4 days

Print: Rivers Run [PDF 312KB]

National Parks:

Hobart - New Norfolk

  • Depart Hobart for New Norfolk.
  • The road to New Norfolk follows the beautiful Derwent River. On the way, look out for the distinctive architecture of the old oast houses, once used for storage and processing of hops, a staple ingredient in beer and a major export of the area.
  • Explore New Norfolk, a small town picturesquely situated on the banks of the Derwent River with its historic buildings. Wander along the river's banks and around the town's historic centre, Arthur Square, on a self-guided walking tour of some of Australia's oldest hotels and churches.
  • At New Norfolk you can climb Pulpit Rock for a breathtaking panorama of this bustling town.
  • Stock up here with petrol and food supplies before heading further into the more remote regions.
  • Nearby at Plenty, don't miss the Salmon Ponds, where the first brown trout in Australia were hatched after surviving the rigours of the journey from Great Britain in 1864. The hatchery still contains trout and salmon in six large display ponds set in beautiful grounds amongst century-old trees. The site also has an interesting Museum of Trout Fishing.
  • Next door to the Salmon Ponds is the historic Redlands Estate, once the home of George the IV's son. Convict-built, this beautiful property used to grow hops for beer. It now produces its own barley to be used in the distillery onsite.

New Norfolk (Day 2)

  • From New Norfolk, continue through the tiny hamlets of Bushy Park, Plenty and Westerway up into the mountains to Mt Field National Park, and beyond to rugged Maydena and the Styx Valley of the South West. Decide how far west you want to go, according to your interests and time available.
  • Continue on to Mt Field National Park, one of the State's oldest and best-loved national parks, with easy access to some of Tasmania's wild beauty. The Tyenna River en route to Mt Field is home to trophy-sized trout.
  • In the park, take a short walk through the ferns and rainforest to the much-photographed spectacular Russell Falls and Lady Barron Falls, or stride along the Tall Trees Walk and be awed by some of the forest giants.
  • If time permits, drive up the mountain to Lake Dobson and the striking Pandani Grove Walk with its exotic, prehistoric-looking vegetation.
  • Alternatively, head further on past Mt Field to Maydena and the Styx Valley and marvel at the tallest hardwood trees in the world, found in a tiny reserve – the Big Tree Reserve – in the Styx Valley nearby.
  • Rainforests flourish in the Florentine Valley - said to be the last haunt of the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger - and other nearby valleys.
  • Before you leave, take in the unforgettable scenery of Lake Pedder and the South-West National Park, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
  • Stay overnight at one of the pretty hamlets in the area like Maydena, Bushy Park, or Hamilton.

New Norfolk – Hamilton – Bothwell

  • From New Norfolk, drive north to the classified historic township of Hamilton, where the streetscape contains many Georgian buildings still intact and in use today as accommodation, craft galleries or restaurants.
  • At Hamilton, visit the luxuriant garden at the heritage-listed Prospect Villa with its mixture of English and Italianate styles protected by 170-year-old stone walls and clipped hedges.
  • Explore the nearby classified historic town of Bothwell, settled in the 1820s and still retaining its early 19th century ambience with wide streets and 53 buildings, most built by convicts, classified by the National Trust.
  • Also at Bothwell is Ratho, Australia’s oldest golf course. The Australasian Museum of Golf at Ratho is a significant private collection of golf memorabilia reputed be the most interesting outside of St Andrews in Scotland.
  • Overnight Bothwell or Miena – perhaps enjoy the comforts of a wilderness fishing lodge.

Bothwell - Lake St Clair - Hobart

  • Travel the highlands loop trail up through the Central Highlands of Tasmania to Waddamana, Miena, Bronte Park and the Great Lakes district where avid fly fishermen from around the world come to cast for wild brown trout in the myriad of lakes and tarns of the region.
  • Continue to Lake St Clair at the southern end of the famous Overland Track in the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park. The lake is Australia’s deepest natural freshwater lake, stretching more than 17km in the heart of the World Heritage Area.
  • Take a cruise on the lake or take one of several short walks around the lake – or cruise up the lake one-way and walk back through pristine wilderness.
  • If you're not travelling on to the West Coast and Strahan or Queenstown (West Coast Wilderness touring route), go back south via the alternative route and marvel at the hydro power schemes and the engineering genius encompassed in their design and operation. Set amidst dramatically steep river gorges, the highland Hydro towns of Tungatinah and Tarraleah - offer all types of accommodation as well as fishing and walking.
  • Revisit Hamilton and New Norfolk before arriving back in Hobart.
LegTime / Distance
Hobart to New Norfolk
 32 min / 35 km
New Norfolk to Bothwell
 53 min / 64.4 km
Bothwell to Lake St Clair
1 hr 27 min / 119.0 km
Lake St Clair to Hobart
2 hrs 25 min / 174 km