A cluster of historic towns close to Launceston creates a fascinating loop high on natural beauty and colonial heritage.
Day 1: Launceston to Longford
Float at dawn on a hot-air balloon flight from Launceston with Hot Air Balloon Tasmania. Wind conditions dictate the flight's direction but may have you drifting over the Northern Midlands for a sneak peek of the journey ahead.
With its entire townscape classified by the National Trust, Evandale is a treasury of historical buildings. Explore the town on foot and head to the Sunday morning market.
Near Evandale, Clarendon is one of Australia's grandest colonial estates, with an elegant portico and a heritage walled garden. Take a guided tour of its period-furnished interiors.
Stay overnight at Longford, where there's the rare opportunity to sleep in convict-built and heritage-listed cottages at Brickendon and at Woolmers Estate. The latter is also home to The Elenor restaurant, open for lunch Wednesday to Sunday.
Day 2: Longford to Cressy
Neighbouring Brickendon and Woolmers Estate are World Heritage-listed convict sites – allow a morning to explore the properties. Brickendon features a convict-built farm village dating back to the 1820s. Woolmers Estate offers homestead tours, or wander the grounds to see the formal rose garden and Australia's oldest operating shearing shed. The 2.8km Convict Farm Walk links the two properties.
As the trout-shaped street signs attest, the town of Cressy doesn't mind its fly fishing. The island's only “troutified” town offers access to some of the world's best fly-fishing waters – the likes of Brumbys Creek, the Weirs and the Macquarie River – and hosts the annual Tasmanian Trout Expo. Find a local fishing guide at Trout Territory.
Day 3: Cressy to Westbury
Source some baked goods from the Rustic Bakehouse in Cressy and head to the village of Bracknell, where the Bracknell River Reserve is a scenic morning-tea stop beside the Liffey River.
Take the slow road, meandering beside the Liffey River across the foot of the Great Western Tiers to the village of Liffey, before swinging north into Westbury past Quamby Bluff, the northernmost peak in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
The classically Georgian architecture of Westbury and a 6m-high set of cricket stumps create a distinctly English air. Mix gin or poitín with the likes of pork and pistachio terrine over lunch at the Western Tiers Distillery.
Spend the night in Westbury, where options include Westbury Gingerbread Cottages.
Day 4: Westbury to Launceston
Start the day on foot along the Westbury Silhouette Trail, an easy hour-long walk that connects eight artworks around town and passes historic buildings from Westbury's early days as a garrison town.
Delve into agricultural history at Pearns Steam World, which houses more than 200 steam engines and tractors.
Make the 25min drive to Launceston, and link with a Northern Forage drive journey itinerary.
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