4 days in the Derwent Valley
Best of the south west
Spanning orchards and farmland, dense rainforest and historical streetscapes, the Derwent Valley is the perfect entrée to Tasmania’s west.
- The third oldest settlement in Tasmania and just a half-hour drive from Hobart, New Norfolk features historical buildings and some of the island’s best antique shopping. Treasure hunters are spoilt for choice, with options including Drill Hall Emporium, Willow Court Antique Centre and Ring Road Antique Centre. Explore the peaceful town on foot, enjoying views of the snaking River Derwent and surrounding mountains.
- Collect provisions along the way and find a riverside spot to enjoy a local lunch, or indulge in refined seasonal fare at The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery, housed in the old Willow Court asylum.
- In Mount Field National Park, Tasmania's oldest national park, grab coffee and a snack at Waterfalls Cafe and Gallery then take your pick of wilderness walks. Stand-out short walks include Russell Falls and Tall Trees; or take the unsealed road to Lake Dobson to stretch the legs further on the Tarn Shelf or Pandani Grove tracks.
- Overnight near the national park at the likes of Tyenna River Cottage or Hamlet Downs , or return to New Norfolk for an evening of country hospitality at Explorers Lodge or Glen Derwent Heritage Retreat.
- In the village of Maydena, experienced mountain bike riders will gravitate to the gravity-focused trails through stunning forest at Maydena Bike Park. Those seeking gentler rides can jump aboard a unique pedal-powered railway through rainforest with Railtrack Riders.
- If mountain biking isn’t your thing, visit nearby Junee Cave State Reserve for a short walk to the cave entrance where the Junee River rises to the surface after flowing 30 kilometres through an extensive cave system. Or join a local wildlife tour to see some of Tasmania’s favourite native animals, including platypus, echidnas and wedge-tailed eagles.
- See Tasmania’s forest giants at the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area and gaze up at magnificent mountain ash, the world’s tallest flowering plant, easily accessible via a short walking track.
- Overnight at Maydena, where Giants’ Table and Cottages offers pub-style meals and beds in authentic forestry workers’ cottages.
- Buckle up for the southern hemisphere's highest commercial abseil at Gordon Dam with Aardvark Adventures. This 140-metre sheer drop in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area will set your heart racing.
- Heights not your thing? Join a local tour and spend the day exploring Lake Pedder by kayak with Tassie Bound; or head to Red Knoll Lookout on the unsealed Scotts Peak Dam Road for 360-degree views of the south-west wilderness. The scenery is unlike anywhere else, so have the camera ready, and check out the short and easy Creepy Crawly Nature Trail through the rainforest.
- Overnight at Pedder Wilderness Lodge on the shores of Lake Pedder at Strathgordon and dine in-house.
- Visit the Salmon Ponds, the oldest trout hatchery in the southern hemisphere and the birthplace of Tasmania’s renowned and wily brown trout. There’s an angling museum in the gardens and a restaurant, Pancakes by the Ponds.
- Drive to Pulpit Rock Lookout, on the outskirts of New Norfolk, for views of the Derwent Valley’s rolling farmland and the River Derwent.
- On the way back to Hobart, make the most of the Derwent Valley's wineries and breweries dotted along the route, including Derwent Estate, Stefano Lubiana and Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ale & Cider.
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