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Derwent Valley and Beyond

Commencing in Hobart, this scenic drive takes in the tranquil Derwent Valley, past rolling hills to the rugged mountain wilderness of Lake St Clair

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Total 392 km (return)

Derwent Valley and Beyond - Itinerary

Starting in Hobart, this scenic drive through the Derwent Valley and on to the heart of Tasmania takes you through a variety of landscapes - from tranquil rivers, rolling hills to giant forests and rugged mountain wilderness to Lake St Clair and the source of the River Derwent.

Start: Hobart

Duration: 3 - 4 days

National parks:

Hobart - New Norfolk

  • Depart Hobart for New Norfolk.
  • The road to New Norfolk follows the beautiful River Derwent. On the way, look out for the unusual architecture of the old 'oast' houses, once used for the storage and processing of hops, a staple ingredient in beer and a major export of the area.
  • Explore New Norfolk, a small town with historic buildings picturesquely situated on the banks of the River Derwent. 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 journey from Great Britain in 1864. The hatchery still contains trout and salmon in six large display ponds set in beautiful grounds among century-old trees. There's also an interesting Museum of Trout Fishing.

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 Tasmania's south-west. Decide how far west you want to go, according to your interests and time.
  • Mt Field National Park is one of Tasmania's oldest and best-loved national parks with easy access to some of Tasmania's wild beauty. The Tyenna River is one of the best rivers to fish in Tasmania. Containing brown and rainbow trout the river offers excellent dry fly fishing and nymphing like none other in the area.
  • In the national park, take a short walk through the ferns and rainforest to the much-photographed spectacular Russell Falls and Lady Barron Falls or take the Tall Trees Walk and be awed by the forest giants.
  • Drive up the mountain to Lake Dobson and the striking Pandani Grove Walk with its exotic, prehistoric-looking vegetation.
  • Alternatively, head farther 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.
  • 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 with its 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 National Trust classified buildings, most built by convicts.
  • Play a round of golf at Ratho, Australia's oldest golf course. The course is also home to the Australasian Museum of Golf, a significant private collection of golf memorabilia reputed be the most interesting outside of St Andrews in Scotland.
  • Overnight Bothwell or Miena.

Bothwell - Lake St Clair - Hobart

  • Travel the loop up through Tasmania's Central Highlands  to Waddamana, Miena, Bronte Park and yingina / 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 into the heart of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area and is surrounded by a magnificent mountain range.
  • Take a cruise on the lake or take one of several short walks along the edge of 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 itinerary), 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 town of Tarraleah offers accommodation as well as fishing and walking.
  • Revisit Hamilton and New Norfolk before arriving back in Hobart.
Leg Time / 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