The Northern Midlands has a colourful history, with convicts, farmers, wealthy landowners, bushrangers, artists, and other intriguing characters existing in the 1800s. Today, there’s a lot to explore, including charming Georgian villages, grand colonial estates, award-winning wineries, and spectacular landscapes. Best of all, everything is an easy day trip from Launceston (although you’ll probably want to stay for longer). Here are eight things to do in the north.
1. Tour the wineries at Relbia
The Relbia wine region is a short drive south from Launceston, and is part of the famed Tamar Valley Wine Route. You probably don’t need much convincing to visit the wineries and cellar doors and taste the award-winning wines for yourself! Our tips include: Josef Chromy Wines, Bundaleera Vineyard, Jinglers Creek, and Sharmans Wines.
Sparkling wine lovers, get the gang together and celebrate our island’s bubbles at the annual Effervescence Tasmania festival (16 – 18 November 2018).
Image (Josef Chromy Wines): @__missaims__/Instagram
2. Explore the quaint villages
Step back in time by visiting the Northern Midlands’ pretty towns, including Ross, Evandale, Longford and Perth. Stroll charming streetscapes lined with Georgian cottages and grand old elm trees. Wander over historic bridges, visit striking churches, step inside red telephone booths, and enjoy a drink in a 19th century watering hole. Many historic homes and buildings have been revamped into modern shops, antique stores, art galleries, and eateries, giving you the opportunity to look inside!
Art lovers, visit Eskleigh at Perth, Handmark Gallery and Blenheim Gallery and Garden at Longford, and the creative hub of Poatina. Taste the famous scallop pie and vanilla slice at Ross, treat yourself to fresh berry ice cream and waffles at Avoca, enjoy coffee and cake amongst the roses at Evandale, and try a modern twist on Scottish food at The Church, Campbell Town.
3. Imagine convict life
Walk the Convict Brick Trail along Campbell Town’s High Street, discover the menial crimes of those transported, and perhaps find an ancestor. Picnic by the river at Campbell Town’s Red Bridge (c. 1838), and think about the convicts who handmade more than 1.5 million bricks for its construction.
See convict-built Ross Bridge (c. 1836), designed by colonial architect John Lee Archer, and admire the intricate etchings in the sandstone. Visit the remnants of the Ross Female Factory, the most archaeologically intact female convict site in Australia. There were a lot of souls that needed saving in 19th century Tasmania, so check out the striking colonial churches, such as the gothic Ross Uniting Church (c. 1885).
4. Visit grand estates
If you’ve ever wondered what life was like two centuries ago, head to Longford. Together, the historic estates of Brickendon and Woolmers make up one of Tasmania’s World Heritage Convict Sites. Tour the homesteads, explore the grounds and gardens, admire the outbuildings, say hello to friendly farm animals, and embark upon the Convict Walk between the two estates. You can even stay overnight in one of Woolmers’ and Brickendon’s historic cottages.
Clarendon, at Nile, is another elegant estate (c. 1838). Visitors can tour the homestead and explore the grounds, with points of interest including convict quarters, heritage walled garden and farm buildings. Check the National Trust website for opening hours.
Image (Woolmers): @melanie_jenson/Instagram
5. Conquer Ben Lomond
Gather your courage to conquer the steep, snake-like ascent up Jacobs Ladder and reap the rewards of the Ben Lomond National Park (the views are spectacular). Skiing and snowboarding are the main draw-cards during the cooler months, but thrill-seekers can also try rockclimbing, abseiling and mountain biking. The walking trails are great all year round (spot the friendly wildlife), but particularly wonderful during spring and summer with the wildflowers in bloom.
6. Go fish
The Northern Midlands is home to some pretty top fishing spots. Cressy is known as the gateway to trout fishing paradise, attracting anglers to places such as Brumby’s Creek (home of the annual Tasmanian Trout Expo) and the Weirs, as well as the Macquarie, Lake and Liffey Rivers.
Image (Lake Leake): @fimorley5/Instagram
7. Enjoy the eclectic events
The Northern Midlands hosts some wonderful events throughout the year. Every February, the Evandale Village Fair and National Penny Farthing Championships turns the wheels of time back 100 years with a whole lot of festivities (dress in your fanciest colonial attire). In March, Evandale also hosts the renowned Glover Art Prize finalists’ exhibition, as well as the Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival in October. In November, the Woolmers Estate Festival of Roses is very popular. To see what else is on, check out our Event Calendar.
Browse for all kinds of treasure at the lovely local markets, including: the weekly Evandale Sunday Market; the fortnightly Epping Forest Market; and the monthly Ross Market, Longford RSL Market, and Campbell Town Hall Market.
8. Stay awhile
There’s so much to do, you could easily stay awhile and explore. For travel tips and assistance, pop into the region’s Visitor Information Centres (you’ll find them at Longford, Evandale, Ross, Avoca, and Campbell Town). Immerse yourself in the area’s rich history and book yourself into some beautiful heritage accommodation.
Image (Brickendon): @nicolehphoto/Instagram
We love it when you share your adventures with us!
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