Cressy is a lovely little township that sits below the Great Western Tiers on the Norfolk Plains, a 20 minute drive from Launceston.

For a small town, there’s plenty to do. Visitors can enjoy gazing out at the countryside, fly fishing in abundant trout-filled rivers, exploring the 19th century town, chatting with friendly townsfolk, and uncovering interesting tales from days gone by (including a famous UFO sighting and a visit from the Queen). Here are some of our tips on visiting Cressy.

1. Explore the town and discover its history

Cressy became an official township in 1848, servicing the surrounding wheat farms. Early settler Bartholomew Boyle Thomas named the town after the Battle of Crecy, a clash between the English and the French in 1346. The early settlers certainly had their priorities in order – the first building erected was The Cressy Hotel, which was built by William Brumby in 1845 (if that name sounds familiar, think Brumby’s Creek).

Many of the original homesteads and farm buildings are still standing today. In the park, you’ll find a painted history board showing the Main Street in the early 1900s. Check out the mural on the Cressy Town Hall – it depicts early settlers, farmers, and properties in the area. Today, more specialised crops are grown, including poppies for the pharmaceutical industry. The poppy fields make for incredible photos – but remember to respect the farmers (and your own safety) by keeping outside the fences and never touching the plants.

The historic Connorville property at Cressy is one of Australia’s best known rural properties. In 1954, HRH Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinborough spent a night at Connorville as part of their Australian tour, where they planted two trees in the gardens and met with members of staff.

Image: @scottcolvin/Instagram

2. Try your luck at trout fishing

We don’t want to brag or anything (well, maybe a little), but Cressy has a reputation as the gateway to trout fishing paradise. The area is a mecca for fly fishing, with access to Brumby’s Creek and the Weirs, as well as the Macquarie, Lake and Liffey rivers – all terrific spots that attract anglers from around the globe.

Cressy is home to the well-known and loved annual Tasmanian Trout Expo, which is held at Brumby’s Creek each September. The expo, fishing and outdoor show offers a fantastic day out for the whole family, with a $10,000 tagged trout to reel in, and other prizes up for grabs.

If you’re a beginner keen to learn some tips, or an experienced fly fisher eager to hone your skills and benefit from local knowledge, book a guided tour with Trout Territory.

Image: @jaxson_foster/Instagram

3. Have some fun with the local activities

Stay awhile, enjoy the relaxed pace, and unwind like a local. Fishing is the main drawcard (as the quirky street signs allude to), but there are lots of other activities you can enjoy in town.

Go for a swim in the heated pool (closed in winter), stroll along the Cressy Walk (begin from the park in Main Street), work up a sweat on the outdoor exercise equipment (in the park behind the War Memorial), kick off your shoes and test your arm at the Cressy Bowls Club, and hit it then quit it at the golf course between Cressy and Longford.

Image: @sissijean/Instagram

4. Search the sky for UFOs

If this all seems a bit tame, remember, you might be being watched by another race… An alien race! (Yes, they saw that swing when you completely missed the golf ball. If aliens can laugh, they did.)

Little ol’ Cressy is the site of one of Tasmania’s best known UFO sightings. On the cloudy evening of 4th October 1960, the local Church of England minister, the Reverend Lionel Browning, and his wife, witnessed a cigar shaped ‘mothership’ and attendant discs in the sky at about 6.10pm. (The Rev might have needed a cigar after that, with a stiff whisky.)

The unsettling sighting prompted questions in Australian parliament, was investigated by the Royal Australian Air Force, and had details taken by the Victorian UFO Society. When The Tasmanian Unidentified Flying Objects Investigation Centre was formed in 1965, the Rev Browning became its patron. The truth is out there…

Image: @georgies_unique_photos/Instagram

5. Stay awhile and relax

There’s so much to do, you could easily stay a few days. If you’re lucky enough to be touring around in a self-contained motorhome, you can use the Cressy Recreation Ground free of charge. If you’d like to immerse yourself in some colonial charm, book into Cressy House (c. 1827) Estate Farm Stay – a family farm that offers fully self contained apartment accommodation (part of the main house).
If you’re on a budget, Ringwood Hotel offers cabins and backpacker accommodation. Close by, near Longford, there’s also the lovely Panshanger Estate.

Image: @cressyhouseestate/Instagram

We love it when you share your adventures with us!

Tag @midlandstasmania and use #MidlandsTasmania or #HeritageHighway and we’ll share our favourite photos on Instagram, Facebook, and in our Blog.

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Header image:

Isabel Galloway