The quaint towns along the Heritage Highway mostly sprung up as 19th century coaching stops and military outposts between Hobart and Launceston. Today, the well-preserved towns are fascinating to visit, offering a delightful mix of old and new. The Heritage Highway makes a great road trip—especially in our modern cars, rather than a horse and cart! If you only have one day, there are lots of interesting stops along the way that will enrich your journey. If you have the time, stay overnight in each town and explore the many attractions in more depth.
We’ve put together some tips on things to do in each place (listed from north to south, so go from bottom to top if you’re traveling Hobart to Launceston). There is a lot to see and do, as well as a lovely range of places to eat and drink, so this is by no means an exhaustive list. Pop into the Visitor Information Centres along the way for insider travel tips. Drive safe and enjoy the journey!
Perth was settled in 1821 and boasts scenic views towards the Great Western Tiers. Admire the historic buildings on a self-guided walking tour, check out the art at Eskleigh Gallery, visit the local eateries and shops (including the Tasmanian Honey Company), go antiquing, play at the Train Park, relax by the river, and catch some action at Symmons Plains Raceway. Touring the award-winning wineries at Relbia is a neat side trip for those who appreciate a good drop.
Evandale was established as a military post in 1811 and is today a National Trust classified Georgian village. Wander the quaint streets and enjoy the old-world village atmosphere, admiring the historic buildings and churches. Pop into the local shops and galleries, have a drink at the Clarendon Arms (with live music on Sundays), brunch in the courtyard garden at Ingleside Bakery Cafe, and browse the weekly Evandale Sunday Market. Collect bonus points if you time your visit with the annual Evandale Village Fair & Penny Farthing Championships in February or the Glover Prize Exhibition in March. Nearby, Nile is home to the magnificent National Trust listed Clarendon Estate, as well as the Australian Fly Fishing Museum. Another worthy side trip is the 45 minute drive east to the Ben Lomond National Park (Parks Pass required) to conquer Jacobs Ladder, hike, do some wildlife watching, and ski or snowboard (in season).
Longford is a classified historic town featuring fine convict-built homes and estates from the early 1800s. Enjoy a glimpse back in time at joint World Heritage Convict Site Brickendon and Woolmers Estates. In town, take a self-guided walking tour and browse the local antique and gift shops. Visit Christ Church (c. 1839) and hear Voices from the Graves. The local eateries offer a great range of food, from baked goods and pizza to quality pub grub, while Bell & Gong wines are a local drop just a short drive down the road. Retrace the Grand Prix route from the 1950s-60s and check out the racing memorabilia at the hotel. There are some beautiful events on in spring, including the Longford Blooms Open Gardens weekend and the Woolmers Festival of Roses. On the way to Cressy, stop in at Blenheim Gallery & Garden.
Cressy is a lovely little township nestled below the Great Western Tiers on the Norfolk Plains. Cressy is a hot spot for fly fishing—the Tasmanian Trout Expo is held here every September—so head to Brumbys Creek and try your luck with the trout or learn the local secrets on a guided tour. Enjoy a delicious treat (or Friday night pizza) at the Rustic Bakehouse. Stay in luxury heritage accommodation at The Granary Richmond Hill (c. 1823) or Cressy House (c. 1827) Estate Farm Stay. Oh, and look to the skies—there was a big UFO sighting here in 1960! Nearby arts hub Poatina Village makes an interesting side trip or additional night on your itinerary.
5. Campbell Town
Campbell Town is the go-to driver reviver stop today, with a great range of eateries along the main street to choose from. Explore the town on foot and admire its impressive collection of colonial buildings, picnic by the Red Bridge (c. 1838) and admire the chainsaw sculptures, walk the Convict Brick Trail, go antiquing, find something to read in a convict-built cellar at The Book Cellar, enjoy caffeine and art at Gallery 81, and check out the giant log in the park. Drive half an hour east for a trout fishing side trip at Lake Leake (you can camp or stay at the Lake Leake Inn).
The convict-built village of Ross was established as a garrison in 1812 and became an important coach horse change and livestock market. This fine heritage town is a joy to wander, with grand old elm trees lining the main road. Step inside the red phone box and Dial-a-Local to hear stories of days gone by. Admire the beautiful Ross Bridge (c. 1836) and try to interpret the 186 convict carvings over the arches. Up on the hill, the Ross Uniting Church (c. 1885) looks straight out of a fairy tale with its Gothic Revival style architecture. Learn about the experiences of female convicts at the Ross Female Factory Historic Site. Delve into the region’s agricultural heritage and purchase a special keepsake at the Tasmanian Wool Centre. Taste famous scallop pies and vanilla slice at the local bakeries.
The Georgian town of Oatlands boasts the largest number of historic sandstone buildings in Australia (it was even a filming location for period revenge thriller The Nightingale). Many of the original buildings are now shops and eateries. A key attraction in Oatlands (apart from the pancakes) is the Callington Mill Historic Site, which visitors are welcome to explore on foot. You can also pick up the Oatlands Key from businesses on High Street and take a self-guided tour of the historic Oatlands Military Precinct. Download the Uist Augmented Reality app to virtually step back in time. Follow the quirky Topiary Trail around town and take a stroll around waterbird sanctuary Lake Dulverton. The Heritage Hub offer a variety of courses and events throughout the year. The Oatlands Heritage & Bullock Festival in August is a vibrant highlight.
Kempton is a quaint little gem of a town. Try your luck antiquing and check out the old Presbyterian Church (c. 1886), aka ‘The Blue Place’, for a charming photo opp. Visit the Old Kempton Distillery at Dysart House for tours, tastings, and delicious food in their 1840s coaching inn (there is also live music on Sundays through the warmer months). The Kempton Festival & Sheep Racing Championships, on every February, are lots of fun. For those with electronic vehicles, Kempton has a charging station. On the drive between Kempton and Tunbridge, keep your eyes peeled for historic characters on the Shadows of the Past Silhouette Trail. Other great attractions nearby include the Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary at Bagdad, Shene Estate & Distillery at Pontville, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary at Brighton, and the Coal River Valley wine region.
7 Places to go Fly Fishing
45 Things to Do with Kids in Tasmania’s Midlands
6 Historic Places to Enjoy a Tipple
Our Picks: 6 Best Bakery Cafes in Tasmania’s Midlands
Story Time: Where to Hear Tales of Days Gone By
The Oatlands Key: Access the Historic Military Precinct
Discover the Heritage Highway Silhouette Trail
Campbell Town’s Red Bridge | @melroselanescapes/Instagram