Coal River Valley and Richmond
Ease yourself into your journey at Frogmore Creek Wines, and tickle your senses in a way our colonial forebears could never have imagined. Pop in and choose your favourite wine from Frogmore Creek’s extensive range, then head up the road for a cheese and chocolate smorgasbord at Coal River Farm. You’re now ready for a tour of historic Richmond.
Richmond is a picture-perfect town in the heart of Coal River Valley wine region that tells the story of an early Australian colonial village. Take a close look at the architectural beauty of Richmond Bridge, convict built in the 1820s. It’s Australia’s oldest bridge still in use, while Richmond Gaol is one of Australia’s oldest colonial prisons. It’s believed that Dickens’ character Fagin in Oliver Twist passed through these prison doors. Find more history in the town’s antique stores where curious artifacts can keep history buffs occupied for days.
Kempton – a touch of class
The Old Kempton Distillery in Kempton is worth a visit for its grand colonial architecture alone. A menu of fresh homemade food is available and while you enjoy your meal, you can taste test a selection of spirits and choose your favourite to accompany you on the rest of your trip.
Oatlands – Tasmanian gothic
Founded in 1821, the tiny township of Oatlands boasts 87 original sandstone buildings on its main street and presents an eerily accurate picture of early colonial settlement. The Oatlands Supreme Court House, built in 1828, stands in remarkably good condition given it’s the oldest supreme court in Tasmania. And Callington Mill, built in 1837, is also a marvel: perfectly restored, it’s still in use today. Also worth a visit is St Paul’s. This neo-Gothic style Catholic church was built by Augustus Pugin, the man who designed the interior of the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben clock tower.
Ross Bridge and a scallop pie to die for
Completed in 1836, Ross Bridge may be the third oldest bridge still in use in Australia. The remarkable carvings that cover the bridge are the work of convict and stonemason Daniel Herbert. Also in Ross, at the Ross Village Bakery, soak up the old world charm of the way things used to be and try a scallop pie, a real Tasmanian delicacy. Before you settle down for night in restored historic cottages at Somercotes, stop at Ross Female Factory, home to female convicts in the mid-1800s, and hear the women’s tales of woe and hardship.
In Campbell Town, browse the antique stores before you take a walk along the Convict Brick Trail tells of disease and misfortune, the lot of many convicts.
Longford and the finer things in life
To see how the well-to-do lived in colonial days, visit Woolmers and Brickendon, pastoral estates of architectural splendour at Longford. The collections of furniture and other home contents in Woolmers offers a unique insight into family life over six generations, while Brickendon, just across the way, was considered the best farm in the area in the 1840s.
Red Feather Inn
Enjoy some of the finer things in life at the Red Feather Inn, a convict built heritage luxury sandstone guest house with an intimate restaurant for in-house guests and the general public, just out of Launceston. Return to the luxury of the present day with a meal at the restaurant before you turn in for the night in accommodation that boasts French provincial furnishings, private gardens and a loft room underneath the stars.
If you’re game, a ghost tour around Launceston brings you face to face with colonial life at night when seedy characters come out to play. You may need one more night in town to digest the horrors. In Launceston, spoil yourself at Highfield House, a Victorian estate of laid-back luxury with charming garden or city views and a minibar stocked with Tasmanian produce.