Rob Burnett
Rob Burnett
Travel Tip

Heritage Highway Road Trip

Rachel Eldred
Fasten your seat belt and take a road trip along the Heritage Highway from Hobart to Launceston and meet the ghosts of our colonial past.

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.

children picking strawberries at a farm in Coal River Tasmania
Tourism Tasmania
Coal River Farm

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.
A street in the town of Richmond lined by trees
Wai Nang Poon
Richmond Village

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.

A couple having a whisky tasting with the distillery
Old Kempton Distillery
Robbie Gilligan of Old Kempton Distillery

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.

A windmill and outbuildings at Oatlands in Tasmania
Kath Leahy
Callington Mill

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.

Campbell Town

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.

A man and a woman looking at an old homestead in Tasmania
Tourism Northern Tasmania & Chris Crerar
Brickendon Estate

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.

Launceston

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.

A tour guide standing in front of an haunted church in Launceston Tasmania
Rob Burnett
Launceston City Ghost Tours

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