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Ross, Jo and friends tow to East Coast Tasmania, Launceston and colonial splendor on the Heritage Hwy

March 05, 2007
Ross, Jo and friends tow to East Coast Tasmania, Launceston and colonial splendor on the Heritage Hwy

From: Ross & Jo Whitty
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 10:47 PM
To: garth
Cc: Billy Carolyn Judd
Subject: Tassie travels, East Coast Launceston

Hi Garth,

Writing this report from Frankston in Melbourne.

Our last report saw us heading to Swansea, where we were going to base ourselves for a few days, but after two nights we headed a little further on to Bicheno for three nights and did Freycinet National Park from there.

Our day started with a customary caffeine hit at Coles Bay, (great coffee at the bakery there), before hoisting our backpacks for a walk up the hill to the Wineglass Bay lookout, where we stopped for lunch.

Although we have done quite a few walks we are still not fit enough to do the longer walks and opted for a couple of shorter walks at Cape Tourville Lighthouse and Sleepy Bay.

The weather was still fairly kind for touring and was warm enough for me to go body surfing at one of the Bicheno beaches.

From Bicheno we headed for St. Helens and after checking out a park at Scamander and two at St. Helens we decide to get adventurous and check out the Bay of Fires.

We pull in to a beachside camp called Cosy Corner North, which is one of the few suitable for larger vans, and put the wagons in a circle, for our 1st night of free camping, no power or water and bush toilets.

Bill, Dave and I collect firewood for a campfire and barbeque while the girls prepare nibbles for happy hour and veges for dinner.The fire burned well into the night and we enjoyed a few drinks and laughs.

The next day saw cooler conditions with showers threatening so we decide to head back to civilization and Scamander Caravan Park.

While there the Targa Rally came through and Bill, Dave Carol and Rose headed off to enjoy a day of car rallying, while Jo and I went on to Pyengana, St Columbia Falls and lunch at the Pub in the Paddock.

Next day Jo and I drove up St Mary's pass onto Fingal, Mathinna and the Evercreech Forest Reserve were we enjoyed a picnic lunch and discovered the largest white gums in the world standing at over 90 metres.

Dave, Rose, Carol, Bill, Jo and Ross at Wineglass Bay
Dave, Rose, Carol, Bill, Jo and Ross at Wineglass Bay

We returned to Scamander to join the others for a barbeque and another campfire, this time in a firebox.

From Scamander, Bill, Carol, Jo and I headed back up St Mary's Pass, (another challenging little Tassie road), then on down the Fingal valley to Ross. Dave and Rose decided to spend another day on the coast and joined us there the following day.

Unfortunately while there I dropped my camera and broke it so photos will be a bit short for a while until it is repaired here in Melbourne, but Carol will keep us, in the picture', until then.

We did a day trip to another historical town at Oatlands and it was interesting to compare the different architecture of the two towns.

Scamander River Sunset
Scamander River Sunset

Next, and final stop, Launceston, where we opted to stay at Legana on the west Tamar Highway. It was a convenient and central spot to explore the Tamar Valley and Launceston.

First day was spent at Cataract gorge with a couple of good walks with a picnic lunch after the first, and Devonshire tea to follow the second walk.

Anzac day Carol, Bill, Jo and I head into town for the march and service at the cenotaph, after which we pick up Dave and Rose and head of to Beaconsfield for a pub lunch and a visit to the Gold Mining Museum. It wasn't until we got there that we realised the significance of the date, the first anniversary of the mine collapse.We then drove on through Beauty Point and on to Greens Beach.

Next day was a visit to the Boags Brewery, and motor Museum for the boys while the girls indulged in some retail therapy.

East Tamar via the Batman Bridge and onto Georgetown and Lowhead and the Maritime Museum was next days agenda before returning via a strawberry farm and Launceston.

Our second last day in Tassie was a quiet one packing down annexes and repacking cars and caravans and catching up on housekeeping and laundry.

Sunday the 29th, (April) we get a late departure and head off in the rain to Devonport via Exeter and over the West Tamar hills.

After a restless night on the ferry with little sleep, we said our farewells to Dave and Rose who have decided to leave us for a while, due to work commitments.

We hope to see them rejoin us somewhere in around six weeks.Jo and I are spending 10 nights in Melbourne, getting some essential repairs done on the Geist, and catching up with friends and relatives.

Bill and Carol have locked up their van at the park here and have jetted off to Brisbane and the Gold Coast for a week, to visit family.

We all agreed that Tassie was a great start to our trip and will miss the people and good times we had there, but there is a lot more to see and people to meet, so the adventure continues, the Great Ocean Road and beyond.

Hello all.

I remember St Marys Pass well. I once had my boat try and pass me there. I was towing it too fast at the time in winter and got into a slide.

But the good thing about Tassie roads is that they lead to such world class scenery and experiences. Sure driving is slower on many of them but the memories more than make up for that.

After touring New Zealands North Island in Feb-March we can say they are better than the NZ roads which often have no shoulder. Good for you for heading up the hill to Wine Glass Bay and hitting the water at Bicheno. The surfing, fishing and sailing were part of our happy life when we lived in Tassie for four years.

Oatlands introduces young visitors to country life. Tourism Tas  & Nick Osborne
Oatlands introduces young visitors to country life. Tourism Tas Nick Osborne

Tasmanian Tourism is doing a great job helping us with pictures and touring info to go with your Tasmanian adventures.

We have added stuff from Tasmanian Tourism and our own touring files to put the Heritage Highway (Midlands) into the information mix we have created on caravanning in Tasmania.

It is a big help for our website users. And it is all thanks to you guys.

They are made of the right stuff in Beaconsfield. There is a Beaconsfield feature on this web site so I will add a link to it.

We have a mountain of info on the Great Ocean Road so I will tweak that into a feature for general information as you head towards South Australia and Adelaide. Does than mean you are bound for Perth and taking Australia clockwise?

Thanks for the Free Camping picture of Carol, Rose, Bill and Dave. It is great to fit the faces to the names. Geist got plenty of attention at the Sydney Caravan, Camping and Recreational Vehicle Supershow.

You will have seen we have interviewed them on their mechanical braking, towing system and the total design approach they have to caravans. We would be interested to know what repairs are being done to your Geist. Keep in touch. Happy trails.


With the help of Tourism Tasmania here is information on The Heritage Highway:

From Launceston in the north to Hobart in the south the Midland Highway (1) tells a thousand stories of aviators, convicts, farmers, bush rangers, writers, and painters.

It passes over land first used by Aborigines for hunting then settled by European farmers.

The highway runs through Georgian villages that were once overnight stops for travellers in horse-drawn carriages.

Dalmeny Cafe. Tourism Tas  & Ray Joyce
Dalmeny Cafe. Tourism Tas Ray Joyce

Look out for whimsical hedge shapes, 19th century sandstone road markers, the ghoulish faces on the Ross Bridge, and gracious Georgian homesteads.

Interesting villages like Perth, Longford and Evandale, Campbell Town, Ross and Oatlands are either on, or a short diversion from, the highway.

Historic Richmond can be reached by diverting onto (B31) south of Oatlands.

Slow down travelling through Tasmanias historic Midlands to appreciate the gentler pace of the past. Horse-drawn coaches once rattled through the wide grazing lands between Launceston and Hobart.

The fastest horse-drawn coaches completed the journey in 15 hours, travelling at the trot and changing horses every 10 miles.

Todays Heritage Highway follows the route pioneered in 1807 by a party of five led by Lieutenant Laycock. Those first explorers took eight days to cross Tasmania.

They became the first Europeans to make the journey since the settlement of the colony in 1804.

Now motorists drive from Launceston in the north to southern Hobart in a couple of hours.

Main Road, as it was, running from Launceston to Hobart was renamed the Midland Highway in 1946 and is now a Heritage Highway experience including the area from Perth to Pontville and from Ben Lomond to Bothwell.

Clarendon House. Tourism Tas & Ray Joyce
Clarendon House. Tourism Tas Ray Joyce

There are Visitor Information Centres in Evandale, Perth, Longford, Campbell Town, Ross and Oatlands.

Evandale is history with a differenceIn the Northern Midlands, the historic village of Evandale has buildings, which date from the 1820s.

The art and craft shops in High and Russell Streets are part of an ambience, which is reflected in the century old churches and buildings and antique, art and craft shops.

There is no charge to spend time watching artists design and shape stained glass and jewellery in High St. Tasmanian Stained Glass Galaxy Glass is open each day.

At Nile, near Evandale, stands Clarendon Homestead an elegant mansion and one of the great Georgian houses of Australia.

It was built on the banks of the South Esk River in 1838 for James Cox, a wealthy woolgrower and merchant and the son of William Cox who pioneered the first road over the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.

Clarendon Homestead has big formal gardens and beautiful parklands.The National Trust has restored the house, replaced the portico and parapet, and furnished it in period. There is a National Trust gift shop in the house.

Golden Autumn in Ross. Tourism Tas & Ray Joyce
Golden Autumn in Ross. Tourism Tas Ray Joyce

Villages like Oatlands and Ross are originals looking back more than 160 years. Or spend time in Poatina.

The Resort Village is close to Launceston and lies against the striking ramparts of the Great Western Tiers in the Great Lakes Region of Tasmania.

Waterways are a major feature in the Heritage Highway experience. The lakes, rivers and creeks of the Heritage Highway area are known for the abundance wild Brown Trout.

Poatina is considered to be among the States best all-round trout fishing. An Inland Fishing license is needed and of course courtesy applies when private property is involved.

Travellers should pause here and there to wet a line, and turn off to discover the many natural and heritage attractions.

Midlands must see do (As suggested by Tourism Tasmania ).

See the talented Tasmanian Glass Blowers at Breadalbane, 12km south of Launceston.

Discover beautiful Evandale, just south of Launceston Airport antique and craft shops, traditional and contemporary stained glass, and home of the annual Village Fair and National Penny Farthing Championships.

Call in to Greg and Gills Place in Evandale an extraordinary collection of vintage cars, cameras, model cars, planes and trains.

Tour Clarendon Homestead, a stately National Trust mansion and estate near Evandale.

Visit Sunday markets Evandale is Tasmanias biggest. Its a short drive for more browsing at the Perth market.

Turn off at Perth, 18 km south of Launceston, to visit Longford, agricultural and historic heart of the Northern Midlands, set in rich grazing pastures under the majestic Great Western Tiers.

Woolmers Estate, near Longford, now features the National Rose Garden (3000 roses) a showpiece of Tasmanian horticultural excellence.

Visit the colonial farming village of Brickendon, near Woolmers hands on farming activities, baby animals and beautiful historic gardens.

Stop at Campbell Town, 37 km south of Perth see fine examples of Georgian architecture, particularly The Grange.

Browse through the Heritage Highway Museum in Campbell Town.

Discover the Bieniek Fine Arts Gallery, Faulkners Antiques and Collectables, The Croft Antiques and Heavenly Antiques, convict-built Red Bridge and Plume Antiques in Campbell Town.

Visit the historic township of Ross in the heart of the worlds best superfine wool growing area.

Photograph the astonishing convict carvings on the Ross Bridge (1836), wander the leafy streets, and visit the Tasmanian Wool Centre.

Spend time in the heritage town of Oatlands, 35 km south of Ross take a walking tour of the town to see its 19th century stone mill, convict-built gaol and the oldest Supreme Courthouse in Australia.

Near Evandale is Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Co. enjoy the finest sauces and preserves and wander around Tasmanias largest topiary nursery and the renowned Ericvale open garden.

Perth is the home of the Tasmanian Honey Company tastings are available.

Editor's Note: Also see -


Ross Bakery. Tourism Tas  & Basquali Skamaachi
Ross Bakery. Tourism Tas Basquali Skamaachi
Longford  and Great Western Tiers. Tourism Tas & Ray Joyce
Longford and Great Western Tiers. Tourism Tas Ray Joyce
Ross bridge includes convict carvings. Tourism Tas & Garry Moore
Ross bridge includes convict carvings. Tourism Tas Garry Moore
St Peters Church. Tourism Tas & Ray Joyce
St Peters Church. Tourism Tas Ray Joyce
Woolmers Estate. Tourism Tas & Ray Joyce
Woolmers Estate. Tourism Tas Ray Joyce
Woolmers Residence Tourism Tas & Ray Joyce
Woolmers Residence Tourism Tas Ray Joyce
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