Sign in


Forgotten your Password?

Enter your email address below and we'll send instructions and a link to reset your password


Unlock Sydney's hidden gems

All the latest and greatest places to eat, drink, stay and play in your city.

By signing up, you agree to periodic email marketing from Sitchu to the email address you provided. Terms and Conditions. Privacy Policy.

A Perfect Road Trip: The Hobart to Launceston Drive

Venture up the Heritage Highway on a quintessential Hobart to Launceston drive, and discover the state’s rich history along the way.

Ross Bridge (ImageCredit: Tourism Australia)

It’s easy to tick off Tasmania’s two biggest cities in one day, given that they are technically only about two and a half hours apart via the Midland Highway. But you’ll find you won’t actually want to drive from Hobart to Launceston in record time because there’s so many amazing places to stop along the way.

This stretch of road is also known as the Heritage Highway, because basically every town on the route is steeped in history and has an incredible story to tell. From 1800s sandstone buildings lining main streets, sprawling rural farms, intact stone bridges and beautiful bucolic vistas, you’ll think you somehow drove to the English countryside instead.

Most towns here have a convict past, so history buffs will love stopping in for a walking tour to learn about the people who built these towns from the ground up. There’s plenty of country bakeries and old pubs for foodies to enjoy, as well as distilleries and vineyards, particularly near Launceston.

While you can drive from Hobart to Launceston in hours or even spend the whole day, you could also stay overnight in these towns and take a week to do it – that’s how much there is to see and do. 

Read on for our list of the must-visit towns on the Hobart to Launceston drive (or the other way round, depending on which city you’re starting in).



Begin your trip in the state’s capital city of Hobart. There’s almost too much to do in this picturesque harbour town – from checking out MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art) and heading to the summit of Mount Wellington / kunanyi to enjoy the most spectacular city panorama, and of course feasting at one of Hobart’s best restaurants (of which there are plenty). If you’ve got a while, you could do a day trip down to Bruny Island or out to Port Arthur, or explore the beautiful Huon Valley. Even if you can’t pack everything in, once it’s time to leave for Launceston, you’ll find loads of places to stop and explore.

Richmond (Image Credit: Brian Dullaghan)


Just half an hour north of Hobart is the gorgeous historic town of Richmond, situated in the Coal River Valley and home to the oldest stone span bridge in Australia. This area is full of fantastic vineyards and cellar doors, so on your way through make sure you stock up. Puddleduck Vineyard is a relaxed and friendly winery to stop for a quick bite and sit out in the sun, while Pooley Wines makes a fantastic pizza. You’ll also find cheesemakers and chocolatiers on the way through the valley, so your wallet will really get a workout here.

Oatlands (Image Credit: IG @vincentandchi)


Drive another 45 minutes along the Heritage Highway from Hobart to Launceston and you’ll reach Oatlands, a town that boasts 138 incredible sandstone buildings. Most of these are on the main street, which makes it a lovely drive through town. The buildings now house very modern businesses like cafes, gift shops, galleries and antique stores, but the most beloved building in town is the Callington Mill.

This amazing old sandstone mill with its quaint white propeller was built in 1837 and has been renovated to full working order. You can visit, book a tour and climb up to the top, which offers a gorgeous view of the area. The Callington Mill Distillery is right next to it, so pop in for a whisky flight while you’re at it.

Ross (Image Credit: Alastair Bett)


Ross, under 30 minutes from Oatlands, has “convict town” written all over it – literally. The historic Ross Bridge, which was built using convict labour in 1836, has 186 intricate stone carvings above its arches created by Daniel Herbert, a convict and former stonemason who was later pardoned for his work on the bridge. 

Herbert included a carving of his own face amongst the 186 panels, as well as representations of animals, insects, plants, Celtic gods and goddesses and even a skull wearing a lieutenant's hat thought to be a caricature of Lt. Governor George Arthur, the colonialist oppressor of the Indigenous Tyrernotepanner people who inhabited the area.

Aside from the bridge itself, which is a must-visit, Ross is also home to the Ross Female Factory, the country’s most archaeologically intact female convict site which acted as a probation station for female convicts and their children between 1847-1854.

Another fun landmark is the crossroads in the centre of town, known as the Four Corners of Ross. This is where your soul can be led in four directions: salvation (the Catholic Church), damnation (the old jail), recreation (the Town Hall) or temptation (the Ross Hotel).

If you pick the latter, it’s a great pub, formerly known as the Man O’ Ross Hotel and built in around 1835. These days the Ross Hotel has a great garden and a delicious menu – but the building is rumoured to be haunted, so drink at your own risk.

Ross also attracts anime fans to The Ross Village Bakery, given the real-life bakery’s uncanny resemblance to the bakery from the Hayao Miyazaki film Kiki’s Delivery Service. The bakery owners have even recreated the character’s attic bedroom, which fans can visit for photos.

Campbell Town (Image Credit: Alastair Bett)

Campbell Town

Loads of travellers stop in Campbell Town on the road from Hobart to Launceston (or the other direction, since it’s just under an hour out of Launceston). For this reason, there’s quite a few good cafes and eateries along the main street if you’re needing a caffeine fix or a sugar hit. 

Aside from food, you’ll be surprised to learn that Campbell Town ticks off two essentials of the Heritage Highway: convict history and an old bridge. The latter is made of red bricks and aptly named the Red Bridge. Built in 1838 using convict labour, it’s Australia’s oldest surviving brick arch bridge.

As for convict history, those men that helped build the bridge were housed in cellars beneath a nearby inn, and the cellars are still there today. One is now home to a bookshop, called the Book Cellar, filled with heaps of books on Tasmanian history.

Campbell Town’s truly unique landmark that you won’t find anywhere else on the Heritage Highway is the Big Log. It’s quite literally that – a huge log located in Valentine Park that is there as a memorial to all the people who worked in the logging industry. It’s definitely a one of a kind photo opp.

Longford (Image Credit: Tourism Australia)


If you divert from the Midland Highway after Campbell Town and take Mount Joy Road instead, after about 45 minutes you’ll pass through the charming little town of Longford. While the main street itself is full of old buildings and is very picturesque, what’s special about Longford are the two historic estates just out of town.

In the rural outskirts of Longford are Woolmers Estate and Brickendon, two UNESCO Australian Convict Sites World Heritage listed properties. The Archer brothers used convict labour to build incredible reminders of their homes back in England, and the neighbouring estates are truly stunning – and sprawling. 

Aside from the homesteads there’s workers' cottages, chapels, blacksmiths’ shops, stables, bakehouses, pumphouse and gardeners’ cottages. If you have time to spend here, it’s worth doing the Convict Farm Walk, a 2.8km trail that connects the two properties, and tour the inside of the buildings which still contain original furnishings from the 1800s.

Perth (Image Credit: Alastair Bett)


Not to be confused with the beachside capital city on the mainland, Perth Tasmania is a small town just 15 minutes out of Launceston. Like its Western Australian counterpart, it’s named after the city in Scotland, but that’s where the similarities end. Instead of ocean views, Perth offers gorgeous mountain vistas of the Western Tiers and is surrounded by rural landscape.

One thing Perth doesn’t have is an old, original convict-made bridge. One was built in 1836 using penal labour, but unlike other towns on the Heritage Highway it didn’t stand the test of time and was destroyed by floods in 1880. It’s since been rebuilt several times.

Stop to stretch your legs and stock up on local produce – the Tasmanian Honey Company is in the main street and offers free tastings, and the Southern Sky Cheese Company is a few blocks down. Sit by the river and enjoy a DIY cheese board while you take in the distant peaks – it’s true serenity.



You’ve finally reached your destination – Tasmania’s second-biggest city, Launceston. Like Hobart, there’s plenty of history here, and since Launceston is a smaller city, it’s very accessible to wander around on foot. Being right in the middle of lush farmland, the local produce here is on another level. If you’re here on a Saturday, head to the Harvest Market and pick up all the cheese, honey, meat, fruit and vegetables you can carry (and consume!) 

Launceston is also handily located right at the start of the Tamar Valley wine trail which is home to 32 vineyards. This includes some of Tasmania’s best-known winemakers, like Josef Chromy, Arras, Tamar Ridge, Holm Oak and Clover Hill, as well as smaller boutique vineyards like Velo and the small-batch Loira Wines.

For outdoorsy types, a must-visit Launceston landmark is Cataract Gorge. It’s a leafy oasis in the middle of town, a 65 million year old gorge complete with walking trails, a suspension bridge, a swimming pool, a chair lift and the bubbling South Esk River.

While completing your perfect road trip from Hobart to Launceston, why not add some of the best waterfalls in Tasmania to your adventure? Or check out our guide to Launceston, for further inspiration at the conclusion of your trip. 

Stay in the loop