THE DERWENT VALLEY
A drive along the scenic Derwent River
The Derwent Valley is one of Australia's most scenic areas. The river rises in the
Central Highlands at Lake St Clair and flows through a dozen of so towns before meeting the ocean at Hobart
where it joins the harbour.
Lined with exotic trees like willows and elms, it is a riot of colour in Autumn and it is nearly impossible to
take a photograph which is not outstanding. The small towns along the river produce a large variety of produce
including hops, berries, vegetables and grapes. There are several wineries in the region.
The largest town is New Norfolk which has many historic buildings including the Bush Inn, Australia's oldest hotel
and the interesting Oast House, a collection of craft and food stores in an old hop oast just east of the highway
as you enter New Norfolk from Hobart.
To the north are the Salmon Ponds, where breeding of salmon and trout has been going on for over 100 years and
you can tour the complex. Further north the Mt Field National Park offers everything from bush-walking
and waterfalls to skiing in the higher areas.
The pretty town of Westerway has accommodation, general store and petrol, and is a popular centre for touring.
You can continue west from the National Park through Maydena to Strathgordon and Lake Gordon. The drive passes
through forests and past lakes to the Gordon Dam.
In the northern section of the area are the historic towns of Hamilton, Bothwell and Ouse where there are dozens
of historic buildings, old churches (Australia's oldest Anglican Church is in Hamilton), galleries and museums,
inviting cafes and coffee lounges, and unique attractions like the Australian Golf Museum at Bothwell.
As you head further west from Ouse you enter the central highlands and the heart of Tasmania's massive Hydro-electric
system. Power stations at Waddamana, Wayatinah, Tungatunah and Tarraleah will be seen, connected by deep fast
flowing channels between a system of lakes. At Tarraleah the view down the massive pipe spillway is spectacular.
The head of the river at near Derwent Bridge where there is a timber gallery and, just north, the beautiful
Lake St Clair and an interpretive centre and facilities for accommodation and campers.
The Derwent Valley includes some of the states most historic and scenic areas. You can either treat this as a tour from
Hobart, or a part of your journey between Hobart and the West Coast. Queenstown and Strahan are at the western end of the
A special 10 day tour brochure will be found elsewhere on this site and includes tours to all parts of Tasmania.