First explored by Europeans in 1793 is the third oldest settlement in Tasmania, established by evacuees relocated from Norfolk Island after the island prison was abandoned in 1807. It’s historic past is evident in the many early buildings found in the town including The Bush Inn the nation’s oldest continuously licensed pub and Australia’s oldest Anglican church, St Matthews. It also has one of Australia’s few traditional village squares. New Norfolk has a rich hop-growing past and is still the centre of the surrounding hop-growing area, with Bushy Park producing most of the hops for Australian breweries. Close to New Norfolk you’ll notice some unusual looking buildings called oust houses that are used to dry the hops in preparation for the brewing process. Glen Derwent has a Hops Kiln and charming Tea Rooms serving wonderful Devonshire and High Teas & Ploughman’s lunches and soups.
Track down the grave of Betty King, née Elizabeth Thackery, on the northern side of the Derwent River, whose headstone reads “The first white woman to set foot in Australia” from the First Fleet at Botany Bay.
New Norfolk is home to many antique stores including the massive Willow Court complex, The Drill Hall Emporium which is absolutely magnificent or New Norfolk Antiques and the wonderful Ring Road Antique Centre.
Flywheel Press, a quaint and charming shop that will enchant lovers of stationary and other beautiful items such as diaries, gift wrap, prints and old fashioned stamps. The restored printing press equipment can be viewed.
Nestled in a valley on the Clyde River with the peaks of the Great Western Tiers in the distance, Hamilton welcomes travellers on their way to and from Tasmania’s western wilds and West Coast. It was once a bustling frontier town and transport hub with several working breweries, a string of hotels and a roaring illegal liquor trade. These days the town is a little quieter but still has the feel of a village in the 1800s with many of the town’s few small shops dating back to convict times and some excellent cafes. Our favourite for lunch or a coffee and cake is Wild Fennel which does fabulous home-made pies, bread, cakes, jams, relishes and more. Open 8am till 2 or 3pm daily except Wednesdays. Jackson’s Emporium Café/Delicatessen serves delicious hearty soups and meals 9am till 9pm daily. Glen Clyde House is a restored, convict-built 1840s coach inn. The craft gallery/cafe stocks a wide range of Tasmanian-made items by over 30 local artisans including art, pottery, glass, leatherwork, textiles, toiletries, and woodcraft made from Tasmanian specialty timbers. Open September to May 10am -5pm (except 2pm Sundays)
Hamilton Inn Café opens 8:30am – 3:30pm and does a wide range of evening meals 6-8pm Monday to Saturday. It was built in 1826 by William Roadknight, a pardoned convict who became the town’s constable, mill owner and post master. Hamilton Post Office operates from here today.
A MUST VISIT: stunning Prospect Villa and Garden, with its early Georgian sandstone home and a garden consisting of a series of six romantic garden ‘rooms’ abundantly planted and set in a classic design with long vistas through the garden to focal points and panoramic views. Open daily 9am to 4pm October to March (other times by arrangement). Admission: $5 per person.
Look out for St Peter’s Church, begun in 1834 and completed in 1837. The church has only one door to prevent the congregation, which in the early days was about 50 per cent convicts, from attempting to escape.