The Tasmanian Midlands

The inland drive from Hobart to the sleepy town of Fingal takes you through the spectacular scenery and cute towns of the Tasmanian Midlands. The first interesting place to veer off of the highway is Oatlands, where you can see a range of historic sandstone buildings …

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The Lake Frederick Inn, 1833

IMG_7374… and visit the Collington Mill:

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This 50-foot mill, built in 1836, was restored “to full working order” (according to the sign) in 2010). You can buy flour made there at the local grocery store, but you can no longer tour the mill, because it has been bought by a whiskey distiller who plans to use the property for the burgeoning Tasmania whiskey trail. Still, you can wander around and admire the only working 19th century flour mill in the southern hemisphere.

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Oatlands is also home to Podium Art and Coffee, where the coffee comes in exactly two types: black and white. The real draws here are the handmade furniture and the aboriginal art.

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When you head north out of Oatlands, make sure to stop at the St. Peters Pass rest stop, where you can see a chicken…IMG_7380

… a dinosaur …IMG_7383

… a duck …

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… and a tasmanian devil (we think)!

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Beyond this, you enter wide stretches of fields that look like Montana:

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In the height of summer (December through February), you can stop to buy fresh cherries at Somercotes:

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The next town that merits a diversion from the highway is Ross, which boasts the third-oldest bridge in Australia (a somewhat dubious distinction, to my mind). I also has quaint, tree-lined streets, several impressive churches …

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… sandstone public buildings from the 1800s …

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… and this lovely old school with a stunning garden …

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filled with roses and hollyhocks:

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The Great Eastern Drive up Tasmania’s east coast is certainly more stunning, but I would argue that this route offers more delightful diversions. It’s worth a visit!

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