Sprawling along both sides of the Tamar River between Launceston and Bass Strait, the Tamar Valley is one of Tasmania’s most picturesque regions, renowned for its wineries, orchards and national parks. Is rural landscapes are dotted with small towns and villages, together with lookouts where visitors can take in the panoramic views.
The Tamar Valley wine touring route takes visitors past some its 20 wineries, with a temperate climate ideal for growing pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris and sauvignon blanc, together with the region’s famed Jansz sparkling. Most of the vineyards offer tastings, coupled with sweeping views, and some have gourmet restaurants showcasing the local produce. Artisan makers of cheese, truffles, cider and beer also call the Tamar Valley home, while walnuts and cherries are grown in its fertile soils and berries can be picked fresh in season at the Hillwood Berry Farm. Narawntapu National Park lies to the west of the Tamar River, offering magnificent views across Badger Head and Bass Strait, while Low Head on its eastern edge is home to a lighthouse and maritime museum. Penguins can be glimpsed waddling up the beach at the Low Head Coastal Reserve in the evenings, and there are stunning stretches of sand to relax on at Lagoon Bay and East Beach. One of the Tamar Valley’s most picturesque and oldest settlements is George Town, with its charming streets lined with heritage-listed buildings, including the former lock-up at the Old Watch House Museum. Visit the replica sloop “Norfolk” at the Bass and Flinders Centre and take in the views and photo opportunities from the town’s historic semaphore site.
The Tamar Valley is ideally explored on a self-drive day tour, allowing visitors to stop and soak up all the sights and wineries along the way. Alternatively, day trips depart from Launceston which take in the region’s major highlights.
It was in the mid-19th century that vineyards were first planted in the riverside town of Windermere, but the Victorian gold rush lured many workers away, and a wine industry didn’t flourish until almost one hundred years later. In 1956, the son of a winemaking family from Provence, France established what would become Providence vineyard at Lalla, with Velo established as the Heemskerk vineyard ten years later.