Bridgewater, located 19 km from the Hobart CBD, and is part of the northern suburbs area of Greater Hobart. Bridgewater is situated on the eastern shore of the Derwent River. Bridgewater is one of the first suburbs encountered by visitors traveling from the state's north via the Midland Highway and the Brighton Bypass. Bridgewater once had a railway the train station, which was used by commuters for travel into the city. Bridgewater saw the development of mass-public housing in the 1970s.
The Bridgewater Bridge and Causeway spans the Derwent River between Bridgewater and Granton to the north of Hobart. It consists of a vertical lift bridge and a specially-built causeway connecting the bridge to the east bank of the river. It accommodates a two-lane highway, a single track railway and, on the bridge section, a footpath. As the bridge is the major connector of the Midland Highway on the eastern shore and the Brooker Highway on the western, the lifting of the bridge can cause considerable traffic delays, depending on the time of day and season.
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Two bridges have spanned the river here prior to the existing bridge. The first was a swing bridge, designed the firm of architect and former convict James Blackburn, and erected in 1849 to replace a punt. The bridge lasted several decades more before being replaced by another swing bridge in the early 1900s. The pivot and the sandstone abutments of this bridge are still standing and can be viewed on the left of the present bridge as one travels towards the north.
The Bridgewater Bridge was one of the first bridges constructed in Tasmania following British settlement in 1803, and gave its name to the nearby suburb of Bridgewater, Hobart. Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur commissioned the construction of the bridge and causeway as part of the Launceston-Hobart Trunk Road, linking both Tasmanian towns and providing easier access to farmlands in the interior of Tasmania.
Construction commenced on the bridge in 1829. The causeway, which was constructed first, was built by a workforce of 200 convicts who had been condemned to secondary punishment. These convicts, using nothing but wheelbarrows, shovels and picks and sheer muscle power, shifted 2 million tonnes (2,200,000 short tons) of soil, stones and clay. The finished causeway stretched 1.3 kilometres (0.8 mi), although did not span the full width of the Derwent. The original plan apparently called for a viaduct, but this plan was abandoned and the half-built arches were filled in to form the present causeway.
The Derwent Valley vineyards are clustered around Berriedale and Granton on the west bank of the Derwent River as it flows towards Hobart and the sea. The Derwent Valley is ideally suited for grape growing. Two major producers dominate the area. A range of modern facilities can be found at Moorilla Estate and Stefano Lubiana produces some of Tasmania s best Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, sparkling wines and Merlot. The Derwent Valley produces about seven percent of Tasmania s wine.
Derwent Estate is a 10-hectare family-owned vineyard on the banks of the Derwent River at Granton. The vineyard is run by Andrew Hanigan, a fifth generation family member. The property boasts two heritage-listed houses, built in the 1830s, one of which is the cellar door facility.
Overlooking the tidal estuary of the Derwent River, Stefano Lubiana Wines is family-owned and operated, producing small quantities of hand-crafted wines. First planted in 1991, the Stefano Lubiana vineyard has expanded over the years to 18 hectares and varieties include Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Nebbiolo.
Established in 1986, Kerry and Laurel Carland s picturesque three-hectare Laurel Bank vineyard at Granton has great views of the Derwent. Their 1998 Sauvignon Blanc made Australia s top ten in Winestate.
Established at Berriedale in 1958 by wine pioneer Claudio Alcorso, Moorilla Estate is a top Tasmanian boutique vineyard. It was the first vineyard to make major plantings of Pinot Noir grapes, now Tasmania s most successful red-wine grape. The 3.5-hectare peninsula jutting into the Derwent River near Hobart yields Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewurztraminer grapes.
The stretch of Lyell Highway between Bridgewater and New Norfolk is particulary pretty, especially in the early morning with the river is calm and the reflection on the water of the hills is mirror-like. Set idylically on the banks of the River Derwent, New Norfolk (17 km west) is a perfect base from which to explore the middle reaches of the Derwent Valley. Mount Field National Park with its rugged beauty and seclusion is only 30 minutes away. More >>
Bushy Park (36 km west) is a quaint town of old houses, deciduous trees, moral fervour, and hop fields which seem to envelop every building and road. The tall wooden and metal frames holding up the hop vines are broken by lines of Lombardy Poplars, with neat and unusually shaped oast houses scattered in the fields away from the road. More >>
Plenty, situated on the main road between New Norfolk and Bushy Park, is a small village, formely a location of hop growing. Plenty Salmon Ponds is the oldest trout hatchery in the Southern Hemisphere - in operation since 1864. It includes Museum of Trout Fishing and Hall of Fame. More >>
A town of just under 1,000 people, Magra is situated in the Derwent Valley a few kilometres north of New Norfolk. It consists mainly of dwelling houses and farmland. Accommodation is also available as the area is popular with tourists. Notable features of Magra itself include the surrounding hills and the plantation of Lombardy Poplars. In the graveyard of the Methodist Church at Magra is the grave of First Fleet convict, Betty King. She is the last-known female survivor of the First Fleet (Betty was buried 6 August 1856, aged 93), and is reputed to have been the first ashore at Botany Bay when she arrived on 26 January 1788 on the Friendship. This would make her the first white woman to set foot on Australian soil. More >>
Mt Field National Park (55 km west) is one of Tasmania s most loved national parks. The park has a wide variety of scenic features and wildlife and offers a great range of facilities for day visitors. Few other national parks in Australia offer such a diversity in vegetation, ranging from tall swamp gum forests and massive tree ferns at the base of the mountain, through rainforest along the Lake Dobson Road, to alpine vegetation at the higher elevations.
Features: Russell Falls, Marriotts Falls; Lady Barron Falls; Horseshoe Falls; Lake Dobson, Tarn Shelf walk, Wylds Craig walk; Florentine Valley walk; Tall Trees walk. Photo: Lake Dobson in winter.
Redlands (27 km west), on the banks of the Plenty River alongside the plenty Salmon Ponds, is one of Tasmania s most well-known rural estates. Once a thriving hop and grain farm, the estate contains an astonishing collection of heritage buildings and magnificent gardens featuring some of Australia s oldest European trees.
The property has a remarkable history, with many overlays of stories from its convict past to modern times. There are intriguing links to the royal family and the emergence of colonial Tasmania s new-landed elite, our first banks, the development of trout fisheries and irrigation, and the property also holds a primary place in Tasmania s hop farming history.
At its peak the farm employed as many as 200 hop pickers with their families living on the estate, and many Tasmanians still hold fond memories of working at picking hops. In those days there were pickers huts, a bakehouse, general store and even a butcher s shop. Only one of the pickers huts has survived but most of the other buildings are intact, though in disrepair. Now, after years of decline and neglect, the property is undergoing a modern transformation as a family residence, working farm, whisky distillery and tourism development
Pontville, located 8 km north of Bridgewater off the Midland Highway, is one of Tasmania's oldest inland villages. It was sited by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1821, and was an early garrison town, where convicts built the bridge over the Jordan River. There are many fine Georgian residences, an old pub and heritage accommodation on the banks of the Jordan River. An old sandstone bridge lies on the Jordan River. The bridge is part of the Midland Highway. 'The Row, sometimes known as The Barracks, is situated near the bridge over the Jordan River. The building was built in 1824 as accommodation for soldiers and is a combination of five cottages - three with roof dormers and two larger cottages with three bays.
During World Wars I and II the area had a major army camp. In recent years, the federal government converted the army rifle range to an asylum-seeker detention centre, housing 400 people, mainly single adult men. The detention centre is now closed.
Accommodation in Pontville is mainly bed and breakfast stays in colonial heritage cottages. Epsom House is one of Australia s hundred oldest houses. Its boutique historic ambience has proved ideal for bespoke weddings and receptions with a rare ballroom, 2 acres of English gardens, and grand period accommodation. It is also one of Australia s finest music venues with international and Australian artists performing regularly.
20 km further north of Pontville is Kempton, a quaint colonial town settled in the 1820s, with handsome old buildings and 19th century charm set in a landscape of rolling hills and sweeping plains. Established as a colonial settlement in the early 1800s, Kempton became a busy coaching stop for hungry travellers and their horses. These days the village is bypassed by the Midland Highway but still continues to be a stopping point. Signs along the main street tell stories of the town's historic buildings including charming coaching inns and quaint shops. Kempton has antique and second hand stores and an historic pub for hearty country meals or accommodation. In the mornings you might even encounter local harness racers out for a trot down the main street. Dysart House at the southern end of town, an exceedingly handsome mansion, now privately owned. Wilmot Arms hotel was built in 1843. Its early colonial atmosphere, furnishings and the the warmth of open log fires are in keeping with the era. More >>
Kangaroos, koalas, wombats, quolls and of course Tasmanian Devils are just a few of the main examples of Australian wildlife on display at Bonorong. As you walk around this preserve you can grab a handful of food (from the many buckets placed along the walkway) and hand feed akangaroos. Enthusiastic guides provide informative information and assist in providing one-on-one experiences interacting with and feeding the orphaned and rescued wildlife at the wildlife rescue centre. Bonorong does such great work caring for these animals, a service support by the sanctuary's admittance fees. Website >>