1. Meander the grounds at Tynwald Willow Bend Estate and discover its hidden ruins.
Sitting on 40 acres along the Derwent River is Tynwald Willow Bend Estate – a hidden oasis that feels like another world. There’s a lot more to this property than originally meets the eye. And if you want to get to the bottom of it, best ask your hosts Patricia and Gary. As the fifth owners of the house, they’re passionate about sharing its history. Like tales about the little cottage that was originally built as a miller’s house in the early 1820s. Or the stunning granary, now B&B accommodation, that was built in 1830 and later modernised to look Victorian (when it’s actually Georgian). Wander around the grounds to stumble across the dramatic, 201-year-old ruins.
Image credit: tynwald_estate (IG)
2. Indulge in a Devonshire Tea, at Glen Derwent Tea Rooms.
Set in an 1818 sandstone homestead, overlooking a beautiful blooming garden, is Glen Derwent Tea Rooms – the perfect location for an indulgent Devonshire or High Tea. Open Saturday and Sunday, from 10am-4pm, enjoy classical music playing in the background, freshly cooked scones, homemade jams, and tea or coffee. Let’s just say, the scones here are the best going around. And if you’re lucky (and ask very nicely) Liz might even share her recipe with you. Glen Derwent itself actually has a rather exciting history, too. You’ll find burn marks inside the horse stables that were put there by the original owners to ward off witches (an old horseman’s superstition). It is also alleged that livestock would go missing from the property taken by convicts.
Image credit: paulpayasalad (IG)
3. Stay in a heritage listed, luxury hotel, overlooking the Derwent River, at The Woodbridge Tasmania.
One of Tasmania’s most enchanting, luxury hotels is situated right in the heart of New Norfolk. The Woodbridge is a stunning heritage-listed property situated along the Derwent River. Originally built in 1825 by convicts, The Woodbridge exudes so much historic charm, while still providing the understated luxury you’d expect from a boutique hotel. Prior to its refurbishment, it had been left degenerated and in need of some love. It’s now a AAA accredited 5-star hotel, and when you step foot on the property, you’ll soon know why. It’s the little things that will make up your experience here. Like the little artefacts in the rooms, carefully collected from around the world. Or the light trickled pavilion overlooking picturesque views of Derwent River. Pull up a seat and enjoy a nightcap from the well thought out selection of the Tasmanian based wines, whiskeys and brews.
Image credit: thewoodbridgetasmania (IG)
4. Dabble in the traditional art of ceramics with Leap and Wander Studio, at Stanton House.
Free your mind and let your creative side loose, while learning the traditional art of ceramics pre-dating the pottery wheel. And you don’t need to be an expert either. Your teacher Lisa wants you to leave your perfectionism at the door and have some fun. As often, the imperfections are what will make your ceramics so unique and beautiful. At Leap and Wander Studio, you will be taught to make anything from rustic ceramic bowls, cups and plates, to more substantial items, like platters. While your ceramics are baking, you will be cooked a traditional country meal, while engaging in great conversation with the new friends you’ve made during the class.
Image credit: leapandwander (IG)
5. Get lost in the traditional art of printing, at Flywheel on High Street, New Norfolk.
New Norfolk has many shops that exude old world charm. Flywheel is a small letterpress and stationery store, but it’s so much more than this. Locals will tell you that it was previously a bakery store, which is evidenced by the original baking oven out the back. It was then a florist, followed by a Kodak shop. Today, it is a pre-digital haven filled with inks, rubber stamps, lead type and gorgeous hand-printed paper products. Peer through the windows and you’ll probably see Flywheel owner Rachel James at work in her studio. Rachel uses traditional printing techniques and even makes her own digital printing plates, taking inspiration from illustrations on old encyclopaedia.
You will find Flywheel, and New Norfolk’s main shopping area on High Street. While you’re there, be sure to also visit other unique stops like Antiques Drill Hall for some antique goods and The Quilted Teapot for colourful patchwork and quilting.
Image credit: flywheel_tasmania (IG)
6. Embrace the old world ‘paddock to plate’ lifestyle and pick your own fresh berries, from Westerway Berry Patch.
For a true agrarian ‘paddock to plate’ experience, why not wander around the berry patches at Westerway Berry Patch to pick your own fresh berries. Some might say the Derwent Valley supplies some of the freshest berries going around, too. Choose from delicious seasonal berries like raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and red currants.
Image credit: shanmaine (IG), dblankj (IG) and around.aus (IG)
The Derwent Valley has a magical power over those who visit it. It has the ability to make you feel as though you’re in another country, or even world, depending on which property you’re visiting. This is what makes our region so unquestionably Derwent Valley. So come? Step back in time, hear our tales, share our produce. Find out why this part of the state might just be Tasmanian’s best kept secret.
Be sure to share your experiences touring around our region by tagging @Derwent Valley Tasmania on Facebook or Instagram, or by using #DerwentValleyTasmania and #UnquestionablyDerwentValley.