lake pedder

3 Day Itinerary: The Wild Southwest Derwent Valley Tasmania

It’s true what the locals say, ‘There’s the Derwent Valley you see for the day, then there’s the real Derwent Valley’. So, why not stay a while. Immerse yourself in the real Derwent Valley – where things are just that little bit brighter, taller, deeper, fresher, darker, sweeter, wilder and weirder. Find out why this part of the state may just be Tasmania’s best kept secret.

Enjoy this free itinerary for the ultimate three-day Tasmanian Wilderness Road Trip in the Derwent Valley.

Image credit: tassie_heights

Self-drive journey and the Road Less Travelled for the Spirited Adventurers (Moderate to Active).

Highlights: 

  • Visit Mount Field National Park and the most photographed waterfalls in Australia.
  • Explore the Derwent Valley region by kayak, mountain bike or by foot.

Day One: Hobart to New Norfolk to Mount Field to Maydena - 82km

Start your touring at the beginning of The Western Wilds drive through Derwent Valley – just a short thirty-minute drive Northwest of Hobart.

Stop 1: New Norfolk 

Directions: Follow National Highway 1, north of Hobart, before turning west to the A10.

Why visit New Norfolk?

New Norfolk’s main attraction is the mighty Derwent River. It’s perfectly placed to stretch the legs and get your bearings. Book a paddle board lesson from the Derwent Valley SUP school, hike up to the Pulpit Rock Lookout or follow the river banks along the Derwent Cliffs Walk from the Esplanade. If passing through on a Saturday, do visit Banjo’s New Norfolk market on High Street.

Stop 2: Westerway Raspberry Farm

Image credit: michelle_elizabeth_   IG

Directions: From New Norfolk, take Glenora Road and head west through the lush and fertile river valley. Westerway Berry Farm is located approx. thirty-minutes by car from New Norfolk.

Why visit Westerway Berry Farm?

This place sure does supply some of the freshest berries going around. You may choose to wander the patches to pick your own produce or buy some already picked. But wait, save some room for lunch. Only 650 metres from the farm you’ll find The Possum Shed Café. Enjoy delicious local produce while admiring the delightful scenery from the deck and gardens.

Travel advice:
Refuel at the Westerway Roadhouse as it will be the last fuel stop for a while.

Stop 3: Mount Field National Park

Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/carmelboyd_

Why visit Mount Field National Park?

Who ever said, ‘Don’t go chasing waterfalls’, clearly never visited Mount Field National Park. Walking through majestic rainforests in pursuit of breathtaking waterfalls is some seriously soul cleansing kind of stuff. And there’s a reason why Russell Falls is arguably one of the most photographed waterfalls in Australia. Quite frankly, it’s breathtakingly, awe-inspiringly, stunning (yes, that’s a lot of descriptive words). But hey, the waterfalls here have earned it.

Russell Falls: 25 mins return, 1.4km, easy walk – flat grade and highly accessible.

Three Falls Circuit: 2 – 2.5 hours return, 6km, medium walk – some steps and hills.

Visit the Mount Field National Park Visitor Centre for more information and park passes.

Where to stay?

Giants’ Table Cottages
https://www.giantstable.com.au

Duffy’s Accommodation in Westerway
https://duffyscountry.com

Maydena Mountain Cabins & Alpacas
https://www.maydenacabins.com.au/

Where to eat?

National Park Hotel
https://derwentvalleytasmania.org.au/stay/national-park-hotel/

Giants’ Bistro Table
https:/www.giantstable.com.au

Possum Shed Cafe
https://www.thepossumshed.com.au/

Maydena Bike Park Canteen – open every day through Summer
https://www.maydenabikepark.com/sunset-summit-bbq/

Day Two: Maydena to Strathgordon - 72km

Image credit: @alexjweir_

Stop 1: Maydena

Directions: Located by the Tyenna River and 13 kms beyond the entrance of Mount Field National Park is Maydena.

Why visit Maydena?

Thrill seekers, Maydena is home to one of the largest gravity mountain bike trails in Australia – which operates all year round. You may choose to book yourself a Park Intro. session or hire an e-bike directly from the park.
If mountain biking isn’t your jam though, hike to Marriott’s Falls, or take a leisurely stroll to the Junee Caves.

Stop 2: Twisted Sister Track

Directions: 21 kms from Maydena.

Why visit Twisted Sister Track?

Who isn’t up for some scenic views and delicious produce? Pack a picnic full of the goodies you scored at Banjo’s New Norfolk Market and hit the Twisted Sister Track (found in the Upper Florentine Valley). This is an easy 1.5 km loop track through deep rainforest, towering eucalypts, and mossy underfloor. The walk also passes through an old conservation camp site called ‘Camp Flozza’.

 ‘Camp Flozza’ circa 2011

Stop 3: Gordon Dam.

Directions: 12 km beyond Strathgordon and the Pedder Wilderness Lodge. Travel to the end of Gordon River Road and you’ll find the Gordon Dam.

Why visit Gordon Dam?

The terrifying beauty of Gordan Dam will entrance you in a way that stops you in your tracks. Like literally, as you will probably be hesitant to get too close to the edge. But don’t let this stop you, this 140 m high concrete dam is magnificent and holds back 27 times the volume of water in Sydney Harbour (but hey, who’s counting?).

Where to stay?

Pedder Wilderness Lodge
https://www.pedderwildernesslodge.com.au/

Ted’s Beach Campground
https://www.freecampingtasmania.com/listing/teds-beach-campground/

What to eat?

Pedder Wilderness Lodge Restaurant and Bar
https://www.pedderwildernesslodge.com.au/restaurant-and-bar

Day 3. Strathgordon to Hobart via Lyell Highway

Stop 1: Lake Pedder

Image credit: @alexjweir_

Why visit Lake Pedder?

Ocean or lake… who really knows? Lake Pedder is the kind of ‘out of this world experience’ you have to see to believe. Once a glacial lake, it was flooded in 1972 by Tasmania’s Middle Gordon Hydro Power scheme. Now, Lake Pedder combined with Lake Gordon makes up the largest water storage system in Australia.

What better way to explore its wonderous 242 square kms of water than from the seat of a kayak? Join a morning Tassie Bound Kayak Tour to discover hidden islands and hear more about the history of Lake Pedder.

Tassie Bound Adventure Tours
https://tassiebound.com.au

Stop 2: Sentinel Range

Directions: Heading back towards Hobart along the Gordon River Road you will find Sentinel Range.
Why visit Sentinel Range?

They say sometimes it’s all about the journey, not the destination. And try not to be distracted when turning around the bend and witnessing this breathtaking range. Standing at 974 metres above sea level, its appearance is deceiving due to the range being less than one kilometre wide and five kilometres long. But hey, road safety first. Pull over and take a proper look at one of the conveniently located stop off points along the main road.

Image credit: @alexjweir

Stop 3: Two Metre Tall Farm House Ale & Cider.

Directions: Located off the Lyell Highway at Hayes by the River Derwent you will find Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ale & Cider.

Why visit Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ale & Cider?

Let’s just say, the Valley prides themselves on their hops and Two Metre Tall ale will be sure to impress the beer lovers out there. Almost 15 years ago, Two Metre Tall set out to produce a genuine estate ale using local Derwent River water, as well as grain and hops grown and fermented on the farm.

Enjoy ale or cider straight from the bar’s hand pumps from Thursday to Monday, 12 noon to 4:30pm (BYO snacks).

Two Metre Tall Brewery
https://2mt.com.au/

What to eat?

Maydena Bike Park Café
https://www.maydenabikepark.com/food-beverage/

Waterfalls Café
http://www.waterfallscafe.com.au/

Optional route: Styx Valley.

Directions: Two kms past the Maydena town boundary you will find the Styx Valley Tall Trees Reserve turn off. A fork in the road is immediately encountered, the left fork leads to the Florentine Valley, the right fork turns back under the main road and leads to the Styx Valley.

Why visit Styx Valley?

Why not take it home with a scenic drive through scenic forests and mountainous ranges. Styx Valley Tall Trees walk is nearby and well worth the visit. This small reserve is actually home to some of the tallest flowering wood trees on earth. Not to mention, Giant Swamp Gums (Eucalyptus regnans) that grow up to 87 metres tall.

Map and Visitor Learning Guide (PDF DOWNLOAD)

Note: Mobile phone reception is unreliable here, which let’s face it, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

*If you make it to all the way to the end of this itinerary, great. If not, that’s perfectly fine, too. Wherever you end up, even if you take a wrong turn, embrace it. Enjoy the buzz of freedom as you encounter the many secrets hidden in the Derwent Valley.*

We hope you enjoy touring around the wild Southwest Derwent Valley. Be sure to share your experiences by tagging @Derwent Valley Tasmania on Facebook or Instagram, or by using #DerwentValleyTasmania and #UnquestionablyDerwentValley.