While I was looking for what to do in Tasmania, the idea of some short day trips from Hobart, Australia arose. When I did some research, the historic Richmond village caught my eye. While Richmond is just one of the many historic towns Tasmania has to offer, this one is home to the oldest bridge in Australia, as well as the oldest Catholic church. Combined with many other things to see, and some of the best Hobart wineries on the way, I was sold. Here’s how to put together your own day trip from Hobart to Richmond, including plenty to things to see along the way.
- 1 Where is Richmond, Tasmania
- 2 How to Get to Richmond from Hobart
- 3 Things to Do in Richmond, Tasmania
- 4 Things to do on the way to Richmond
- 5 Places to Eat in Richmond, Tasmania
- 6 Richmond, Tasmania Accommodation
Where is Richmond, Tasmania
Richmond is located just to the north east of Hobart. The distance from Hobart to Richmond, Tasmania is only about 25 kilometres and takes about half an hour to drive.
How to Get to Richmond from Hobart
Most of the way the Hobart to Richmond Tasmania drive is on easy to navigate highways, and I recommend hiring a car and driving yourself as the best way to visit this area. The flexibility you will have will mean you will be able to see and do the things below that suit you best, rather than just those in the centre of the town.
If you do not want to drive yourself, consider doing what we did and hiring a private driver for the day. We had a group of six, so this was a great option and I can highly recommend Ian from Corporate Connections. He was a knowledgeable and fun driver, who was just enjoyable to spend the day with. A private driver is also a great idea if you are planning to visit some of the wineries near Richmond so that you don’t run foul of Australia’s drink driving laws.
If you are unable to hire a car, it is possible to catch a public bus to Richmond. The Hobart to Richmond bus leaves from outside the Town Hall on Elizabeth Street in Hobart and runs around about every four hours. Look for details of the 725 bus route on the website here.
There are many Hobart day tours to choose from that also include a visit to Richmond, such as this one, that also goes to Mt Wellington, Mt Field and Bonorong Wildlife Park, or you could look at the tours below.
Things to Do in Richmond, Tasmania
The town of Richmond only has a population of around one thousand people, so it’s not a huge town. That means that once you arrive, it’s quite easy to walk around the town, exploring on foot, and seeing the many Richmond highlights.
Richmond Bridge is not only the oldest bridge in Tasmania but the oldest in all of Australia. Construction started in 1823, when convicts were used to build the bridge. It took two years before it was completed. It then remained a vital link in the road between Port Arthur and Hobart until the 1870s when a shorter route was built. In hindsight, this allowed this lovely sandstone bridge to remain just as it was. If it was still on the main route, it likely would have been demolished to allow a wider, more modern bridge to be installed.
The area around the bridge is perfect for a picnic, or a walk along the banks of the Coal River. If you visit in sping like I did, you can also enjoy the myriad of different ducks in the area leading their very cute offspring around. The bridge is also supposedly haunted, so keep an eye out for the ghost of George Grover, who met his death in 1832 after being thrown from the bridge.
St John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church
Just up the road from the oldest bridge in Australia is the oldest Catholic church – or at least one of two that could claim that title. There is a church in Sydney that was originally built a little earlier, but it was substantially damaged by fire and while still on the same site and using the same name, the structure there now is not the original. So the St John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Richmond is commonly considered the oldest, still-functioning, Catholic Church in Australia.
The church itself is a lovely old building, but in my eyes it was not remarkable. Have a look, then make your way to the graveyard behind it to look at some of the old headstones. Some are so old that the inscriptions have worn off, but they are interesting to explore and read.
Each Saturday in and around the Town Hall the Richmond Farmer & Makers Market is held. Here you can find all sorts of local produce, from fruit and vegetables to wines, preserves, cheeses and other goods. There will probably be a sausage sizzle, wood fire pizzas or other ready to eat food if you are here at lunch time. Many local crafts are for sale here too, from jewelery to soaps, plants to artwork, children’s toys to alpaca products.
Right in the centre of town is the old Richmond Gaol. The oldest part of the gaol dates from 1825, which, in the times of European settlers in Australia, makes it pretty old, pre-dating Port Arthur too. To add to Richmond’s list of oldest things, the gaol is the oldest of it’s kind still intact in Australia.
During your visit you will wander through the buildings experiencing the gaol as the convict inmates did almost two hundred years ago. Visitors can see the solitary confinement cells, and walk through the flagellation yard, reading snippets from the lives of the inmates and stories of the ghosts who are said to continue to haunt the gaol. One of the most famous inmates was Isaac Solomon, transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1832. He is widely believed to be the inspiration for the character of Fagin in Oliver Twist.
The Richmond Gaol is open daily from 9am – 5pm. Adult entry is $10AUD. Child and family tickets are also available.
Old Hobart Town Model Village
On the main street of Richmond is the Old Hobart Town Model Village. Here you will find more than 60 model buildings laid out as Hobart was in the 1820s. In between all the buildings are a whole pile of little figurines going about their daily business. Throughout the town are also plenty of information boards to learn about what is going on.
This is one of the more fun things to see in Richmond, Tasmania, and kids are likely to find this a little more entertaining than perhaps the bridge or church. It’s open every day from 9am to 5pm, adult tickets are $15AUD with family, child and student tickets available.
Things to do on the way to Richmond
While you are driving to or from Richmond to Hobart there are plenty more things to do and see. While it’s only a short drive, taking a detour or driving back a different way can not only show you more of the beautiful Tasmanian countryside, but you can also find some other things to see. Here are just a few suggestions in the area. I’ve mentioned the wineries that I visited, but there are many more to pop into too!
ZooDoo Wildlife Park Tasmania
While there is no longer a Hobart zoo, there are still a couple of options to get up close to some animals in the Richmond area. Zoodoo Zoo is located just 7km out of town so it only takes a few minutes to arrive there.
A visit to Zoodoo is almost more like a safari than a zoo visit. A safari bus will drive you around many of the large, open enclosures to see some of the larger animals such as camels, ostriches and zebras. They may even choose to come right up to the bus and allow you to hand feed them. Other walk through areas of the zoo encourage you to be hands on with some of the animals too. Animal display are held throughout the day, and for an extra fee, there are personal encounters available with some of the animals such as the meerkats and Australian native animals.
Zoodoo is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm. Admission for adults is $28AUD, with discount offered for families, seniors and children.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is just a little bit further along the road than Zoodoo, a total of 18km from Richmond. It is home to a wide variety of Tasmania native animals, some of them now endangered in the wild. Bonorong is a sanctuary to help injured animals as well as actively working towards preservation of many of the endangered species. As the purpose is to return healthy animals to the wild, there are often different animals at the sanctuary each visit.
On entry visitors are given a bag of food to feed the kangaroos which roam freely throughout the sanctuary. Also included in the entry fee is a 45 minute guided tour to learn about some of the animals and what can be done to protect them. There are various animal encounters also available, from short encounters with a tawny frogmouth or a sugar glider, to private tours or night tours.
The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Night time entry is only for those who book one of the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary tour for that night. Adult entry is $30AUD per person, family and child discounts apply.
Puddleduck Winery was by far my favourite stop during the Hobart to Richmond Tasmania drive. This family-run winery is located in an idyllic setting of rolling hills covered in vines. The cellar door sits on the banks of a small pond, and the ducks swimming around greet visitors before they enter duck heaven.
Inside, the showroom is scattered with duck everything! Most of these items are available to buy from the shop, along with many other wine related bits and pieces. As we browsed oohing and aahing over the cute items, we were greeted by one of the sons of the family and taken through a tasting of five of the Puddleduck wines. They were all explained to us, along with the unique nature of the winery.
These boutique wines are so popular they are only sold through the cellar door itself, either by visiting, or ordering on-line, so you won’t be finding them at your local bottleshop. Puddleduck also make verjuice. While I had heard of this for cooking, they showed us a new way to drink it like a cordial – it would make a delicious summer drink.
While we didn’t eat, we could smell the delicious snacks and platters being served in the restaurant overlooking the pond. There is also the option to do what they call a reverse BBQ. Bring your own food, they will cook it and you can picnic while enjoying views over the Puddleduck vineyard. I ventured out to the picnic area behind the cellar door, to be captivated by not only the ducklings wandering around (our visit was in spring!) but with the guinea fowl too.
Frogmore Creek Winery
Frogmore Creek was the second winery we visited and this was a very different experience to visiting Puddleduck. Frogmore Creek is one of the most acclaimed wineries near Richmond, Tasmania. It is a more corporate winery and has a much bigger cellar door and function area. The beautiful grounds would make the perfect backdrop to a wedding.
Here the tasting was more formal. We had to wait for a space to open up at the counter, and the staff, while knowledgeable, were serving more than one group at a time so we received less personal attention and what felt like a scripted spiel about each wine.
The wines themselves were some good value table wines. I particularly liked the 42 Degrees South Sauvignon Blanc. The Richmond Tasmania wineries mostly produce white, cold temperature wines, so you won’t find too many full-bodied reds here – the reds from the area are mostly of the Pinot Noir variety.
There is a restaurant on site that serves lunch each day, and the winery also runs The Lounge Restaurant on Hunter Street, Hobart fr dinner each night.
Coal River Farm
We were running out of time on our way back to Hobart and unfortunately had to choose to visit either Coal River Farm or The Wicked Cheese Company. Our group chose Coal River Farm because not only do they make delicious cheeses, they make chocolate too! That satisfied everyone in our group.
We got to taste about half a dozen of the different cheeses, including the tasty and unusual Tassie Tilset. I also really like the blue cheese they produce too. Actually, ALL the cheeses were delicious. More than one member of our group took home a few tasty morsels.
Those with a sweet tooth weren’t forgotten. During our visit they had some of their macarons out for tasting and we also tried their hazelnut spread. Yes, it was nicer than Nutella. We were also curious about the salted caramel pecan spread, so a jar was opened for us to try. My husband loved it, so we brought home a jar which is being eaten very sparingly to make it last.
During your visit, give the Chilli Hot Chocolate a go! It was rich, creamy and hot – in more ways that one!
The Wicked Cheese Company
As I said above, we didn’t get a chance to visit The Wicked Cheese Company, but it looks like it is worth a visit. Wicked Cheese Richmond is one of the most popular Tasmania cheese factories and does a whole variety of boutique cheeses. The website lists many awards that their cheeses have won over the years, but in my opinion the proof is in the eating, and we were able to taste a couple of the cheeses at the Salamanca Markets the following day. These cheeses are just another of the amazing fresh products coming out of Tasmania.
Places to Eat in Richmond, Tasmania
Before we went to Richmond, the person running our Hobart accommodation mentioned to us that he had probably had the best meal of his life in Richmond, but he couldn’t remember the name of the place. “It’s just across the road from the bakery” he said.
We parked quite close to The Richmond Bakery and as we got out the car all we could smell was the aroma of freshly baked pastry goods. We all wanted some of that! One of Tasmania’s local foods is a scallop pie, so we thought we should taste that while we were here. It seemed though, that everyone else had also followed their noses to the bakery and they were all out of scallop pies.
Instead we thought we would look for the place we had heard about. We walked around and down the street and came to the Coal Valley Creamery. There were still some scallop pies left here, so we ordered and took our seats. Unfortunately this was not the best choice of lunch venue. Oh, it wasn’t terrible, but it was just so-so, and service was a bit slow.
After lunch we took a stroll around the small town, and on the way back spotted Czegs’ Cafe. Now this looked more like the place that had been recommended to us! While of course I can’t be sure since we didn’t eat there, the reviews on line are good and I would be happy to suggest this as a good option for lunch.
Another place I have seen mention of that could be a good pub meal option is the Richmond Arms Hotel.
Richmond, Tasmania Accommodation
If a day isn’t long enough to get through all these activities then perhaps you would like to consider staying overnight in this picturesque little town. Here are some of the options I have found while researching Richmond accomodation.
- The Richmond Arms Hotel – traditional pub-style accommodation
- The Mill House Cottage – highly rated bed & breakfast right near the Richmond Bridge
- Every Man and His Dog Vineyard – scenic bed & breakfast accommodation in a vineyard just outside of Richmond
- Richmond Barracks – self-contained cottages right in the centre of Richmond, originally used as housing for colonial officers. One cottage is two-bedroom, so great for a family.
- Richmond Cabin and Tourist Park – caravan and camping grounds with some self-contained cabins.
Click to read my other Tasmania posts
Visiting MONA, Tasmania – a Review for the Artistically Challenged
A Port Arthur Day Trip from Hobart, Tasmania
Look at these tours for more ideas for your Tasmanian holiday
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Josie is a forty-something budget traveller. She only discovered travel in her late thirties, but since then has travelled extensively including taking an adult gap year. She is now based in Australia and loves sharing all she has learned about travelling on a budget but with the comforts a Gen Xer requires.