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Georgetown and Low Head via the West Tamar

This short ride from Launceston up the western side of the Tamar River out across the spectacular Batman Bridge and north to Georgetown and Low Head the head of the Tamar River is a great way to spend a few hours exploring some of Tasmania’s oldest towns.

In fact, Georgetown is named after King George III of England and was established in 1811 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Colonial settlement of Georgetown actually began in 1804, making it Australia’s third oldest colonial settlement after Sydney and Hobart, and since those two have become cities, it makes Georgetown Australia’s oldest town.

We were told that long before ‘shack’ was ever part of the Australian vocabulary, Low Head was the original holiday destination for the families of Tasmania’s early colonial settlers, who’d spend their summers here at their holiday homes.  With its selection of beaches, easy boat access, fishing spots and walks, Low Head has a relaxing and inspiring effect on its visitors.

Low Head at the entrance to Bass Straight is an enchanting place, and well worth exploring as the ever-changing tides and currents gently transform the views through the day. The iconic lighthouse and surrounds make fantastic picnicking spots where, we told you can take in the activity at East Beach and on a clear day see all the way to Table Cape in Tasmania’s north-east.

An interesting stop off is the Low Head Pilot Station. Construction of the Station began in 1807 to house the pilots who helped navigate ships through the reefs that line the channel out to the Bass Strait.  With its beautiful white buildings and well-preserved grounds, a visit to the Pilot Station is like a step back in time.  The largest of the buildings is home to the Maritime Museum, whose large collection of artifacts and interactive displays explain the fate of those whose lives were shaped by the Pilot Station.  This is Australia’s oldest running Pilot Station, and TasPorts distinctive orange boat can be seen moored in the harbour. 

The lovingly restored former pilot’s houses are now available for holiday accommodation, finished with designer furniture and modern bathrooms and kitchens. However that’s something we’ll have to come back and review another time as we had to head back down the east side of the Tamar River that afternoon. 

April 15, 2012 | Posted in: On Road Tours, Tasmania