Nestled on the beautiful Mersey River in North-West Tasmania, Latrobe is a charming rural town surrounded by rich, fertile farmland and just a short drive from the ocean.
The road into town offers a serene sense of what’s to come: you’re surrounded by views of green pastureland, grazing horses and roadside stalls selling some of the region’s freshest produce.
Driving down the main street of Latrobe feels like a step back to a simpler time. There are more than 70 heritage-listed buildings in the town, with many that can be seen on a simple stroll or guided tour down Gilbert Street with its eclectic shops, cafes, art and crafts shops, and antique stores. There are also fine restaurants, cafes, bakeries and even a genuine Belgian chocolate factory.
While your stay here is sure to be one of quiet relaxation, Latrobe truly comes to life each Sunday, with its busy country market drawing crowds from far and wide.
Built on mining and agricultural beginnings from the mid-19th century, Latrobe was once the region’s major port on the banks of the Mersey River. The former port is now the scenic picnic parkland, Bells Parade. With barbecue facilities, shelters, toilets and numerous short walks, Bells Parade makes an ideal location for a picnic or a serene spot to stop and relax.
The Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame is also located at Bell’s Parade and recognises Latrobe’s pioneering role in competitive wood chopping, after the world’s first wood chop competition was staged here in 1891.
In true Tasmanian fashion, Latrobe hosts several festivals throughout the year. These include the Chocolate Winterfest that celebrates all things chocolate, the Henley on Mersey river festival, held every Australia Day and featuring egg throwing, model boat sailing and ferret racing, and the annual Latrobe Boxing Day Carnival, which is the longest running carnival of its kind in the world, featuring athletics, wood chopping and the richest wheel race in Australia.
Also known as the platypus “Capital of the World”, if you travel to Warrawee Forest Reserve, just several minutes out of the Latrobe town centre, you might be lucky enough to see this unique egg-laying mammal in its natural environment.