Ross Bridge, Ken Stepnell

Population 271

One of the oldest and most beautiful bridges in Australia spans the Macquarie River in Ross, a tiny village founded in 1812. Completed in 1836, the bridge was designed by colonial architect John Lee Archer and constructed by convicts, one of whom, Daniel Herbert, was given a pardon for his efforts. Herbert was responsible for 186 beautiful stone carvings along the side of the bridge, comprising images of animals, plants, Celtic gods and goddesses, and even the governor of the time, George Arthur. Ross Bridge is a point of pride in this Midlands town and it complements the many old sandstone buildings that adorn the main street. The town's central junction reveals the different aspects of Ross's history and, perhaps, its potential. The four corners are known as Temptation (hotel), Recreation (town hall), Salvation (church) and Damnation (gaol).

Visitor Information

Tasmanian Wool Centre, 48 Church St; (03) 6381 5466

Nearby national parks

  • Ben Lomond National Park

    Ben Lomond National Park, enclosing the largest alpine plateau in the state, is a mountain environment with extensive and dramatic dolerite...more

  • Douglas–Apsley National Park

    Situated between the Douglas and Apsley rivers, this national park spans rugged hills of superb dry sclerophyll forest. Its tranquil...more

  • Freycinet National Park

    Freycinet National Park protects a whole peninsula of rugged mountains fringed with sea cliffs and picturesque white-sand beaches including...more

Nearby towns

  • Campbell Town

    This small town has been prominent in Tasmania's history: the first telephone call in the Southern Hemisphere was made from here to...more

  • Oatlands

    Approaching Oatlands from the north, look out for the topiary and striking metal sculptures by the roadside. The topiaries are a local...more

  • Swansea

    Perched on Great Oyster Bay, Swansea looks out to the Freycinet Peninsula. It is part of the Glamorgan/Spring Bay shire, the oldest rural...more

In Town

Tasmanian Wool Centre Regional attraction housing a museum, wool exhibition and retail area – all illustrating the national importance of the wool industry. Church St.

Ross Female Factory Site Archaeologically the most intact female convict site in Australia, this operated as a probation station for female convicts and their babies in the 19th century. The women were trained as domestic help and hired out to landowners in the area. The Overseer's Cottage has a historical display and model. Off Bond St; (03) 6223 1559.

Heritage walk: takes in 40 historic buildings in town, including Uniting Church (1885); booklet from visitor centre.

Old Ross General Store and Tearoom: Devonshire tea and bakery, home of the famous Tassie scallop pie; Church St.

Skulduggery: mystery tour game, following true crime clues around town; available from visitor centre.

T-Spot: has an array of tea and coffee produce, homewares, gifts and alpaca products; Bridge St.


Fishing There is world-class fly-fishing for brown trout in Macquarie River and some of the state's best trout-fishing lakes (Sorell, Crescent, Tooms and Leake) are within an hour's drive.

Fishing spots near town

Lake River 38 km

‘Tasmania is in drought, we simply don’t have enough water,’ said my guide Roger Butler as we departed Hobart for Lake River, which joins the Macquarie River south of Launceston. We reached our... Find out more

Arthurs Lake 51 km

Tasmanians claim that ‘even novices can catch trout in Arthurs Lake’. This probably explains why this waterway is Tasmania’s most popular trout fishery, hosting more anglers than any other water... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Bakery 31

There’s a bit of everything in this old-style general store and tearooms but the main attraction is the food, especially their pies filled with rich and gorgeously slow-cooked meaty fillings. Two favourites are the... Find out more

Ross Bakery Inn

One of the two bakeries on the main street, the centrepiece of this heritage bakery cafe is the wood-fired oven, rebuilt on the site of an original oven that had been operating here for 100 years. To aficionados... Find out more

Campsites around town

Lake Leake camping area 25 km

Back in the 1880s, this lake was created for Campbell Town’s water supply. Today it is a premium trout water, regularly stocked with brook and rainbow trout, and said to offer some of Tasmania’s best early-... Find out more

Dago Point camping area 29 km

Among tall trees along the Lake Sorell foreshore are about 100 gloriously secluded camping spots. It is more than likely you’ll be the only one here. There is plenty of firewood, an old water tank (boil or treat... Find out more

Lake Dulverton Roadside Stopover camping area 31 km

A stopover here is worthwhile to check out the historic town of Oatlands. Visit the restored working Callington Mill, or take a walking tour around the town, nature walk around the lake or drive around the district on... Find out more

Woods Lake camping area (bush camping) 39 km

There are bush-camping sites between the boat ramp and the dam wall, as well as around the north-eastern edge of the lake. No facilities are provided, so you need to bring firewood and water. Because this is a popular... Find out more

Mayfield Bay camping area 49 km

Space for seaside camping is tucked in beside the Tasman Hwy (A3) at the southern end of Mayfield Bay, 15 km south of Swansea. There is plenty of room for big rigs here, and with boat-launching access as well chances are... Find out more

Jonah Bay camping area 50 km

Most of the camping is around the boat ramp but there are also some more isolated campsites on the edge of the scrub at the other end of Jonah Bay, accessed via a track 100 m from the ramp. Turn east along Gunns Marsh Rd... Find out more

Pumphouse Bay camping area 53 km

This beautifully maintained, scenic campground beside Arthurs Lake has open, grassed areas among the trees that are perfect for larger rigs. The lake is not just for anglers: campers of all kinds love this place,... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Ross Caravan Park

Close to the centre of town, on the banks of the Macquarie River and adjoining historic buildings, this small, appealing park is one of the better parks in the midlands. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Longford Riverside Caravan Park 58 km

This park, with good amenities, is located on the banks of the Macquarie River, only a few hundred metres from the centre of town. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Colonial Cottages 
and Ross B&B

Ross is renowned for its historic buildings and these three early 19th-century cottages plus the Edwardian B&B are no exception. They’re centrally located, so it’s an easy stroll to take in the... Find out more

Man O’Ross Hotel

Ever since 1835, travellers have called in at the Man O’Ross for a cold ale or a night’s accommodation, and today this timber-gabled sandstone hotel still offers good country comfort. Although the Midland... Find out more

Ross Village Bakery Inn

When it was built in 1832, this two-storey Georgian coaching inn was called ‘Sherwood Castle’, in a nostalgic reference to the owner’s home county of Nottinghamshire. While still accommodating weary... Find out more


Somercotes offers what many come to Tasmania seeking – to be immersed in the history of the island. Guests stay in the original free-settlers’ cottages, where brick-making machinery used by ticket-of-leave... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Ross park area

At Ross

At the historic bridge on the road into town.

Campbell Town rest area 11 km

At Campbell Town

On the banks of the river on the south side of town.

Conara rest area 23 km

At Conara

Just off the highway at the turn-off into town.

St Peters Pass rest area 25 km

8km N of Oatlands (R) or 28km S of Ross (L)

Just off the highway among a few trees.

Oatlands rest area 31 km

At Oatlands

On the banks of Lake Dulverton, just off the main street.

Lagoon of Islands rest area 47 km

T/O at Steppes

On the shores of a lake 4km (unsealed) east of the highway.

Mayfield Bay camping area 49 km

34km N of Triabunna (R) or 15km S of Swansea (L)

Just off the highway among trees on the foreshore with excellent coastal views.

Swansea park area 50 km

At Swansea

On the south side of town via the esplanade.

Little Swanport rest area 50 km

21km N of Triabunna (L) or 28km S of Swansea (R)

On the north side of the bridge at the Swanport River.

Jonah Bay camping area 50 km

T/O 13km SE of Miena (L) or 43km NW of Bothwell (R)

Among trees on the edge of a lake 10km (partly unsealed) north of the highway via Poatina and Gunns Marsh rds.

Spikey Beach park area 50 km

42km NE of Triabunna (R) or 7km S of Swansea (L)

Just off the highway and on the foreshore.

Cressy Beach park area 50 km

44km NE of Triabunna (R) or 5km SW of Swansea (L)

Secluded in scrub just off the highway on the foreshore.

Blackburn Creek rest area 51 km

29km SE of Miena (R) or 27km NW of Bothwell (L)

Among a few trees adjacent to the highway.

Pumphouse Bay camping area 53 km

T/O 13km SE of Miena (L) or 43km NW of Bothwell (R)

On the edge of a lake 6km (partly unsealed) north of the highway via Poatina Rd.

Pub With No Beer rest area 54 km

3km SE of Bothwell (R) or 18km NW of Midland Hwy (L)

Among a few trees adjacent to the highway.

Perth park area 58 km

At Perth

Adjacent to the highway. In the middle of town.

Kempton camping area 61 km

At Kempton

Just off the highway. At the south end of town.

Moulting Lagoon camping area 62 km

T/O 34km NE of Swansea (R) or 9km SW of Bicheno (L)

On the foreshore surrounded by scrub 22km south of the highway via Coles Bay Rd.

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