The pit stop: Ross
The beautiful streetscape, convict past and some quirky culinary claims are enough to tempt drivers off the highway into the Midlands’ most beautiful town.
Ross has few eateries, but such is its reputation for baked goods that it has two bakeries, and both are headline acts. Ross Village Bakery boasts of the ‘world’s best vanilla slice’ (and who’s to quibble when they’re this good), while Bakery 31 is invariably mentioned in conversations about the state’s best scallop pies. Why not have both?
The clue is in the name at the Tasmanian Wool Centre, which is head-to-toe – hats to ugg boots – in woollen products. Out back is a museum telling the story of wool in Tasmania and Ross’ own history. Almost a museum piece in itself is Ross Collectables, an eclectic antique store spilling into an old mechanic’s garage.
Ross Bridge is one of Australia’s oldest bridges (1836), and such is the beauty of its design and sandstone carvings that its convict creators were subsequently granted pardons. Ross Female Factory was built to house convicts working on the bridge, but in 1847 was transformed into a female prison. Little remains beyond the foundations of its buildings, but its story is definitively told inside the lone cottage on site.
Once marked by a road sign pointing to ‘Temptation’, the Ross Hotel remains a tempting stop. The front bar’s sandstone walls exude history, but the large beer garden out back is the place to be. Across the street, dinky little Dinki pours only filtered coffees, bringing an inner-city edge to time-warped Ross.
Get into the historic spirit at long-running Colonial Cottages of Ross, featuring three colonial-era stays around town. Captain Samuel’s Cottage and Cupid’s Nest, conjoined 1830 sandstone cottages at the heart of the main street, are the pick.