Even grey nomads who don’t play golf find that, as a Big Lap destination, the Tasmanian town of Bothwell is well above par.

As well as being the home of one of the earliest golf courses in Australia, this attractive settlement – located about 90 kilometres north west of Hobart – boasts numerous historic buildings, a rich Scottish heritage, and the area is famed for its excellent trout fishing.

Settled in the 1820s, mainly by Scottish farmers, Bothwell sits on the River Clyde and is known as a gateway to the Central Highlands. The town’s tartan street signs are the most obvious sign of its historic links to Scotland … but there are many others.

The Nant Distillery, housed in the historic Nant Mill, is one of the top whisky distilleries in Australia and offers visitors the chance to sample fine single malt whiskies made using local Highland water.

And it seems those early Scottish farmers also used to like swinging a club. Golf has been played at Ratho Farm since the early-1800s and, at one stage, it was believed to be the oldest course remaining outside of Scotland.

The Australasian Golf Museum – which is housed in an old school house on the town’s Market Place – boasts the largest display of golfing memorabilia outside of St Andrew’s in Scotland. Bothwell’s wide streets are lined with historic buildings, many of them made of local sandstone.

The heritage-listed Castle Hotel dates from 1829 and is reputed to be the second oldest continuously licensed hotel in Tasmania. St Luke’s Presbyterian, now Uniting, Church opened in 1831, and other notable buildings include the Bothwell Post Office which opened in 1832; the previously mentioned Nant Mill which opened in 1857; the Old Colonial Georgian Wentworth House, which was built in 1833; Thorpe Watermill, which was fully operational by 1825; and the magnificent former Literary Society building which was occupied by the Bothwell Literary Society in 1837.

There are numerous other historic buildings both within the town, which has a population of around 500, and close by. About 35 kilometres north west of Bothwell is the Steppes Reserve, where the sheep-grazing Wilson family settled in 1863 and then lived for the next century.

During this period, The Steppes was reportedly used as a police station, a church, a weather observation site, a summer school, and a post office.

Besides history lovers and golfing enthusiasts, the Bothwell area – where local lakes are well stocked with wild brown and rainbow trout – is also hugely popular with anglers.

In terms of camping, the Bothwell Caravan Park offers reasonably-priced powered and unpowered sites, and the Central Highlands Council identifies Bethune Park at Lake Meadowbank, and the Hamilton Camping Ground, as the closest truly budget camping options.

Both are about 30 minutes south west of Bothwell and both have seven-day stay limits. Bethune Park offers toilet facilities and is free, while the Hamilton Camping Ground charges a nominal fee and has a dump point, showers, toilets, and laundry.

Bothwell then is well worth a drive … and a putt!

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