This blog is a biggie unlike Tasmania which is not. Barely twenty-two non stop hours is all it takes to drive around the entire island. Mind you, you’d miss a hell of a lot, since Tassie is packed to the rafters with so much good stuff.
Over three weeks my husband and I schlepped our way around a portion of Australia’s most southern state – population 540,000, revelling in not just the sights, but also the food and drink fest that Tassie does so incredibly well.
We flew into Hobart, picked up a hire car (ridiculously expensive so do plan on selling an organ), and hightailed it to Richmond for the night. Richmond, 20 minutes away is picture book cute with sandstone buildings constructed on the blood, sweat and tears of hundreds of British convicts transported here in the 1700 and 1800’s.
From Richmond we headed north along the Midlands Highway stopping at Oatlands and Ross. Oatlands boasts Australia’s greatest concentration of Georgian convict buildings -there’s 140.
The town of Ross is described as a beautifully preserved colonial showpiece. It‘s a fabulous little town to walk around.
Heading east, we arrived at Bicheno, a modest fishing town with excellent coastal walks.
Binalong Bay was our next stop. This coastal stretch is the start of the famous Bay of Fires walk. We stayed in a cottage with beautiful views over the bay and brought in food and drink supplies from nearby St Helens. The only nod to retail here is one restaurant which enjoys excellent reviews.
We departed Binalong Bay and made our way over to Launceston via St Helens, Weldborough, Derby and Scottsboro.
If you love mountain biking, then head to Derby, once a thriving mining town with the richest tin mine in the world. There’s 125kms of mountain bike trails that wind their way through wilderness areas. All gear can be hired here. And the answer’s no – I didn’t take up mountain bike riding.
Launceston, Australia’s third oldest town after Sydney and Hobart, is where we based ourselves for five days in the very comfortable Silo Peppers. There’s much to see in Launceston if you love walking, and it’s in striking distance of some great places for day trips.
Close to Launceston is the Tamar Valley, home to some excellent wineries and scenery. There are two sides to the Valley and each deserves a full day. We saw just one side. Will see the other side on a return trip.
Another excellent day trip from Launceston is to head west to the towns of Sheffield and Deloraine.
Nearby Deloraine is an attractive farming and arts town. Its famed Yarns and Folk Museum showcases four large quilted silk wall hangings. Each tells the detailed story of a season. Three hundred local artisans put in four years of work to bring to fruition this impressive display. After viewing the wall hangings, visit the attached museum housed in a previous hotel. It, too is impressive.
Hobart, Tasmania’s capital (pop’n 226,000) and Australia’s most southerly city was our next port of call. Endless places to wine, dine and sightsee make Hobart a firm favourite.
Salamanca Place dates back to the 1830s when it buzzed to the sounds and sights of whalers and their ships keen to hunt the beasts of the sea for profitable oil. Today, it’s hotels, restaurants, bars and shops that dominate.
Saturday market day at Salamanca.
Take Kelly’s Steps for a short walk into Battery Point to enjoy historic homes and good coffee.
No visit to Hobart is complete without a visit to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). Built and designed by Tasmanian David Walsh in 2011, his aim was to shock and offend. A visit certainly makes you redefine your attitude to art.
Started in Richmond and boomeranged back here to end our holiday. It’s where my two good friends are supposed to be, but covid restrictions have prevented them from travelling. So, in the spirit of friendships that survive the tyranny of distance and time, I raised my wine glass innumerable times to our friendship since the 70s.
Richmond in the heart of Coal River Valley is wine country and the must do wine tour is with Hobart SnapShot Tours. Carmel is the fabulous owner/guide who effortlessly ushered us in and out of wineries, whiskeries and cheeseries (is that even a word?)
Tassie kicked a lot of goals for us, so borrowing from Channel 9 Travelguides – We give Tasmania 5 out of 5.
That Tassie worked out so well means we’ll be gearing up to return. Right now, we’re winging our way home to embrace dry July and a covid lockdown!