Australia: Tasmania

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. The feature photo is of Richmond Bridge – built in 1823 and the oldest bridge in Australia.

Richmond Arms Hotel – great place for an overnight stay, hearty meals and big drinks from the big bar
Coffee, scones and a log fire – welcome to winter in Tassie

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.

Callington Mill Oatlands built in 1821 has been restored and turns out flour, oats semolina and bran
Oatlands Town Hall
The oldest Supreme Court in Australia

The town of Ross is described as a beautifully preserved colonial showpiece. It‘s a fabulous little town to walk around.

Ross – alive with convict sandstone
Ross Bridge – flood is abating.  Storms that lashed Gippsland Vic also felt here. 

Heading east, we arrived at Bicheno, a modest fishing town with excellent coastal walks.

Coastal walk Bicheno
View of the Gulch Bicheno over a seafood lunch
The School House, one of 3 Bicheno Gaol Cottages, was a most comfortable stay.

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.

Binalong Bay – rocks are red from lichen
View from our cottage. Cool, drizzly, good walking weather
Let there be more restaurants like this  – Meresta Binalong Bay – fine Tasmanian fare like scallops, king fish, cheese, wine and whiskey

We departed Binalong Bay and made our way over to Launceston via St Helens, Weldborough, Derby and Scottsboro.

Lush green drive bt St Helens and Weldborough
Weldborough Hotel –  a raging fire and the most colourful locals you could hope to meet
What are the chances of meeting a published Tassie poet in an 18 strong town? Had a real good chat over a real good Tassie pinot.

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.

Main St Derby
Fern laden road to Scottsboro

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.

Once grain silos, now a hotel
View of the Tamar River from our room
2015 Devaux Coupe at the National Automobile Museum located across the road from Silo Peppers. One of Australia’s slickest presentations, so says Lonely Planet.
James Boag Brewery has been spinning malt into liquid gold amber in Launceston since 1881. Enjoyed the tour which ended with generous beer tastings.
Some mighty fine walking yielded these mighty fine buildings
Glorious Albert Hall
Iconic little shop steeped in history
Look up when checking out the buildings in Launceston. This is Diana, Fortuna and Venus.
Lots of thought put into Queen Victoria Museum which is built on the site of railway workshops.

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.

Tamar River from Brady’s Lookout
Goaty Hill Winery – pinot and cheese platter in a most relaxed setting
Beauty Point – right at the tip

Another excellent day trip from Launceston is to head west to the towns of Sheffield and Deloraine.

Sheffield is famous for its murals. Keen to revitalise their town in the 1980s, walls were transformed with glorious murals. Stories of the town’s history and people abound.
Once an art deco cinema. The extinct Tassie thylacine makes an appearance in this colourful mural.
A steam traction engine blowing off steam in Sheffield
Hindsight is a wonderful thing

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.

One of the 4 scenes. The detail, the choice of material, the little extras are nothing short of inspiring.
The town of Railton makes a name for itself as a topiary town. The elephant mural tells the true story of 2 elephants that came to Railton with the circus, escaped and ran amok before being cornered.
The scenic back roads- Railton to Carrick
Evandale cute with cafes and antiques

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.

Hobart waterfront with the arty Henry James Hotel, once IXL (I excel) Jam Factory in the background. Henry James’s heyday was in the 1920s when he employed 1200 people.
Ode to female convicts and their children, some as young as 2 who were transported from Britain. Bucketloads of convict history on display, but the indigenous story, tragic as well, is lightweight.
Colourful Elizabeth St Mall
The impressive Mercury newspaper building and Post Office
Thomas Wainwright exhibition at Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery was superb. He led a life of privilege until arrested for forgery and possibly 3 murders, Transported to Hobart, Wainwright served his time, was granted freedom and went on to produce some incredible art.

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.

Salamanca Square
Third course @Syra Salamanca Square – Middle Eastern fare

Saturday market day at Salamanca.

Take Kelly’s Steps for a short walk into Battery Point to enjoy historic homes and good coffee.

Battery Point
Arthur Circus- Georgian cottages in Battery Point
No 1 cafe in Battery Point
Lonely Planet’s pub crawl – a big thumbs up from my hubby who frequented all, except the Telegraph which is closed.
Huon Valley hot spiced apple cider and a roaring fire at the historic New Sydney Hotel
Lounge @ Frogmore –  happy hour and dinner- not disappointed
Lark Distillery – rum, ruby pinot and sherry aged whiskey. Taster’s tainted wine palate went against him here

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.

MONA bound from Brook St Pier. Lapped up the Posh Pit – drinks and canapes all round. Didn’t lap up the 99 steps on arrival though.
The pooping machine –  eats rotting beef and defecates
Brett Whiteley’s The Naked Audio
76 life size porcelain sculptures of women’s vaginas have shock value, as does the title Cunts and other Conversations
Sensing a communist message in this Cuban artist’s White Library
Stayed here for 3 nights- excellent waterfront location, great breakfasts, comfy rooms
Nice upgrade view
Slight interruption at midnight when fire alarms screamed incessantly and everyone rushed outside into the Antarctic freeze. No fire, just a helluva lot of noise.
Mixing up our accommodation by spending two nights at the classic Corinda Collection in historic Glebe, a short 10 minute walk from Hobart town. The owner and his wife have lovingly restored his great grandfather’s house.

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?)

Cheese and wine therapy at Puddleduck Winery – family run with a quirky penchant for ducks
Frogmore Winery
Frogmore Scallops
Sullivan’s Cove Whiskey- best in the world 2014 – limited editions – lots to like
Pooley Winery
Had a fine time – fabulous tastings, pizza and great company – thanks Carmel!
Prospect House Richmond is the accommodation for Pooley Wines- a most comfortable 2 night stay – looked after ever so well.
Afternoon tea and a toasty fire on a cold winter’s day at Prospect House. The best home-made Monte Carlos you’ll ever taste.

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!

11 thoughts on “Australia: Tasmania

    1. You would love Tassie for the hiking into wilderness areas. parks.tas.gov.au/explore-our-parks/tasmanian-wilderness-world-heritage-area-(twwha)
      So many different ways you can enjoy this Aussie state.

      Like

  1. Great photos and stories, I won’t have to go now I’ve seen it all on your moments.
    Well it is certainly a good advertisement for Tazzy.

    Liked by 1 person

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