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It Could Take a Lifetime!


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It Could Take a Lifetime!


Here are some ideas from locals on where else is worth exploring and staying if you're looking to do a tour of the South & East of Tassie. We will add West & North at some later stage - there is a lot to cover. It could take a lifetime to explore this place!

South of Hobart are the clear waters and stunning coastline of Bruny Island and the beauty of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. An alternative route passes through the Huon Valley alongside the tranquil Huon River and on to the rugged Hartz Mountains National Park.

To the east are the wineries of the Coal River Valley and further on is Tasman National Park, with its spectacular coastline and historic convict sites.

Heading west, the road follows the beautiful River Derwent through the Derwent Valley and on to the grandeur of Lake St Clair in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

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Bruny Island and the beauty of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel


Bruny Island and the beauty of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel


 

Bruny Island and the beauty of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel

 

 
 

Bruny Island

Bruny Island has some of Tasmania's most beautifully preserved natural environments with abundant wildlife and stunning cliff top views.

The island is about 50 km long but appears to be two islands with North and South Bruny joined by a narrow strip of land called The Neck. This isthmus is an important habitat for native wildlife.

A highlight is South Bruny National Park, with towering cliffs overlooking long sandy beaches, coastal heathland, and underwater gardens of kelp seaweed with some amazing bushwalks to take it all in. The island is also a haven for many rare and endangered plants and animals.

Exploring Bruny can be as quick and easy as taking a spectacular half-day boat cruise around the island, though a longer stay reveals the many secrets of this special place.

Take time to enjoy the famous local produce: Bruny is home to producers specialising in oysters, cheese and chocolate. Bruny Island Cheese make some of the finest artisan cheeses in Australia.

There are lots of places to stay with accommodation ranging from friendly campsites to luxury beachfront retreats.

Bruny Island is accessed via a 20-min crossing on vehicular ferry from Kettering, around a 35-min drive south of Hobart. The Bruny Island Ferry service runs seven days a week - get there early during peak holiday periods.

For a very special treat, check out Satellite Island:

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D'Entrecasteaux Channel

The sheltered D'Entrecasteaux Channel, which separates the Tasmanian mainland south of Hobart from Bruny Island, was named eponymously by the French explorer Bruni D'Entrecasteaux in 1792. The channel became important for shipping between Hobart and the coastal bases of whalers, sealers and timber-getters further south.

The far northern section of the channel between the mainland of south east Tasmania and the northern tip of Bruny Island is known as North West Bay. The larger bay to the south of it, between Woodbridge and Gordon, is called Great Bay. Though these two bays are treated as part of D'Entrecasteaux Channel, in reality the channel begins where the huon River estuary flows into it in near Verona Sands.

One of the most memorable routes from Hobart to the Huon Valley is Channel Highway, the coast road alongside D'Entrecasteaux Channel through Taroona, where the world 's oldest round shot tower stands. Further on, there are superb sea views of Storm Bay and Bruny Island beyond. On the shores of the Channel south of Kingston is the little port of Kettering. Cruising yachts and fishing boats sit on their reflections in the sheltered harbour, and the busy Bruny Island car ferry plies its trade across the water.

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Huon Valley


Huon Valley


 

Huon Valley

The Huon Trail is a journey of discovery through a region of waterways and wilderness, art and craft, forests and fishing boats, orchards and vineyards. Rich in pioneer heritage, the region is noted for its exceptional variety of landscapes, from the still waters of the tranquil Huon River to the magnificent forests of the Hartz Mountains National Park.

With unbelievably fresh produce, beautiful countryside, wilderness and waterways, a drive down the Huon Valley makes for a great day's entertainment. If you can, it's worth staying overnight in one of the many small townships in the valley, but if time is short and you only have a few hours to spare consider a day drive and enjoy a taste of the Huon.

 
 

Hobart to Geeveston

 

The beautiful Huon Valley makes for one of the best drives in the state and it's just 30 minutes from Hobart. Leaving the city and passing behind the Wellington Range, you'll soon find yourself at Huonville and the start of the Huon Valley where the highway meets the mighty Huon River.

Before Huonville, stop at the Apple Shed Museum, Cider House and Providore at Grove and discover the traditions behind the once flourishing apple orchards of the region along with contemporary techniques for making organic cider.

If you are looking for lunch, you can't miss Home Hill Winery and Restaurant, for a feast of delicious Tasmanian delicacies, gourmet recipes made from good fresh country ingredients together with award winning wines.

From Huonville the road follows the Huon River, once the lifeblood of the region, for some 20 kilometres south to Port Huon and then Geeveston where the river broadens before joining the sea.

At Franklin, visit the fascinating Wooden Boat Centre and Boat Building School where shipwrights impart traditional skills to students from around the world. Over the road is Village Antiques of Franklin where you can wander through two stories of rooms filled with olden-day gems and ponder the lives of the people who once owned them.

Continue on to Port Huon. The stretch between Franklin and Port Huon is one of the best you’ll find in Tasmania. If the weather is calm, the reflections in the Huon River are unsurpassed. Keep your eye out for roadside stalls on the way.

Call into the Kermandie Hotel for lunch or afternoon tea. Better still check-in for a night. It's a hidden gem.

At the far end of the valley past Port Huon is Geeveston and the nearby Hartz Mountains National Park.

At Geeveston, the Forest and Heritage Centre is a must for anyone interested in the state's forests. This is also the place to buy tickets to the Tahune Forest AirWalk, one of Tasmania's most popular attractions and a great way to experience Tasmania's wilderness.

Also nearby is the Hastings Caves Reserve where you can relax in the warm waters of a thermal springs pool, walk in the forests of the reserve and enjoy the unique experience of exploring Newdegate Cave, the largest tourist cave in Australia.

 

 
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Huonville to Hobart along the coast route

Return to Huonville then turn off for an alternative route back to Hobart along the meandering shoreline of the D'Entrecasteux Channel past the picturesque small townships scattered among the hills, including Cygnet (see below).

Don't miss the hamlet of Woodbridge with its waterside restaurant, Peppermint Bay, featuring local produce served in a beautiful setting.

Next door is Grandvewe Cheeses where you can watch sheep being milked in preparation for the production of their fine organic cheeses, all of which can be sampled in their tasting room.

And at Taroona, just before you reach Hobart, climb to the top of the Shot Tower (1870) for terrific views of the Derwent River estuary and a fascinating insight into the art of making lead gunshot. It's right beside the highway - you can't miss it.

 

 

Cygnet

The small hamlet of Cygnet lies between the beautiful D'Entrecasteaux Channel on one side and the majestic Huon River on the other. The town is the centre of the fruit growing Huon Valley where apple, cherry and berry orchards line the hills.

Popular among artists, musicians and those looking for alternative lifestyles, Cygnet includes several craft shops, art studios and galleries. You can see their works firsthand in a meet the maker experience on the Cygnet Art Trail. 

There's also an award-winning winery, Hartzview Vineyard at Gardners Bay. As well as great wine, their Heritage Pickers Hut Village will let you experience the home of orchard workers and their families, and Italian prisoners of war in the early 1900s. Cygnet is a 50-min drive (55 km) south of Hobart.

Known for its quirky creativity and home to potters, painters, writers, photographers  plus  the Cygnet Folk Festival (January every year) and the annual French Festival, Le Weekend (coming in April 2017) Cygnet is now something of a magnet.

From "Australia" (as opposed to Tasmania) and from just about everywhere else on earth, people who are  interested in good food, cool climate wines and glorious scenery visit the region in increasing numbers.People will tell you that less than 800 people live in Cygnet, but no-one's counted for a while; what's for sure is that weekends are particularly busy and vibrant, especially when the bi-weekly farmer's market is on (1st & 3rd Sunday of each month.) You'll find the market announced by hand-written signs stuck on trees and fences just a few days ahead. Very informal, Cygnet, but that's the spirit of the place.

From the village itself,  pretty roads wander off in all directions, and tucked away you'll come upon bays, perfect unspoiled beaches, vineyards, organic farms - often with seasonal farm-gate sales - and friendly locals (though the wallabies, Tasmanian devils, bettongs, spotted quolls and potoroos can be a bit shy; they wake up when you go to sleep.)

Check-out Frenchman's River for somewhere exceptional to stay.

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Tasman National Park


Tasman National Park


 

Tasman National Park

Famous for its soaring sea cliffs and monumental rock formations, not to mention the nearby World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasman National Park is an area of dramatic beauty and natural diversity. The park is situated on the rugged Tasman Peninsula and contains a spectacular coastal environment including soaring 300 metre high dolerite sea cliffs.

 

 
 

Port Arthur

Port Arthur is a quaint village best known for the well-preserved penal colony buildings of the nearby Port Arthur Historic Site.

Set on the tip of the Tasman Peninsula, Port Arthur is a great base to explore the historic site and the area's natural attractions including dramatic coastal rock formations and towering cliffs.

The Port Arthur Historic Site was established in 1830 as a timber station and was soon built into a small town to house and punish over a thousand of Tasmania's most notorious convicts. This dark history contrasts with the beauty of the surrounding area. Full of powerful stories of hardship and loss, it's one of Tasmania's most rewarding travel experiences.

You can find more early Australian convict history at the World Heritage-listed Coal Mines Historic Site, 20 km north-west of Port Arthur, where the site reveals the harsh lives of repeat offender convicts who worked underground extracting coal.

Nature also looms large with unique rock formations such as Remarkable Cave and beautiful waterways like Crescent Bay, a secluded curve of striking beauty backed by massive sand dunes.

Port Arthur is about a 1-hr drive (93 km) south-east of Hobart.

Tips:

  • Take an evening Ghost Tour in the Port Arthur Historic Site
  • Walk from Remarkable Cave to Crescent Bay
 

The National Park

The park is home to a wide range of land and marine animals, including the brushtail possum, Australian fur seals, penguins, dolphins and migrating whales. It's also home to the endangered swift parrot and many forest-dwelling birds. Endangered wedge-tailed eagles and sea eagles can also be seen overhead.

Many striking rock formations along the coastline are easily accessed by car, including Tasman Arch and The Blowhole, two of Tasmania's most visited attractions, as well as Waterfall Bay, Remarkable Cave and the Tessellated Pavement.

Great views are also found on the park's many bushwalks. Even a stroll of just an hour or two will bring you to the edge of sheer drops overlooking deep chasms, surging ocean, off-shore islands, white-sand beaches, and a waterfall that tumbles down a sheer cliff face into the sea.

The spectacular dolerite columns and cliffs at the southern end of the park are popular for climbing and abseiling. Sea stacks north of Fortescue Bay, the Candlestick and Totem Pole at Cape Hauy as well as the drops around Mount Brown are used by individual climbers and abseilers as well as tour groups.

There is also a hang gliding launch at Pirates Bay, with landing permitted in a designated area on the beach.

The waters off Pirates Bay, Fortescue Bay, Port Arthur and the Tasman Sea are popular boating destinations with ramps, sheltered waters and good fishing.

 
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Three Capes Track

For those wanting to spend more time in this magnificent environment there's the Three Capes Track, an independent multi-day walking experience on the Tasman Peninsula. This 46 km journey leads through a myriad of natural landscapes with exhilarating cliff top outlooks on Cape Pillar, Cape Hauy and stunning views to Cape Raoul.

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Real Food Tourism in Tasmania


Real Food Tourism in Tasmania


Tasmania is gaining a reputation for wonderful food and wine enhanced by great chefs and restaurants. However, what they produce is really the end of the story. To get a real idea of Tasmanian produce, we need to start at the beginning, with our producers.

The tastes of Tasmania are as varied as they are fine – and often the providores are both grower and producer.

In Tasmania you can feast on 'home grown' foods, pick up freshly harvested vegetables at a village market, or savour the sweet crunch of apples from a roadside stall. There are also berry farms where you can pick your own berries or visit a marine farm for superb, fresh seafood.

Tasmania's rich green pastures produce some of the nation’s finest dairy products, especially award-winning cheeses – blues and bries, cheddars and camemberts.

And if you want to learn more about sustainable farming practices, try one of our farm stays where you can meet the growers and experience life on a working farm – first hand. You can even stay the night.

From smoked salmon and fresh summer berries to chilli honey and wakame seaweed, the regions of Tassie offer their own culinary surprises.

Many people come to Tasmania already knowing about our salmon but there is so much more and some are a real surprise. For example, we have a thriving saffron industry driven by Nicky and Terry Noonan; they started in 1991 and now have a network of growers who supply Category 1 Saffron, the best rating in the world. Many people don't expect to find a saffron industry in Australia, let alone in Tasmania. Nicky and Terry are incredibly passionate about their produce and that's evident in the quality of their product and the fact that they're collaborating with the University of Sydney in trials of the medicinal benefits of saffron.

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Olive oil is another product that causes raised eyebrows as most people equate growing olives to warmer climates. There are many olive groves in Tasmania from large commercial groves to small backyard ones however they all have two things in common, the passion of the producer and the fact that they all produce wonderful oil full of flavour. So why is our oil so good? Well, the cooler climate means lower yields result in more nutritious and stronger flavoured oil. Tasmanian extra virgin oil has a free fatty acid level that is four times better than the standard set by the International Olive Oil Council. Some of our wonderful award winning oils to lookout for are Renaissance Olive Oil, Island Olive Grove and Cradle Coast Olives to mention just a few.

When most people think of Wasabi they think of Japan so it may come as a surprise to know that we grow wasabi in Tasmania. Currently there are four growers, including Shima Wasabi, and they are hard pushed to keep up with the huge demand from Australian restaurants and wholesalers. We also export Tasmanian wasabi to selected overseas destinations including some Asian countries.

Shima Wasbi

Tasmania is the only place in the world that produces leatherwood honey. The trees grow in remote rainforests in pristine World Heritage areas with some beekeepers spend weeks out in the wilderness with their bees, moving the hives around to ensure the bees have easy access to the flowers. Tasmania's leatherwood honey is grown in a pristine environment with love and passion.

So when you're planning a foodies trip to Tasmania, look for food tours, go to the local markets and check out the roadside stalls, not to mention our award-winning restaurants - and remember - it all starts with the producers.

Gourmania Food Tours, award winning Hobart based tours

The Long Lunch Wine Tour Co

The Agrarian Kitchen