Words by Bev Malzard
The tiny island of ‘Tassie’ has an abundance of indulgent attractions and experiences. Separated from the mainland by the unpredictable Bass Strait, the island’s brutal early history as a penal colony developed through agriculture to becoming the fruit basket for southern Australia. Today, a visit is rich for experiences, from culinary to cool climate wineries, to artistic culture and outdoor, natural excursions.
Up until the 1960s Hobart was a sleepy town ignored by the rest of the country. Now it proudly shows off a colonial history that might have been demolished and forgotten. The hilly streets, quaint cottages and views to the sea of Battery Point, built in 1818 to house workers and merchants of the great port, have hardly changed since 1840 – except for the traffic and exorbitant real estate prices. Constitution and Victoria Docks at the heart of Sullivans Cove are all abuzz when the Wooden Boat Festival is held (every two years), with Constitution Dock also the finish line for the annual, prestigious Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
The city offers stunning botanical gardens and waterside walks - a trip up Mount Wellington is a treat but be prepared in winter when snow decorates the summit and the wind cuts right through you - as well as many beautiful and innovative restaurants. For locally sourced food for taste heaven check out Dier Makr, Fico, Franklin and The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery. For artisan produce and arts and crafts, head to the Salamanca Markets which also houses small galleries in its old warehouses.
Oh, Mona . . .
Embedded into the riverside cliffs along the Derwent and Moorilla Vineyard is an institution that has put Tasmania on the world map, the Museum of Old and New Art. Don’t visit MONA for an immersion into the gentle art of painting, come here to be excited, appalled, surprised and moved to tears and laughter. Drive 15 minutes from the city or catch the ferry and enter up the stairs from the riverbank, then prepare to be provoked and entertained!
his rugged island just a short sail from Hobart is a joy to behold on the journey there. Dolphins at play, gangs of sleepy seals playing on the rocks and sea birds swirling above. Ideally between October and April, take a day trip or enjoy a few days ‘glamping’ in the bush here and indulging in local seafood and irresistible fresh Bruny oysters.
North and South Bruny are connected by a narrow strip of land called The Neck. South Bruny National Park is where the mighty dolerite cliffs around the southern capes stand, and where you’ll find Cloudy Bay’s arc of dunes, the result of relentless ocean swells. Don’t miss the path at Cape Bruny that leads you to the convict-built lighthouse – the views are spectacular.
Over on the wild west coast, board for the West Coast Wilderness Railway, a restored 1896 rack-and-pinion railway that travels over 34km of river and forest track from Queenstown to Macquarie Harbour or from Strahan to Queenstown. There’s a full day or half day train trip and as you travel through pristine wilderness areas, you’ll cross deep gorges and wonder at the minds that planned this challenging track through almost impossible and impassable terrain. All aboard now!
Freycinet National Park has the amazing combination of dramatic mountains, elegant beaches and silky smooth lakes along a narrow peninsula. The peaks of The Hazards light up with a tangerine glow at sunset in the summer and are covered in swirling mist during the cold months. Canoe along the inshore waters and paddle around Coles Bay for more splendid views of The Hazards, or take a walk to see the spectacular Wineglass Bay with its perfect beach of glowing white sand.
Taste of the North
Maybe it’s the landscape, or simply the Pinot Noir, but there’s something magical about Josef Chromy Wines. Set 10 minutes outside Launceston on Tasmania’s northern coast, the winery is part of an estate established in 1880 and offers exceptional culinary experiences, from basic tastings at the cellar door to tours pairing wine and chocolate. Immerse yourself fully and join a tour that goes ‘behind the label’ for a glimpse of the winemaking process followed up by an exquisite meal perfectly paired with the wine.
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