Launceston to St Helens
Start your Tasmanian adventure in futuristic style on your very own ‘personal transporter.’ Head straight for Underwood – a little over 30 kilometres from the Launceston airport. Here you’ll find Hollybank Treetops Adventure and although today you won’t be zip-lining through the tree canopy (well you can if you like), this is where your Segway tour awaits.
Rather than walking through the thick Eucalypt forest for two hours, glide on what many describe as riding a human joystick. Lean left and the Segway responds, pull back and the obedient machine comes to a halt. It isn’t your typical forest wandering and with a professional guide sharing ecological and conservation wisdom at the helm, it’s a smooth transition into your Tasmanian escape.
Depart Hollybank and head for the north east coast, home to the Bay of Fires that Lonely Planet named world’s hottest destination a few years back. Ribbons of white empty beaches, punctuated with headlands of orange-lichen topped rocks have something to do with this accolade.
Lunch is all about local produce at Lilydale Larder. Settle into rustic surrounds where the countryside staff are as appealing as the wine bar, packed providore and seasonal lunch menu. Pop some goodies in your tote for the drive – perhaps Tassie smoked salmon, crackers and sharp local cheddar?
Drive on through to Barnbougle Dunes, a golfing destination that’s been rated Australia’s number one public course more than once. Tee off to the sound of crashing waves on a links course where sweeping beaches, farmland and manicured greens mix effortlessly. Challenge yourself to 18 holes followed by a Tasmanian whisky in the clubhouse. Then make your way back to St Helens.
Check into your St Helens accommodation for the next two nights.
Enjoy the day’s catch from local fishermen tonight at the Blue Shed restaurant in St Helens.
St Helens and Bay of Fires
Rise early this morning, you’ve got a busy day. Start by grabbing a quick bite in town and venturing straight to ‘The Gardens’ near Binalong Bay. Here you’ll find a beautiful little area known as Cosy Corner. Find yourself a rock and watch the morning sun sprinkle across the waves.
You’re not far from the Bay of Fires beach house that is your home for the day. Roz MacAllan of Kiss a Fish Cookery School runs full-day classes from November to April that typically start with a forage down at the beach for sea asparagus and other tasty morsels. Private classes can, however, be arranged by appointment.
The menu is an ever-changing feast depending on what the day’s catch brings. Roz might have oysters from the lease up the road, fresh Stripy Trumpeter or scallops to work with. Learn how to skin, trim, shuck, fillet and scale. Oh and prepare to enjoy more than one course at the shared dining table as the day progresses. The wood fired oven is a hit with most small groups and Roz ensures that everyone walks away with more than one cooking technique – perhaps poaching and wok frying – and always just the right accompaniments to recreate at home.
After a day in the kitchen, let Mohr and Smith Café Restaurant and Bar take care of dinner for you back in St Helens. The menu ranges from the likes of crab ravioli and market-fresh fish in banana leaves to Pyengana rib fillets for those who have had plenty of fish on their plate during the day. An extensive wine list has a range of cool climate local labels to match.
Bicheno to Launceston
Get on the road to Bicheno early this morning and enjoy breakfast in 150 acres of natural parkland. At East Coast Natureworld the morning greeting is typically delivered by two Sulphur-crested cockatoos. Spend the morning meeting their mates – Tasmanian animals, birds and reptiles wander about the parkland and lagoon. Watch the wombats and Tassie devils feed. Before you leave Bicheno, head across to Devils in the Dark and find out about this experience for your next visit.
If you like the sound of lunch by the vines, served up by a friendly chef in a pop-up style restaurant get on your way to Cranbrook. This Springvale Vineyard experience shouldn’t be rushed. The menu is whipped up depending on seasonal produce and the day’s seafood catch. Expect anything from crayfish prepared in the wood fired oven, paired with Reserve Chardonnay to Huon smoked salmon or poached oysters. There’s good reason this little popup is receiving rave reviews.
Back on the road, pass through Campbell Town en route to the Launceston Airport. Grab a coffee and stretch your legs at Red Bridge Café and Providore, pop your head into the antique shop or maybe even leave town with a nice new pair of leather shoes. On the main strip, be sure to look out for the bricks that share tales of convicts transported to Tasmania.
Availability of experiences in this itinerary may be subject to opening times, seasonal operation or booking requirements, please call ahead to plan each day.
Photo Credit: Tourism Tasmania. All rights reserved @Tourism Tasmania and Sean Fennessey, Stuart Crossett, Jeff Jennings, Rob Burnett.