The best coffee laneways, a vineyard with a prickly mo and where the meerkats hang out..
If you’re heading to explore the north west corner of Tassie, we’ve got some secret coast tips just for you! We happen to know the best coffee laneways, a vineyard with a prickly mo and where the meerkats hang out. That’s right, meerkats.
Cooking & Cool Clime Vines
Got a vineyard on your North West to do list? Have you heard of Prickly Mo Vineyard or taken a cooking class at Ghost Rock? We suggest you do both. And while we’re on the subject of cooking classes, Ben Milbourne of Channel Ten’s Masterchef notoriety runs his One Degree Food Tours in this corner of Tassie, complete with demos and degustation dinner.
Beer, Whisky & Cider Sipping
Not every distillery lets you pour and wax seal your own whisky. On a Hellyers Road Distillery tour, naturally there’s a nip of North West liquid gold to sample too. Then there’s Seven Sheds, a brewery and hop garden tucked away in Railton, a backyard passion turned award-winning craft brewer.
Like your cider? Spreyton Cider Co. sparkles with 100 per cent Tassie pears and apples. Find the cidery nestled among neatly-rowed orchard trees.
Tasmania’s Food and Wine Conservatory
If you haven’t stopped at Tasmania’s Food and Wine Conservatory at Sassafras you’re missing 100 per cent Tasmanian goodness. That’s right, this conservatory stocks only Tassie fare. Drop in for lunch or keep an eye out for their long table banquets – seasonal feasts with matching local wines.
George & Daves
If you like your coffee served with an old fashioned nanna rug during winter, head out to Shearwater. Great prices, hearty menu, a stash of reading glasses to help yourself to, a cosy courtyard (with said nanna rug) await. The traditional Sheppard’s pie is just right for winter.
Devonport got a little fancy when Mrs. Jones arrived on the scene. Ask anyone who lives in these parts about Mrs. Jones and they’ll all agree, ‘very, very nice.’ Not only does Mrs. Jones serve up the likes of beer braised green lip abalone, she has a glorious outlook across Bass Strait, perched atop the local surf club. Oh, and those who love a juicy lunch burger, don’t miss Drift downstairs.
It’s the secret laneways where the locals go that often have the best coffee, right? Well, there’s a laneway in Devonport with a café named Laneway. We can assure you the coffee is good, you’ll just have to ask a local which laneway they head down for their caffeine and wintry North African beans served with all day brekky.
The Harbourmaster Café
Owner Leigh Murphy has transformed the former Harbourmaster’s quarters into a bustling riverside café. There’s good reason locals raise an arm as they cycle past, have their 40th birthdays at Harbourmasters around a flaming outdoor fire, or gather friends for afternoon coffee by the Mersey River’s edge. It’s because Leigh will know most by name, and loves his community. Wriggle on in next to the locals.
The North West coast is a region of surprises. In the unlikely town of Penguin, one wouldn’t anticipate an interior design and furniture store like Cocoon Designs. Oozing with style, it wouldn’t appear out of place on a Melbourne strip. But Karen and Linda appear perfectly happy in their perfect sea side town, showcasing their own brand of furniture and lighting, along with original art, clothing, and more.
Think Stanley, and most will instantly think ‘The Nut.’ But there’s more to this historic township. Not to be missed is Providore 24, a thoughtfully curated speciality store in Church Street. Don’t be surprised if you walk out with freshly baked bread, a new scarf, a well-aged Pinot and a brand new winter coat.
World of Marbles and the Contraptuary
Find the World of Marbles and the Contraptuary in Sheffield, an ideal town stop on the way to Cradle Mountain. What’s a contraptuary you ask? It’s a mechanical gallery of course, filled with contraptions made by mechanical designers worldwide. Pick up a blown glass vase or have a contraption commissioned.
Signature See & Do
We did promise North West meerkats didn’t we. If you head to Wings Wildlife Park at Gunns Plains you’ll find your meerkat. While you’re there you might also meet a Crab-Eating macaque, a camel, Boobook owl, Metallic skink, Naked Neck chicken and a pony. Oh, and Tasmanian devils plus other locals!
Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail
It’s a bountiful region. Use the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail website to pinpoint near 40 tasty stops across the North West. From wasabi cheese to raspberry infused ice-cream, hazelnut trees to a salmon and ginseng farm, it’s a fancy tasting platter. Then there’s The House of Anvers for those with a penchant for wrapping their mitts around a mug of liquid chocolate.
Narawntapu National Park
There’s good reason some consider this park the ‘Serengeti of Tasmania.’ It’s quietly one of the best places to see wildlife. Come at dusk and Forester kangaroos perform – grazing and bounding across long open plains. Get there early and expect long sweeping Bass Strait beaches to be yours alone. This understated gem is one of the North West’s finest.
Don’t leave the region without a dose of quirk. What other town in the country dubs themselves the ‘Town of Topiary?’ Put Railton on your list, about halfway between Launceston and Cradle Mountain. Then there’s Sheffield, home to outdoor murals and the occasional local with a pet alpaca. Don’t bypass the small towns, head straight for them.