Launceston to Cradle Mountain
Dial up the car heat, it’s time for a mountain road trip. Following the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail from Launceston, expect to pull over more than once to indulge in local fare. At Deloraine Deli the staff will gladly pack you a hamper for the road, brimming with the best pickings.
Not far up the road is Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm. Stash a punnet or two of fresh chocolate-covered raspberries in the back. Keep them up front and they won’t survive to Ashgrove Cheese, a few minutes further on. Watch cheese in the making at a factory surrounded by happy cows. The wasabi-infused cheddar should add heat to your morning. Drop into Railton, the Town of Topiary, and visit Seven Sheds Brewery where a Willie Warmer waits. This spiced dark ale is perfect for a winter’s day.
Sheffield, at the foothills of Mount Roland, has a dose of curious quirk. Even if you’re not into murals (there are plenty), keep an eye out for a fellow with his pet alpaca or bash out a tune on the footpath piano.
As night falls, wrap yourself in the warmth of Cradle Mountain Hotel. Start at Altitude Lounge Bar and decide which side of the Tassie beer war you’re on – Boag’s or Cascade. (It’s safer to go Boag’s while you’re up north.) Follow this with an indulgent dinner at Altitude Restaurant – your steak is seared on a 360°C volcanic stone, sealing in all the natural juices.
Pull on your warmest jacket for a walk around Dove Lake. This glacial lake circuit hugs the water’s edge with breathtaking Cradle Mountain looming above (if it isn’t hiding mysteriously in the clouds). A world of moss awaits in the Ballroom Forest. Other shorter walks include the Enchanted Nature Walk, and the Pencil Pine and Knynet Falls Walk, a brisk 20-minute return.
Time in the alpine air is best followed with indulgent hours at Waldheim Alpine Spa. Move between the steam room, sauna and hot tub in The Sanctuary. There’s a plunge pool too, for those inclined.
What’s best to pull you away from an alpine spa? The promise of a cheese and wine tasting from 4pm. Head back to Cradle Mountain Hotel for a journey through six handcrafted wines, paired with three local cheeses.
Pull up beside a log fire for your final hearty dinner. There’ll be no feeding frenzy over your slow-cooked lamb shoulder. It’s all yours. Pick a pinot from the earlier tasting before retreating to your highland cabin.
Cradle to Launceston
Leave your mountain retreat feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Enjoy a pretty drive through the country towards the airport via Mole Creek. If you have time, stop and do a cave and glow worm tour.
Round up your trip with a visit to an award-winning winery not far from the airport. It’s a beautiful drive through rolling hills to Relbia where you’ll find Josef Chromy Wines. Discover why their wines are award-winning and be tempted by their à la carte lunch menu designed by Head Chef Nick Raitt. With views out across the lake it’s a most suitable departure lounge, being so close to the airport.