14 DAY HOBART ADVENTURE
Visitors often say Tasmanian produce is bigger, fresher and tastier, while our pinots and sparklings are right up there with the best (but we don’t like to boast). You’ll make up your own mind while discovering all sorts of beguiling places in springtime.
- Day 1 – Hobart
- Day 2 – Hobart and surrounds
- Day 3 – Hobart to Port Arthur (via Richmond)
- Day 4 – Return to Port Arthur Historic Site
- Day 5 – Port Arthur to Coles Bay
- Day 6 – Coles Bay to Bicheno
- Day 7 – Bicheno to St Helens
- Day 8 – St Helens to Launceston
- Day 9 – Launceston and surrounds
- Day 10 – Launceston to Cradle Mountain
- Day 11 – Cradle Mountain to Strahan
- Day 12 – Strahan to Queenstown
- Day 13 – Queenstown to Tarraleah
- Day 14 – Derwent Bridge to Hobart
Hop off the plane at Hobart Airport, collect your car and, within barely a kilometre, enjoy fresh-from-the-water oysters at Barilla Bay Oysters, including a walk to the oyster farm and six freshly shucked goodies. From there, drive straight to Cascade Brewery, Australia’s oldest brewery. There’s plenty of taste testing to do, followed by a late lunch at the popular Ginger Brown’s.
This afternoon hop aboard the Mona Roma Fast Ferry and head to Mona, Museum of Old and New Art, David Walsh’s underground playground of antiquities and modern art. Descend into the subterranean gallery and feast your senses on art, history and some things that are hard to describe. Try the food and wine options at Mona. They focus on seasonal Tassie produce, complemented by pinots and sparklings. When you’re done, catch the ferry back to the Hobart waterfront.
Check into your Hobart accommodation for the next two nights, seek a comfy chair and a dram of Tassie whisky at the Lark Whisky Bar made in small batches from Tassie ingredients. Nearby, head to Frank Restaurant for South American-style dining.
Hobart and surrounds
Rise early and fuel up on brekkie before heading off early on a south-west adventure at Gordon Dam. You’ll be experiencing the world’s highest commercial abseil with Aardvark Adventures. At 140 metres high, the abseil is up there with the top ten adrenalin activities in the world.
Make a few stops on your return to Hobart. Twelve Trees Restaurant at the Pedder Wilderness Lodge, have a menu focused on local growers. Then, meet Ashley and Jane Huntington at Two Metre Tall. Ashley, who happens to be two metres tall, will happily pour you a farmhouse ale, made in small batches using farm-grown and Tasmanian ingredients.
Back in Hobart, follow the glow of Brooke Street Pier, wandering out to the end for a culinary experience at The Glass House.
Hobart to Port Arthur (via Richmond)
If you’re into Gothic revival architecture (and some of the best gin in the world), take a short drive to the historic Shene Estate at Pontville. Owners Anne and David Kernke see themselves as caretakers for an incredible piece of Australian history, as well as being pretty dab hands at making award-winning gin. Look for their roadside stall to purchase some of the best gin on the planet.
After that, head to Coal River Farm to pick, taste and learn. The restaurant offers all day dining from 9 to 4, and is just a short drive from Hobart. Up the road is Richmond Village, home to the oldest bridge in Australia, heaps of antique stores, and old pubs serving simple hearty foods and beverages.
Check into your Port Arthur accommodation. Now gather your courage for lantern-lit tales on a ghost tour of Port Arthur Historic Site. Dinner is onsite at Felon’s Bistro.
Overnight Port Arthur
Return to Port Arthur Historic Site
There’s so much to see on the Tasman Peninsula it’s hard to pack it all in. Return to Port Arthur Historic Site and explore Australia’s most intact convict site. Cruise out to the eerily named Isle of the Dead, and feel the weight of cast iron convict shackles. You might even find some ancestors.
Make a few stops around town. Federation Artisan Chocolate in Taranna make fudge, nougat and chocolate using traditional techniques and offer free tastings and tours of the museum. Further along, smooth lavender-infused ice-cream at Port Arthur Lavender Farm is a must. Just across from the lavender farm is Osborne Heli Tours. Jump on a flight to see the convict site or Tasman Peninsula from the air.
Overnight Port Arthur
Port Arthur to Coles Bay
Visit the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo at Taranna for a presentation about Tasmanian devils. Then head to Dunalley and drop into Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed for some deliciously plump fresh oysters.
With a full tummy head for the East Coast stopping near Cranbrook, and sample one of Tasmania’s most famous exports: pinot noir. The Spring Vale Vineyard is the perfect spot to stop, try a drop and grab a bottle or two.
Drive to Coles Bay and walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout for a postcard perfect view across the bay. Tonight, dine at The Bay Restaurant at Freycinet Lodge – where you’ll be tempted by seafood once more, or Cape Grim eye fillet and a glass of local wine. After dinner sample Tassie’s finest whiskies over the bar or, if you’re not ready to settle in yet, drive to Bicheno for ‘Devils in the Dark’. Simon Plowright has been watching wild devils for decades, and now’s your chance to get up close with these nocturnal creatures.
Overnight Coles Bay.
Coles Bay to Bicheno
Start your morning with coffee from the baristas at Tombolo Freycinet, wandering down to the jetty to take in the spectacular Hazards mountain ranges. You’re about to get much closer on a paddling mission with Freycinet Adventures. Paddle beneath the pink granite of the Hazards across sapphire-blue waters, past pristine beaches and soaring sea eagles for three blissful hours.
For the true oyster connoisseur, a visit to Melshell Oysters, west of Coles Bay, is a ‘must swallow’ activity. Here the oysters are only sold au naturel, but what’s unusual is the farming technique where the oysters spend 50% of their life in the ocean, gorging themselves 24 hours a day, creating a distinct ocean flavour.
Drive to Bicheno and head straight for The Farm Shed Bicheno, the perfect spot to try the region’s wines before checking in to your accommodation. At dusk, your Bicheno Penguin Tour begins. There’s no stopping those 600 or so little penguins moving from the sea to their beachside rookeries once the masses get moving. After the penguins have toddled off, head for dinner at Pasini’s Café, a local lively deli and wine bar.
Bicheno to St Helens
Start the day with a drive to Binalong Bay and take the Bay of Fires Eco Tours. The cruise gets you up close and personal with the local sea life and see the orange lichen covered rocks from a different perspective.
Drive to Pyengana Dairy to meet some of the most contented cows on the planet, and taste some of the yummiest cheddar cheeses. Pyengana is one of only a handful of robotic dairies in Tassie where cows come and go as they please, and decide when they’d like to be milked. The aged cheddar cheese is a stand-out, but the chilli and caraway cheddars aren’t too shabby either.
Return to St Helens, check into your accommodation, then let Mohr and Smith Café, Restaurant and Bar take care of your dinner.
Overnight St Helens.
St Helens to Launceston
Make tracks for Launceston, breaking in Evandale at the Ingleside Art Gallery and Bakery. The bakery is housed in the former Council Chambers built in 1867, and the English style courtyard is the perfect spot to have a coffee before browsing local antique stores.
In Launceston meet Brock, your experienced food guide who’ll walk, talk, and taste you through the best produce in and around Launceston.
Check into your Launceston accommodation for the next two nights. For dinner Cataract on Paterson will deliver your meal on a 400-degree Celsius volcanic stone. The restaurant’s industrial design and emphasis on Tasmanian produce is as pleasing as the rare, perfectly cooked steak they serve up.
If you’re not yet ready to call it a night, treat yourself to a Launceston City Ghost Tour. The city has a dark and violent past, full of convicts, murder and all sorts of gruesome goings-on.
Launceston and surrounds
Begin your day aboard a two-hour Segway experience at Hollybank Treetops Adventures through Hollybank forest, or opt for a dose of adrenalin on a zipline through the forest canopy above. There’s an impressive network of mountain biking trails for two-wheeled enthusiasts. After your adventure drive to Lilydale Larder. Order from the seasonal menu and stock up on larder treats from the providore for your afternoon drive.
From there, get along to the Apogee Vineyard. Andrew Pirie is regarded as the ‘Godfather of Sparkling’ in Tassie, and invites you to try his award-winning sparklings. If you want to know the science of sparkling wine and why this little pocket of Tassie has the perfect climatic conditions, the staff are happy to oblige – or you can just drink the stuff.
Head back to your Launceston accommodation, then drive to Seaport where you can enjoy dinner beside the Tamar River at Mudbar & Restaurant.
Launceston to Cradle Mountain
Take the drive from Launceston to Cradle Mountain via Chudleigh Honey Farm. Run by a Dutch family who emigrated to Australia in the 1980s, the farm not only sells honey, but also honey bee products like royal jelly, pollen and cute giftware. Your next stop should be Mole Creek Karst National Park for some glow worm action at Marakoopa and King Solomon caves. Stop in at the local Mole Creek Hotel for lunch.
Check into your Cradle Mountain accommodation, then take a short walk or visit the Wilderness Gallery exhibiting some of Australia’s best wilderness and nature photographers. Close by, relax and soak at Waldheim Alpine Spa while looking out to a forest of King Billy pines.
Tonight Devils@Cradle will take you on an after-dark Tasmanian devil feeding for an up-close encounter with Tassie’s endangered icon. Watch the world’s largest marsupial enjoy dinner, then enjoy your own. Book early if you’d like a behind the scenes tour.
Overnight Cradle Mountain.
Cradle Mountain to Strahan
Before heading off to the West Coast, have breakfast and walk the Dove Lake circuit. The drive to Strahan takes you through the townships of Tullah, Rosebery and Zeehan. Visit the West Coast Pioneers Museum in Zeehan for a peek into the town’s industrial and mining heritage including old locomotives, former blacksmith shop, mining machinery and fascinating mineral display.
The Spray Tunnel is worth checking out if you like the sound of venturing through a 100-metre long abandoned railway tunnel. A loop takes around one-hour to complete and the tunnel takes you to the former Spray Silver Mine. At the end you’ll discover old boilers and abandoned equipment from the mine’s operational days.
Arrive in Strahan, check into your accommodation and make the 5.30pm ‘The Ship That Never Was’ performance, depicting a true story of convicts hijacking a vessel built on Sarah Island. It’s the longest-running play in Australia and brings Sarah Island to life.
Come dinner, head to Bushman’s Café, to enjoy freshly caught and prepared local produce and sunset over the harbour.
Strahan to Queenstown
This morning, drive to Queenstown for breakfast at Tracks Café before boarding the West Coast Wilderness Railway. The steam train has been traversing this landscape for 118 years – sit back and enjoy a journey deep into the heritage of the wild west coast as your guide brings stories of the railway and its resilient people to life.
Admire King River Gorge and the ancient rainforest from your carriage, before arriving at Dubbil Barril and swapping the comfort of the train for an adventure in a raft. Experienced guides will safely navigate you down the mighty King River, all the way to the stunning Macquarie Harbour.
Back in Queenstown, check into your accommodation and settle in for the evening.
Queenstown to Tarraleah
Today head to former gold mining territory on the Lost Mines-Ancient Pines tour. Mining relics, throngs of man ferns and ancient Huon and King Billy pines surround your four-wheel-drive on this occasionally bumpy but exciting four-hour adventure. Venture into the spooky abandoned Mt Jukes Proprietary Mine through a horizontal tunnel mined into the side of Mt Jukes. Further along arrive at the Franklin Dam blockages of the 1980s, instrumental in the World Heritage listing of this area.
Before returning to Hobart, take in the unusual pink and grey hues on the mountains. It’s time to head to Derwent Bridge to visit the Wall in the Wilderness. Local artist Greg Duncan is carving his way through the Central Highland’s history with 100 metres of rare Huon Pine as his canvas.
Overnight Derwent Bridge or Lake St Clair
Derwent Bridge to Hobart
This morning head south for the rolling countryside of the Derwent Valley and New Norfolk, a tranquil haven for antique hunters. In the nearby town of Lachlan, a clever bloke by the name of Rodney Dunn has being doing things his way in the kitchen for ages. The Agrarian Kitchen is a return to a simpler, earthier way of reconnecting the kitchen with the land. His philosophy is built around sustainable farming practices, using next to no chemicals. Rod’s cooking classes are usually booked out months in advance, but you can still get a taste (literally) of his philosophy in the restaurant café at Willow Court.
Leave time to get to Hobart Airport and bid farewell to 14 wonderful Tasmanian days.
14 Day Hobart Adventure
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: Scott Sporleder – Matador, Andrew Wilson, Peter Topliss, Paul Hoelen, Andrew McIntosh – Ocean Photography, Samuel Shelley, Kathryn Leahy, Rob Burnett and Graham Freeman