Launceston to Stanley
Begin your journey with a taste of convict culture. Take a tour of Woolmers Estate in Longford and learn about early colonial life. Wind yourself back to 1817 when Thomas Archer (the First) got busy establishing the place. There’s lots to enjoy right through to sixth generation Thomas (1994) and all the collections and possessions in-between. Also worth exploring is nearby Brickendon. It’s one of Tassie’s oldest farming properties and tells stories of convicts and the beginnings of agriculture here. Time your trip to fall on 18 November and Woolmers Rose Garden will be awash with colour for the Festival of Roses.
Ready for lunch? See how the locals celebrate the seasons and enjoy a regional feast at the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory in Sassafras. This spectacular building was once a greenhouse and dishes out 100 percent Tasmanian produce with an extensive wine list.
Next stop is dessert. Meet Igor from Belgium at Anvers Chocolate Factory in Latrobe. Take a peek at the chocolate-making process and watch those truffles trundle off the conveyor belt. Then from chocolate to liquid gold, Hellyers Road Distillery at Burnie has tours of the working floor. Pour and wax-seal your own bottle of whisky and tuck it under your wing.
Turn off at Table Cape, particularly if it’s 13 October because the Tulip Festival Wynyard celebrate a blanket of cape colour. Skip through the fields of tulips with Bass Strait as your backdrop, or for a more rugged landscape, take a seaside ramble to North Cave at Rocky Cape National Park. The Rocky Cape Lighthouse is a treat.
At Horizon Deluxe Apartments turn the spa tap on at once. Views spill down to the iconic volcanic plug that is The Nut.
Wake up in Stanley relaxed and ready to explore. Head for Mawbanna to check out one of Tassie’s most famed apiaries, Blue Hills Honey, for indulgent leatherwood honey. While you’re out there, head to the two-tiered Dip Falls and marvel as water roars over its cubic-basalt columns and the (really) Big Tree (62m tall and 16m around!). Then it’s time to venture to the top of the Nut for a picnic with a view over Stanley. Collect your hamper supplies from Providore 24 – think cheese and a bottle of sparkling. Work an appetite climbing up, toast to your efforts at the top, and enjoy the chair lift on return.
Reward yourself with a Cradle Mountain Whisky at The Angels Share in Stanley. They close at 7pm so get in early. Come night time, Highfield House Historic Site is the place to go for a ghost tour. Is this 1830s built property haunted? Visit the barn and decide for yourself.
Tonight, choose dinner with low food miles at Stanley Hotel Bistro where the seafood comes straight from Stanley’s fishermen and the beef graze on nearby salty Cape Grim paddocks.
Stanley to Launceston
Start the morning out right with a visit to Moby Dick Breakfast Bar – try the Fisherman’s Breakfast with Tassie smoked salmon and poached eggs. Curious about what lies beneath this small island? Leave Stanley and go to Gunns Plains Caves where you can dip beneath the surface and discover sinkholes and underground streams. Formed by a river deep below, it continues to run and is home to Tasmanian giant freshwater lobsters (sorry – not for dinner). Those with a penchant for platypus should keep an eye out along the sandy riverbanks up top.
On the way back to Launceston, you’ll be travelling along part of the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail. Drop into the Spreyton Cider Company for a hand-crafted and bottle-fermented refresher made from Tassie apples and pears. Further up the road near Latrobe is the Cherry Shed. It’s impossible to visit without having a slice of their cherry pie, all the fruit is sourced from nearby orchards.
No trip to Tassie is complete without local cheese. At Ashgrove Cheese they use farm fresh milk and have everything from cloth-matured to wasabi-infused goodies. Arrive at Launceston Airport with some goodies that may just make it back to loved ones.