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.
Ready for lunch? See how the locals celebrate winter and enjoy a seasonal 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. There’s a fire behind stained glass and an Aztec mug of hot chocolate waiting. Take a peek at the chocolate-making process and watch those truffles drip off the conveyor belt. The fluffy marshmallow snowballs are the winter takeaway you didn’t know you needed. 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.
Curious about nature? Rug up and take a seaside ramble to North Cave at Rocky Cape National Park. The Rocky Cape Lighthouse is a treat.
When you get into Stanley, cosy up at VDL@Stanley. It boasts waterside accommodation with style and a great dose of history.
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. Then it’s time to venture to the Nut for a picnic with a view. Collect your hamper supplies from Providore 24 and don’t be surprised if you pick up a scarf or winter woolly along with your cheese. Oh, and they do have pinot. Work up an appetite climbing the Nut and enjoy the cable car back down.
Warm up with a Cradle Mountain Whisky at The Angels Share in Stanley. They close at 7pm so get in early. Don’t be surprised if you walk out with luxurious possum gloves to ward off winter chills.
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.
Eat: For a hearty winter dinner with low food miles head for 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
Curious about what lies beneath? 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, the river 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’re travelling along part of the Cradle Coast Tasting Trail. Drop into the Spreyton Cider Company in Spreyton for a hand-crafted and bottle-fermented refresher made from Tassie apples and pears. Further up the road near Latrobe you’ll find 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. Yum!