7 DAY HOBART AND SURROUNDS TRiP
Hobart is blossoming, and we’re not just talking about the flowers in spring. Chic new restaurants and funky little cafés, prize-winning pinots aplenty, and inventive chefs putting their own spin on the paddock-to-plate experience.
Hobart and Tasman Peninsula
Pick up your hire car and drive to the Tasman Peninsula to piece together Tasmania’s convict story. Before digging deep into the lives of early Australian convicts, indulge in more modern comforts at Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed. From your table, you can see the marine farm where your oysters are harvested, and you’re within throwing distance of the vines responsible for your glass of wine. It’s paddock-to-plate at its best. Stay a while and ask about the day Abel Tasman came ashore at Bangor.
Those who haven’t been to the Port Arthur Historic Site before, make a beeline – it’s one of Australia’s most significant heritage sites. Set aside a good part of the afternoon to explore, or join a guided tour by land or sea.
Stop by Port Arthur Lavender Farm, just five minutes away from the Port Arthur Historic Site. For something a little different, try a lavender-infused ice cream at the café overlooking Long Bay or pick out some lavender keepsakes to take with you.
Before you leave the peninsula, drop into the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo at Taranna and get up close to the devils – there’s a presentation around every hour. Be sure to pop over the road for tasty chocolate morsels at Federation Artisan Chocolate.
Back in Hobart, check into your accommodation and head to Frank restaurant for South American flavours on the waterfront.
Hobart to Derwent Valley
Today you’ll be making your way towards Curringa Farm in Hamilton, but first call in for breakfast at Room for a Pony in North Hobart, a corner eatery boasting a seasonal menu and great coffee.
Then drive to historic Shene Estate at Pontville, where you’ll come across some eye-catching Gothic revival architecture (and some of the best gin in the world). 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. In fact, their Poltergeist Gin recently won a double gold medal at the World Spirits Competition.
Head for New Norfolk – a must for antique lovers. Explore Willow Court, the oldest asylum in Australia still on its original site, once an invalid barracks for convicts before it was turned into a mental asylum. Now disused, it still retains its spookiness. The restaurant café at Willow Court is also a must.
Head to Lachlan to The Agrarian Kitchen for an afternoon cooking class. A sustainable farm-based cooking school run by Rodney Dunn who in a previous life was the food editor of Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine. Rodney will show you a simpler, earthier way of reconnecting the kitchen with the land, based on sustainable farming. Your cooking class begins donning gumboots and foraging in the garden. What cannot be harvested from the garden or farm is sourced from local Tasmanian producers.
Drive forty minutes to Hamilton and check into Curringa Farm for the next two nights – feel free to ask your hosts to prepare a farm barbecue pack to enjoy on the outdoor deck.
Overnight Curringa Farm.
Wake to views overlooking Lake Meadowbank, often blanketed in morning mist. The large inland lake begs for a line to be cast, perhaps later in the afternoon. But first things first: treat yourself to a wholesome country breakfast.
Later in the morning hop on a tour of the farm with Tim, where you’ll meet the farm dogs and get a close-up view of the hard yakka involved in shearing sheep. Learn about sheep husbandry and the in-season crops, followed by a Tassie-style country barbie.
Life at Curringa isn’t just about thick fleeces falling to the shearing shed floor and dollops of rich cream on afternoon scones; the Parsons are passionate about sustainable agriculture, their tours leaning strongly towards sharing good farming practices.
Overnight Curringa Farm.
Derwent Valley to Hobart
You’ll be up early this morning to drive for two hours deep into the south west. Fuel up on breakfast and farewell farm life to meet up with Aardvark Adventures by 9am. It’s will be a big day. By big, we mean 140 metres tall. Gordon Dam happens to be a few metres higher than Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the abseil is up there with the top ten adrenalin activities in the world- you can do it!
It’s a long drive back to Hobart, so stop for lunch at Twelvetrees restaurant at Pedder Wilderness Lodge. Their menu is relaxed, honest and local.
Take another break in the drive at Two Metre Tall Brewery. Here you’ll meet Jane and Ashley Huntington. Ashley (who happens to be two metres tall) will pour you a farmhouse ale made using farm-grown and local ingredients.
Check into your accommodation for the next two nights and, if you’re still feeling heroic, sip a celebratory cocktail at The Glass House, followed by dinner at Franklin Restaurant.
Prepare to get up-close to nature on a cruise to the wild reaches of Bruny Island, alongside sheer dolerite cliffs and deep-sea caves. It’s a coastline with fur seals, migrating whales, dolphins and rare sea eagles. It can get a nippy, so bring a jacket. The full-day tour departs Hobart at 8am, delivering you back to the city at 5.30pm.
Back in Hobart, plenty of new eateries have been popping up recently. Landscape, down near Constitution Docks, is getting rave reviews. Not only is the menu an eclectic mix of fresh local produce, the presentation is extraordinary. Just a stone’s throw away is the new MACq 01 on Hobart’s waterfront, which serves up something rather special in an ‘informal luxury’ kind of way. Slightly less upmarket is a funky Japanese restaurant called Kosaten, near Salamanca. Use iPads for ordering, and all the food arrives on your own mini bullet train. Big menu, but not big bucks.
Today takes you to the Huon. Your first stop, The Old Bank of Geeveston Café, is a classic old building with lots of memorabilia to look at while you get stuck into breakfast. Still hungry? if it’s a Friday or Saturday head around the corner to Masaaki’s Sushi. An older timber town is an unlikely place to find what many consider the finest sushi in Tasmania, but it’s true nonetheless: Masaaki Koyama’s sushi is truely in a class of its own.
Forty minutes away, wander among the treetops and walk out on a cantilever walkway some 50 metres above the river at Tahune AirWalk. Take the Cable Eagle Hang Glider from the forest floor and glide 250 metres above the Huon River.
Back in the Huon Valley, it’s time to check into your accommodation. Call into the Apple Shed for lunch, a plate of local produce paired with a cider tasting. Follow this up with a browse of the museum, which is devoted to the region’s apple-growing history.
The Huon Valley might be famous for apples, but wine-lovers have another reason to toast the region at Home Hill Winery, where you’ll dine surrounded by views of vines, pastures, livestock and mountains. Sample their wines and pick one out to take with you.
Overnight Huon Valley.
Hastings Caves to Hobart
Today head underground at Hastings Caves State Reserve. Newdegate Cave happens to be the largest cave open to tours in the country, and with plenty of open spaces, there’s no squeezing through tight passages. After the stalactites and stalagmites, it’s time for a dip in the hot springs. Naturally heated to 28°C, enjoy a good soak.
After your warm dip, cool down with a cider tasting at Franks Cider in Franklin, on the banks of the Huon River. Wander through cellar door in the 1870s former church hall or visit the nearby Wooden Boat Centre and see some of Tasmania’s unique boat building timbers.
Farewell the Huon Valley and make your way to Hobart Airport for your departure.
7 Day Hobart and Surrounds Trip
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: Rob Burnett, Port Arthur Historic Site, Port Arthur Lavender, Dale Baldwin, Tourism Tasmania, Jane Huntington, Joe Shemesh, Forestry Tasmania, Jonathan Wherrett, Sarajayne Lada and Nick Osborne.