7 DAY LAUNCESTON AND THE NORTH WEST TRiP
In spring, the world’s purest air can blow in fiercely across the southern oceans and smack you right in the chops. There’s stacks of eclectic places and plenty of warm, welcoming restaurants serving distinctly regional fare.
Launceston and surrounds
Start your Tassie adventure by checking into your Launceston accommodation. Then begin exploring central Launceston and up the architecture on your way to the Design Centre Tasmania. This contemporary design space showcases Tasmanian craftspeople. Afterwards, drop into Hallam’s Waterfront for a seafood platter for two for lunch before heading out to Scottsdale.
At Pepper Bush Adventures, Craig Williams will take you into the Ben Lomond National Park, home to eight of Tasmania’s highest twenty peaks. Afterwards, he’ll whip you up a four-course gourmet campfire dinner including Tasmanian cheese and wallaby mountain burgers with a local craft beer or wine. Then the nocturnal antics begin. Look out for eastern quolls, pademelons and Bennett’s wallabies, wombats, brushtail possums, owls, bandicoots and tawny frogmouths. If you’re lucky you’ll get the full cast!
Start your morning with early breakfast in Charles Street. A number of tempting cafés line the top end of Charles; pick one that takes your fancy. As you’re in Australia’s third oldest city, you’ll find some stunning architecture from a bygone era.
Cooking classes at the Red Feather Inn start early in the small town of Hadspen outside Launceston. One of Tasmania’s first coaching inns, it has been revitalised to reflect ‘Georgian dancing with French provincial’. Build your cooking confidence in the company of like-minded people. Choose the popular ‘To Market To Market’ class meeting the Red Feather Inn chefs at Launceston’s Harvest Market to source fresh produce for the day’s cooking. Later, share a long table banquet together with a glass or two of local wine. Remember to book in advance.
Tonight try premium Tasmanian dry-aged steak at Black Cow Bistro. Everything is guaranteed to be free range, grass-fed and very good with a glass of red. Finish the evening with a Launceston City Ghost Tour. Some say spirits still roam the streets of Launceston. The tour tells true stories – with history like this, there’s no need for the guides to make anything up.
Launceston and Beauty Point
This morning make tracks for Beauty Point to tour Seahorse World and Platypus House. Learn about seahorses and platypus, and let echidnas ramble around your feet. Break for lunch at SueNaMi while you’re in Beauty Point. Not far from Beauty Point is Kayena, a stop on the art trail where you can attend a pottery workshop at Clay by Day. Only available on request so be sure to plan ahead.
Next, head across the Batman Bridge to Apogee Vineyard to sample some of the best from Andrew Pirie, regarded as the ‘Godfather of Sparkling’ in Tassie. If you want to learn the science behind the sparkling wine, staff are happy to oblige. Or you can just drink the stuff and cuddle Olli the Labrador.
After Apogee, drive to Low Head for a sunset penguin tour. Meet the 30-centimetre-high lovable locals as they pitter-patter up from Bass Strait to their boxthorn bush burrows. Expect anywhere from 10 to 200 depending on the time of year, and bring cosy clothes.
Dinner is at Mudbar & Restaurant in Launceston, beside the Tamar River. Not ready for bed? Continue to Red Brick Road Ciderhouse to taste the local orchard’s apples and pears in liquid form.
Launceston to Devonport
Get on your way to Devonport early this morning on a laid-back drive that follows a portion of the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail. As you can imagine, there are plenty of grazing stops along the way, the first being Deloraine Deli for breakfast. Afterwards, visit 41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm, a working inland fish farm. Sample salmon grown in water sourced from local Montana Falls, taste rare ginseng spice, and stroll the wetlands to see first-hand how the salmon is bred. Back out on the highway, head to Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm for a delicious raspberry-infused feast, and Ashgrove Cheese to try a selection of handcrafted cheese or sit enjoy a whole platter.
On to Latrobe, to House of Anvers Chocolate Factory and Café. Watch chocolates being made, taste some truffles and perhaps try a hot chilli chocolate. Then check into your accommodation in Devonport. If you have room for an evening meal, head for Mrs Jones restaurant, perched above the Devonport Surf Life Saving Club. Settle in for pre-dinner drinks followed by seasonal produce.
Tonight, after dinner, check out a funky distillery and bar called Southern Wild Distillery. Situated in the heart of Devonport, head in and take a slug of some wonderfully original gins that tap into the fresh ingredients of the seasons. Every bottle of gin, whether it’s the Meadow, Ocean or Mountain, starts with water from the wild Dasher and Fisher Rivers that originate from snow-capped mountains near Cradle Mountain.
Devonport to Smithton
You’ll need to get up early this morning for your Cradle Mountain Canyons adventure.
Jump, slide and abseil your way through an ancient canyon, venturing 50 metres deep into a quartzite gorge. A good dose of bravery is helpful.
A more passive exploration of Cradle Mountain can be had with a walk around Dove Lake followed by a deep, revitalising soak while staring out at a forest of King Billy Pines at Waldheim Alpine Spa.
Continue to Smithton and check into your accommodation for the next two nights. Enjoy dinner at Tall Timbers Kauri Bistro, where the menu features local Tasmanian produce with dishes showcasing the high quality meat, vegetables and seafood the north west is famous for.
Stanley and the Tarkine
Head out early on an eco-cruise with Stanley Sea Cruises to Bull Rock, a fur seal outpost where seals as heavy as 200 kilos are taking it easy in Bass Strait. You might also see dolphins or whales.
Forage for your picnic lunch at Providore 24, or ask the owners to direct you to the best hamper fillers. From here take a scenic drive out along Mawbanna Road, where you’ll come across a roadside honesty box for Blue Hills Honey, one of Tassie’s most awarded apiaries.
Next, get a feel for the Tarkine wilderness where the honey comes from. Fly over one of the world’s largest remaining tracts of temperate rainforest by helicopter for thirty minutes or venture on the Tarkine Drive, winding your way through rainforest, mountain and heath country.
Return to your Smithton accommodation.
Smithton to Launceston
After breakfast, amble along the North West coast. In springtime Table Cape is flooded with vivid tulips and the stunning backdrop of Table Cape lighthouse. Your next stop is in Burnie at Hellyers Road Distillery for a single malt tasting. Tour the working distillery to discover the secrets behind fine Tassie whisky. Now it’s onto Latrobe and the Cherry Shed for plump, flavoursome cherries. From here it’s less than an hour to Launceston for your flight.
7 Day Launceston and the North West Itinerary
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: Chris Crerar, Rob Burnett, Graham Freeman, Tall Timbers Tasmania and Kraig Carlstrom