Hobart to Swansea
Take your time getting to Swansea, there’s some curious places to explore on the way. Duck and weave along the Coal River Valley, home to quirky vineyards like Puddleduck and Every Man and His Dog. Stop at Frogmore Creek for a wine tasting and try their delicious pinot in a beautiful vineyard setting. Further along at Coal River Farm you can watch the Chocolate Alchemy Master make seasonal sweetness, sample the artisan cheese, and watch the pig wrangling.
On to Richmond Village where the quaint streetscape looks largely unchanged since the 1820s when it was set up as a convict station and military outpost. Well-preserved Georgian buildings now house galleries, boutiques, and cosy accommodation. Thick walls and warm cafes will draw any visitor in from the wintery cobblestoned streets. Oh, and there’s the oldest bridge in Australia with plenty of hungry ducks in the river below.
On the topic of bridges, stop by Spiky Bridge on the way to Swansea. Blink and you’ll miss the turn off. Convicts built the bridge in 1843 and rumour has it that it was to stop the cows from toppling off the side. True? Maybe?
Then for true coastal indulgence head to Rocky Hills Retreat. After all, who doesn’t like a steamy hot Huon pine outdoor bath on a winter’s eve?
Swansea to Coles Bay
Pull back the curtains at Rocky Hills and take in the spectacular view. It’s time for Wineglass. Not the kind from last night, but Wineglass Bay. Winter delivers some of the calmest seafaring conditions so it’s the ideal time to go on a Wineglass Bay Cruise. The cruise departs at 10am and is four hours of enclosed (unless you want to head out on deck) water-based adventure. There might be sea eagles nesting, pods of dolphins and passing whales. Wineglass Bay sparkles on a sunny winter’s day.
After the cruise, let the wind blow through your hair on a Friendly Beaches wander. Don’t be surprised if you’re the only one on the beach aside from a local with a fishing rod. Windswept and open, empty and raw, this is the east coast’s version of friendly.
After your saunter, visit Gala Estate in Cranbrook. There’s a curious backstory at Gala, well worth pondering over their fine 2013 Constable Amos pinot noir. The estate dates back to 1821 when Scotsman James Amos was granted land and now, seven generations on, the family continues to farm his land.
Tonight, settle in to a Spa Cabin or brand new Coastal Pavillion at Freycinet Lodge and enjoy a Tasmanian Food and Wine experience – a dreamy virtual taster through the region without leaving the warmth of the log fire. Or if it’s serious luxury you’re after, check-in to Saffire Freycinet. Lie in bed and take in the stunning views of the surrounding water and bush, or soak in the tub with a glass of bubbles.
Coles Bay to Bay of Fires or Hobart
Before you leave Freycinet, pull over for fresh seafood at Freycinet Marine Farm. Oysters and mussels are harvested daily at the farm along with abalone, rock lobster, sea urchins, scallops and other salty goodies harvested by nearby fishermen.
Still curious? Instead of heading back to Hobart, time your short stay around 9-11 June and head north for the Bay of Fires Winter Festival. Follow the winding arts trail, join a writer’s workshop or opt for an intimate music session. Got skills behind a barbecue? Sign up for the King of the Kettle Competition. It’s hosted by the Tasmanian Barbecue Society. Yes, there’s such a thing. What better place to fire up a barbie than the Bay of Fires?