Lori Mancell is no stranger to the Tasmanian holiday itinerary, having already shared an earlier travel plan she designed for friends. This time, she’s “just whizzed together the details” of some of her favourite spots in Tasmania for some lucky friends who will be visiting this great place soon. She has also shared with Think Tasmania, hoping others will have fun exploring the ‘little island’ she calls home.
My Little Island: Such a Great Place
by Lori Mancell
In making this list, I’ve left sooo many great things out, but I don’t want you rushing from one destination to another. I think you should be pretty busy, have a great time!
Day One – Arrive in Tasmania; Day in the North
Arrive in Devonport and drive off the boat, head to ‘The Laneway’ cafe for breakfast. Once you’ve enjoyed a good coffee, head for Latrobe, stop at either Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm or The Cherry Shed for some local produce, and since you’re off to such a healthy start there will be no problem visiting the House of Anvers for chocolate truffles or Ashgrove Cheese to set the tone for a food indulgent weekend!
Keep driving till you’re in Latrobe and put on your big kid boots to visit somewhere a little bit crazy: Reliquarie. Rumour has it that a local Latrobe family won lotto, and they decided to turn their winnings into something fun which would put Latrobe on the map. It certainly worked, it’s an interesting place to wander round, well worth a look! (I know you’re travelling with boys, trust me there is something for them too!)
Head south to Sheffield for a stroll amongst the murals. They’re a little bit vintage but they’re a nice way to break up the drive and if you’re peckish yet you can stop at the Blacksmith Gallery and Café for simple rustic food, or head to the Cradle Mountain Candy Company store for a sweet treat.
If you’re keen you can stop in Westbury for a visit to the maze – good luck getting out! Head from Westbury to Launceston to enjoy the afternoon in Tassie’s second largest city. My favourite place to eat in Launceston is the Stillwater Café, it’s a great place to enjoy a Tassie white or bubbles and watch an afternoon go by! For something more casual there is always fish and chips on the waterfront/esplanade, or the Metz is a Launceston institution.
However, if you’re still keen to get out and about, visit Cataract Gorge; there are heaps of nice walking trails and it’s a great place to soak up some sun and a really lovely cable car ride if you’re keen. Just in case you’re still under-caffeinated, they have a nice café too. For dinner both The Black Cow and the Jailhouse Grill do awesome steak. The whole day will only involve about two hours’ worth of driving, plenty of time between the sights, no need to rush the drive!
Day Two – Fun in the North East
While I’m sure there are plenty of great breakfast spots in Launceston, my advice would be to snatch a coffee and ‘hit the road’ today. On the way to Hollybank, there are plenty of nice roadside cafés to stop grab a quick bite. It’s only about 20 minutes from the Launie CBD to the Hollybank Treetop Adventure!
Hollybank has Tasmania’s zipline adventure between the treetops. You’re really high up, you’re all strapped in, so you can’t fall, but when you go zooming through the trees it’s quite exhilarating. For those that want it a little tamer, there are also Segway tours along the forest floor. And the whole area is just beautiful, so it’s nice to go there just for that.
You could head back to Launceston or visit Seahorse World (Beauty Point) to unwind, or get your zen back (after the whizz through the trees) by visiting the Bridestowe Lavender Farm. It’s a beautiful place to take photos and while I don’t love their lavender ice cream, both the ice cream and Bobbie the Bear are somewhat famous – a local will probably tell you the story (unsolicited), so I will leave that unsaid for now! You can grab a simple lunch from Bridestowe, turn back and head for the Tamar Valley wineries, or keep going onward to Bridport.
Bridport is kinda what you get when you have beach hippies in a cold climate. It has a nice beach and is a nice place to stop for lunch, but there isn’t that much else there. Bridport isn’t a ‘must see’, unless you’re keen on golf, then you must see both Barnbougle and the Lost Farm, they are apparently amazing golf courses – but I wouldn’t know, I don’t play golf! Lost Farm does have a day spa, maybe send the boys off for 9 holes while you visit the spa? There is also a great bar you can enjoy a vino if they want to play the full 18!
The most convenient route back happens to be past the Tamar Valley wine region, in particular Pipers Brook. Cheers! Only 2.5 hours of driving.
Day Three – Visit Cradle Mountain
It will take you about 2.5 hours to get to Cradle Mountain from Launie. It’s tough driving, and there are lots of critters in the National Park. I would suggest you leave Launie by 8:00am, and leave Cradle by 3:30pm to make the driving a little easier. Keep an eye for out for wombats en route, they really love the local button grass!
When you enter the Cradle Mountain National Park, before you get to the actual mountain or the famous lodge, stop in at the ‘Devil’s @ Cradle’ to meet our most famous furry critters, and super cute quolls. They do a short feeding tour at about 11:00am (from memory) which is great to watch.
I would stop at the Cradle Mountain Lodge for lunch, and do the short Enchanted Walk (20 minutes) before you head to the base of Cradle Mountain. While the Visitors Information Centre has lots of information regarding all the walk options, I think the nicest short walk is the Dove Lake walk. It takes about 2.5 hours. If you want to extend your walk you can go up to Kitchen Hut, there are some lovely views that way too. The walk up ‘the Tarn’ is quite strenuous so make sure you’re well packed if you plan to take that route. Enjoy your time in that beautiful place!
If the weather is terrible, the Wilderness Photo Gallery is really lovely and a nice place to walk around for a few hours; hopefully that will give clouds time to clear. I hope you get a beautiful day! Maybe try Novaro’s restaurant when you’re back in Launceston for dinner?
Day Four – Launceston to Hobart
From Launceston head south today, make sure you stop about half-way into the drive, in the quaint town of Oatlands, it’s tiny, heritage, and adorable. There are a few cute things to see. You could take the tour of the Callington Mill, where flour is still made the old way by a working windmill; they run frequent tours. And check out Casaveen Knitwear, which is also a nice spot to stop for lunch, and you will be able to stock up on woollens if you didn’t pack enough! (P.S. I love, love, love the Casaveen merino socks, they’re AMAZING!!! Don’t put them in the dryer; that ends in tragedy!). Then head further south, it’s about an hour and 15mins to Hobart from Oatlands.
Now you’re in Hobart, head to your accommodation and check in, then head out for a casual stroll along on the waterfront. If you want to keep it casual, stop for fish and chips at the wharf. Mures Lower Deck is a great option. Don’t worry, it’s not the greasy battered stuff, you’ll get great seafood here! Mures is located at Victoria Dock, right where Hobart meets the sea, it’s very easy to get to, because it’s on the main road into Hobart, where the highway joins Davey Street. And if you’re staying in Salamanca, it’s walking distance to your accommodation.
If you’ve still got lots of energy, take a quick drive up Mount Wellington. Make sure you’re rugged up because it’s always cold and windy up there! There is a nice lookout and a walking track you can walk around.
There are just so many great dinner options in Hobart, I LOVE Suwan Thai food, it’s hidden up a staircase on Salamanca so have fun finding it! Otherwise there is Smolt for salmon or Mezethes is great Greek food, both in Salamanca. If it’s still warm out hunt out some handmade ice-cream in Salamanca, there are about three places that sell it – good luck with all the funky flavours!
Day Five – Hobart to Port Arthur; Afternoon in Salamanca
Visiting Port Arthur always seems like a big day, there is a cruise out to Port Arthur (which is a nice way to see the Derwent River and coastline) if you want to do something different. It’s an amazing place to walk around, the day tours are really well done. It’s very easy to spend most of the day there, and if you want to stay till really late, the night tour is actually scary as all get out!
It can be heavy going to spend a lot of time at Port Arthur, which is why, if you have the time you should unwind by either stopping at the wineries which are on your way home and Barilla Bay is a great place to enjoy oysters! If you haven’t had your fill of heritage beauty you can stop in at the historic town of Richmond, there are lots of cute shops and foodie stops there, plus the Richmond bridge is one of the most photographed places in Tassie; there are always ducks on the river, it’s very idyllic.
Alternatively you can spend a late afternoon strolling down Salamanca if you want to, there are lots of boutique shops (including one that sells possum-fur garments) and art galleries. Salamanca has lots of hidden gems, enjoy fossicking for them! If you’re looking for a local tipple you can visit my favourite watering hole, the Lark distillery, other great options include the Nant or Grape bars.
Day Six – A Day Trip to Bruny Island
You’ll need to get up early to drive to the Bruny Island Ferry stop at Kettering, it can be very busy during peak tourist season. You park on the ferry so you’ll have your car with you for the day. When you get to the ferry stop there is a small café which does a good breakfast and has a nice view down the river. The ferry ride is a little slow, everyone gets out of their cars, walks to the side of the boat to take photos overboard. If you’re really lucky you might see dolphins, seals or sea eagles.
There are so many things to do at Bruny. I love stopping at the BISH ‘Bruny Island Smoke House’ and the Bruny Island Cheese Company (Telstra’s Business of the Year in 2013), the Bruny Island Berry Farm (they do great ice cream) and there is always ‘Get Shucked’ for oysters out of the back of a *dodgy looking caravan; trust me, the oysters are great. Oh, and more wineries!
There are lots of walks you can do to various lookouts and lighthouses. Make sure you stop in at the beautiful Adventure Bay, and make sure you walk up the boardwalk track of stairs at the isthmus locally known as “The Neck” which gives you a beautiful view. There are lots of beaches to walk along (and if you’re feeling brave, a swim!), maybe play with a soccer or footy? Make sure you stop to look at the exposed kelp forests at low tide, they’re really beautiful. There are kayaking, boating and cycling options too, and make sure you stop to see the white Bennett’s wallaby, they’re quite cute.
The only tough thing about Bruny Island is making sure you’re on the ferry to get home, you won’t want to leave! There is quite reasonable accommodation on the island, but if you’re planning on staying, book now; it does book out really fast! If you can stay overnight, the isthmus is one of the best Fairy Penguin viewing sites after dark, pack your woollens and a torch, it will be an exciting night for the little ones. Camping here is lots of fun, they have reasonable toilet and shower facilities at Adventure Bay. It’s only a thirty minute drive to the ferry point, but it’s a good idea to get in early.
Day Seven – Enjoy Hobart; Visit MONA
To start the day, grab a very hearty breakfast at the Machine Laundry Café in Salamanca, they helpfully combine a café and a laundromat. Feel free to bring in your laundry and wash while you have breakfast, and don’t worry, they have dryers too. If the ‘Laundry’ is full, try the Retro Café just down the lane instead, though what to do with your dirty clothes I don’t know!
And now a trip to MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art… you’ll either love it or hate it. While you can drive to MONA, it’s nicer to take the ferry that leaves from Victoria Wharf. A bit of history on MONA, David Walsh, the guy that owns the place, is a mathematical genius, who made so much money at casinos he’s now banned from all of them, he’s banned from Every. Single. Casino. In. The. World. So after having his favourite pastime – gambling – taken away from him, he went into the alcohol business. He started the boutique beer craze in Australia. His beer ‘Moo Brew’ is available to buy all through Tassie, and you really need to try some before you leave! After facing some stiff competition from Lion Nathan, he decided to diversify, and created a sex-themed wine range. He made oodles of money from that, and so he built MONA, which is free to enter for anyone with a Tasmanian drivers licence. Sorry, you’ll have to pay!
As you walk around you will get the feel that David has a thing for all of life’s vices! While there are some exhibits that aren’t PG, they’re in the one area that’s well signed so you won’t frighten the little ones by accident. MONA is built onto Moorilla Estate, the vineyard. They have a great café and restaurant, the place is designed so that people can crash out on the lawns, and recover from the MONA experience! There are beautiful grounds at MONA, make sure you take the time to walk round.
I would suggest going up to the Signal Station for lunch, it’s a 15 minute drive from the CBD of Hobart, at the top of Mount Nelson. I love the Signal Station, it’s a great place to perch for an entire afternoon drinking a glass of white and watching the ships go in and out of Hobart.
For dinner, you can’t really go too far wrong! Aside from the places already mentioned, I can also suggest The Drunken Admiral, The Raincheck Lounge or Mures Upper Deck. And make sure you try a local beer or two – Boags in the North, Cascade in the South! And maybe local ciders!
Day Eight – From Hobart to Devonport
Enjoy taking your time driving from Hobart back to Devonport, stop in at anywhere I’ve mentioned previously, or maybe visit the Fullers Bookshop and café to pick the little ones up a book to read in the car on the way back to Devonport. The bookshop is a really nice place to potter around. If you stop just outside Hobart at Brighton the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is a really lovely place. Being Australian we’ve all had our fair share of kangaroo feeds, but Bonorong does a great job of keeping you interested and the staff are really fantastic!
Press on up the Midlands Highway, stopping at any of the places you missed on the way down, to refresh your memory and pallet try either Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm or The Cherry Shed for some local produce, or possibly the House of Anvers for chocolate truffles and Ashgrove Cheese.
To bring out your inner ‘big kid’ you could visit World of Marbles in Sheffield or the Tasmanian Kaleidoscope Company in Evandale, both of which are most of the way towards your destination.
You could briefly stop at the Spreyton Cider company, they have non-alcoholic cider for the little ones, or the Latrobe Platypus Experience. I’m not into antiques but the Antique Emporium in Devonport actually gets rave reviews from non-shoppers and is apparently really worth a look.
If you’ve got time up your sleeve before the boat leaves, head further along the coast to the groovy little town of Penguin, the actual penguin at Penguin isn’t that impressive, but the waterfront is nice, and Penguin has a great café called *Wild to grab a late lunch or afternoon tea, if you’ve got room to spare!
You should always get to the boat reasonably early so I don’t want to suggest any more things to do, but there are just so many more options, you’ll have to come back!
Have a great time!
*Lori might be in for a few surprises herself when next she travels Tasmania. Get Shucked have a funky new premises on Bruny Island, and we fear Wild Cafe has been renamed and relocated from Penguin. But we so loved this ambitious itinerary, we wanted to book an eight-day holiday ourselves! There’s a “great place” or two mentioned that we haven’t had the good fortune to visit ourselves yet.
Thanks to Lori for another wonderful contribution. She is always so passionate about Tassie and is generous to share her thoughts with all our readers. Of course, this itinerary is a reflection of Lori’s personal opinions, and you may have other ideas. You are welcome to leave a respectful comment with additional thoughts. Feel free to join our community; everyone here is blessed with a similar interest… and that is, to Think Tasmania!
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