On our trip from Hobart to Ormiston House in Strahan, we stopped several times to break the journey and take in the surrounds. Apart from purchasing petrol in New Norfolk, the first of those breaks was at Tarraleah.
Tarraleah: Halfway Stop, Hobart to Queenstown
To visit Tarraleah, travellers need to leave the Lyell Highway, and detour along Oldina Drive for several kilometres. The small township is part of the Central Highlands region of Tasmania, about 125kms north west of Hobart. It’s almost the same distance (maybe an extra 10kms or so) to Queenstown on the west coast.
The village of Tarraleah was built in the 1930s to service the Hydro Electric Commission, the burgeoning industry generating electricity in Tasmania. The original buildings were home to the officers and management staff of the business. Accompanied by information boards, there’s a terrific lookout over the pipes of the power station as they stretch down the hill to the river below.
Following Oldina Drive will return drivers to Lyell Highway. Wending around the mountainous terrain to the base of the power station and past all the activity left us wishing we had more time to spare. The ingenuity of the industry would be fascinating to uncover in more detail.
Highland Cattle and Lodge Accommodation
Our only vague knowledge of Tarraleah before this west coast trip involved highland cows. We expected to see some of the hairy cattle, and we did. Of course, we couldn’t resist snapping a few photos! The creatures were totally disinterested in our attention, but posed nicely enough for the camera.
We now know that Tarraleah boasts a stylish-looking lodge as well as gorgeous cows. The lodge accommodation is promoted as luxurious, but we can’t confirm or deny that. The former 1930s hydro cottages are also available as holiday houses. They’re painted in pretty pastel colours and face an elegant village green.
Teez Cafe… Coffee in the Snow
We are able to recommend Teez cafe without a moment’s hesitation. The coffee was particularly good, and both the service and the cafe were warm and welcoming. We enjoyed the location so much, we made a point of returning on the journey from Strahan back to Hobart as well. The gift shop is worth browsing as you wait… you can even buy ceramic souvenirs of the highland cows.
According to Teez cafe staff, Tarraleah is popular with tourists, having many outdoor activities and sports close by. Fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and golf all attract visitors to the holiday resort. Think rugged terrain, wilderness and lakes and you’re getting the picture.
Besides the variety of other accommodation, Tarraleah also has a caravan park. We did think the weather may be a little cool for sleeping in a tent. Snow had settled on the outdoor dining tables and more was sprinkled over the green. We were quite enthralled by the pretty environment, snapping photos of the snow. We soon realised the snow at Tarraleah really was just a “sprinkle”.
By the time we arrived at Derwent Bridge, the snow was knee-deep and kept us on high alert for much of the remaining drive to Queenstown. That said, the trip to Strahan included some of the most interesting and scenic parts of Tasmania imaginable. With Lake St Clair National Park, bushwalks, waterfalls and Lake Burbury all en route, there’s no doubting a return visit to the west coast is firmly on the agenda for Think Tasmania.
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