I’m a 26-year-old Tasmanian expat and I often encourage friends to visit Tassie on holidays. Two girlfriends of mine (twin sisters aged 28) and their older cousin (early 30s) are going to be visiting in March 2014 for my wedding. They’re tacking an extra week onto their visit and I put together this Tasmanian holiday itinerary for them as a “must do” list. I thought it might also be useful for other Think Tasmania readers.
Seven Day Tasmanian Holiday Itinerary
by Lori Mancell
I’ve just whizzed together the details of some of my favourite spots in Tasmania. I hope you have fun exploring the ‘little island’ that I call home.
Some notes about accommodation…
Launceston is a funny little city. It’s oddly shaped, and tucked down in a valley, so accommodation is strewn along the river in all sorts of spots. Launie doesn’t really have much of a CBD, but since it’s all so close, staying anywhere will probably be fine. You’ll need a hire car (the public transport is terrible) and invest in a GPS. When in Hobart, I really encourage you to stay at Salamanca or in the very centre of the CDB. It will mean you have a much easier and fun time! March is tourist season so make sure you book accommodation early and book seats in restaurants and on any tours. Best of luck!
In making this list, I’ve left sooo many great things out (like Cradle Mountain) but I don’t want you rushing from one destination to another. If you don’t like the sound of any days in particular, let me know and I will suggest something else. I think you should be pretty busy. Have a great time!
Day One – Arrive and Enjoy Launceston
Driving from Launceston airport to the CBD will take about 20 minutes. Head to your accommodation, and then head out to lunch at Stillwater Café and Restaurant. I presume you will want to start the food off on a high note! Stillwater has won best restaurant in Tasmania more than once. The produce is amazing, and they have a quirky little shop/gallery upstairs.
Address: Ritchie’s Mill, 2 Bridge Rd, Launceston
Relax in the afternoon by going for a wander at Launceston’s Cataract Gorge at the end of Basin Road, about 15 minutes from the city. It will stay light until quite late, so maybe pack a picnic (and definitely pack the bug spray). At The Gorge, aside from the view, there are some lovely short walks and a public swimming pool. There’s also the longest chair lift ride in the southern hemisphere, and a café/restaurant with a tourist information centre.
If you’re keen for some more fine dining (though there is lots of that to come!) go to Novaros Italian Restaurant for dinner.
Address: 28 Brisbane Street, Launceston
Day Two – Wine Tour, Tamar Valley
There are 32 vineyards in the Tamar Valley area… stopping at them all might be a little ambitious! Just spend the day venue-hopping and have lunch along the way.
The Tamar Valley Wine Route website is great, it has all the details of all the wineries in the area. I think the best thing to do would be to pick three or four of your favourite types of wines, and then match your travels to those. My picks: I love the Tasmanian Gewurztraminers (try pronouncing that after a few glasses! “Guh-vurts-tra-meaner”) and Sparkling, maybe finish with a dessert wine?
Most places you stop at will have both nibble platters and lunch options. This is a great day for grazing.
All the wineries are all within an hour’s driving radius so you shouldn’t have any troubles finding a place to stop. Trust me, the more important thing will be the bathroom! This is also a great day to loll on the grass and relax. By the end of the day I hope you’ve been able to unwind. Because tomorrow it starts to get active. Cheers!
Day Three – From Launceston to Hobart via Fun!
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 and grab a quick bite. It’s only about 20 minutes from the Launie CBD to the Hollybank Treetop Adventure!
Address: 66 Hollybank Road, Hollybank
Hollybank has Tasmania’s only 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 who want things 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.
From Hollybank I would head south; keep going, keep going, keeeeeeep going… I’m exaggerating! It’s only about an hour and a half until you get to the charming town of Oatlands. The town of Oatlands is about as close to the opposite of Singapore as you can get. It’s tiny, heritage and adorable. You should take the tour of Callington Mill, where flour is still made the old way (they run frequent tours).
Make sure you check out Casaveen Knitwear, which is also a nice spot to stop for lunch. 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 though; that only ends in tragedy.) Then head further south, it’s about another hour and 15 minutes to Hobart from Oatlands. Now that you’re in Hobart, head to your accommodation. Maybe grab a shower after the long drive and then head out for a casual dinner on the waterfront.
If you want to keep it casual, stop for fish and chips at the warf. Mures Lower Deck is a great option. Don’t worry, it’s not the greasy battered stuff, you’ll get great seafood there! 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.
Day Four – A Day Trip to the Deep South
Tasmanians who aren’t from Huonville, call Huonville – named after the beautiful pine trees – Hippyville – renamed after the local inhabitants. As long as you can forgive the distinct aroma of Nag Champa incense, there is something very appealing about the organic food and very nature-orientated lifestyle that is lived, and loved, in this part of the island. “In love and light”…
There are lots of adorable BnB’s in Huonville, and they’re cheaper than accommodation in Hobart. If you’re happy to move hotel rooms, maybe stay the night down there just for something different?
Huonville is only 30 minutes south of Hobart; wandering down the main street is an experience. It’s here I would find breakfast, there are a zillion small places to stop. There will be organic, hormone free, antibiotic free, free range eggs as far as the eye can see. You may or may not be able to get free range bacon – that depends on the ethos of the café owners. The tomatoes will actually taste like tomatoes; and give the Huon Valley mushrooms a try. (To be clear, I’m not encouraging illegal activity. There is a breed of edible, non-hallucinogenic, mushrooms from the Huon Valley).
Some café options are (and no, these places don’t have websites, you Gen Y!)
- The Crooked Cottage Café (183 Main Road, Huonville)
- Huon Manor Bistro (1 Short Street, Huonville)
- Two Birds Café (4 Wilmot Road, Huonville)
- The Boathouse Café (3 The Esplanade, Huonville)
From Huonville, drive south for about 60 minutes, to the Tahune Airwalk. There are lots of short walks through the Tahune forest. Go native and hug a tree, or just walk above the treetops; it’s an incredibly beautiful place. Make sure your camera is charged. The Eagle Glide (you’re clipped into a seat) is very gentle and a lot of fun. Going back to Hobart will take you under two hours.
I must recommend the best restaurant in Tasmania: Garagistes. It opens at 6.00pm (on weekdays) and being there at 6.00pm is the only way you’re guaranteed a seat. They will not take bookings for anybody. It’s rumoured the Premier couldn’t get a booking and was standing in line at 6.00pm with everybody else! They have ‘long table dining’ so you don’t know who you’ll be sitting next to. Also, they don’t really give you food options. They bring you three or five courses, that’s the only choice you get to make. Be brave!
Day Five – A Little Bit Different
Dress a bit ‘out there’ today, because I’m sending you into the heart of Hobart’s alternative culture. It gets a little weird, so put on your big girl boots before you go! To start the day, grab a very hearty breakfast at the Machine Laundry Café in Salamanca. They helpfully combine a café and a laundromat, so 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 you’ll do then 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 Warf.
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 oddles of money from that, and so he built MONA, which is free to enter for anyone with a Tasmanian drivers licence. Sorry, you guys will have to pay! As you walk around you’ll get the feel that David Walsh has a thing for all of life’s vices!
MONA is built on Moorilla Estate, the vineyard his sex-themed wine comes from. They have a great café and restaurant, the place is designed so 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.
To cap off the alternative day I suggest dinner at the Raincheck Lounge in North Hobart. North Hobart is Tassie’s Lygon Street, and you’re in for a big meal. This place often has live music; the Raincheck gets loud, so have fun! If there is no live music there, just wander down the street. You’re bound to find someone playing. And if you don’t like the sound of what you hear… keep walking. There will be somewhere else!
Day Six – a Day to Relax and Rejuvenate
Have breakfast at Ethos, it’s a beautiful spot just up from the centre of town.
Address: 100 Elizabeth St, Hobart
In the morning, visit the top of Mount Wellington. Trust me, you will need a very warm coat. There may even be snow on top… no kidding! Thankfully there’s a glass lookout, and there are lots of short walks. From the CBD it takes about 20 minutes to drive to the top.
After Mount Wellington, drive up to the town of Maydena and visit the Eagle Eyrie. This place will show you what it means to be truly alone on top of the world. They have a Top of the World Tour, which runs from 11:00am to 3.30pm. Its selling point is its remoteness. Maydena is 90 minutes from the Hobart CBD, so you will need to factor that into your travels.
I always enjoy dinner at Solicit in North Hobart. Again, there is the bonus of live music in North Hobart. But if it’s been a huge day already, you might want to grab something in Salamanca instead. Maybe Smolt if you’re keen for salmon; try Maldini for Italian or Mezethes for Greek. You could always have dinner at Suwan Thai Restaurant; it’s so yummy, and not that expensive. Suwan is on the Salamanca strip, it’s hidden up a set of stairs but they usually have a sign out the front.
Address: Level 2, 33 Salamanca Place, Battery Point.
Then I would suggest a night-cap downstairs (on the same strip) at one or all of the following…
- The Quarry (make sure you go to the bathroom here, two-way mirrors, funny!)
- Grape (surprisingly, a wine bar)
- BarCelona (my personal favourite)
Day Seven – Your Last Day, Just a Little Indulgence
I suggest you eat breakfast at Ethos again. It’s that good, you’ll want to go twice. Otherwise anywhere in Salamanca is good.
Address: 210 Old Bernies Road, Margate
If that’s a little too indulgent, visit the Savoy Baths. It’s not as extravagant. Their pool/spa is only $35 and it’s right in the heart of Hobart which is very convenient.
Address: 38 Elizabeth Street, Hobart (just down the road from Ethos)
For lunch I would suggest going up to the Signal Station. It’s a 15 minute drive from 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 wine and watching the ships go in and out of Hobart.
Address: 700 Nelson Road, Mount Nelson
For the end of the day relax at the water front; visit the small galleries along Salamanca; pick up some produce at the stores in Hobart; pack your bags and ready for home. If you’re still in town for dinner, here is one last spot that’s rather special: Henry’s Restaurant. It’s within the fabulous Henry Jones Art Hotel (it’s where the PM stays when he’s is in Hobart). It’s walking distance from Salamanca and would be a great way to end your visit.
If time permits, when you head to the Hobart Airport stop at Barilla Bay Oysters on the way. It’s a beautiful venue and the oysters… yum! They have other seafood too. It takes about 20 minutes from the Hobart CBD to get to Barilla, and only 15 minutes from Barilla to the airport.
Address: 1388 Tasman Hwy, Cambridge
And that is the Tasmanian holiday itinerary I devised for my friends. If you’re young (say 18 to 25) and you have questions about things to do in Tasmania, feel free to leave a reply below. I’m always happy to volunteer suggestions! ~ Lori Mancell
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