Someone scoffed at my suggestion I could name ten good reasons to visit Carrick in northern Tasmania. “That small town?”. They even went so far as to place a wager, betting on my failure. Now I’m not a regular gambler as such; but nothing spurs me on like being told I can’t do something. Challenge accepted.

Visit Carrick - Archer's Folly (1847)

Visit Carrick: Archer’s Folly (1847)

Ten Good Reasons to Visit Carrick

Reasons to visit Carrick… let me count the ways.

1. Carrick Park Pacing Club: Trotting off to The Races

The Carrick Park Pacing Club is a quiet place between meets. There’s just a few sheds, a couple of stables and a big, flat track. But in February 2013, the club celebrated the 99th annual Carrick Cup. Judging by the line-up of entertainment organised by the committee for that event, the centenary staging will absolutely go off. Sounds like a good reason to visit Carrick to me. And I’m off and racing!

Visit Carrick - Park Pacing Club

Carrick Park Pacing Club

2. Tasmanian Copper and Metal Art Gallery

On my last visit to Carrick, I had planned to meet owners Tom and Gail Marik at their Tasmanian Copper and Metal Art Gallery, straight across the road from my accommodation at Hawthorn Villa Stables in Church Street. However, I was running late after a particularly long lunch aboard the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship in Hobart. Then Tom was called out to assist the local fire brigade and Gail had the kids to collect from school… and I missed my opportunity. Next time!

Visit Carrick - Tasmanian Copper and Metal Art Gallery

Tasmanian Copper and Metal Art Gallery, Carrick

3. The Mill Inn: Old but New Dining Experience

Now there’s an interesting-looking building. The Mill Inn is located immediately behind Hawthorn Villa Stables on the Meander Valley Highway. There’s not much I can tell you about the place just yet, because it’s been closed for renovations for quite some time. There’s rumours afoot that the place will be re-opening sometime soon, and will be serving a variety of meals in several dining rooms. But you know Think Tasmania… we need to see it, before we believe it.

Visit Carrick - The Mill Inn

The Mill Inn, Carrick

4. The Carrick Inn: Drink in the Tasmanian History

You might think this is cheating, adding the local pub. Can that be a valid addition to my list? After all, you can grab a pint in any old town. Well, I’m not averse to the idea of a quiet drink or two; but that’s not the sole reason for the hotel’s inclusion. Rather than cheating, I’ve actually combined what could be two good reasons to visit Carrick into one: the hotel AND the other old buildings in town.

According to Nicole and Innes Pearce from Hawthorn Villa, the Carrick Inn has a fine collection of old photographs showing the town’s colonial buildings. Many of the Carrick buildings are listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register including the Carrick Inn Hotel (1833), the Old Watchhouse (1837), Carrick House (1840),  Monds Roller Mill (1846) and St Andrew’s Church (1848).

Visit Carrick - Inn, Local Hotel

The Carrick Inn: collection of photographs

5. Entally Estate: More Old Buildings to Explore

I did briefly visit Entally Estate during my last trip to Carrick, but only to deliver an historic print donated by a lovely Think Tasmania reader. Next time, I’d like to allocate a leisurely hour or two and tour Entally House, the outbuildings and the beautiful gardens. Located in Hadspen, Entally Estate totally counts as a reason to visit Carrick, given it’s just 6kms up the road.

Visit Carrick - Entally Estate, Hadspen

Entally Estate, Hadspen Tasmania

6. Carrick Speedway: Australian Titles

Not quite so leisurely perhaps, but still a highlight of the town… Carrick Speedway. In fact, die-hard motor-racing fans would already know the 50th Anniversary Formula 500 Australian Speedway Championship Title (what a mouthful) will be held in the town of Carrick, 28-30 March 2013. The event has attracted a field of 50 cars, apparently a “who’s who” of Formula 500 drivers from all over Australia. 15 heats kick off on the Friday, weather permitting.

Visit Carrick - Speedway

Carrick Speedway

7. The Happy Chef: Fine Dining at Longford

Longford is only 13kms from Carrick, so I’m claiming that as close enough! A short drive will have you dining at one of the region’s most respected restaurants called The Happy Chef. From my first-hand experience, I can share with you one piece of advice… book in advance. Yes, I have to visit Carrick again to actually sample the food, because I missed the opportunity the first time around. Note to self: must be more organised.

Visit Carrick - The Happy Chef, Longford

The Happy Chef: Longford

8. Tasmanian Devil in the Wild

Not long ago, some locals were attempting to trap and relocate a feral cat in Carrick, but they caught something entirely different in their trap… a Tasmanian Devil. I’ve seen plenty of Tasmanian Devils at wildlife parks around Tasmania, but never a wild version. This one was reportedly healthy, with no signs of the dreaded facial tumour disease. That is such great news and a very exciting prospect.

Visit Carrick - Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian Devil

9. Trout Fishing: Liffey, Meander and South Esk Rivers

While I’m on the subject of Tasmanian wildlife, I should mention the popular sport of trout fishing. Carrick is located on the banks of the Liffey River, which flows from the Great Western Tiers to the Meander River (also nearby). The junction of the Liffey River with the South Esk River near my little town (okay, okay, so it’s not strictly “mine”) is said to be a good place to catch a wild trout for dinner.

Visit Carrick - Trout Fishing

Trout fishing (photo by Carol Haberle)

10. Antique Store: Something Old, Something New!

I’ve heard another rumour about Carrick that I’m hoping turns out to be true; an antique store has been mooted for one of the historic buildings in the main street, near the pub. Wouldn’t that be great? Launceston, the capital of the Tamar Valley region in Tasmania is only 20kms away; but to have some unique shops and dining venues right on the doorstep for tourists and locals to enjoy would make the town even more inviting.

Visit Carrick - Heritage Buildings

Heritage buildings: Carrick Tasmania

Visit Carrick. Should I Go On?

It’s taken me no time at all to hammer out this list of ten reasons to visit Carrick. Towards the end, I even had to start culling some of my ideas to condense the article a bit. We mentioned Hadspen and Longford (lots more reasons to visit there too) and claimed them as near enough. The small but interesting village of Hagley is 9kms west of Carrick, with Westbury not much further. And then there’s Deloraine (see the Yarns Artwork in Silk and the Deloraine and Districts Folk Museum) and a plethora of other places within reach. But maybe we’ll save them for another day.

I’m really wishing now that I’d accepted not just the challenge to name ten reasons to visit Carrick, but the actual bet. Never mind… feeling a sense of smug satisfaction is pretty good in itself. Oh I’m such a smarty pants! This particular Doubting Thomas didn’t realise that Hawthorn Villa Stables boasts a very active Facebook page, and the ideas have just been falling into my lap. I have barely had to lift a finger. So there!

Hawthorn Villa is at 1 Church Street in Carrick in northern Tasmania. Email Innes and Nicole Pearce or phone (03) 6393 6150 for bookings. We stayed at Hawthorn Villa Stables as guests for Think Tasmania.

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