Tasmania you beautiful Apple Isle. With your devils, your city at the foot of a snow capped mountain, your stunning world heritage wilderness, your Jack Jumpers, your ruggedly spectacular coastline and your rich dark history you are a wish come true.
I always find as soon as I set foot on Tassie soil, I have an unwavering belief I will be living there one day. I have been to Tasmania many many times, more times than I can count and I know, even on the bitterly coldest and greyest of mornings I could wake up every day in this pure raw landscape. In the meantime however, I will continue to skim across its lovely surface, never staying too long in just one place……
This trip was a little different for me as my travel companion for seven days was my Mum. It was her first trip to Tasmania and I was not only honoured to share this uniquely wonderful place with her but we also had the opportunity to spend some quality time together.
We haven’t had a trip together since both Mum and lovely Grasshopper came to stay with us in America during 2014. On that occasion, the three of us did a great road trip to Savannah and for the remainder of their time there, we skulked around the smooth southern state of Georgia.
For our Tassie adventure, we based ourselves in Battery Point. With its winding streets, swanky real estate in beautiful historic homes, clever little cafes and positioned close to the city and the harbour and Salamanca Place, Battery Point was perfect.
The weather was faultless during our time there. Low clouds chased themselves across the big cornflower blue skies and although at times the cold goose-pimpled our skin, it was all very doable.
We packed an awful lot into this trip so I will touch gently on each destination because from the moment we landed until the moment we flew out, we did little other than road trip and explore. And first stop straight off the plane was Richmond.
Home to the famous Richmond Bridge which was built in 1823, this pretty picture-postcard village is filled with lavender ice-cream, glorious magnolia blossom, tea shops and galleries. Built by convict labor and situated about 25k north-east of Hobart, Richmond is a good starting point for all things Tasmanian.
The ‘keeper of the bridge’ cat. A lovely, friendly and superbly handsome snowball of fluff.
Next stop en route to our accommodation was the harbour.
Surrounded by historic waterfront warehouses, ghost signs, cray pots and smelling of the deep sea, the iconic Constitution Dock is a must. With its moored fishing and sail boats, tall ships and floating seafood vendors there is no better place to sample the famous Tassie scallop and chips.
Mt Wellington, the foothills of which hold much of the Hobart township, presented itself snow capped and magnificent. This imposing mountain is continually buffeted by gale force winds yet the stunning views are always well worth a bad hair day.
It was so blustery Mum was blown back onto the bonnet of the car ……..where she stayed to take her photos from, not that she had much choice in the matter! At this stage, the winds had become so strong I could not open the car door and walking was made near impossible.
Needing to thaw out, we stopped half way down the mountain at a recycled shipping container café called Lost Freight. At this lovely eco- conscience spot, we wrapped our frozen fingers around flat whites and fueled up on lush chocolate brownies.
Tasmania is made for self-drive road trips and although this state doesn’t look that big on a map, it is very deceiving. We did a couple of good longs trips. One where we spent almost an entire day traversing from Hobart through Margate, Kettering, Woodbridge, Gordon, Eggs and Bacon Bay and Cygnet. The other was in the opposite direction as we headed out toward Freycinet National Park.
There are little to no roads which have long, clear straight runs as most wind about mountain ranges or hug the magnificent coast line so the drives are often slow paced yet oh so enjoyable.
We stopped in at historic townships of Devonshire teas, stone churches, produce stores, second hand book shops, markets and galleries. Tiny places big on community spirit but long forgotten in the main stream of leading tourist destinations. In Cygnet I purchased a lovely cat shaped brooch which looks like tortoise shell but is not, an old book and some locally grown fruit.
We passed fruit orchards, vineyards and sun yellowed wheat fields. We saw huge paddocks of lavender and watched as cattle and sheep grazed upon the fertile farmland. We hugged the craggy coastline, passed through dense forestry and drove on roads pressed hard up between mountains and rivers
With over 300 stalls and always busy, the Salamanca Markets are an absolute haven for talented designers, artists, collaborators, collectors, bakers, cooks, flower growers, wood workers, grinders and roasters, fresh produce growers and eccentrics. Open every Saturday from 8am.
From Sauvignon Blanc to scallops, whisky to winsome gins, Pinots to pork, coffee to Cabernet and throw in a thriving craft brew scene, a gastronome will do no better than head to Tasmania.
Part II coming soon……..