Northern Tasmania – explore the gourmet isle's north
A treasure island for wine and food lovers
By Winsor Dobbin
Tasmania is a treasure island for gourmets with its superb cool-climate wines, fresh produce, great fruits and vegetables and many fine restaurants focusing on seasonal dishes. There is also an excellent selection of places to stay; from luxurious country lodges to cosy bed and breakfasts.
This weekend itinerary takes in some of the many highlights of the northern part of the island state, including the Tamar Valley Wine Route, several gourmet food producers and a couple of great accommodation options.
Stop 1 – Overnight stay and breakfast at Cradle Mountain Lodge
Remote Cradle Mountain Lodge is starkly beautiful; fabulous for bushwalking and wildlife spotting.
There’s a range of luxury cabin accommodation available at several price points and the food in the Highland restaurant is excellent, making use of local produce where possible. There is an excellent cellar. The buffet breakfasts here are legendary and there are regular winemakers’ dinners as well as the annual Tastings at the Top food and wine festival.
4038 Cradle Mountain Road, Cradle Mountain
Phone (03) 6492 2103
Stop 2 – Wine tasting at Barringwood Park
Built from timber milled on the property, the Barringwood Park cellar door overlooks the vines of one the Australia’s coolest-climate vineyards. Visitors can expect a warm welcome from hosts Ian and Judy Robinson and can take taste sparkling wines, pinot noir and chardonnay as well as lesser known varieties like schonburger.
You must taste: There is a good range here but try the IJ Blanc de Blancs bubbly and the outstanding Northbank Chardonnay.
Open: 10am-5pm Wednesday-Sunday and public holidays; closed August
60 Gillams Road, Lower Barrington
Phone (03) 6492 3140
Stop 3 – Tasting at Ashgrove Cheese
The English-style cheeses at Ashgrove Cheese, near Elizabeth Town, are of excellent quality and nearly all are available for tasting. Visitors can also look through a window and see the various cheeses being produced. Another gourmet stop is the Christmas Hill Raspberry Farm just down the road.
6173 Bass Highway, Elizabeth Town
Phone (03) 6368 1105
Stop 4 – Tasting and nature walk at 41 Degrees South Aquaculture
Discover all about salmon farming and ginseng production at this remote family-owned property, where you can sample the produce, go on a self-guided wetlands walk, enjoy waterfall views or simply enjoy light meals and a coffee.
Open: Daily 10am-5pm summer, 10am-4pm winter
323 Montana Road, via Deloraine
Phone (03) 6362 4130
Stop 5 – Lunch at Burger Got Soul
Enjoy arguably Tasmania’s best burgers at this funky and laidback spot on the Charles Street cafe strip on the fringes of downtown Launceston. Eat in or takeaway.
Open: Daily 11am-9pm
243 Charles Street, Launceston
Phone (03) 6334 5204
Stop 6 – Visit to Rocky Gardens Preserves
Head into the Tamar Valley and sample jams, sauces, chutneys and relishes at family-owned and operated Rocky Gardens. Blackcurrants, jostaberries, redcurrants and raspberries are all grown on the farm and quince paste is a recent addition to the range.
Open: By appointment
112 South Bridgenorth Road, Bridgenorth
Phone (03) 6330 2862
Stop 7 – Visit to the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre
Located on the site of a gold mine that dates back to the 19th century, this museum features an extensive collection of mining memorabilia, artefacts and machinery. A series of hands-on, interpretive displays let visitors step back in time and a feature display tells the story of the rock fall on Anzac Day, 2006, which trapped two mineworkers underground for 14 days.
Open: Daily 9.30am-4.30pm
West Street, Beaconsfield
Phone (03) 6383 1473
Stop 8 – Overnight at The River House
The River House, on the eastern bank of the Tamar River, promotes itself as a luxury adult retreat. A boutique 4.5 star river-front bed and breakfast, it is an ideal base from which to explore the vineyards of both the Tamar and Pipers River. There are four guest rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, and a self-catering one-bedroom apartment. There are lovely gardens in which to relax and complementary wifi in all guest rooms.
39 Rostella Road, Dilston
Phone (03) 6328 1319
Stop 9 – Visit to Tamar Valley wineries
There are several excellent winery cellar doors throughout the Tamar valley, including Stoney Rise, Tamar Ridge, Holm Oak and Velo.
There are three partners in the VisitVineyards.com 'wine and food selections for RACT' program (see below for more information): Moores Hill, Three Wishes and Goaty Hill, all producing quality wines from cool-climate fruit.
- Moores Hill – 3343 West Tamar Highway, Sidmouth. Phone (03) 6394 7649 Open: Daily
- Three Wishes – 604 Batman Highway, Hillwood. Phone (03) 6394 8331 Open: Depends on the season but 11am-5pm in summer
- Goaty Hill – Auburn Road, Kayena. Phone (03) 6344 1119. Open: Friday-Sunday 10am-5pm August-May
Stop 10 – Visit the Pinot Shop
Proprietor Michele Round runs one of Australia’s most impressive boutique bottle shops, specialising in pinot noir and pinot gris/grigio, but offering a full range of styles. This is the place to pick up some souvenir bottles of wine from boutique Tasmanian producers.
Open: Monday to Thursday 10-6pm, Friday and Saturday 10-7pm
135 Paterson Street, Launceston
Phone (03) 6331 3977
Stop 11 – Wine Tasting at Josef Chromy
The Josef Chromy cellar door, vineyard and winery is at Relbia, adjacent to Launceston Airport. Grape varieties grown include pinot gris, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, riesling, gewurtztraminer and pinot noir – and all are of very high quality. The cellar door and cafe are located in the estate’s original 1880s homestead and overlook the vineyards and a lake. A 120-seat restaurant is being built and will open in December 2011.
You must try: The Pepik range offers great value for money while the Zdar range features limited-release premium wines.
Open: Daily 10am-5pm
370 Relbia Road, Relbia
Phone (03) 6335 8700
Stop 12 – Lunch at Ut Si Cafe
This former Methodist Church, constructed by convict labourers, has become a de rigueur stop for foodies travelling between Hobart and Launceston. The Georgian style interior is enhanced by regular exhibitions of local art; and the house-baked bread has been known to cause much angst when it sells out. Expect gourmet dishes like pasture-raised beef stew braised in apple cider served with dumplings. The produce here is organic and all meat comes from ethically raised animals.
Open: Daily for breakfast and lunch
86 Main Road, Perth
Phone (03) 6398 1125
And, if you wish, continue south towards Hobart....
Worth a detour:
- Bed in the Treetops
This luxury bed and breakfast is at Binalong Bay on the north-east coast of Tasmania in the Bay of Fires region. Situated on an 80-acre property, it has been constructed using whole Celery Top pine logs and other Tasmanian timbers. There are sweeping ocean view from both the suites, each of which has a spa and can accommodate up to six guests. Each has its own sundeck and private entrance.
- Old Cable Station
Historic Old Cable Station is outside Stanley, in the state’s far north-west, and was once used to send telegraph messages to the mainland. Today, it is a country guesthouse with views of Bass Strait, comfortable modern rooms and a much-loved restaurant. It specialises in local dishes like char-grilled octopus, local scallops, oysters, abalone and Cape Grim beef and has become well-known locally for its quarterly seasonal producers lunches, which are a draw for foodies throughout Tasmania.
Members of the RACT, RACV, NRMA and other state and international motoring organisations receive discounts of up to 20% at: Barringwood Park, Ashgrove Cheese, Rocky Gardens Preserves, the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre, The River House, Goaty Hill Wines, Moores Hill, Three Wishes, Pinot Shop, Josef Chromy, Bed in the Treetops and the Old Cable Station.
Simply show them your RAC membership card.
For more information and maps, go to ract.VisitVineyards.com »
- Launceston (TAS)
- North West Tas (TAS)
- Pipers River (TAS)
- Tamar Valley (TAS)
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