There’s plenty to pack into a seven-day East Coast Tassie adventure in springtime. Gobsmackingly gorgeous bays and beaches, devilishly good wineries and some cracking eateries are just a few of the offerings.
Day 1 – Hobart ------------
Check into your accommodation and meet up at 9.30am with a bunch of likeminded gourmands for a walking food tour of Hobart with Gourmania Food Tours. It’s a great way to get inside Hobart’s foodie culture and taste local produce. Tours depart 9.30am Mondays and Fridays from Salamanca Square.
Board the Mona Roma Fast Ferry at Brooke Street Pier, speeding out to Mona (Museum of Old and New Art) mounted on a fibreglass sheep in cattle class or sipping bubbles in the Posh Pit. Inside the museum, descend to the subterranean galleries to witness what is fast becoming one of Australia’s favourite cultural attractions. After you’re satisfied you’ve seen everything (this may take a while) grab a beanbag on the lawns and sip a Tassie sparkling; ask for a couple of glasses of Muse Extra brut. Actually, it’s so good, just buy a bottle and be done with it. It won’t go to waste!
The ferry delivers you straight back to Brooke Street Pier, the ideal location for your pre-dinner cocktail. The Glass House, perched on the end of Brooke Street Pier, is one of Hobart’s newest dining bars. After a few drinks, head across to Frank for a South American-style dining experience.
Day 2 – Tasman Peninsula and Port Arthur ------------
Rise early to arrive at Port Arthur by 9.15am. You’re boarding a three-hour Tasman Island eco-cruise speeding alongside the highest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere as you keep watch for migrating whales, fur seals and sea birds. You’ll be back on dry land by 1pm.
Check into your accommodation and head to Port Arthur Lavender Farm for a late lunch (be sure to save room for lavender-infused ice cream for dessert). With views across Long Bay, take a walk along the lavender trail before driving to Port Arthur Historic Site for the afternoon.
Tonight Gabriel’s on the Bay at Stewarts Bay Lodge will serve you a hearty dinner, then come nightfall walk the grounds of Port Arthur again – this time in the dark on a ghost tour, if you dare.
Overnight Port Arthur.
Day 3 – Port Arthur to Swansea ------------
Before leaving the Tasman Peninsula, drop into Federation Artisan Chocolate. Sample fudge and chocolate made using traditional techniques. Try free tastings and watch the chocolate being made. Next stop is Bream Creek Market, where there’s lots of local produce to get excited about, like goat meat, cheeses, honey, olives and fresh-picked fruit and veggies. If time permits, visit Darlington Vineyard. Here there are over 5000 vines of four varieties (pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling and sauvignon blanc) and plenty of awards to prove that these guys know their stuff.
Jump back on the highway. When you reach Orford you’ll begin The Great Eastern Drive, where you’ll find oodles of stories and staggering natural beauty around every bend, so have your camera at the ready.
Nestled in an unspoilt bay, Piermont Retreat has secluded seaside accommodation (with two private beaches, thank you very much). There’s also a pretty posh restaurant to boot. Ask at the providore and they’ll pack a picnic to take with you in the morning. Check into your accommodation at Swansea.
Day 4 – Swansea to Coles Bay ------------
Breakfast in Swansea has to happen at Kate’s Berry Farm. It’s hard to resist the delicious berry crepes at an outside table looking across Great Oyster Bay.
Explore local Freycinet wineries and lay out that picnic to enjoy among the vines. At new-look Devil’s Corner Cellar Door, award-winning pinot noir is paired with amazing views of the Hazards from the viewing platform.
When winery wanderings come to an end, head for Coles Bay and check into your accommodation. As the sun gets low your next adventure begins, a twilight sea kayak paddle around the bay. For the next three hours paddle under the Hazards mountain range with experienced guides from Freycinet Adventures.
Tonight let The Bay Restaurant at Freycinet Lodge dish you up fresh local produce from land and sea.
Overnight Coles Bay.
Day 5 – Coles Bay to Bicheno ------------
Rise early to catch sunrise at Cape Tourville Lighthouse. Take a mental picture and head to Tombolo Freycinet for a late breakfast before walking to Wineglass Bay lookout.
Stop at Dolphin Sands, west of Coles Bay, and pull up at the bright blue caravan of Melshell Oyster Farm Gate for a solid oyster primer. Here, plump oysters are served up naked, or with a touch of lemon. Try your hand at shucking, or let the ‘chief shuckers’ work their magic.
From here roll up the coast to Bicheno, drop your bags at your accommodation, and pull up a chair at The Farm Shed Bicheno. The waiters and bar staff all know their wines, and can point you in the right direction if you’re not sure what to try. Squeaky white beaches line the coast for you to explore and still there’s time for an early dinner at Pasini’s before meeting the locals.
At dusk, meet the local penguin colony on the Bicheno Penguin Tour. There’s no stopping the 600 or so penguins moving from the sea to their beachside rookeries once the masses get moving. Make sure you wear covered-in shoes – they will nip if tempted by toes!
Day 6 – Bicheno to Launceston ------------
This morning meet the local wildlife at East Coast Natureworld, a wildlife sanctuary where Tasmanian devils toss politeness to the forest during meal times. Afterward, at Ironhouse Brewery, pair your lunch with speciality beers, stouts, wine, vodka and whisky brewed on-site using premium ingredients and water direct from their own spring. Not far from here is Eureka Farm in Scamander, where you can grab a delicious homemade ice-cream made with the berries from the farm.
Like something cheesy? Pyengana Dairy is home to some of the most contented cows on the planet, along with some of the yummiest cheddar cheese. It’s also one of only a handful of robotic dairies where the cows decide when they’d like to be milked. The aged cheddar cheese is a stand-out, but the chilli and caraway cheddars aren’t far behind.
Check into your accommodation in Launceston for the next two nights. For dinner, Cataract on Paterson will deliver your meal on a 400 degree celsius volcanic stone.
Top the night off with a Launceston City Ghost Tour. As the third oldest city in Australia, Launnie (as the locals call it) has a dark and violent past, full of convicts, murder and all sorts of gruesome goings-on. The ghost tour lasts ninety minutes, and only incorporates true stories – with history like this, there’s no need for exaggeration.
Day 7 – Launceston and surrounds
This morning meet Brock from taste.walk.talk, your experienced food guide, who’ll walk, talk, and taste you through the best produce on a tour in and around Launceston. Afterwards spend time at Cataract Gorge, walking garden paths alongside the gorge, and riding over the water on the world’s longest single span chairlift. If the water is calm take a dip if you’re keen.
Next head to Hallam’s Waterfront for five spice squid, tempura market fish, or pile everything onto a platter for two – mussels, beetroot-cured and oven roasted salmon, prawns, fish and calamari. On your way to Launceston Airport, stock up on pantry supplies at the Gourmet Sauce Company or visit a vineyard in nearby Relbia for a final farewell toast.