Long before Tasmania captured our attention with MONA and its artisan food and beverage producers, Tasmania’s tourist hook was as Australia’s ‘natural state’. With its stunning beaches, pristine bushland and reputation as a clean, green environment, the Apple Isle has been attracting national and international visitors wanting to ‘get away from it all’ for years.
Hobart itself has a lot to offer. But if dramatic coastal landscapes (think Great Ocean Road-esque coastal cliffs crossed with the moors described in Wuthering Heights), historic seaside villages, vineyard-covered hills, fecund bushland and some of the state’s finest wineries sound like your bag, then the Tassie east coast is a must for your itinerary. And did we mention one of the world’s most acclaimed beaches?
Gala Estate Shop and Cellar Door
Located on the roadside in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hamlet of Cranbrook, Gala Estate’s cellar door and shop is housed in a time-worn, mint-green weatherboard cottage with a lively history. It was once home to local legend Theodore ‘Ted’ Castle, who lived in the homestead without electricity for more than 50 years. The building was reclaimed by Gala Estate owners, the Greenhill family in 2011 and now makes a charming venue for wine tastings and as a retail outlet for Gala Estate’s walnuts, olives and cheeses.
14891 Tasman Highway, Cranbrook
One of the country’s premiere pinot noir producers, this award-winning winery is owned and run by winemaking husband and wife team, Claudio Radenti and Lindy Bull. Established by Lindy’s parents Geoff and Susan Bull in 1979, the vineyard is renowned for the consistency of its wines. At the cellar door, taste Freycinet’s handcrafted chardonnay, riesling, cabernet sauvignon and ‘Radenti Sparkling’. To finish off, make sure you try the apricot and honey toned botrytis.
15919 Tasman Highway (Between Swansea and Bicheno)
The Ugly Duck Out
Look past the funny name and the unassuming interiors and be surprised with fresh organic and ‘ecotarian’ dishes. Proprietor Robyn Klobusiak is committed to mindful dining and has won a number of sustainable tourism awards for The Ugly Duck Out. For brekkie, our tip is the healthy ‘Mecca Breakfast’ of homemade tabouleh, hummus, poached egg and dukka. The coffee is decent too.
2 Franklin Street, Swansea
Freycinet Marine Park
The east coast of Tasmania was once described as a ‘culinary wasteland’. While it is still far from an epicurean hub, there is an increase in humble yet quality dining options. The Freycinet Marine Park shop and eatery is a great example. For lovers of seafood, this should be a compulsory pit stop – oysters, mussels and scallops are trawled daily from the Greater Swanport River estuary and marine farm. They are available takeaway at wholesale prices, or as simple, yet well prepared, dishes to be eaten on the kitschy Mediterranean-inspired deck. There are oysters natural, mussels in tomato and chilli, and seared scallops with garlic and shallot. There’s abalone and lobster too. Springvale Vineyard wines and Iron House Brewery ales round out the perfect summer meal.
1784 Coles Bay Road, Coles Bay
Avalon Rocky Hills Retreat
Located south of the seaside town of Swansea, this concrete and glass pod is the perfect retreat for couples who want an isolated yet luxurious escape. Perched on top of a hill among 250 acres of dry sclerophyll bushland, the solar-powered retreat caters for a multi-faceted getaway. If you want to bunker down, there are the usual entertainment options – DVDs, board games, iPod/dock and wi-fi. There is also an eclectic library that covers novels, guides to Tasmania and art and photography books. If you’re keen to check out the local flora and fauna there’s a closet containing outside and wet-weather gear and torches. Food wise, there’s a pantry and fridge full of provisions including local wines, cheese, home-baked bread and smallgoods from Hobart’s Wursthaus Kitchen. Feeling creative? There’s even an art studio complete with materials. Our highlight though is the Huon Pine bathtub located on the outside deck – let the day soak away while taking in the view across Great Oyster Bay to Maria Island, glass of local sparkling in hand.
11901 Tasman Highway, Rocky Hills, Swansea
Saffire provides the ultimate in uber-luxe getaways. Attention to detail is the mantra here, as is the idea of surprising and inspiring its guests. Designed to deliver R and R perfection, Saffire prides itself on making 48 hours feel like a week. Food and beverage is all inclusive so make sure you order a bottle of your favourite fizz before settling into an Eames chair and soaking up THAT view. And the food – well it’s a five-star affair. Lunch is a gourmet buffet – when we visited it included Robins Island Wagyu with pepperberry jus and roast beetroot, labna and fig salad. Dinner is tailored daily based on the freshest of seasonal, local produce – choose between the degustation or the á-la-carte menu. Don’t forget your complementary treatment at Spa Saffire – we like the sound of the Hazards Heated Stone Massage. And then back to your suite, which is an ode to elegance. Fitted with Tasmanian timber furniture and furnishings, each one has floor-to-ceiling windows with views across Coles Bay to the Hazard Mountains.
2352 Coles Bay Road, Coles Bay
Dominated by The Hazards – the pink and orange granite peaks that form the Freycinet Peninsula – Freycinet National Park offers Tasmania’s definitive coastal experience. A two-and-a-half hour drive from Hobart, Freycinet has mountain and coastal walks to suit every capability – from day walks to overnight camping to longer treks. There’s also sea kayaking, climbing and abseiling for the more adventurous.
Wineglass Bay Walk – Freycinet National Park
Only accessible by foot or boat, Wineglass Bay is one of Australia’s most pristine and awarded beaches. The crescent-shaped bay has been included in the world’s most beautiful beach list many times over. Even for the exercise-shy, the two-and-a-half hour round trip to the beach is a must. At the very least take a trip to the Wineglass Bay look out and take in the view. You most definitely won’t regret it.
Friendly Beaches – Freycinet National Park
A trip to Freycinet would not be complete without a visit to ‘The Friendlys’ (as these beaches are known to locals). Remote and untamed, they are accessed via a gravel road, two kilometres off the highway. While lesser known than the lauded Wineglass Bay, the Friendlys are certainly just as spectacular. Set among powder-white dunes and coastal heathland, clichéd descriptions are justified when describing these stunning beaches. Think crystal-clear turquoise water, pure white sands and frothing surf. The campsite facilities were recently updated, so if waking up in a natural paradise sounds good, bring your camping gear.
Broadsheet's trip was supported by Tourism Tasmania discovertasmania.com.au