Southern Tasmania – an unforgettable weekend away

A paradise for culinary travellers

By Winsor Dobbin
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Islington Hotel, Hobart

Islington Hotel, Hobart

Cascade Brewery, Hobart
Bruny Island Cheese
Home Hill Winery, Ranelagh, Tasmania
Cygneture Chocolates

 

Hobart has always been a magnet for visitors who enjoy its lively waterfront, many historic buildings and rich colonial heritage but it is also becoming increasing popular with gourmet tourists drawn by its fresh seafood, superb local produce and the many boutique wineries nearby.

Founded in 1803 as a penal colony, Hobart is Australia's second-oldest capital city after Sydney and home to around 225,000 people; it is a busy seaport with its own fishing fleet and is a base for the Antarctic fleets of both Australia and France.

The biggest city in Tasmania, once sleepy, has undergone a renaissance over the past decade with stylish restaurants, wine bars, delicatessens, patisseries and coffee shops popping up all over the place and, of course, the sensational MONA Museum of New and Old Art, which should be on every visitor’s schedule.

This itinerary takes in some of the highlights in and around Hobart:

 

Stop 1 – Overnight at Islington

Situated on the edge of Hobart city, Islington is an indulgent city getaway; a grand old Regency house that has been given a sophisticated glass, marble and sandstone facelift. There are gorgeous gardens with views of Mount Wellington, well-equipped bedrooms with extremely comfortable beds and terrific service with an attention to detail. With just 11 rooms (five in the original 1874 house and six in a modern extension), this is benchmark boutique hotel with free wi-fi throughout. It’s an adult’s escape with no guests under 16 allowed and the breakfasts here are excellent.

Open: Daily 
321 Davey Street, Hobart
Phone (03) 6220 2123.

 

Stop 2 – Beer tasting at Cascade Brewery

Founded in 1824, the Cascade Brewery in South Hobart lays claim to being the oldest still-operating brewery in the country. There are regular tours with the chance to see how several different styles are brewed. Beer and food matching sessions are among the highlights. Guests can also enjoy the full range of brews – including the annual First Harvest release that features the first hops of the season – in the Visitor Centre, which overlooks the Woodstock Gardens. Also check out the new Cascade walking track, showcasing the spectacular scenery on the path to the lower slopes of Mount Wellington.

Open: Daily
140 Cascade Road, South Hobart
Phone (03) 6224 1117

 

Stop 3 – Wine tasting at Pooley Wines

The Coal River Valley, just 20 minutes from Hobart and centred near the lovely old town of Richmond, has the largest concentration of vineyards in southern Tasmania and family-owned and run Pooley is one of the stars, with vineyards that were established back in 1985. You’ll find a lovely rustic cellar door and personalised service here.

You must taste: Pooley has a well-deserved reputation for the high quality of its pinot noir and riesling but the merlot and sparkling wines are also impressive.

Open: Daily (but ring to confirm) 10am-5pm
Belmont Vineyard, 1431 Richmond Road, Richmond
Phone (03) 6260 2895

 

Stop 4 – Wine tasting at Frogmore Creek Wines and lunch at Meadowbank

Frogmore Creek has been one of the Tasmanian wine industry’s major success stories over the past decade. Jointly-owned by Tasmanian-based Tony Scherer and Californian Jack Kidwiler, it has enjoyed rapid expansion and is prominent on top restaurant wine lists around the country. Along the way, it has swallowed up the Wellington business formerly owned by Andrew Hood, and recently purchased neighbouring Meadowbank including its labels, cellar door and restaurant. With expansive vineyard views, it is the perfect spot for a long leisurely lunch. Chef Wayne Smith specialises in paddock to plate dishes.

Open: Daily 10am-5pm Lunch 12pm-3pm
699 Richmond Road, Cambridge
Phone (03) 6248 4484

 

Stop 5 – Coffee and cake at La Torta 310

This Mediterranean-style cafe is open six days a week for breakfasts, lunches, coffees, cakes and home-made biscuits – and there is a courtyard at the back that’s perfect for enjoying an al fresco drink on a warm day.

Open: Monday-Friday 7.30am-3pm Sunday 9am-3pm
310 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart
Phone (03) 6234 3112

 

Stop 6 – Dinner at Garagistes

Former Tetsuya’s chef Luke Burgess mans the pans at this Hobart newcomer which has wowed the critics and the locals with its innovative menus. The menu consists of innovative dishes that use seasonally grown and foraged local ingredients and changes on a daily basis. There are also several 'snack options' and an excellent wine list featuring almost exclusively 'natural' wines.

Open: Wednesday-Saturday from 5pm, no reservations. Sunday from noon, reservations essential
103 Murray Street, Hobart
Phone (03) 6231 0558

 

Stop 7 – Overnight at Gattonside Heritage Accommodation

Gattonside is a beautifully renovated Victorian homestead that now operates as one of Hobart's most popular guesthouses. There are eight rooms, seven with spa baths, and touches like fresh flowers and chocolates add to the welcoming feel. The bathrooms are modern and well-equipped and feature high-end toiletries and nice fluffy towels. Breakfasts are served in a lovely dining room which looks onto the English-style garden and an old oak tree. Excellent restaurants including Monty’s on Montpellier and Smolt are just a stroll away.

Open: Daily 
51-53 Sandy Bay Road, Battery Point, Hobart
Phone (03) 6224 1200

 

Stop 8 – Harmony Hill Wellness & Organic Spa Retreat

Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa Retreat is around 30 minutes south of Hobart in Margate and offers a range of Eastern and Western natural therapies delivered by Asian-trained therapists. There are daily yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, dancing, belly dance fitness and sound healing classes held on site.

Open: Daily by appointment
210 Old Bernies Road, Margate
Phone (03) 6294 8177

 

Stop 9 – Bruny Island Cheese

From Kettering, take a 15-minute ferry ride across to Bruny Island, Tasmania’s fourth-largest island, which is effectively two islands joined by an isthmus. The same size as Singapore, it has less than 1000 permanent residents and is something of a gourmet hotspot with Bruny Island Premium Wines, Get Shucked Oysters and the Bruny Island Smokehouse all drawing weekend crowds. The jewel in the crown, however, is Bruny Island Cheese, where Nick Haddow crafts a delicious range of cheeses, most of which are available for tastings. A new tasting facility/cafe will open in late 2011.

Open: Daily
1807 Main Road, Great Bay
Phone (03) 6260 6353

 

Stop 10 – Chocolate tasting at Cygneture Chocolates

When former Sydneysider Gillian Ryan won the trophy for the best chocolates and confectionary in the 2010 Tasmanian Fine Food Awards, it prompted her to turn her hobby into a business. Having previously made her hand-crafted chocolates in her kitchen at home, she recently opened a commercial kitchen and her own shop in the hamlet of Cygnet, which is also home to gourmet hotspots the Red Velvet Lounge and Lotus Eaters’ Cafe. The colourful range includes apple confit caramel, plum and blueberry bites and elderberry truffle – all using local fruits in season.

Open: Thursday-Friday 9am-3pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-3pm
7a Mary Street, Cygnet
Phone 0408 970 440

 

Stop 11 – Wine tasting at Panorama Vineyard

The Vishacki family grow grapes for several big-name mainland wineries and also produce a wide range of varietals from their vines at Cradoc, overlooking the Huon River between Cygnet and Huonville. There is always a good range of wines available for tasting and attractive courtyard garden perfect for picnics.

You must taste: The pinot noir is always outstanding here and the tempranillo is a high-quality surprise.

Open: Daily except Tuesdays 
Cygnet Coast Road, Cradoc
Phone (03) 6266 3409

 

Stop 12 – Wine Tasting and lunch at Home Hill Winery

Home Hill Winery and Restaurant at Ranelagh, outside Huonville, overlooks several hectares of vines and is a hugely popular lunch venue. Made from rammed earth, local hardwoods and polished cement, the cellar door and restaurant offer a quintessentially Tasmanian experience. The menu features dishes like sour cream puff pastry duck pie with red currant glaze and pan-seared Huon salmon with potato croquettes, spinach and poached egg.

You must taste: The pinot noirs here are always outstanding (try the 2009 or the 2008 Kelly’s Reserve) but the entire range is worth sampling.

Open: Daily for lunch. Dinner on Friday and Saturdays. Cellar door: Daily from 10am.
38 Nairn Street, Ranelagh
Phone (03) 6264 1200

 

It is then a lovely trip back to Hobart either via Tea Tree and Mount Wellington (the scenic route) or through Kingston and the Southern Outlet.

For organised tours of any of the Tasmanian regions, award-winning, Hobart-based Eye See Personalised Tours can put together bespoke itineraries depending on interests. Phone 0409 487 559.

 

Members of the RACT, RACV, NRMA and other state and international motoring organisations receive discounts of up to 20% at: Bruny Island Cheese, Eye See Personalised Tours, Frogmore Creek, Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa Retreat, Home Hill Winery and Restaurant, La Torta 310 Restaurant and Cafe, Meadowbank and Pooley Wines.

Simply show them your RAC membership card.

For more information and maps, go to  ract.VisitVineyards.com »

 

 

Regions

  • Bruny Island (TAS)
  • Hobart (TAS)
  • Huon and Channel (TAS)
  • Southern Tasmania (TAS)

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July 28th, 2011
 
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