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Disappointment Bay, King Island – Photo: Kramer Photography - Above Down Under

Autumn comes steaming into Sheffield

It’s all happening in Sheffield and nearby Cradle Mountain in March and early April 2018!

SteamFest brings history to life over three days in March (10-12) 2018 with one of the largest collections of working steam machinery in Australia including Krauss steam train rides every half hour. Enjoy historic machinery such as steam rollers, steam powered threshers and rock crushers showing how things were done in yesteryear and the exhibitions of pioneering skills including blacksmithing.

SteamFest, March 10-12, 2018. Photo: Bruce Hutchison

The new Miniature Railway rides are a delight for the young (and not so young!) and the Kids vs Steamroller Tug-o-War will be a sight to behold.

SteamFest, March 10-12, 2018. Photo: Bruce Hutchison

Add to all this plenty of kid’s entertainment and vintage cars as well as stalls offering Tasmanian foods, crafts and fresh produce and you know there’s something for everyone here.

SteamFest, March 10-12, 2018. Photo: Bruce Hutchison

Taste of the North West features some of North West Tasmania’s tastiest and best premium produce and beverages at an annual event at King George V Park in Sheffield. Celebrate its 10th birthday on April 7, 2018 from 11am to 4pm.

Photo: Taste of the North West

Enjoy free entry to this producer-driven event showcasing wonderful north-west Tasmanian food and beverages including wine, beer, spirits, rabbit pies, pork and smallgoods, salmon, honey, fresh fruit and vegetables, baked potatoes and much, much more.

Live music will add to your gastronomic adventure and, happily, Taste of the North West coincides with the final day of Sheffield’s annual International Mural Fest. That’s just two of the great reasons to visit the ‘Town of Murals’!

International MuralFest is a truly unique art competition held annually in Sheffield – Town of Murals. In 2018, The Tasmazia International Mural Fest begins on April 1 and concludes on April 7.

International MuralFest

Each year a new poem is selected for the murals central theme, so no two Mural Fests are ever the same, and nine artists engage in a public paint off over the week. They must each complete a 2100mm x 4800mm mural, using the poem as their central theme and inspiration. This year’s competitor list includes artists from as far afield as France and the USA.

The competition is held in Mural Park – Sheffield’s very own outdoor art gallery. Artists are subjected not only to public scrutiny and time constraints during the paint-off week but also the sometimes unpredictable Tasmanian weather!

The 2017 winning mural at International MuralFest.

At the end of the paint-off week a panel of qualified judges decides the winner of the event’s major prize, The Mural Fest Judge’s Award. All visitors to Mural Park are encouraged to vote for their favourite artwork in the Mural Fest Visitors Award.

Cradle Mountain FilmFest is a weekend of adventure and film taking place in unexpected and exciting locations all over the Cradle Mountain National Park and village from April 6 to 8 in 2018.

Photo: Cradle Mountain Film Festival

The event will screen the best adventure films from Tasmania and across the globe on the fringe of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The program includes the Tasmanian exclusive screening of Mountainfilm On Tour, the One Year in Tasmania Adventure Film competition showcasing the many moods and adventures to be had on our little island in one year, kids’ film events, filmmaker’s workshops and Q & A sessions, the Mountain Huts Film Trail: a self-guided walking program of screenings in the mountain huts around Cradle Mountain, and your chance to salute the sunrise in the wilderness plus other adventure activities!

Photo: Cradle Mountain Film Festival

Photo: Cradle Mountain Film Festival

Photo: Cradle Mountain Film Festival

Join the local wildlife and people for some mountain culture and experience adventures in film in the stunning Cradle Mountain National Park. Get in early as venue spaces are limited, making for an intimate and exclusive experience. Seriously beautiful, boutique and adventurous! Tickets are available from www.cradlemountainfilmfest

This post was in collaboration with Kentish Council.

The Tarkine Top 10

There’s a magic about the Tarkine that you can’t know until you have experienced it for yourself.

It’s that spicy, earthy scent of the towering blackwood, myrtle and celery top pines as you explore the ancient rainforest, the sense of wonder when you realise that pile of shells on the rugged coastline is the remains of an ancient Indigenous tribe, it’s the thrill of exhilarating experiences that you can only have in this fascinating part of the world. It’s the sort of place that leaves an impression on your soul.

Photo: Nick Green

The Tarkine (indigenous name takayna) is a relict from the ancient super-continent Gondwanaland, a dramatic and breathtaking wilderness region of national, if not global significance. Its vast and varied beauty covers about 450,000 hectares including the Arthur-Pieman Conservation area, roughly bounded by the Southern Ocean to the west, the Arthur River to the north, the Pieman River to the south and the Murchison Highway to the east.

Although not designated as a national park, the area contains Australia’s largest tract of cool temperate rainforest, mountain ranges, wild river and cave systems, buttongrass moorlands and a rugged coastline with long sandy beaches, grassy woodland and coastal heath. It’s home to more than 60 species of rare, threatened and endangered species, such as the giant freshwater crayfish, the wedge-tailed eagle and the iconic Tasmanian devil.

As well as its natural wonders and Aboriginal sites of great archaeological significance, its more recent history tells of those forging a living from the rich natural resources – miners, loggers, farmers and fishermen – as well as close-knit shack communities and off-road vehicle drivers.

Photo: Nick Green

 To best explore the stunning Tarkine make sure to set aside plenty of time, pack for any weather, fuel up the car and get ready to tick off these experiences:

The Tarkine Top 10

1 Tarkine Forest Adventure

Known locally as Dismal Swamp, this family operated business is anything but dismal! Just a 20 minute drive west of Smithton, the visitor centre is an award-winning structure perched on the edge of an 640 hectare sinkhole – the largest in the southern hemisphere.  After a long campaign this natural wonder was preserved from logging and drainage and now offers the excitement of a 110-metre slide to the sinkhole floor in 15 seconds or less. For a more relaxed introduction take the 360 metre path down to the maze – 1.2km of boardwalk in the swamp itself. Look out for works by local artisans, as well as potoroos, pademelons and echidna as you wind your way through this very special forest. Try Tasmanian delicacies and the largest scones ever in the fully licenced café then stroll out on to the hanging walkway and see the majestic blackwood and stringy bark trees from a different perspective.

Open 10am-4pm September to end of November and February to end of May; 9am-5pm December to end of January, weather permitting. Closed Christmas Day, Labour Day, Anzac Day. Cafe open 11.30am-2.30pm

2 Kannunah Bridge

The next few attractions are all stops on The Tarkine Drive – a sealed loop of road that now makes the area much more accessible – from Smithton to the Tarkine Drive return is 130km. Beginning with a stop at the Kanunnah Bridge Picnic Area, taking its name from the Aboriginal name for Tasmanian Tiger, it’s about a 35-minute drive from Smithton. A nice spot for a bite to eat, you can have a quick break as you learn more about the area and take in the rapids and reflections of the upper section of the Arthur River.

3 Balfour Packhorse Track

If you’re up for something a bit more adventurous, your next stop can see you follow an old packhorse track through the stunning rainforest. The relatively flat but somewhat challenging walk is three hours return and was cut for prospectors at the beginning of the century to access the largely abandoned mining town of Balfour.

4 Sumac Lookout

Ten minutes’ drive back up the road and returning to the loop, stop at the Sumac Lookout for a breathtaking view over the Arthur River and surrounding rainforest.

Photo: tassietravels blog

5 Julius River Forest Reserve

Only another 10 minutes further along, check out the Julius River Forest Reserve. An enchanting rainforest and river site with barbecue facilities, you can choose from two moderate 30 and 40-minute walks.

6 Lake Chisholm Forest Reserve

Back in the car and it’s again only 10 minutes to reach the Lake Chisholm Forest Reserve. A picturesque 30-minute walk through majestic old myrtle forests takes you to one of the finest examples of a flooded limestone sinkhole in Australia known as Lake Chisholm.

7 Trowutta Arch

With other possible stops along the way at Rapid River, Sinkhole and Tayatea Bridge, complete the Tarkine Drive loop at Trowutta Arch Rain Forest Walk before the 30-minute drive back to Smithton. An easy 30-minute walk takes you to the extraordinary and rare geological structure.

8 Arthur River

Now it’s time to head to the coast. With accommodation options ranging from camping and cabins to holiday villas and beach houses, this small settlement is the perfect place to base yourself when exploring the Tarkine coast. About an hour’s drive from Smithton, or about two hours from Burnie, the pristine Arthur River remains much as it has for thousands of years – it is the only major Tasmanian river that has not been dammed or had its banks logged. Why not hire a kayak and go for a paddle, drop in a line and try to catch a fish at the river mouth, walk along the rugged coastline or sit back and relax as you cruise the river with A R Reflections or the MV George Robinson (‘The Red Boat’) about 15km upstream, with a stop for lunch.

Arthur River

9 Edge of the World

Only a few minutes drive from Arthur River at Gardiner Point then a quick, easy walk, this lookout features exhilarating views of the Tarkine coast and the mouth of the Arthur River. Revel in the power of the Southern Ocean swells and breathe some of the cleanest air in the world, with no land masses between here and South America. Learn more about the Aboriginal inhabitants from the installations on the top viewing platform and walk out to the edge to read the poem on the plaque.

10 Corinna Wilderness Experience

Your last stop in the Tarkine before heading into the West Coast, Corinna is an historic mining town, set in the rainforest on the banks of the Pieman River, about 2.5 hours south from Arthur River. Staying in this secluded township is probably the best way to feel immersed in the Tarkine rainforest, short of doing a multi-day hike. It offers a range of accommodation options, including the original Roadman’s cottage, the old pub which is like a guest house (with single and double rooms) available for groups, 12 one-bedroom cottages and six two-bedroom cottages. There is also limited camping spaces and some room for motor homes. Sample delicious local produce at the Tannin Restaurant or buy provisions at the General Store and use the barbecue facilities.

While you are there you can embrace the wilderness experiences, including cruises on the Pieman River in the legendary Huon pine vessel, MV Arcadia II, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, fossicking and panning for gold, bird watching and nature experiences. There is a range of tracks to explore, from the 20-minute Huon Pine walk and the award-winning 75-minute Whyte River walk, to the 2.5 hour (one way) Savage River walk, or the more challenging four-hour walk to Mount Donaldson.

Corinna is accessible from the north along the Western Explorer, which has some unsealed sections, and from the south by crossing the Pieman River on the legendary “Fatman” barge. Before you set out be aware that fuel is not sold at Corinna. The last available fuel is at Waratah one hour to the north; Zeehan one hour to the south; and Marrawah two hours to the north-west.

Rallying around the region

The winding, scenic roads of the Cradle-Coast region are perfect for leisurely, relaxed drives… and heart-racing, precision rally stages. The weekend of February 17-18 sees the return of Targa North West and with it the chance to watch some of the nation’s best tarmac rally drivers test their skills on the coast’s twists and turns.

Starting out as Targa Hellyer Gorge in 2015 the event expanded to cover the region as a one-day rally in 2017 and the name changed to Targa North West. As part of the new CAMS Australia Targa Championship, Targa North West has now doubled in days and length to ensure the event is worthy of championship status. The new event will see about 170km of competitive distance over 11 stages, with seven of these being more than 20km long.

The Hellyer Gorge stage taking in a section of the Murchison Highway south of Burnie is one of the highlights of the event. It’s revered by tarmac rally competitors as one of the biggest tests of all, mixing tight twists, quick, bumpy sections and the occasional bridge crossing.

In a treat for spectators, the number of entrants looks set to have grown to  about 60 thanks to the new championship status.  One of the teams many will be watching out for are the top local entrants, five-time Targa Tasmania winners Jason and John White from Ulverstone in their amazing Dodge Viper Extreme.

Even if you can’t make it out to catch the rallying action on the roads, there are still plenty of opportunities for a close-up look at the cars and chat with the drivers.

The vehicles will be scrutineered in the Burnie multi-storey car park on Friday, February 16. You can watch the cars begin to stream out of the car park at 8.27am on Saturday, February 17. After a day of rallying the cars will return to Burnie around 5pm and park on level 5 where you are welcome to head along and check them out.

Two of the best chances for the public, especially families, to see the rally entrants during the day is during the lunch break in Stanley, when the first cars will start arriving around 11.20am, and the stop point control in Wynyard, from around 1.25pm, both on the Saturday.

On Sunday, February 18 the cars will again leave the car park starting at 8.27am. For your last chance to spot the vehicles the finish line will be in the car park at Burnie Arts and Function Centre, starting from around 2.30pm.

Tips for spectators

According to Clerk of the Course Hamish Marquis, the ideal location for you to take in the excitement of the event is at the Hellyer Gorge bridge.  It provides great viewing and even better sounds as well as having some toilets.  The only thing to consider here is that you need to be in place before the road closes and cannot get out until it opens again.

The roads hosting the rally stages will be closed roughly an hour before the first competition car is due, so make sure to bring whatever you need to keep comfortable while you wait.

As an alternative, there are a number of great locations around the course that you can come and go, mainly at intersections, especially south of Stanley in Edith Creek and Irish Town.

Obviously there are no facilities out on course, so if you have young children you will need to keep that in mind.

There are strict controls on where spectators are allowed to stand on-stage, with the safety of both viewers and competitors paramount, so make sure to pay attention to all instructions from organisers on site.

Discover the Wilderness

With every twist and turn of the road, each remote piece of ruggedly beautiful landscape, and every ounce of charm along the way, we roam this vast piece of wilderness with curiosity and bliss.

Immerse yourself in the colours.
Tune into the sounds of nature.
Explore with us.

Come home, to the wilderness.

Video: We Are Explorers in partnership with Spirit of Tasmania

The Spirit of Tasmania. Photo: Henry Brydon

From stepping off the Spirit of Tasmania to making your next move, a world of adventure lies ahead on Tasmania’s  North West. The wilderness is welcoming, as if you’re coming home to wherever you explore next.

Photo: Henry Brydon

The winding roads as you pass through quiet landscapes draw you in with their perfectly wild solitude.

Photo: Henry Brydon

Our rivers and oceans bring majestic calmness – a depth of serenity that allows your senses to truly come alive.

Photo: Henry Brydon

When greeted with the opportunity for adventure, accept its offer. The view from the mountain tops and the depths of the forest is worth every single step.

Photo: Henry Brydon

Photo: Henry Brydon

The morning stillness on the water, the charm of the fog, its refreshing silence is a masterpiece of the wild.

Photo: Henry Brydon

Losing track of time – it’s the ultimate freedom.

Photo: Henry Brydon

 

Photo: Henry Brydon

Becoming one with the ocean, the land and the present moment is our most natural state of being.

Photo: Henry Brydon

Leaving, you’re left with memories of moments that rejuvenated you – snapshots in time to serve as reminders of beauty, adventure, nature – of the places that you were always meant to explore, enjoy and protect.

That’s the feeling of coming home, to the wilderness.

Photo: Henry Brydon

Explore:

The Tarkine  The 447,000 hectare Tarkine Wilderness Area is Australia’s largest tract of unprotected temperate rainforest and it contains vast forests of myrtle, leatherwood and pine trees

Strahan and Western Wilderness: Stunning, scenic Strahan invites you to explore the past and present, with tours of its majestic harbor and Gordon River by boat or plane. Immerse yourself in the history of mining towns in the region.

Corinna and Surrounds: The tiny nineteenth-century township of Corinna is a unique wonderland from which to explore mountain, river, forest and sea, including the Tarkine and the marvellous nearby mining town of Waratah.

 

Have you met the Tarkine? Five reasons to explore this special place

The Tarkine (‘takayna’ in palawa kani – Tasmania’s Aboriginal language) is a huge area of temperate rainforest, sand dunes and coastal heathland in Tasmania’s north west with strong links to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people. It’s roughly bounded by the West Coast, the Arthur River to the north, the Pieman River to the south and the Murchison Highway to the east.

The plant and animal life in the Tarkine is as rich and varied as the many habitats that support them. It’s also home to Australia’s largest remaining tract of cool temperate rainforest. The Tarkine is an incredibly special place to visitors and locals alike, and a trip to the North West isn’t complete without experiencing its beauty.

Here’s our top five reasons to explore this diverse and ruggedly beautiful landscape.

The Tarkine, Tasmania's North West

Exploring The Tarkine. Photo: The Wilderness Society

A Tasmanian Wonder

The Tarkine is the second largest temperate rainforest in the world, and the largest temperate rainforest in Australia, with over 400,000 hectares of virgin wilderness. The area contains a wildly diverse landscape of natural treasures including mountain ranges, wild river and cave systems, buttongrass moorlands, and a rugged coastline with long sandy beaches, grassy woodland and coastal heath.

The Tarkine, Tasmania's North West

Magnificent old growth trees. Photo: Lonely Planet

Incredible Old Growth Forest

The Tarkine has some of the oldest trees on the planet! More than 2000 hectares is covered by wet eucalypt forest areas where these old-growth trees grow to be taller than 41m high. These areas are said to be “large enough to be self-sustaining and support ongoing evolutionary processes.” They are extremely slow-growing conifers with high oil content, and they increase their girth by only 2mm approximately per year. Unique to this area, and ultimately the planet, these trees carry natural beauty, resources and Tasmanian heritage.

Orange Bellied Parrot photographed by Cordell Richardson in Melaleuca, Tasmania. cordellrichardsonphotography@gmail.com

Rare and Spectacular Species

The Tarkine hosts more than 100 bird species, including several rare and endemic birds like the threatened Orange-bellied Parrot. Additionally, it’s home to more than 60 species of other rare, threatened and endangered species. Regular local residents include the platypus, echidna, wombat, bandicoot, possum and glider – not to mention the famous Tasmanian Devil and the state’s other predators, the Spotted-tailed Quoll and Eastern Quoll.

Bonus – Did you know that the Tarkine is home to the world’s largest freshwater crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi, also known as the Giant Freshwater Lobster? Just another reason to explore this piece of Tassie!

Photo: Tasmanian Expeditions

Historic Geogoly

Fossils between 1000-700 million years old, algal stromatolite fossils, were found around the Arthur and Julius Rivers and are Tasmania’s oldest known fossils. The world’s only known insect fossils were found in the Tarkine rainforest, found in sediments of true glacial origin.

The Tarkine, Tasmania's North West

The Tarkine from Sumac Lookout. Photo: Think Tasmania

Celebration of Heritage

With a history dating back more than 40,000 years, Tasmanian Aborigines were the most southerly people to survive the last ice age. On the takayna coast, they left a legacy of shell middens, rock carvings, hut depressions and seal hides. The Tarkine contains a wealth of natural wonders and Aboriginal sites of great archaeological significance. Evidence of the lives of past Aboriginal communities can be seen – and today’s Tasmanian Aborigines still have powerful connections to this place. More recent history tells the story of miners, farmers, fishers and holiday-makers, all attracted to the rich natural resources and spectacular landscapes.

 

The Tarkine, Tasmania's North West, Pieman River

The Arthur Pieman River. Photo: Getty Images

Tips for Exploring:

Waterways can be explored by canoe, kayak and riverboat cruises through forests of blackwood, myrtle and celery top pine all the way to the sea. There are numerous walking trails from Arthur River and the nearby South Arthur Forest drive, including the Celery Top pine nature trail and the Balfour Track rainforest walk. Check out all of our information on exploring the Tarkine here.

Getting There:

  • Arthur River is about a two hour drive (150 kilometres) from Burnie via the A2 Bass Hwy and C214 Arthur River Rd.
  • Corinna is 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Zeehan on the gravel C249.

 

Staying Overnight:

  • Stay in Stanley, Smithon or Marrawah in B&B’s, hotels and motels or other self-contained accommodations.
  • Additionally, there are facilities for camping, picnics and barbecues at Arthur River, as well as several informal campsites along the Tarkine coast.

 

The finest sips across the Cradle Coast

Tasmania is well known for its award-winning cool-climate wines, craft beer and cider and the Cradle Coast is no exception. With its beautiful rich red soil and fresh mountain streams, the region is perfect for creating delicious beverages to tickle your tastebuds.

While you’re out exploring the North-West drop in to these producers along the way to sample the fruit of their labours, or better yet, program your GPS for a road trip to take in as many as you can in one hit, like our suggested itinerary below. Just make sure to flip a coin to decide the designated driver and be sure to sample in moderation.

The delicious food and beautiful view at Ghost Rock Winery. Picture: Claire Turfrey

Ghost Rock Vineyard

1055 Port Sorell Road, Northdown

Open daily 11am-5pm (except Christmas Day and Good Friday)

From Devonport it’s only about a 15-minute drive towards Port Sorell to one of the Coast’s most exciting wine destinations. Established in 2001, it’s a family affair – Cate and Colin Arnold bought the former Patrick Creek Vineyard, then planted exclusively to pinot noir. Now expanded to 23ha it includes chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling and sauvignon blanc. Their son Justin assumed winemaking duties in the new 100-tonne winery, having previously worked in famous wine regions the Yarra Valley, Margaret River and Napa Valley. His wife Alicia also runs the cellar door and cooking school next door (www.hundredacres.com.au). Tuck into a delicious platter while looking out over the vines.

La Villa entrance. Picture: Claire Turfrey

La Villa

347 Mersey Main Road, Spreyton

Open Wed-Sun 11am-4pm (except May-September, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Good Friday)

Now head back towards Devonport and in about 17 minutes stop at La Villa in Spreyton. You can’t miss it – head through the grand gates and you will feel like you have been transported to Europe. The love that owners Marcus and Gail Burns have for Italy is obvious from their stunning home and cellar door, with its bell tower and porticoed entrance surrounded by 5ha of vines. Established in 2010 the vineyard (formerly known as Emilia) focuses on low yield premium fruit, including pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, nebbiolo and most recently planting of savagnin. The cellar door is a stunning space which has been elegantly furnished and also sells beautiful accessories.

Spreyton Cider Co. patio. Picture: Claire Turfrey

Spreyton Cider Co

Corner of Sheffield Road and Melrose Road, Spreyton

Open daily 12pm-5pm

Now it’s time to take a break from wine and drive just five minutes down the road to Spreyton Cider Co. Surrounded by orchards that have been grown by the same family since 1908, the ciders build on their expertise in producing award-winning apple juice made from 100% Tasmanian apples and pears. Established in 2012, you can taste their four apple cider varieties and one perry (pear) as well as see the bottling process through viewing windows to the factory when it is in operation. They also have an alcoholic and traditional ginger beer, stock a range of local wines, juices and produce including fresh apples and cherries (when in season) and host regular live music events.

The tasty brews at Seven Sheds. Picture: Claire Turfrey

Seven Sheds Brewery, Meadery and Hop Garden

22 Crockers Road, Railton

Open Wednesday to Sunday, September-May 11am-5pm, June to July 11am-3pm. (Closed Christmas Day, New Years Day, Good Friday and Recreation Day)

Back in the car and it’s a 16-minute trip to Seven Sheds, the brain child of Willie Simpson and Catherine Stark. Celebrating its 10th  anniversary this year, their backyard operation now includes a purpose-built tasting room, where you can sample their flagship Kentish Ale and seasonal beers as well as honey wines and melomels. Book ahead and you can even venture into the brewery with the main man himself to learn about hops and barley and how beer is made. If you’re in the North-West in March you can join in the hop harvesting event on the 17th.

The dining views at Barringwood Estate. Picture: Claire Turfrey

Barringwood Estate

60 Gillams Road, Lower Barrington

Open Monday, Thursday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 8am-5pm

It’s time to head back to the vines, with a 23-minute drive to our next stop, including a stretch of unsealed road. Barringwood is operated by Vanessa and Neville Bagot. Initially established in 1993 as a hobby vineyard, it has now reached 5ha including pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, pinot muenier and Schonburger. With stunning views to the coast, the cafe offers more than just a platter, with local oysters shucked to order, house made bread, terrines, pastries and cakes.

Lounging on the eclectic patio at Prickly Mo Wines. Picture: Claire Turfrey

Prickly Mo Wines

62 Lakeside Road, Eugenana

Open Thursday, Saturday, Sunday 12pm-5pm, Friday 12pm-10pm (except Christmas Day and Good Friday)

To reach our last stop in this tasting tour it’s a 12-minute trip and a short gravel driveway to reach this most quirky and rustic venue. An old shearing shed with a deck and an eclectic mix of “daggy old furniture” as owner Tim Lynch put it, Prickly Mo is a laidback spot perfect for lingering. A family-owned property for generations, the grapes were sold to other winemakers for almost 20 years before Tim decided to make their own wine in 2012, opening the cellar door just over two years ago. If you can plan to be there on a Friday you can fill up on a platter and try the wines plus the ciders made at the property next door while listening to live music.

Have more time?

This itinerary by no means covers all of the beverage producers in the region. If you have extra time be sure to also check out Blustery Banks Vineyard, Lake Barrington Vineyard, Motton Terraces and Leven Valley Vineyard.

The view from the vines at Ghost Rock Vineyard. Picture: Claire Turfrey

The Top Drops

After you’ve enjoyed sampling the range of wines, beers and ciders from North-West producers now it’s time to decide which to take home with you. These are the most popular purchases from each of the makers in this itinerary:

Ghost Rock: The Pinots 2017 – This rose’ is a blend of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris with a floral nose of rose petal and wild strawberries. The palate is vibrant and juicy, complimented by a hint of creaminess.  $30

La Villa: Sparkling Nebbiolo 2016 – A rose’ made in the traditional method using 100 per cent nebbiolo grapes with a wild strawberry aroma, zesty palate and well-balanced acidity. $38

Prickly Mo: Front Paddock Pinot Noir 2016 – With aromas of elegant cherries, ripe strawberries and Christmas spices, it is delicate yet intense on the palate with earthy notes. $32

Barringwood: Pinot Gris 2016 – A fresh lively palate of crunchy pear and lemon complimented by floral and peach notes. $34

Seven Sheds Brewery: Kentish Ale – The brewery’s flagship, flavoursome ale is brewed with marris otter pale malted barley, ella and golding hops. $10 for 750ml bottle

Spreyton Cider: Apple cider – Crisp and refreshing, created from tree-ripened Golden Delicious and Jonagold apples, blended with apple juice for a slightly sweeter taste. $16 for a four-pack

10 Questions with Guy Robertson

Guy Robertson is a passionate Tasmanian and the owner of Mount Gnomon Farm just outside of Penguin in Tasmania’s North West. His passion is to share his love of farming, food, music, and the North West region with visitors to the farm and Tasmania!

In 2009 Guy bought 35 hectares of beautiful red dirt which was initially intended to be just a hobby farm. However, over a few years it became a large free range pig farm, with an addition of cows and sheep, and it’s even expanded to an in-house restaurant and butchery sitting in their front paddock overlooking 1,000 cider trees.

Mount Gnomon is on the menu of some of Australia’s and Tassie’s best restaurants, and they visit farmers markets across Tasmania selling  fresh pork, beef, lamb and hand-crafted small goods. If you’re attending a food, art, or music festival you’ll likely see Mount Gnomon there serving flavoursome, meaty dishes.

We recently caught up with Guy and put the following questions to him.

Beautiful Stanley, and the iconic Nut. Picture: Mount Gnomon Farm

1 What does a perfect day in the Cradle Coast look like to you?

The perfect day in the Cradle Coast is when you drive through the spectacular landscapes, taking in the contrasts of the rolling hills, mountains, red dirt, blue seas and colourful crops. It’s literally like you’re driving through a postcard. You along the tasting trail on the way, trying local produce as you drive through quaint and beautiful local county towns.

2 What do we do best on the North-West corner of the island?

We are a region of doers, we’re not afraid to work hard and work together to achieve our goals. We get things done, we just don’t talk about it. We are very proud of showcasing our patch of the world – which is not hard when we have some of the best produce from the land and sea, and such a beautiful part of Tasmania.

3 Where can we improve?

We can do more to promote the cultural heritage, history and our way of life of the land. I’d love to see more of the indigenous history of our land being showcased – particularly the Tarkine. A traditional aboriginal community established on the northwest coast would be a unique and important addition to our area.

Produce planters at Mount Gnomon Farm. Picture: Guy Robertson / Mount Gnomon Farm

4 What would you like to see more of? And less of?

I’d like to see more signage for experiences off of the main highway supporting the local tourism businesses and overall more experienced based tourism in the region. We concentrate our marketing into iconic locations, and other amazing gems fall of the radar of passing by tourists. I’d also like to see a collaborative website to promote pop up and community events, and more collaboration among the coastal towns to achieve regional based initiatives.

We’re like an old European coastline of beautiful towns, and I feel like we could highlight that more.

5 If you could swap your life for a day, who would you switch it with?

A rock star playing in front of 100,000 people at an open air concert would be an amazing buzz to experience!

A day in the life of David Attenborough filming in an amazing location would also be great.

6 Where is the Cradle Coast’s most romantic location?

Walls of Jerusalem. It’s as beautiful as Cradle Mountain – just with less people. It’s spectacular to take in the reflections at one of the pools.

7 Would you like to share any hidden gems?

I love the Tarkine Coastline, and Jack Smiths south of Temma, on the way to Sandy Cape is one of Tasmania’s best kept secrets.

“Family Christmas” at the farm. All of the workers enjoy a very special holiday gathering with Guy. Picture: Mount Gnomon Farm

8 What makes you most proud of being a Tasmanian?

So many things – the friendly and innovative people, the contrasting beauty, the produce, the agrarian culture that exists here, and our festivals and national parks.

9 What do you miss most when you are away from home?

My farm and everything about it! When I’m away, I miss the people that live here who create the existing culture. Of course I also miss my dogs, garden and all of its produce.

Guy with his two friendly dogs (who will happily say hi to you!) Picture: Mount Gnomon Farm

10 You’re marketing the Cradle Coast in 30 seconds, what’s your elevator pitch?

One of my parochial kiwi friends once told me that he thought that New Zealand had all of the beautiful locations of the world concentrated into one country. Then he went to Tasmania and felt that all of those contrasting beautiful locations had been condensed into this amazing island.

If you’re planning a visit to Mount Gnomon farm (which is definitely a good idea) their next open day is February 25th, on which day they’ll be launching their brand new cider bar! Follow along on their social media channels for all the latest updates from Mount Gnomon Farm.

The view from the brand new cider bar! Picture: Mount Gnomon Farm

Cruising into the Cradle Coast

So, you’ve sailed into Burnie, the sun has been hanging low in the sky for less than an hour, and the little seaside town’s locals are also rising.

Burnie will welcome 32 cruise ships over the 2017-2018 season, and if you are one of the 39.8 per cent of passengers on board, you have not pre-booked an organised tour. Well then, what is there to do?

A lot! Let us tell you.

The Norwegian Jewel

 

Stretch your legs

After the famous Burnie dockside welcome you will jump on board a bus for the quick trip to the Makers’ Workshop – the perfect place to discover more about Burnie’s papermaking history as well as sample locally-made cheese, see craftspeople at work and pick-up some of their creations to take home. From here it’s a short stroll just across the highway to the lovely Burnie Park – home to the city’s oldest building, the Burnie Inn, as well as the focus of Anzac and Remembrance Day services at the cenotaph, this undulating, landscaped park has exotic and native trees as well as a duck pond and waterfall.

For a longer walk you can take advantage of the smooth cemented pathway that runs along the coastline out to Cooee Beach, a roughly 3km trek each way. Or head along the boardwalk and continue around the edge of town, walking along the port right opposite your cruise ship, and make your way towards the yacht club and south Burnie beach. As you follow the pathway towards the Emu River you will see interpretive installations that will share more of Burnie’s papermaking history, opposite the site of the old paper mill.

If you feel like heading just out of town there are more wonderful options to explore the outdoors that will require a taxi trip or maybe even a hire care, including the impressive Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden, Fernglade with its river pathway and chance to spot platypus, as well as the magnificent Guide Falls just outside Ridgley. As you head that way make sure to detour to the lookout just up Mount St for a wonderful vista over the city and a birds-eye-view of your cruise ship in port.

The beautiful Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden. Picture: EVRG

Want to venture a little further along the Coast? Popular spots that are roughly a 20-minute drive away are Wynyard to the west or Penguin to the east. Wynyard is a lovely riverfront town with a charming main street filled with stores to explore, as well as nearby Table Cape, a flat-topped promontory which offers stunning views along the coast and guided tours of the historic lighthouse. With a name as cute as Penguin, it’s worth the trip just to say you’ve been there! This coastal hamlet is home to the Big Penguin, situated on the waterfront and perfect for snapping a photo with. Grab lunch at a local café and if it happens to be a Sunday wander through the market.

The seaside town of Penguin, along the North West coast. Picture: Scott Sporleder and Tourism Tasmania

Explore the history and culture

Burnie’s history stretches back to its settlement by the Van Diemen’s Land Company’s chief surveyor Henry Hellyer in 1827 and for the best way to find out more about its origins make your way to the Burnie Regional Museum. Immerse yourself in the city’s bygone times by stepping back 100 years to walk down the carefully recreated Federation streetscape. You will be fascinated by the rooms packed with personal treasures, memorabilia and tools of the trade.

Next it’s just a quick walk down the street to the Burnie Regional Art Gallery, where you can soak up some culture thanks to the ever-changing selection of works from local and national artists. Currently it is hosting an exhibition of international standard, with the National Geographic 50 greatest photographs on display until April 15. The photography takes viewers through the most compelling imagery published in the magazine’s near 130-year history, exploring hidden worlds, secret stories and some amazing places on the planet.

To help you see Burnie’s history with different eyes as you walk around the city, pick up a copy of the Burnie Art Deco Trail Map (http://www.artdecotasmania.com.au) at the Makers’ Workshop or Burnie City Council Chambers on Wilson St. It was the establishment of the Associated Pulp and Paper Mills in 1938 that really saw the town boom and many buildings constructed during this time are great examples of the distinctive architectural movement.

The delicious food and landscape at Hellyers Road Distillery. Picture: Hellyers Road

Tempt the Tastebuds

Tasmania is well known for its delicious local produce and your stop in Burnie offers the perfect opportunity to sample some of the best the state has to offer. There are many cafes and restaurants to enjoy during your time in the city but some of the top spots include:

Palate food+drink

Rear 6 Cattley St, Burnie

Tucked away in the plaza behind the multi-storey carpark, enter through Boland’s Arcade from Wilson St. Serving contemporary food, local roasted coffee, wine, beer and cider, it’s a popular spot for breakfast and lunch.

The Chapel

50 Cattley St, Burnie

Located in a restored 1890s chapel, this café has a wonderful atmosphere and delicious food to match. Well known for freshly roasted coffee and local produce that is very Instagrammable.

Hellyer’s Road Distillery

153 Old Surrey Rd, Havenview

About a 10-minute drive from Burnie, be rewarded with views of the rolling landscape of the Emu Valley and an extensive menu in the fully licensed Distillery Cafe. While you’re there, sample some of their award-winning whisky or go behind the scenes and tour the working distillery.

Fish Frenzy

2 North Terrace, Burnie

It’s hard to beat the ultimate waterfront location of Fish Frenzy. The perfect spot for brekky Friday to Sunday, a coffee or icecream, refreshing beer or wine, classic fish and chips or a range of other Australian cuisines. Upstairs you will find Bayviews Restaurants, which offers a more fine-dining option, open for lunch Thursday to Saturday.

Spirit Bar Tasmania

Set in a 1920s building, Spirit Bar showcases a wide range of spirits, ciders and wines produced around Tasmania, complimented by a local produce menu. Open from 4pm Wednesday and Thursday and from 3pm Friday and Saturday.

Wildlife Encounters in Tasmania’s North West

From enchanting little penguins and elusive platypus to endangered Tasmanian devils, the North West Coast offers opportunities for the whole family to get up close and personal with native wildlife.

The best time for viewing penguins – dusk to dark! Picture: Tourism Tasmania & Chi Kueng Renault Wong

Penguins aplenty

With a town called Penguin you can be guaranteed that the region is a prime spot to see the real thing in the wild. This quaint seaside village is a lovely place to explore during the day – have lunch in one of the cafes, take a photo with the Big Penguin or go shopping in the undercover market on Sundays – but it’s also one of the many beaches where you can see the world’s smallest penguin return after a day of fishing in Bass Strait.

Also known as fairy penguins, they are only around 30cm in height and weigh in at just a kilo. For a more comprehensive insight into the lives of the cute critters two great locations are the Lillico Beach Conservation Area, a 10-minute drive from Devonport, and the Burnie Penguin Observation Centre, just behind the Makers’ Workshop visitor information centre on the edge of the city.

During the day you can head to either colony and take in the coastal sights from the viewing platform and boardwalk while learning about the penguins from the interpretive information. But time it to be there later in the day and that’s when they really come to life, both with knowledgeable volunteers and the little penguins themselves, as they come ashore about dusk, waddling their way up to their nests where their chicks are waiting to be fed.

The quaint town of Penguin, and the obligatory Big Penguin photo opp! Picture: Tourism Tasmania and Adrian Cook

Devil of a time

The state’s most iconic native animal is undoubtedly the Tasmanian devil and despite a fearsome reputation thanks to their screeching howls and mouth full of sharp teeth, head to one of the Coast’s wildlife parks for a close encounter with the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial.

In the perfect location to combine with a trip to the national park, Devils @ Cradle is located on the edge of the world heritage area, where it conducts conservation and breeding programs for the species. Visit the sanctuary during the day to get to know more about these extraordinary animals. In the Visitors Centre check out the educational displays where you can look into a devil’s den from the comfort of the indoors.

For an even more close-up encounter join an experienced tour guide who will walk you through the sanctuary and share information about the devils’ lifecycle and the current threats they face. If you are planning a longer stay in the area visit of an evening to observe the amazing night time antics of the animals being fed. The mainly nocturnal species is far more active at night, so the sanctuary uses environmentally sensitive lighting to allow visitors to experience a rare opportunity to see Tasmanian devils in a group feeding situation.

The elusive platypus. Spotting one is rare and so very exciting.  Picture: Burnie Platypus Festival

Spot a platypus 

It’s no wonder early European explorers were laughed at when they bought specimens of the platypus back home. For a glimpse of this strange and elusive creature head to one of the North-West and West Coast waterways and lay quietly in wait to see if one breaks the surface.

Only about a 15-minute drive from Devonport, Latrobe is billed as the Platypus Capital of the World. Make your way to the Platypus Encounter in the Axemen’s Hall of Fame to see the big platypus and book a guided tour at the Information Centre. Or if you prefer to do your own thing you don’t need to go far.  Head to Warrawee Reserve, about a kilometre from town and look for tell-tale ripples for a glimpse of the monotreme (egg-laying mammal) in the wild.

If you’re near Burnie, Fernglade is another popular platypus-spotting location. Just a five-minute drive from the city centre the peaceful spot offers walks along the banks of the Emu River. There is even a Burnie Platypus Festival on January 28, from 10am-4pm at Havenview Primary School, including platypus tours, wildlife presentation, face painting, children’s activities, live music, food and market stalls. The event is free but tickets are required. Limited tickets will be available on the day at the gate or head to https://fofburnie.eventbrite.com.au

Spotting penguins in the evening is trick for optimal viewing. Picture: Tourism Tasmania and Pete Harmsen

Tips for viewing little penguins

  • Summer is a great time for viewing the world’s smallest penguins, with opportunities to see them waddle ashore to nest in their burrows or witness their chicks noisily compete for food.
  • Plan to head out as close to dusk as you can. Volunteers will be on hand to talk about these amazing creatures and their habitats at Lillico Beach Conservation Area and the Burnie Penguin Observation Centre. The later you can stay out the more you will see, as the penguins tend to make their way up the shore after it gets dark.
  • Don’t take photos using flash photography as it will disturb the penguins. If you can, bring your own torch to help you see them better but be sure it is covered with red cellophane. The volunteers may be able to provide some.
  • Stay quiet and still and wear dark clothing if possible. Don’t approach or touch the penguins or walk through their colony. You could damage burrow areas and prevent parents from getting to their chicks.
  • Never take your dog for a walk near known penguin burrows and certainly do not take your pooch with you to watch penguins coming home.
  • Make sure you have warm clothing, as the temperature can drop once the sun goes down, even in summer.

 

10 Questions Paul ‘Basil’ O’Halloran

Paul O’Halloran’s heart belongs to Tasmania’s north-west. Before he was a former Greens MP for Braddon, Basil (who earned his nickname, as many north-west Tasmanian men do, from his father’s name), was a former schoolteacher and administrator. Later his passion for education and the land combined when he managed a UTAS agricultural industry project aimed at linking educator providers with industry.

Paul ‘Basil’ O’Halloran with his daughter Claire on the walk to Anniversary Bay between Rocky Cape and Sisters Beach.

 

Paul O’Halloran’s heart belongs to Tasmania’s north-west. Before he was a former Greens MP for Braddon, Basil (who earned his nickname, as many north-west Tasmanian men do, from his father’s name), was a former schoolteacher and administrator. Later his passion for education and the land combined when he managed a UTAS agricultural industry project aimed at linking educator providers with industry.

He’s been a champion for young people and education and a more socially just and environmentally sustainable future and … Tasmania’s rocks. With teaching and politics behind him, Basil is currently exploring geo-trail tourism opportunities. But it’s Tasmania’s Tarkine (or takayna) that stirs his deep passion. It’s a perennial favourite destination and his deep connection to the unique and iconic takayna is evident.

“I just cannot understand why any political party would want to clear fell and fragment the Tarkine, the largest remaining intact rainforest in the southern hemisphere and log it at a loss to taxpayers,” he said.

“Its value as a carbon store, a tourist destination, as a place to harvest high value honey, as an educational and research site, or as a sanctuary for a myriad of plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet surely have more value than as a burnt, smouldering ruin converted to a nitens plantation.”

1 What does a perfect day in the Cradle Coast look like to you?

Riding  a bike along the completed Coastal Pathway between Port Sorell and Smithton. Stopping off at La Mar and the Berry Patch in Turners Beach, spending time in Penguin and Burnie and a coffee at Bruce’s in Wynyard before a detour to Fossil Bluff. Then another detour to walk into Anniversary Bay at Sisters Beach, a diversion to the Tarkine Wilderness Lodge at Meunna and a rainforest bushwalk, a trip into Stanley and especially to the western end of Godfreys Beach with a finish in Smithton. Bit more than a day but this would include many of elements that make the north-west special.

Godfrey’s Beach at Stanley.

 

2 What do we do best on the North-West corner of the island?

In the last few weeks I have worked with groups of students and teachers from Don and Hellyer Colleges and Burnie and Ulverstone High Schools. I have always thought there are many things we do well in schools and these recent experiences have confirmed this view. Kids are inspirational and give me hope for the future. Our local schools have produced outstanding graduates across all fields, many of whom are active at local, state, national and international levels and some of whom are literally changing the world and making it a better place for future generations. I would like to see us celebrate and recognise these successes rather than bag out kids, teachers and schools.

We do community well in the NW and at the community level we have  hundreds of selfless volunteers giving up their time to support others, whether it be in sporting, cultural or service clubs or in looking after our children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents or those less well off than we are.

Many of our primary producers and manufacturers are producing goods of high quality that are sold into global markets. The future for a small island state such as ours is not in the production of bulk commodities but in the production and sale of high-value, niche products.

Fossil Bluff, Wynyard.

3 Where can we improve?

There are more things that unite than divide us and I have always felt we should work more together, particularly at the political level.

I feel sad that my generation has left a sad legacy for the next and future generations. Two such areas are environmental degradation and climate change, the huge costs of which will have to be borne by our kids and grandkids, and the longer we leave action the more expensive will be the burden.

We have clever and innovative people, companies and organisations in the north-west and it has always upset me that so much of our potential in employing people and improving our economy is being exported as unprocessed materials. Nowhere is this more apparent than the timber industry where even greater volumes than ever of raw materials, now even including whole logs, are being exported at great expense to create jobs elsewhere only for us to buy back the finished products.

Education is so critical to our future and as a community we need to stop blaming schools, teachers and kids and roll our sleeves up and accept that we all have a responsibility in improving our educational attainment levels and in encouraging our young people to reach their potential and to lead happy and fulfilling lives. It’s only when we do this that we will go some way to break the cycles of generational disadvantage that we see in our community.

We need to recognise that colonial occupation of Tasmania was a disaster for indigenous Tasmanians. They were dispossessed of not only their land but also their wives and children. We need to work with the Indigenous community to repair the ongoing disadvantage and we need to better value, protect and embrace  Aboriginal heritage and culture.

4 What would you like to see more of? And less of?

If we are able to look after, nurture and protect those things which are special and set us apart from the sameness of the rest of the world, we are on the cusp of an economic and social revolution. We need to make sure we have the structures and safeguards in place to deal with this renaissance and we need to invest in education and training to support this new future.

The north-west also has great potential in delivering education, training and health services to the rest of the world, but to maximise this potential we need to make sure our NBN speeds are world class instead of the dog’s breakfast we have at the moment. This digital divide will hold back communities and countries that do not have world-class data speeds, because they are critical to progress in so many areas, including business, health and education.

I would like us to be more accepting of difference and take a less adversarial approach to decision making, particularly at the political level. Good ideas can come from anywhere, and they should be nurtured and embraced regardless of whom or what party proposes them.

I feel strongly that decision making needs to be collaborative and based on data and evidence. Too often our decision making is based on populism and prejudice, and is even determined by the size of political donations, and this needs to change if we are to make decisions that are sustainable and in the long-term interests of the north-west community. Policies with regard to energy, climate, refugees, drugs, health and education are some areas in which we need to take a more evidenced based approach.

I just cannot understand why any political party would want to clear fell and fragment the Tarkine, the largest remaining intact rainforest in the southern hemisphere and log it at a loss to taxpayers. Its value as a carbon store, a tourist destination, as a place to harvest high value honey, as an educational and research site, or as a sanctuary for a myriad of plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet surely have more value than as a burnt, smouldering ruin converted to a nitens plantation.

The exposed rock at Anniversary Bay (the oldest on the planet!) proves our country’s geographical connection to North America.

5 If you could swap your life for a day, who would you switch it with?

When I was young I used to dream of swapping places with an AFL football player or an Australian cricketer, but now I don’t know that I would swap with anyone. Life is pretty good for me as I am active and healthy, live in the best part of the world, have a loving and supportive family, great friends and lots of interests. There are lots of principled and ethical people I admire such as Bob Brown, but I do not know that I would swap my life for a day because he is so incredibly busy. If I were able to make some executive decisions in my day, then I would love to be the Prime Minister of Australia or the President of the USA.

The majestic Black Bluff in view from Basil and Angela O’Halloran’s home.

6 Where is the Cradle Coast’s most romantic location?

Standing in untouched  rainforest after a walk across the Arthur River to the west of Meunna would have to be my most romantic (and spiritual) location. These places provide me with sensory overload – the smells, sounds and sights, from the spongy mossy carpet beneath the feet to the bubbling tannin coloured streams and the myriad of beautifully coloured fungi, and the flora and fauna with close links to a time when we were joined to Antarctica and South America millions of years ago.

The now-collapsed Hilders Bridge on the Arthur River at Meunna in the Tarkine.

 

7 Would you like to share any hidden gems?

There are so many, where do I start. From my deck at North Motton I look out over the Black Bluff and Leven Canyon area, two little gems of the NW Coast. I grew up on the edge of the Tarkine at Meunna and have always derived pleasure from walking in rainforest and just knowing it is there for others to enjoy. I love Fossil Bluff at Wynyard, such an educational and beautiful location.  Rocky Cape National Park just down the road is another spectacularly beautiful spot. Being an old surfer, the wild coastline of the Tarkine with its wild surf and world class indigenous history is also a very special place. Lake Plimsoll road on the west coast rivals any in the world for spectacular and wild scenary.

King Island is a treasure. A day spent beach combing and surfing at Porky Beach on the west coast and Martha Lavinia in the north-east is hard to beat.

Martha Lavinia beach, on King Island.

8 What makes you most proud of being a Tasmanian?

I am encouraged and inspired by young people and every time I get to visit schools and UTAS and work with students I feel proud to be from Tasmania. I feel proud in the knowledge that some of these young people will become influential on the global stage.

I am also proud that Tasmania is the birthplace of the Greens. Green influence has led to the protection of many special places in Tasmania, places that have since become so well visited and places that are creating sustainable jobs and opportunities for thousands of Tasmanians. Greens are now in government all around the world and have policies which look to create a more socially just and environmentally sustainable future.

9 What do you miss most when you are away from home?

The wide open, uncrowded spaces, spectacular scenery, and the forests and wilderness that is on everyone’s doorstep, and the slower pace of life. I also miss my family and friends if I am travelling alone. The temperate climate is also something that I miss when I am away.

Basil and Angela O’Halloran and their daughter Claire at the Leven Canyon Lookout.

10 You’re marketing the Cradle Coast in 30 seconds, what’s your elevator pitch?

Would you like to visit a little gem of an island, an island that has everything the rest of the world wants to see but is losing at a rapid rate from environmental degradation and people pressure? Then give Tasmania a go. It has wild coastlines, gorgeous beaches, outstanding indigenous history, large tracks of intact native forest and rainforest, truly unique endemic plants and animals like the Tasmanian Devil and Giant Freshwater  Lobster, wonderful natural spaces and landscapes, a terrific mild climate, some of the best agricultural land in the world and some of the finest food and beverages on the planet. All capped off with warm, open and friendly people who embrace tourists. Why would you consider anywhere else?

 

Wildlife Encounters in Tasmania’s North West

From enchanting little penguins and elusive platypus to endangered Tasmanian devils, the North West Coast offers opportunities for the whole family to get up close and personal with native wildlife.

The best time for viewing penguins – dusk to dark! Picture: Tourism Tasmania & Chi Kueng Renault Wong

Penguins aplenty

With a town called Penguin you can be guaranteed that the region is a prime spot to see the real thing in the wild. This quaint seaside village is a lovely place to explore during the day – have lunch in one of the cafes, take a photo with the Big Penguin or go shopping in the undercover market on Sundays – but it’s also one of the many beaches where you can see the world’s smallest penguin return after a day of fishing in Bass Strait.

Also known as fairy penguins, they are only around 30cm in height and weigh in at just a kilo. For a more comprehensive insight into the lives of the cute critters two great locations are the Lillico Beach Conservation Area, a 10-minute drive from Devonport, and the Burnie Penguin Observation Centre, just behind the Makers’ Workshop visitor information centre on the edge of the city.

During the day you can head to either colony and take in the coastal sights from the viewing platform and boardwalk while learning about the penguins from the interpretive information. But time it to be there later in the day and that’s when they really come to life, both with knowledgeable volunteers and the little penguins themselves, as they come ashore about dusk, waddling their way up to their nests where their chicks are waiting to be fed.

The quaint town of Penguin, and the obligatory Big Penguin photo opp! Picture: Tourism Tasmania and Adrian Cook

Devil of a time

The state’s most iconic native animal is undoubtedly the Tasmanian devil and despite a fearsome reputation thanks to their screeching howls and mouth full of sharp teeth, head to one of the Coast’s wildlife parks for a close encounter with the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial.

In the perfect location to combine with a trip to the national park, Devils @ Cradle is located on the edge of the world heritage area, where it conducts conservation and breeding programs for the species. Visit the sanctuary during the day to get to know more about these extraordinary animals. In the Visitors Centre check out the educational displays where you can look into a devil’s den from the comfort of the indoors.

For an even more close-up encounter join an experienced tour guide who will walk you through the sanctuary and share information about the devils’ lifecycle and the current threats they face. If you are planning a longer stay in the area visit of an evening to observe the amazing night time antics of the animals being fed. The mainly nocturnal species is far more active at night, so the sanctuary uses environmentally sensitive lighting to allow visitors to experience a rare opportunity to see Tasmanian devils in a group feeding situation.

The elusive platypus. Spotting one is rare and so very exciting.  Picture: Burnie Platypus Festival

Spot a platypus 

It’s no wonder early European explorers were laughed at when they bought specimens of the platypus back home. For a glimpse of this strange and elusive creature head to one of the North-West and West Coast waterways and lay quietly in wait to see if one breaks the surface.

Only about a 15-minute drive from Devonport, Latrobe is billed as the Platypus Capital of the World. Make your way to the Platypus Encounter in the Axemen’s Hall of Fame to see the big platypus and book a guided tour at the Information Centre. Or if you prefer to do your own thing you don’t need to go far.  Head to Warrawee Reserve, about a kilometre from town and look for tell-tale ripples for a glimpse of the monotreme (egg-laying mammal) in the wild.

If you’re near Burnie, Fernglade is another popular platypus-spotting location. Just a five-minute drive from the city centre the peaceful spot offers walks along the banks of the Emu River. There is even a Burnie Platypus Festival on January 28, from 10am-4pm at Havenview Primary School, including platypus tours, wildlife presentation, face painting, children’s activities, live music, food and market stalls. The event is free but tickets are required. Limited tickets will be available on the day at the gate or head to https://fofburnie.eventbrite.com.au

Spotting penguins in the evening is trick for optimal viewing. Picture: Tourism Tasmania and Pete Harmsen

Tips for viewing little penguins

  • Summer is a great time for viewing the world’s smallest penguins, with opportunities to see them waddle ashore to nest in their burrows or witness their chicks noisily compete for food.
  • Plan to head out as close to dusk as you can. Volunteers will be on hand to talk about these amazing creatures and their habitats at Lillico Beach Conservation Area and the Burnie Penguin Observation Centre. The later you can stay out the more you will see, as the penguins tend to make their way up the shore after it gets dark.
  • Don’t take photos using flash photography as it will disturb the penguins. If you can, bring your own torch to help you see them better but be sure it is covered with red cellophane. The volunteers may be able to provide some.
  • Stay quiet and still and wear dark clothing if possible. Don’t approach or touch the penguins or walk through their colony. You could damage burrow areas and prevent parents from getting to their chicks.
  • Never take your dog for a walk near known penguin burrows and certainly do not take your pooch with you to watch penguins coming home.
  • Make sure you have warm clothing, as the temperature can drop once the sun goes down, even in summer.

 

Cradle Coast summer hot spots

The North-West and West Coasts of Tasmania are beautiful at any time of year but summer is when they really shine. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of the warm weather and explore from the mountains to the sea. Here are just a few ideas when planning your summer getaway.

Canyon to Coast
As you head west from Devonport drop into the Turners Beach Berry Patch – nothing says summer like freshly harvested berries and here you can have the fun of picking your own. Or just grab a wood-fired pizza, a coffee and ice cream on your way toward Ulverstone.

The delicious berries at Turners Beach Berry Patch. Picture: Emily Smith

To burn off the calories and for an amazing view first make the roughly 45 minute drive inland from Ulverstone to the Leven Canyon. The 1.2km circuit walk will reward you with spectacular sweeping views from Cruickshanks Lookout 275m above the Leven River.

Majestic Leven Canyon. Picture: Tourism Tasmania & Brian Dullaghan

Then, trek down the nearly 697 steps of the Forest Stairs followed by a short walk to the Edge Lookout for a different view of the canyon. To complete the experience follow the signs for a short drive and walk into the canyon floor at Canyon View.

To cool off, head back into Ulverstone and make a splash at the waterslide, go for a ride on the nearby Pedal Buggies or enjoy a more relaxing, close-up view of the waterway with Leven River Cruises, choosing from four varied tours from one to five hours.

The azure waters of Boat Harbour beach. Picture: Claire Turfrey

Go Nuts
Making your way further west along the coast you must stop at one of the most popular beaches in the region at Boat Harbour, only about 30km from Burnie. The glimpses of azure water and white sands through the trees as you wind your way down the road will take your breath away. It’s the perfect spot for a refreshing swim and lunch at the waterfront cafe, which often has live music on the weekends, as you head towards Stanley.

The historic village of Stanley is nestled at the base of The Nut, a sheer-sided bluff – all that remains of an ancient volcanic plug. Picture: Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy

This isthmus with its dominant landmark affectionately known at the Nut is flanked by two beaches perfect for strolling after a feed of fish and chips or to work up an appetite for more fine dining options. It’s no wonder it’s been chosen as a filming location for the likes of Masterchef and a Hollywood film, with its historic buildings making it feel like you’re stepping back in time. Shop in some of the boutique stores then venture up the ancient volcanic plug that looms over the fishing village, either by chairlift or take the challenge of the calf-burning climb up the zig-zagging pathway. Then head out on the water with Stanley Seal Cruises for a 70-minute return trip to view Australian fur seals as they lie in the sun, feed and enjoy themselves.

The stunning, rugged West Coast landscape. Picture: Cat Gale-Stanton

Wild West

From Stanley its roughly a three-hour drive down to the historic harbour town of Strahan. Break the journey at the old mining villages of Tullah, Rosebery, Queenstown or Zeehan. Take a ride on the West Coast Wilderness Railway and experience the steam rack and pinion train that was the first of its kind in Australia in the late 19th century.

The West Coast Wilderness Railway is a reconstruction of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company railway between Queenstown and Regatta Point, Strahan. Picture: Hype TV

You can choose between half and full day trips that allow you to explore a rainforests punctuated with feats of engineering. For a more adrenaline-pumping option combine a train trip with rafting down the King River with its exhilarating rapids or head to the Henty Dunes, 14km north of Strahan. Reaching heights of around 30 metres this series of giant dunes extends 15 kilometres along the coast. Why not try tobogganing down the dunes, take the easy 1.5 hour walk to Ocean Beach, Tasmania’s longest beach, or for a faster pace you can zoom over the sand with Strahan ATV adventures.

The spectacular Henty Dunes. Picture: Cat Gale-Stanton

 

Take a thrilling ride atop the Henty Dunes via an ATV ride. Picture: Cat Gale-Stanton

Finish up in Strahan, situated on the edge of Macquarie Harbour, where you can cruise down the majestic Gordon River, one of the last great untouched wilderness areas on earth.

Strahan is a  with a dark and fascinating convict past set on the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Picture: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett

 

Fun in the sun this summer!

Just a few of the many events happening in the region during the summer months:

Beach Mission, Stanley Caravan Park, January 18-21

Ulverstone Hobby, Collectables and Craft Fair, January 20-21

Taste the Harvest, Devonport, January 21

Australia Day festivities including:

 

Burnie Platypus Festival, January 28

Devonport Kite Festival, February 11

Devil Country Muster, Smithton, February 16-18

Targa North-West, February 17-18

Ghost Rock Concert in the Vines, February 24

Festival in the Park, Ulverstone, February 25

Gone Nuts 101km Run, Stanley to Table Cape, March 3

Devonport Apex Regatta, March 4

VolksFeast, Turners Beach Berry Patch, March 10

SteamFest, Sheffield, March 10-12

Forth Valley Blues Festival, March 16-17

Live at the Wharf, Ulverstone, Friday nights from 5.30pm

Words: Claire Turfrey

Five of the best Instagrammers to follow

Travel the world, take photos and elicit adoration from thousands of fans? Sounds pretty good, huh?

The reach of social media is such, that today’s top Instagram photographers often turn their hobby into a job, or professional photographers can now reach millions.

These photographers have recently turned their collective gaze to the Cradle Coast,  and captured Tasmania’s north west beautifully.

We also think they’re worth a follow; click on the photos to go to their Instagram profiles.

 

Luke Tscharke

Luke Tscharke’s image of the Table Cape Tulip Farm, Table Cape.

 

Mitchell Pettigrew

Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake, by Mitchell Pettigrew, from Shipwreck Photography.

 

Chris Fynes

Chris Fynes, of @wethefoodsnobs captured this stunning image of Barn Bluff.

 

Sam Ison

Sam Ison’s striking photo of an ice-covered Dove Lake with the commanding Cradle Mountain behind.

 

 

Mitch Cox

Mitch captured this image of Montezuma Falls on Tasmania’s Wild West Coast during a visit last week.

10 QUESTIONS – CAROLINE KININMONTH

Caroline Kininmonth moved to King Island 25 years ago. The drought-stricken nature of East Gippsland, in Victoria, prompted her move to the greener pastures of the island. She camped initially, before seeing a coastal block for sale, which she quickly snapped up. Caroline discovered the 1876 Boathouse, which at the time, was derelict and scheduled for demolition. Along with her friend, Geoff Dodge, Caroline put in the blood, sweat and tears and cold hard cash to bring it back to life, and it was officially opened by entrepreneur Dick Smith in 1990. It’s now  run as a “restaurant with no food “and loved by everyone.

“I am having a ball developing my art and being creative,” Caroline said.

“And my grandchildren and children are also embracing the island. My dream is to start a research uni/Tafe College on King Island with my son, who is a marine biologist in Fiji. He has a house here and a coastal block and loves the island.”

Caroline believes a key to the island’s charm is partly due to those that choose to call it home.

“It is the people here that are amazing, supportive and fun. It’s a magic place to live, even if sometimes it is very wild and woolly and a few things are a bit more expensive because of freight.”

We recently caught up with Caroline and asked her 10 questions.

The Boathouse. Picture: Kramer Photography/Above Down Under

1 What does a perfect day on King Island look like to you?

I had a perfect day on King island last week! Waking up to my 70-year-old garden in the middle of the island, with a huge oak tree, old English camellias, flowers and berries. The sun was shining after rain and the birds warbling.

Then I took a drive into Currie with peacocks, pheasants, and wildlife in the long grass along the road to my pottery studio in Currie. I then painted pictures in my pottery and set up the Boathouse with fresh flowers, music and set a table for a group to enjoy lunch by the Currie Harbour.  I ended the day walking along the wild beach called British Admiral as the sun set. Perfect!

The Currie Lighthouse.  Picture: Kramer Photography/Above Down Under

2 What do we do best on the North-West corner of the island?

The wild coast of King Island is incredible for surfing and boogie-boarding and beach-combing. Surfers look up the swells and weather online and come to camp or stay in holiday homes – they love it.

3 Where can we improve?

Improvement is in the eye of the beholder and attitude. Embracing whatever you want is part of the Bass Strait island experience.

4 What would you like to see more of? And less of?

More research into edible seaweeds and using the coastal greens. A fresh fish market would be great, but we are a small population and most locals fish for themselves. A more “village” like Currie township as we all meet there, do business in the street and do coffee!

Naracoopa Jetty. Picture: Kramer Photography/Above Down Under

5 If you could swap your life for a day, who would you switch it with?

I would love to go cray-fishing with the guys. Going early in the morning in their amazing boats seeing the flocks of mutton birds sweeping the ocean and being in the deep ocean. Scary!

Seeing the crays in the pots as they are pulled up and viewing the island coastline from the sea. They are also characters the fishermen – with jokes and stories – and they’re brave!

6 Where is King Island’s most romantic location? 

The Boathouse is a romantic spot for drinking a red wine with a candle-lit setting, eating crayfish, cheese or BBQ-ing a steak as the sun sets over the boats on Currie Harbour. Then dancing to the music from records that go with the Boathouse. Magic!

Martha Lavinia Beach. Picture: Kramer Photography/Above Down Under

7 Would you like to share any hidden gems?

Hidden gems pop up everywhere by surprise as you explore the island. To end the day with a glass of wine or coffee at the cafes around the island situated either inland or on the coast is part of the adventure. The ultimate is sitting on a salt bush on a deserted beach with your best mate (or just by yourself!), with a glass of wine, eating oysters or cheese and biscuits.

8 What makes you most proud of being a Tasmanian?

Quality is the word that comes with the great feeling of being a Tasmanian and we have so much going for us with produce, creative thinking, climate and pure food, air and water and a 1960s feel.

9 What do you miss most when you are away from home?

I miss the fertility of the soil, that just grows anything; the generosity of the growth in the sea and the land giving us milk, cheese beef, kelp, abalone, crayfish. And the people. You can feel the energy. Tough islanders and caring friends. We are a big family.

10 You’re marketing King Island in 30 seconds, what’s your elevator pitch?

Embrace this Bass Strait island in all weathers. Golf, surf, eat, walk, or just take a big deep breath! Bring a pair of bathers and a parka. The locals are friendly and love the visitors.

WEST COAST ROAD TRIPPING

Three full days exploring the wild west – from underground tunnels to sand dunes that flow out to the ocean quirky nooks few peer into.

DAY 1 – Devonport – Strahan
The drive out west is half the fun. Perhaps you’re rolling off the Spirit and directing your compass west. Get on the road early and drop into The Chapel in Burnie if you need an early bite before hitting the wilderness. Don’t be surprised when you lose radio contact with the outside world – this is part of the appeal. Switch off and connect with the region’s rugged persona. At Tullah, stretch your legs and soak in the views across Lake Rosebery and Mackintosh. If walking is high on your list, take the nearby three hour mission into Montezuma Falls, claiming the dizzying title of Tasmania’s highest waterfall.


Venture on to Zeehan where the West Coast Heritage Centre may keep you occupied for hours – it has a world class mineral collection, includes access to the circa. 1898 Gaiety Theatre and has a special area dedicated to the hardy pioneering women of the west. There’s a Spray Tunnel about ten minutes out of town well worth a peek and lunching options in town.
From Zeehan, continue down the coast to Strahan. Drop in for an hour of thrills at Henty Dunes with Strahan ATV adventures. Four wheels, mountains of sand and a born and bred Tasmanian at the helm equals serious fun. Ian also has sunset tours.
Tonight, catch the sunset over dinner up on the hill top or head out to Ocean Beach and watch the sun sink behind the ocean. Overnight in Strahan. Captains Rest is a quaint new offering right by the water’s edge.

DAY 2 – Strahan – Queenstown
Hop aboard the West Coast Wilderness Railway, departing from its original station at 8.30am. There’s little need for brekkie before boarding, because you’re well fueled throughout the day, beginning with a glass of Tasmanian sparkling on arrival. At 27 tonnes, this old loco tackles the steepest steam climb in the southern hemisphere with its famed rack and pinion system. All that’s required from you is to sit back, with a blanket over your knees and enjoy the passing ancient Huon pines.
Between rainforest wanders, Leatherwood honey tasting and hearing stories of 1890s rail workers, the train winds its way into Queenstown for lunch. Get your fill in the recently refurbished Tracks Café and head up the main street of this mining town on a guided walking tour – a place where 14 pubs once buzzed and 10,000 folk called the outpost home.
The return route includes a dash of gold panning, more stories of triumphs in the thick rainforest and delivery back around 5.30pm. If you’re wanting to stretch your legs, take a 45 minute walk to Hogarth Falls then drive onto Queenstown. Tonight, step back in time with a visit to the 1930’s art deco Paragon Theatre. The newly re-opened gem offers classic movies served up with dinner and stellar desserts. Overnight in Queenstown.

DAY 3 – Queenstown – Cradle Mountain (2hrs)
This morning, hand yourself over to Anthony of RoamWild for a Lost Mines and Ancient Pines tour. The three hour adventure takes you into a mining tunnel on the side of a mountain that few know about. Follow his steps into the rainforest and he’ll take you to where Huon pines have stood for centuries. His passion is palpable. Don’t be surprised if he diverts to something off the beaten track in his wild backyard. From gravel footy ovals to glow worms on his night tours, unexpected turns are his signature.


Grab a bite to eat in Queenstown then continue on to Cradle Mountain via Lake Plimsoll and the Cradle Mountain Link Road. Step out for some cracker shots along the way including the Vale of Belvoir, where you’ll see Cradle’s distinct peak standing proud ahead. If time permits, venture into Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park before making your way back to Devonport, let’s hope with a golden nugget in your pocket.

LINKS:
The Chapel Cafe
West Coast Heritage Centre, Zeehan
Strahan ATV Adventures
Air BnB – Captain’s Rest
West Coast Wilderness Railway
Roam Wild
The Paragon Theatre

 

Words: Alice Hansen

Pictures: Alice Hansen, Tourism Tasmania

10 QUESTIONS – ALICIA PEARDON

“We all know Mona is the lure, but we’ve got so much to offer outside of that, we just need to get smarter about how we shout it from the rooftops!”

Ghost Rock Tasmania

Alicia Peardon and Justin Arnold. Picture: Harriet Stevens, S. Group

Alicia Peardon and husband Justin Arnold (above) are the young couple behind one of the north-west’s most popular and successful wineries: Ghost Rock Vineyard. Originally from Victoria, Alicia joined Justin in the move to Tasmania’s north west where the couple joined  Justin’s  award-winning family vineyard at Northdown.

Before her move, Alicia worked with British TV chef Jamie Oliver as the chief executive officer of The Good Foundation, which runs Jamie’s Ministry of Food in Australia. Alicia and Justin put their advertising, marketing and PR skills (honed in Melbourne) towards launching the commercial winery and Hundred Acres food and wine centre.  Justin takes care of the wine (it has been twice crowned Tourism Tasmania’s Best Cellar Door) and Alicia runs the food side.

This week, Hundred Acres, in collaboration with Brown Bear Eatery, will launch a week-long pop-up restaurant: Hundred Bears, that also coincides with the month-long Devonport Food & Wine Festival and the 16th Australian Masters Games.

Alicia’s finger is firmly on the pulse of north-west Tasmania’s burgeoning food and wine scene (she is also a member of the Cradle Coast Authority’s tourism committee), and we recently caught up with her ahead of the launch of the pop-up restaurant.

 

Hawley House

1 What does a perfect day in the Cradle Coast look like to you?

Hitting Hawley Beach for a long stroll and a swim with the family and dogs, followed by breakfast at Brown Bear Eatery (Miandettta) is my idea of a good start to the day.  Usually there is lots happening at Ghost Rock that keeps us busy and takes us in many directions but if not, a drive into the wilderness or visiting some farm gates is my idea of fun. Next on my hit list is to Wings Wildlife Park and the Tarkine Drive.  A good day always involves a meander around Hill Street Grocer in Devonport checking out the latest and greatest and a Tasmanian wine on the deck as the sun goes down in summer is seriously one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Picture: Harriet Stevens, S. Group

2 What do we do best on the North-West corner of the island?

Well the thing is, our little corner of the state has got it all – from nature and wildlife, to outdoors and adventure, history and heritage, arts and culture, events and of course we produce some of the best produce on the planet. So it’s really hard to single out one. But here is a left-of-field one: we make the best wine. We are an unlikely suspect, as we are not in a major wine region, but we’ve got the best growing conditions, a maritime climate and rich fertile soils which makes exceptional quality fruit. Don’t believe me – try a Ghost Rock wine.

3 Where can we improve?

Giving people genuine reasons as to why people should head to the north-west corner of our state is crucial.  We all know Mona is the lure, but we’ve got so much to offer outside of that, we just need to get smarter about how we shout it from the rooftops! Never under-estimate word of mouth!

4 What would you like to see more of? And less of?

I’d like to see more chefs come to the area and subsequently more restaurants.  Good chefs are hard to find and it surprises me to no end, because we’ve got the most amazing produce in abundance, plus the cleanest air and purest water. It’s just a no-brainer for any chef to have a real crack at it.  Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of really good things happening in and around the north west in the food scene, but I’d love to see us become the Mornington Peninsula of Tasmania!!

5 If you could swap your life for a day, who would you switch it with?

Well I’ve seen Jamie Oliver’s life for day in the fast lane and quite frankly I’d rather pass on that lifestyle, so I’d nearly say my dog Daisey. I’m seriously coming back in another life as a vineyard dog!!!

6 Where is the Cradle Coast’s most romantic location? 

Well I’m biased of course, but nothing beats a romantic lunch for two in our Cellar Door with sweeping views across our vineyard, the rolling patchwork hills and Bass Strait, grazing over the local artisan produce and downing a bottle of our Ghost Rock Catherine Sparkling or Rose. BUT … I’d also say Cradle Mountain has the money shot!!

7 Would you like to share any hidden gems?

I’m a rule of three type of girl – so here goes:

  1. Seeing the penguins is seriously cool. You don’t have to battle hundreds of other tourists to see them and if you go down to Hawley Beach on dusk, they literally nearly walk over your feet! Don’t forget to take a torch with red cellophane.
  2. I love the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory at Parramatta Creek – they do everything exceptionally well and its one of my favourite places in Tasmania. I take everyone there.
  3. The World Heritage Area on the West Coast just completely blows my mind and I can’t wait to get back their to discover and learn more. It’s a magical place and well worth the drive and a few days to explore.

 

8 What makes you most proud of being a Tasmanian?

There is nothing like it anywhere in the world. It truly is a unique place and we are so lucky to be able to live here, doing what we love.

9 What do you miss most when you are away from home?

Clean air, pristine water on the beaches, incredible scenery (everywhere) and good quality produce.

10 You’re marketing the Cradle Coast in 30 seconds, what’s your elevator pitch?

If you think you’ve planned enough time, double it, cause there is so much to see and do. Cradle Mountain, West Coast/Strahan and Stanley are the big ticket items. But to really immerse yourself eat and drink your way along the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail and meet the producers and personalities behind the scenes.  And finally, come  to our island state on the Spirit of Tasmania – bring the car, the boat, the kids, the dogs and kitchen sink if it will give you more time here. It’s worth it!

SUMMIT TOPPING IN TASSIE’S NORTH WEST

   

Pack your boots and your lunch – it’s time for two days of mountain climbing.

In need of some mountain air? North-west Tasmania is home to some of the freshest air on the planet. There’s no better place to clear your head, soak up the longer days and summit a peak or two. We’ll be sure you’re well fueled with the region’s wholesome goodness on your mountain mission.

DAY 1

If you’re starting in Devonport, all good adventure days begin with a delicious packed lunch. Pop into Hill Street, a providore packed with soft cheeses, crusty breads and all manner of walking snacks. From here, head for the rolling hills of Sheffield. Grab a coffee (Fudge’n’Good Coffee if you like your coffee with smooth fudge) and take a wander through the streets of this mural-blanketed town. The World of Marbles and Emporium are must visits. You might even like to have a tinker on the outdoor piano on the main street.

 

On the drive to Sheffield, Mount Roland is a commanding presence. This is your first climb and is about 50 kilometres drive south west of Devonport. The walk is a solid six hours (11km) by the time you stop, turn around, and gasp at the views out across Bass Strait more than once. We suggest climbing up the face. It’s a steeper ascent, but more breathtaking. For a cruisy, but longer descent, take the southern route and gentler grade back down. Keep in mind though, this does require a car shuffle.

Madsen Retreat

From Mount Roland, wind your way along the coast to Penguin for your overnight at Madsen Hotel. If you have time, divert to the old Bass Highway between Ulverstone and Penguin. This iconic stretch used to be the main highway and hugs the coastline so intimately you could almost cast a line from the car.

At Madsen, perhaps the penthouse is in order with your own private balcony and free standing spa to relax those weary legs? Tonight, get your fill in Penguin. This seaside town boasts a little of Spain. Fuel up on the Latin flavours of El Perro, a sweet little tapas and cocktail bar complete with authentic Sangria.

 

DAY 2

Rise early to the sun over Bass Strait and head for the letter box. The Letterbox Café serve up delicious hot breakfasts from 8am (The Renaissance Café is also a delight). High five the ‘Big Penguin’ on the main street, or at least get a selfie with him (obligatory!) then pull on your boots for summit two. Today’s climb is Mount Gnomon, around 8 kilometres south of Penguin in the Dial Range. It’s an easier walk than yesterday, taking only around an hour of effort for some stellar views.

The walk begins quite steeply, but later veers north and enjoys a gentler gradient. A lookout offers views across to Mount Duncan and the tumbling valley below. If you’re up for an extended venture, continue along the ridge to Mount Dial. Up top, views spill out across the strait, back along the North West coast towards Devonport and you’ll be able to spot Mount Roland, yesterday’s conquest.

Follow your morning walk with a visit to Mount Gnomon Farm. Meet Guy – he breeds rare breed free range pigs on the property. Contact the farm directly if you’re keen on a ‘secret life of pigs’ tour and staying on for lunch. Ethically-raised meat in their dining room is one special treat. Alternately, you can often catch them at the Cradle Coast Farmer’s Market at the Ulverstone Wharf each Sunday, 8.30-12.30.

After the walk, pop in to Wings Wildlife Park at Gunns Plains. It happens to have the largest collection of Tasmanian wildlife in the country. That’s around 150 species, ranging from up close encounters with our Tasmanian devils to meerkats, monkeys, plus an aquatic centre complete with albino rainbow trout. Lunch is available at the park.

You’ve reached new North West heights. Now, complete your North West adventure by heading underground. Gunns Plains Caves is close by (as is Preston Falls for those who enjoy a good waterfall) offering the chance to dip below the surface into a limestone cave with permanent stream. Glow worms, platypus and even freshwater lobster might surface for a greeting.

For the athletic enthusiasts, take a peek at The Dial Sports Centre. It will be hosting a number of events during the Australian Masters Games in October. But for you, with many kilometres covered, there’s no need to run laps. You’ve just completed North West Tasmania from summits and depths few may encounter. Reward yourself with afternoon hot chocolate from Ulverstone’s Thirty Three Cups and a divine slice of cake. Or two.

LINKS:

http://www.themadsen.com/

http://wingswildlifepark.com.au/

http://bushwalk.com/wiki/index.php/St._Valentines_Peak_Track

http://www.tasmania.australiaforeveryone.com.au/mt-roland.htm

https://www.facebook.com/letterboxcafe?rf=461949507267753

Words: Alice Hansen, Pictures: Tourism Tasmania

10 Questions – Ben Milbourne

“After many years abroad and getting access to the best produce the different destinations have to offer, nothing compares to the produce from the North-West Coast of Tasmania.” – Ben Milbourne

Pre-2012, Ben Milbourne, the teacher from Tassie’s north-west, expressed his passion for produce in the privacy of his own home, that was until he decided to throw his apron into the ring for a little TV cooking show called MasterChef Australia.

Since joining the 2012 competition, which his good friend Andy Allen won (Ben took fifth spot), he has gone on to feature on his own TV show Ben’s Menu, he’s paired up with mate Andy Allen for  SBS’s Andy and Ben Eat Australia (in addition to culinary jaunts to Spain and Mexico, also with SBS), as well as penning books The Tasmanian Trail  and Mexican Craving. He’s the patron of social enterprise Produce to the People and an ambassador for all things food in Tasmania, he’s husband to Sally and dad to their two children (is there more than one of him!?).

While he did not return to take up his spot at the front of the classroom, Ben’s heart is still in teaching. From his home in Tasmania’s North-West, Ben is in the throes of opening a restaurant and cookery school, as part of Devonport’s Living City redevelopment.

 

We caught up with Ben and fired 10 questions at him.

1 What does a perfect day in the Cradle Coast look like to you?

Having a family day; taking the kids for a bike ride along one of the coast’s bike tracks, hiking through bush trails and heading out for a bite to eat at one of the family friendly cafés, wineries or provedores. My Dad’s always been a keen fisherman (although he hardly catches anything!) so if it’s a crystal-clear day, taking the kids out on the boat with him is always a fantastic way to spend a day, then my wife would head out among the bush trails with her horse.

2 What do we do best on the North-West corner of the island?

It’s both a blessing and a curse that the people on the coast are humble. After many years abroad and getting access to the best produce the different destinations have to offer, nothing compares to the produce from the North-West Coast of Tasmania. North-West Coasters are not good at singing their own praises – and this is one of the things I love about our producers. But, with produce so amazing, we should be telling anyone who will listen. I see that as one of my jobs when I’m out promoting the state.

3 Where can we improve?

Promoting our corner of the state! Turn left off the Spirit for your holiday. We have all you need! We can also improve on how well we market ourselves as individuals. Everyone who resides on the coast should be talking up the coast’s virtues.

4 What would you like to see more of? And less of?

I’d love to see more people supporting cafes, clean and safe playgrounds and see some of the proposed bike paths come into fruition. It would also be good to see the general public have more faith in ourselves.

5 If you could swap your life for a day, who would you switch it with?

Collingwood Captain Scott Pendlebury who has a perfect job of captaining the best team in the AFL.

6 Where is the Cradle Coast’s most romantic location? 

I love the quaint town of Stanley. I’ve been there with my wife and kids and it’s the perfect small town to have a weekend away. Hike The Nut, explore the quaint cottages, Highfield House and shops, eat at one of the great restaurants, play at the beach – Stanley has it all!

7 Would you like to share any hidden gems?

Almost too many to mention but the most enjoyable day I had recently is riding around the bike path through Hawley/Shearwater/Port Sorell.

8 What makes you most proud of being a Tasmanian?

I’m proud of my home state for the fresh produce, it’s clean, green image, spectacular landscapes and the friendly, down-to-earth people.

9 What do you miss most when you are away from home?

I’m away too often and I miss my family and local fresh produce the most.

10 You’re marketing the Cradle Coast in 30 seconds. What’s your elevator pitch?

Imagine a place with pristine air, towering rainforests, gushing waterfalls, beaches that run for kilometres and fresh fruit, vegetables, seafood and protein straight from the farmer to your plate. Too good to be true? That’s north-west Tasmania.

 

Get set for a heart-pumping island adventure

 

Give yourself two days of heart- pumping adventure in Tasmania’s north west.  The Spirit of Tasmania will sail you, your car and your bike right to where the action is.  Launch in Devonport at sunrise and drive along the coast to Penguin.  The Penguin Mountain Bike Park, once an old speedway, gives way to bushland at the base of the Dial Ranges.  Try your skills on the wooden structures including ‘corkscrew bridge’ then power through the old forestry trails around the ranges for as long as you can hack it.

There’s no need to wipe the dirt from your brow.  You’re only as old as you feel!  Zip around the rolling green hills to Tasmazia and the village of Lower Crackpot. This popular tourist attraction will spark your wonder, so be prepared to get lost on foot in the eight mazes and gardens and finish up with a pancake in your belly!

About 10 minutes from Sheffield you’ll discover Mt Roland Quad bikes.  Swap the pedal for the metal in devil country.  No experience is necessary to fire up the automatic 4 x 4 motorbikes and cruise along like a local; deep into pristine sub-alpine forest, across farmland and over rocks, hills and more often than not, MUD.

Do you have the nerve to wander off the walking tracks into the depths of Tasmania’s world heritage wilderness with Cradle Mountain Canyons? Imagine surrendering to the elements in Lost World Canyon, abseiling into unforgettable pools and the lesser known nooks of Dove Canyon or Machinery Canyon, far away from the crowds of more popular Cradle Mountain trails.  This award-winning tour company takes eco-tourism to a whole new level, catering for thrill seekers and spirited families or groups.

Words: Lucy Taylor

Photos: Cradle Mountain Canyons, Heath Holden

Old meets new in creative seaside hub

 

City renewed

A 35-minute drive from the Spirit of Tasmania in Devonport or just 20 minutes from the airport in Wynyard, discover the creative hotspot that is Burnie. Your first port of call is the glowing geometric structure in prime position overlooking West Beach – the Makers’ Workshop. Chat to the helpful staff in the visitor information centre to help plan your stay, sample the locally-made cheese in the tasting centre or stay longer for lunch in the cafe. Wander around the life-size paper mache people and take a hands-on paper-making tour to discover how the city’s industrial past has merged into an artisan experience. Then you can not only see art and craft on display and purchase something special to take home, you can watch makers creating on site and chat to them about their work.

Artistic hub

From the Makers’ Workshop it’s a short, picturesque walk along the boardwalk to the city centre. On the way you must take a detour into the Burnie Regional Art Gallery, a world-class facility boasting an ever-changing range of exhibitions. During the city’s premier event, Burnie Shines in October, you can see the creations of not one but six feature artists this year. Work from the emerging North-West artists, who are all studying at the UTAS School of Creative Arts, will be on display from October 21 to November 5. The gallery will also host TASART, the most prestigious event on the North-West’s arts calendar, from September 23 to October 14, and works from the Burnie City Council Youth Art Challenge from October 9 to 15.

Step back in time

Next walk just up the road for an immersive experience of what the city was like over 100 years ago. At the Burnie Regional Museum you can walk down a street as it would have looked during the Federation era, with each store based on an actual business that existed in the town, packed with fascinating artefacts, memorabilia and tools of the trade. Entry is $8 for adults and $5 for concession. The temporary exhibitions are free to everyone. Currently on display is The Advocate Gift, a celebration of the local newspaper’s donation of more than one million photographic negatives to be preserved.

Patch of paradise

After exploring the city it’s time to jump in the car for a 10-minute drive to discover the stunning Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden. Created by volunteers over the past 35 years, wander or be driven in a buggy through the 11ha nature amphitheatre with its 22,000 rhodos and other plants, as well as waterways and bridges. Once you’ve worked up an appetite stop for an afternoon snack in the tearooms, which are now open daily until December 24. An event you must not miss is the Cherry Blossom Festival, on October 21 from 10am to 3pm. You will feel like you have been transported to Japan as you walk among the blossoming cherry trees, watch taiko drumming and martial arts performances, take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and enjoy the bonsai and ikebana displays. There will also be stallholders offering local food and beverages for you to enjoy or take home. Entry is $10 for adults, $8 concession and children under 16 free.

Highlights from the 2017 Burnie Shines Program:

  • The Coastal city will be humming with live music during the festival throughout October. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album, there will be a tribute show at the Burnie Arts and Function Centre on October 7. The Otis Room, The Point and The Chapel will feature a host of performances throughout the month and The Burnie Music Society presents Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The Musical. To top it all off Skyfields at West Park will feature Australian music legends the Hoodoo Gurus for the Australian Masters Games after party on October 28.
  • There will be plenty of delicious local food and beverages to keep the revellers happy. The Chapel will hold an evening dedicated to enjoying Tasmanian whisky with Heartwood’s Tim Duckett on October 14 and a long table feast on October 21. Experience a coffee brewing session at Infuse Coffee Roasters on October 14 and 21. Go behind the scenes and tour the Hellyers Road Distillery then enjoy dinner in the restaurant between October 19 and 28.
  • For the families there is the McGrath & Co Burnie Show on October 6-7, the Emu Bay Lions Club Giant Book Fair on October 14 and 28, Picnic in the Paddock at Guide Falls Farm on October 22, Australia’s premier 10km road race the Burnie Ten on October 22 and the 321Go Kids’ Race on October 29.

 

Words: Claire Turfrey

Photos: Claire Turfrey, Catherine Gale-Stanton 

Bloomin’ beautiful North-West

Table Cape Tulip Farm

Whether you’re flying into the Burnie-Wynyard airport or driving along the beautiful coastline from Burnie, you can’t miss the imposing landmark that is Table Cape. Projecting out into Bass Strait, with its sheer sides and flat top, its rich volcanic soils make prime farming land. Take the short drive through the lush paddocks to experience the explosion of colour that is the Van Diemen Quality Bulbs Tulip Farm in spring.

From late September through to mid October the fields transform into a rainbow of dozens of varieties of tulips, sweeping down towards the lighthouse perched on the edge of the cape. The largest field in the southern hemisphere where you are welcome to tiptoe among the tulips to your heart’s content is the perfect spot to grow your Instagram followers with your enviable snaps. Then join in the farm’s celebration of the flowering season at the bush dance, Tunes in the Tulips and activities for children.

In 2017 the fields will be open from September 22 till October 23, 9am to 4.30pm. Entry is $12 adults, $10 seniors and concession, $8 students, children 16 and under free.

Wynyard’s big party

After your visit to the tulip farm head back down into Wynyard where on October 14 you can party with the locals at the town’s premier annual event, the Bloomin’ Tulips Festival. Make your way to the picturesque Gutteridge Gardens on the banks of the Inglis River, browse the stalls for some tasty local produce to eat and drink then find a spot to sit and listen to the live music. For a stunning view of the tulip farm you can hop in a helicopter for a scenic ride, or why not take part in the colour fun run. To keep the kids happy there are roving entertainers, face painting and rides, all topped off with a fireworks display at 9pm.

History and horticulture

The following weekend venture further west along the stunning coast to the quaint fishing village of Stanley, nestled under the imposing volcanic outcrop know affectionately as The Nut. Brave the chairlift or take the steep trek to the top for the amazing view. Then take a walk along the beach or wander through the boutique shops before heading up the hill to the historic Highfield House, once home to the chief agent of the Van Diemen’s Land Company. Built in the 1830s, the elegant Regency building is surrounded by a large ornamental garden, convict barracks, barn, stables and a chapel. On October 21, the site will again host the Circular Head Garden Spectacular, where you can enjoy floral works of art, plants, food and wine, children’s activities and interesting guest speakers, including crowd favourite Tino Carnevale from ABC’s Gardening Australia.

Tips for taking some top Instagram photos at the tulip farm:

  • Don’t forget your background when you frame your photo – perhaps try to incorporate the lighthouse or even pieces of farm equipment to add interest.
  • Try using different angles – crouch low and shoot down between rows of flowers.
  • Utilise depth of field and perhaps pick out an individual flower to focus on – sometimes a single differently coloured tulip will be mixed into a row.
  • Get your friends and family involved; tiptoe through the tulips, strike some poses, throw little children into the air – have some fun!
  • Golden hour – the hour following sunrise and before sunset – is optimum for beautiful pictures. While you may not be able to access inside the property at these times you could find a good vantage point just outside. But please be careful if you are near any roads!

Words: Claire Turfrey

Photos: Claire Turfrey, Jessie Watson/Tourism Tasmania

Cradle Mountain is calling

FROM HOBART TO CRADLE MOUNTAIN – AN EPIC, DELICIOUS ROAD TRIP

Pack up your car and hit the Heritage Highway. You’re off to the mountains of North West Tasmania. Driving time is over four hours from Hobart to Cradle Mountain, but this roadie is best enjoyed slowly … punctuated with plenty of tasty turn offs. We’ve got them covered for you, from ginseng stops to truffle farms, craft brews to sharp cheeses.

MORNING DRIVE

Time your drive to arrive at Red Hills around lunch time, three hours from Hobart. Only in Tasmania will you find a ginseng and salmon farm combo. At 42 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm, the petite café serves up sandwiches like the Wetlander, packed with hot smoked salmon and juicy ‘41er’ salmon burgers. Take your time exploring the wetlands, feed the fish and find out about Ziggy’s fascinating operation. Stock up on ginseng, honey, spices and nougat.

AFTERNOON TREATS

After lunch, call into Ashgrove Cheese. It’s hard not to miss with its ‘colourful cows,’ just north of Elizabeth Town. There’s all manner of cheese here from wild wasabi infused (well matched with beer) to traditional cloth matured cheddar. Watch the cheese makers at work as you pick out your faves. The Ashgrove Bush Pepper is made with Tasmanian native pepper, foraged from our forests.

Remember how the wasabi cheese goes well with an ale? Next stop is Railton where you’ll find Seven Sheds Brewery. Drop in here for a late afternoon sip, the tasting room and hops garden is open until 5 pm Wednesday to Sunday. Perhaps a Kentish Ale, named among Australia’s top 20 beers by the Weekend Australian a few years back takes your fancy? Give a nod to the topiary on the main street and continue to Cradle Mountain, about an hour away.

MOUNTAIN EVENING

Tonight is about getting cosy in the highlands. Crisp mountain air, hearty Cape Grim steaks and comfy lodging are on the menu. If you arrive in time, The Sanctuary at Waldheim Alpine Spa might tempt with its spa, Tassie sparkling and chocolate dipped strawberries. After dinner, fire up your flashlight and meet the locals… Bennetts wallabies, wombats and perhaps even a Tasmanian devil. An alternative to mountain lodging is Eagles Nest Retreat near Sheffield, that’s if you like the sound of an outdoor spa and watching the sun’s final glow against Mount Roland.

EARLY CRADLE RISE

Fuel up on brekkie and take a brisk morning walk around Dove Lake or even power up Marion’s Lookout for elevated views of Cradle. Before leaving the Cradle area, pop into the recently revamped wilderness gallery, open from 9 am. Follow this up with a well-earned feast at Truffledore. Although truffle hunts run only June to August, get in touch with owner and host Jen for a gourmet truffle lunch. You might also get to meet Chicken, one of her truffle hunting dogs, who has been known to gobble $500 in truffles when heads are turned.

NORTH WEST SIPPING

Drop into Spreyton Cider and Emilia Wines, a little slice of Tuscany, back in Spreyton. Continue on to Devonport where new doors have opened. Let George Burgess take you on a gin-tasting journey from mountain to meadow to sea at Southern Wild Distillery. The former food scientist turned distiller loves sharing a little of his North West backyard in every bottle. Continue your stylish ‘watering hole crawl’ with a visit to Empress Craft Beer, Devonport’s latest addition to the bar scene with over 200 beers on offer.

COASTAL VINEYARD VISIT

On your way back south, complete your regional sojourn at Ghost Rock Vineyard. Former Devonport boy, Justin Arnold has returned to home turf with his family to head the vineyard. Outstanding Pinot noir, sparkling and all served with views down to the ocean. Time your trip to coincide with their Hundred Bears Popup Restaurant, 20-27 October.

From Ghost Rock, it’s about three hours back to the capital. We didn’t get round to Cradle Coast Olives with their award-winning olive oil, or Blue Hills Honey in the far North West, harvesting organic Leatherwood from the Tarkine’s edge. That just means you’ll have to stay a little longer.

LINKS:

Cradle To Coast Tasting Trail

41 South Tasmania

Ashgrove Cheese

Seven Sheds

Eagles Nest Retreat

Cradle Mountain Hotel

Cradle Country Truffles

Spreyton Cider Co

Emilia Wines

Ghost Rock

Hundred Acres

Empress Craft Beer

Empress Craft Beer Facebook

Cradle Coast Olives

 

Words: Alice Hansen

Photos: Tourism Tasmania, RACT

Cruising into the Cradle Coast

So, you’ve sailed into Burnie, the sun has been hanging low in the sky for less than an hour, and the little seaside town’s locals are also rising.

Burnie will welcome 32 cruise ships over the 2017-2018 season, and if you are one of the 39.8 per cent of passengers on board, you have not pre-booked an organised tour. Well then, what is there to do?

A lot! Let us tell you.

The Norwegian Jewel

 

Stretch your legs

After the famous Burnie dockside welcome you will jump on board a bus for the quick trip to the Makers’ Workshop – the perfect place to discover more about Burnie’s papermaking history as well as sample locally-made cheese, see craftspeople at work and pick-up some of their creations to take home. From here it’s a short stroll just across the highway to the lovely Burnie Park – home to the city’s oldest building, the Burnie Inn, as well as the focus of Anzac and Remembrance Day services at the cenotaph, this undulating, landscaped park has exotic and native trees as well as a duck pond and waterfall.

For a longer walk you can take advantage of the smooth cemented pathway that runs along the coastline out to Cooee Beach, a roughly 3km trek each way. Or head along the boardwalk and continue around the edge of town, walking along the port right opposite your cruise ship, and make your way towards the yacht club and south Burnie beach. As you follow the pathway towards the Emu River you will see interpretive installations that will share more of Burnie’s papermaking history, opposite the site of the old paper mill.

If you feel like heading just out of town there are more wonderful options to explore the outdoors that will require a taxi trip or maybe even a hire care, including the impressive Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden, Fernglade with its river pathway and chance to spot platypus, as well as the magnificent Guide Falls just outside Ridgley. As you head that way make sure to detour to the lookout just up Mount St for a wonderful vista over the city and a birds-eye-view of your cruise ship in port.

The beautiful Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden. Picture: EVRG

Want to venture a little further along the Coast? Popular spots that are roughly a 20-minute drive away are Wynyard to the west or Penguin to the east. Wynyard is a lovely riverfront town with a charming main street filled with stores to explore, as well as nearby Table Cape, a flat-topped promontory which offers stunning views along the coast and guided tours of the historic lighthouse. With a name as cute as Penguin, it’s worth the trip just to say you’ve been there! This coastal hamlet is home to the Big Penguin, situated on the waterfront and perfect for snapping a photo with. Grab lunch at a local café and if it happens to be a Sunday wander through the market.

The seaside town of Penguin, along the North West coast. Picture: Scott Sporleder and Tourism Tasmania

Explore the history and culture

Burnie’s history stretches back to its settlement by the Van Diemen’s Land Company’s chief surveyor Henry Hellyer in 1827 and for the best way to find out more about its origins make your way to the Burnie Regional Museum. Immerse yourself in the city’s bygone times by stepping back 100 years to walk down the carefully recreated Federation streetscape. You will be fascinated by the rooms packed with personal treasures, memorabilia and tools of the trade.

Next it’s just a quick walk down the street to the Burnie Regional Art Gallery, where you can soak up some culture thanks to the ever-changing selection of works from local and national artists. Currently it is hosting an exhibition of international standard, with the National Geographic 50 greatest photographs on display until April 15. The photography takes viewers through the most compelling imagery published in the magazine’s near 130-year history, exploring hidden worlds, secret stories and some amazing places on the planet.

To help you see Burnie’s history with different eyes as you walk around the city, pick up a copy of the Burnie Art Deco Trail Map (http://www.artdecotasmania.com.au) at the Makers’ Workshop or Burnie City Council Chambers on Wilson St. It was the establishment of the Associated Pulp and Paper Mills in 1938 that really saw the town boom and many buildings constructed during this time are great examples of the distinctive architectural movement.

The delicious food and landscape at Hellyers Road Distillery. Picture: Hellyers Road

Tempt the Tastebuds

Tasmania is well known for its delicious local produce and your stop in Burnie offers the perfect opportunity to sample some of the best the state has to offer. There are many cafes and restaurants to enjoy during your time in the city but some of the top spots include:

Palate food+drink

Rear 6 Cattley St, Burnie

Tucked away in the plaza behind the multi-storey carpark, enter through Boland’s Arcade from Wilson St. Serving contemporary food, local roasted coffee, wine, beer and cider, it’s a popular spot for breakfast and lunch.

The Chapel

50 Cattley St, Burnie

Located in a restored 1890s chapel, this café has a wonderful atmosphere and delicious food to match. Well known for freshly roasted coffee and local produce that is very Instagrammable.

Hellyer’s Road Distillery

153 Old Surrey Rd, Havenview

About a 10-minute drive from Burnie, be rewarded with views of the rolling landscape of the Emu Valley and an extensive menu in the fully licensed Distillery Cafe. While you’re there, sample some of their award-winning whisky or go behind the scenes and tour the working distillery.

Fish Frenzy

2 North Terrace, Burnie

It’s hard to beat the ultimate waterfront location of Fish Frenzy. The perfect spot for brekky Friday to Sunday, a coffee or icecream, refreshing beer or wine, classic fish and chips or a range of other Australian cuisines. Upstairs you will find Bayviews Restaurants, which offers a more fine-dining option, open for lunch Thursday to Saturday.

Spirit Bar Tasmania

Set in a 1920s building, Spirit Bar showcases a wide range of spirits, ciders and wines produced around Tasmania, complimented by a local produce menu. Open from 4pm Wednesday and Thursday and from 3pm Friday and Saturday.

10 Questions Paul ‘Basil’ O’Halloran

Paul ‘Basil’ O’Halloran with his daughter Claire on the walk to Anniversary Bay between Rocky Cape and Sisters Beach.

 

Paul O’Halloran’s heart belongs to Tasmania’s north-west. Before he was a former Greens MP for Braddon, Basil (who earned his nickname, as many north-west Tasmanian men do, from his father’s name), was a former schoolteacher and administrator. Later his passion for education and the land combined when he managed a UTAS agricultural industry project aimed at linking educator providers with industry.

He’s been a champion for young people and education and a more socially just and environmentally sustainable future and … Tasmania’s rocks. With teaching and politics behind him, Basil is currently exploring geo-trail tourism opportunities. But it’s Tasmania’s Tarkine (or takayna) that stirs his deep passion. It’s a perennial favourite destination and his deep connection to the unique and iconic takayna is evident.

“I just cannot understand why any political party would want to clear fell and fragment the Tarkine, the largest remaining intact rainforest in the southern hemisphere and log it at a loss to taxpayers,” he said.

“Its value as a carbon store, a tourist destination, as a place to harvest high value honey, as an educational and research site, or as a sanctuary for a myriad of plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet surely have more value than as a burnt, smouldering ruin converted to a nitens plantation.”

1 What does a perfect day in the Cradle Coast look like to you?

Riding  a bike along the completed Coastal Pathway between Port Sorell and Smithton. Stopping off at La Mar and the Berry Patch in Turners Beach, spending time in Penguin and Burnie and a coffee at Bruce’s in Wynyard before a detour to Fossil Bluff. Then another detour to walk into Anniversary Bay at Sisters Beach, a diversion to the Tarkine Wilderness Lodge at Meunna and a rainforest bushwalk, a trip into Stanley and especially to the western end of Godfreys Beach with a finish in Smithton. Bit more than a day but this would include many of elements that make the north-west special.

Godfrey’s Beach at Stanley.

 

2 What do we do best on the North-West corner of the island?

In the last few weeks I have worked with groups of students and teachers from Don and Hellyer Colleges and Burnie and Ulverstone High Schools. I have always thought there are many things we do well in schools and these recent experiences have confirmed this view. Kids are inspirational and give me hope for the future. Our local schools have produced outstanding graduates across all fields, many of whom are active at local, state, national and international levels and some of whom are literally changing the world and making it a better place for future generations. I would like to see us celebrate and recognise these successes rather than bag out kids, teachers and schools.

We do community well in the NW and at the community level we have  hundreds of selfless volunteers giving up their time to support others, whether it be in sporting, cultural or service clubs or in looking after our children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents or those less well off than we are.

Many of our primary producers and manufacturers are producing goods of high quality that are sold into global markets. The future for a small island state such as ours is not in the production of bulk commodities but in the production and sale of high-value, niche products.

Fossil Bluff, Wynyard.

3 Where can we improve?

There are more things that unite than divide us and I have always felt we should work more together, particularly at the political level.

I feel sad that my generation has left a sad legacy for the next and future generations. Two such areas are environmental degradation and climate change, the huge costs of which will have to be borne by our kids and grandkids, and the longer we leave action the more expensive will be the burden.

We have clever and innovative people, companies and organisations in the north-west and it has always upset me that so much of our potential in employing people and improving our economy is being exported as unprocessed materials. Nowhere is this more apparent than the timber industry where even greater volumes than ever of raw materials, now even including whole logs, are being exported at great expense to create jobs elsewhere only for us to buy back the finished products.

Education is so critical to our future and as a community we need to stop blaming schools, teachers and kids and roll our sleeves up and accept that we all have a responsibility in improving our educational attainment levels and in encouraging our young people to reach their potential and to lead happy and fulfilling lives. It’s only when we do this that we will go some way to break the cycles of generational disadvantage that we see in our community.

We need to recognise that colonial occupation of Tasmania was a disaster for indigenous Tasmanians. They were dispossessed of not only their land but also their wives and children. We need to work with the Indigenous community to repair the ongoing disadvantage and we need to better value, protect and embrace  Aboriginal heritage and culture.

4 What would you like to see more of? And less of?

If we are able to look after, nurture and protect those things which are special and set us apart from the sameness of the rest of the world, we are on the cusp of an economic and social revolution. We need to make sure we have the structures and safeguards in place to deal with this renaissance and we need to invest in education and training to support this new future.

The north-west also has great potential in delivering education, training and health services to the rest of the world, but to maximise this potential we need to make sure our NBN speeds are world class instead of the dog’s breakfast we have at the moment. This digital divide will hold back communities and countries that do not have world-class data speeds, because they are critical to progress in so many areas, including business, health and education.

I would like us to be more accepting of difference and take a less adversarial approach to decision making, particularly at the political level. Good ideas can come from anywhere, and they should be nurtured and embraced regardless of whom or what party proposes them.

I feel strongly that decision making needs to be collaborative and based on data and evidence. Too often our decision making is based on populism and prejudice, and is even determined by the size of political donations, and this needs to change if we are to make decisions that are sustainable and in the long-term interests of the north-west community. Policies with regard to energy, climate, refugees, drugs, health and education are some areas in which we need to take a more evidenced based approach.

I just cannot understand why any political party would want to clear fell and fragment the Tarkine, the largest remaining intact rainforest in the southern hemisphere and log it at a loss to taxpayers. Its value as a carbon store, a tourist destination, as a place to harvest high value honey, as an educational and research site, or as a sanctuary for a myriad of plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet surely have more value than as a burnt, smouldering ruin converted to a nitens plantation.

The exposed rock at Anniversary Bay (the oldest on the planet!) proves our country’s geographical connection to North America.

5 If you could swap your life for a day, who would you switch it with?

When I was young I used to dream of swapping places with an AFL football player or an Australian cricketer, but now I don’t know that I would swap with anyone. Life is pretty good for me as I am active and healthy, live in the best part of the world, have a loving and supportive family, great friends and lots of interests. There are lots of principled and ethical people I admire such as Bob Brown, but I do not know that I would swap my life for a day because he is so incredibly busy. If I were able to make some executive decisions in my day, then I would love to be the Prime Minister of Australia or the President of the USA.

The majestic Black Bluff in view from Basil and Angela O’Halloran’s home.

6 Where is the Cradle Coast’s most romantic location?

Standing in untouched  rainforest after a walk across the Arthur River to the west of Meunna would have to be my most romantic (and spiritual) location. These places provide me with sensory overload – the smells, sounds and sights, from the spongy mossy carpet beneath the feet to the bubbling tannin coloured streams and the myriad of beautifully coloured fungi, and the flora and fauna with close links to a time when we were joined to Antarctica and South America millions of years ago.

The now-collapsed Hilders Bridge on the Arthur River at Meunna in the Tarkine.

 

7 Would you like to share any hidden gems?

There are so many, where do I start. From my deck at North Motton I look out over the Black Bluff and Leven Canyon area, two little gems of the NW Coast. I grew up on the edge of the Tarkine at Meunna and have always derived pleasure from walking in rainforest and just knowing it is there for others to enjoy. I love Fossil Bluff at Wynyard, such an educational and beautiful location.  Rocky Cape National Park just down the road is another spectacularly beautiful spot. Being an old surfer, the wild coastline of the Tarkine with its wild surf and world class indigenous history is also a very special place. Lake Plimsoll road on the west coast rivals any in the world for spectacular and wild scenary.

King Island is a treasure. A day spent beach combing and surfing at Porky Beach on the west coast and Martha Lavinia in the north-east is hard to beat.

Martha Lavinia beach, on King Island.

8 What makes you most proud of being a Tasmanian?

I am encouraged and inspired by young people and every time I get to visit schools and UTAS and work with students I feel proud to be from Tasmania. I feel proud in the knowledge that some of these young people will become influential on the global stage.

I am also proud that Tasmania is the birthplace of the Greens. Green influence has led to the protection of many special places in Tasmania, places that have since become so well visited and places that are creating sustainable jobs and opportunities for thousands of Tasmanians. Greens are now in government all around the world and have policies which look to create a more socially just and environmentally sustainable future.

9 What do you miss most when you are away from home?

The wide open, uncrowded spaces, spectacular scenery, and the forests and wilderness that is on everyone’s doorstep, and the slower pace of life. I also miss my family and friends if I am travelling alone. The temperate climate is also something that I miss when I am away.

Basil and Angela O’Halloran and their daughter Claire at the Leven Canyon Lookout.

10 You’re marketing the Cradle Coast in 30 seconds, what’s your elevator pitch?

Would you like to visit a little gem of an island, an island that has everything the rest of the world wants to see but is losing at a rapid rate from environmental degradation and people pressure? Then give Tasmania a go. It has wild coastlines, gorgeous beaches, outstanding indigenous history, large tracks of intact native forest and rainforest, truly unique endemic plants and animals like the Tasmanian Devil and Giant Freshwater  Lobster, wonderful natural spaces and landscapes, a terrific mild climate, some of the best agricultural land in the world and some of the finest food and beverages on the planet. All capped off with warm, open and friendly people who embrace tourists. Why would you consider anywhere else?

 

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