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Highlights of Tasmania’s North-East Touring Route

It’s a drive where the lush green pastures of Tasmania’s inland roll by and turn into white sand beaches for your exclusive use – another person wasn’t seen for a few kilometres – and locally sourced produce is not just another phase but a way of life.

This is Tasmania’s North-East Coast; the roads making a ring loop beginning in Launceston, heading to St Helens and the Bay of Fires and looping around through Scottsdale, a country town with heart, and on through the Tamar Valley touring route, or the ‘Tuckerbox Trail’.
Here are just a few of the stops that aren’t on your usual itinerary but were highlights of my North-East Tasmania road trip, and I’d love to hear yours;

Red Feather Inn in Hadspen, Tasmania

Red Feather Inn, Hadspen

Be charmed by the quaint luxury accommodations on offer at the Red Feather Inn, located a short drive outside of Launceston, set in historic sandstone buildings.

If you’re unable to stay at the Inn, be sure to book a table at the restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights. Showcasing the freshest Tasmanian ingredients, many grown by the Chef or at the inn, it’s an experience not to be missed. For those preferring to get a little more hands-on with their food preparation the Inn also runs cooking classes.

Tasmania-Shell-Entally-Estate-Glasshouse

Entally House

A local secret in Hadspen, Entally House offers a beautiful collection of heritage buildings, including Australia’s oldest conservatory. Take time to see the house, cars and carriages for examples of Victorian era style and transport, and be sure to take a walk amongst the garden and vineyards, or learn about the convicts who lived, built and helped maintain the estate.

Tasmania-Shell-Launceston-Giant-Letters

Giant Letter’s on the Roadside

Just past the roundabout on your way out of Launceston, towards Perth, you might happen to see giant letters spelling out words in a field lined with sunflowers.
Owned by Lydia from the Red Feather Inn, these words spell out positive affirmations, something she has been doing since her own son took his own life, as part of suicide awareness.
The words are changed frequently and currently spelling ‘Keep Fit’.

Castle house with windmill in Perth, Tasmania

A Castle in Perth

On the main road through Perth there is a house that takes the phrase ‘King of the Castle’ to a new level. A house complete with knight guarding it, stallion painted on a turret and, like any good castle, a windmill.
While the jury is out on whether it is art of an eyesore, everyone knows where the Castle in Perth is, and seems to chuckle when the name is mentioned.

The Gardens at Bay of Fires, Tasmania

The Bay of Fires

Queensland, eat your heart out. Tasmania has my vote for best beaches in Australia after seeing the Bay of the Fires.
Along the drives most easterly point, stretching between Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point, is the Bay of Fires, so named after a Captain exploring the area saw the fires of Aboriginal people on the beach.
Today, the pristine white beaches, blue water and orange-coloured granite rocks is a popular spot for locals and tourists. Don’t worry – the stretch of sand has dozens of tiny inlets and there is always the opportunity to find a quiet, private moment to appreciate the beauty of this land.

Butterfly letterbox in Tasmania

Following the Signs

A highlight of any road trip is the small things that are highlights to YOU and that you didn’t know existed, like the castle in Perth! One thing on the North-East touring route that particularly caught my eye was the colourful letterboxes. From butterflies to submarines; cows and even an owl, driving past these letterboxes can’t help you but smile.
Stop at some of the old abandoned buildings, abandoned train tracks or the sweeping roads, to keep photographers happy. From history buffs, the Trail of the Tin Dragon tells the story of the Chinese tin miners immigration to Tasmania and their struggles to live here, or for adventurers – follow the signs near Pyengana to St Columba Falls, a beautiful walk to the highest single drop waterfall in Tasmania!

RhuBru in Scottsdale, Tasmania

Rhubarb House, Scottsdale

Rhubarb – a leafy green and red stalked plant that tastes great in an apple pie, but what else can you do with it? Husband and wife tea, Holger and Jan saw a need to find a way to create alternative products with the ‘second quality’ rhubarb, still very good product that wasn’t bought by a major supermarket. Soon after Rhu Bru was born.
Today, the couple operate a small store on the main road of Scottsdale, at the Beulah Heritage Bed & Breakfast, and run a growing online retail business, which has recently expanded to include Beat Rhut – for beetroot products!, that sell juices, jellies, compotes, vinaigrettes and cordials.

Lavender Ice Cream at Bridgestowe Lavender Estate, Tasmania

Lavender Ice Cream at Bridestowe Lavender Estate

The lines of manicured lavender bushes are a sight to behold year round, not just during flowering season in December and January, and was perhaps my favourite highlight during my Tasmanian road trip.

Famed for their beautiful vistas and lavender products, in my opinion, the real draw card to Bridestowe Lavender Estate is the lavender inspired food and drink available on site. With tea or coffee, enjoy a lavender brownie or perhaps a lavender fudge is more to your liking. There’s lavender infused drinks, recipes for how to serve your lavender with meat (seriously!) and, best of all, lavender flavoured ice cream that is creamy and with just a slight hint of sweetness. So good, I had to go back for seconds!

Now it’s over to you:

Which of the highlights would you most like to experience?
Are there any other highlights that I should have included in this list?

 

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This post has been published with support from Shell Australia.

 

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    The Guy
    April 17, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    That castle in Perth is quite a weird building. I guess the owner might be a little eccentric too?

    I’ve yet to go to Tasmania although I’ve been to Victoria many times. I should really get across soon. Thanks for whetting my appetite.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      May 5, 2014 at 6:13 am

      The owner, from what I’ve learnt, must be a little eccentric though he has a rather mundane job in the local council!

      Hope you get to Tasmania soon. It’s a beautiful part of the world. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lauren @BonVoyageLauren
    April 18, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Lovely photos! I also can’t get over how amazing that ice-cream looks. Purple is my favorite color 😉 Thanks for sharing!

    Happy travels 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole
      May 5, 2014 at 6:14 am

      You’ll have to come taste one of those purple ice creams soon Lauren. 😉

  • Reply
    Jen Seligmann
    April 19, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    It all looks so beautiful but top of my Tassie wish list is the Bay of Fires. I’ve never seen a bad photo of it so it really must be amazing.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      May 5, 2014 at 6:18 am

      Even in the rain the Bay of Fires is pretty impressive Jen! Hope you make the journey there soon. 🙂

  • Reply
    Heather
    April 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    That beach just looks so lovely! Isn’t Wineglass Bay also in Tasmania? If so, then Tazzie would rank highly among the best beaches in Oz in my opinion!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      May 5, 2014 at 7:40 am

      Yes – Wineglass Bay is in Tasmania! Have you been to Wineglass Bay? I didn’t have the chance to visit but the photos look stunning!

  • Reply
    Suki F
    April 22, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    That Entally House sounds like a place for me. I am trying to travel more this year and the next few, and Tasmania is on my list. I hope I can make it happen soon.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      May 5, 2014 at 7:44 am

      I hope you make it over to Tasmania, Suki!
      It’s a beautiful place and Entally House has such a fantastic history. If the weather is nice you could even consider a picnic in the gardens! 🙂

      Happy travels!

  • Reply
    Leanne Martin
    April 23, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    You left out so many things out with my favourite being Kates Berry Farm at Swansea; and a little further north the fabulous Elephants Pass Tea Rooms and Cafe with a view to die for and the best Devonshire tea in all of Tassie.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      May 5, 2014 at 7:48 am

      Thank you taking the time to share your favourite places, Leanne!
      I really did run out of time and need to go back to visit the Berry Farm (yum! Can you pick your own berries?) and make a stop at the Elephants Pass Tea Rooms (the way to my heart is through a good cup of tea so this is the perfect place for me!)

      Thank you again and save me a cup of Devonshire tea. 😉

  • Reply
    Vicki
    April 25, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    If you go to Tassie and don’t go to see The Wall outside of Hobart then you will have to go back because you will have missed something truly magnificent!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 28, 2014 at 12:26 am

      Thanks for the suggestion, Vicki!
      Hoping to visit Hobart on my next trip so will add The Wall on my list. 🙂

  • Reply
    ANINA
    April 26, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    I think you missed two of the real foodies’ experiences in this part of Tasmania. Eureka Farm, on Upper Scamander Rd at Scamander is a paradise for all things berry related as well as pears, apples and stone fruits. The desserts are to die for and they also do brilliant jams, sauces and chutneys. We have been making pilgrimages there every time we have visited Tasmania since the early 90s. The other culinary delight is the Pyengana Cheese Factory, located in a beautiful valley at the wonderfully named St Columba Falls Rd, Pyengana. There is a factory shop for cheeses , milk, ice cream and other produce of the farm and also the licensed Holy Cow Cafe.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 28, 2014 at 12:26 am

      Hey Anina,

      Thanks for these nuggets of information! I wanted to visit Pyengana Cheese Factory but my car battery died and I ran out of time. On my list with the nearby Ralph Falls for the next time I visit.

      Eureka Farm sounds so delicious – I’m a huge fan of berries!

      Thank you for taking the time to share your tips. 🙂

  • Reply
    How to Plan the Perfect Drive
    April 28, 2014 at 11:07 am

    […] I took a road trip around Tasmania’s North-East coast my highlight stops were Launceston, the Bay of Fires, Bridestowe Estate Lavender Farm and […]

  • Reply
    Christopher
    April 30, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    All the above! This trip looks great. Lavender ice cream probably not, though. 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole
      May 4, 2014 at 7:38 am

      The lavender ice cream was pretty great Christopher! 😉

  • Reply
    Jennifer Byerley
    May 4, 2014 at 9:23 am

    We live in Perth, Tas, so this may be cheating! We’re main landers who moved to Tassie some years ago, with no regrets. There are so many gorgeous places to explore- I would urge everyone to come on down!
    Some of our favourite places and activities include Liffey Falls in the Western Tiers, Scamander beach, the town of Evandale (come for the Penny Farthing races or the Glover art exhibition) the snow fun atop Ben Lomond, comedy nights at Fresh cafe in Launceston (& their chili ginger mojitos OMG!), historic Woolmers Estate’s rose exhibition at Longford, camping and trout fishing in one of the many stunning rivers, this list could just go on!
    We feel very lucky to be bringing up our kids here.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      May 5, 2014 at 7:42 am

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for taking the time to contribute some more great suggestions for what to see in your adopted home!
      Everything you’ve listed are things that I really hope to do on my next trip to Tasmania, unfortunately I couldn’t stay there forever and Melbourne called me back.

      Enjoy your beautiful adopted home and happy travels!

  • Reply
    Liz
    May 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Cradle Mountain was always my favourite place for scenery plus vegetation – myrtle forests, nothofagus gunnii around little Lake Wilks (at its peak right this minute!), up over Hansons Peak, a Richea scoparia garden over the back of the mountain past Fury Gorge and towards Waterfall Valley.
    A close second is camping around the West Coast, canoeing from Melaleuca out to Bathurst harbour, and exploring the coast further out.
    In both those places, be prepared for all weathers.
    My mother owned the building, which she found out was known as the Red Feather Inn. She bought it so my younger brother and sister could attend private schools in Launceston. I came there from New Guinea in 1964 with my very young twin boys, for a year. It has had a chequerboard history. I loved the cellar beneath the house (always cool), the bake-oven, the colonial stove in the kitchen.
    Entally, like so many other large estates, e.g. Brickendon, was a small town in itself, with self-sufieiency the over-riding need. There were so many farm workers and house staff needing to be catered for that stores had to be brought in and provision made to house their own produce, e.g. wheat, and to have a bakery, a “killing shed” and butchery, the story is much wider than a short piece like this can do justice to. Entally has a fantastic rose garden.
    I think that cafe at Elephant Pass is called the Pancake Parlour, isn’t it?
    Whatever you write about, you need at least two or three years in Tasmania to experience it all.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:57 am

      Wow, what a rich and beautiful history.

      Thank you for sharing your story with me (and other readers). Red Feather Inn is such a special place and I really hope more people take the time to experience the Inn.

      You’re so right. One trip is not enough, but thankfully Tasmania is patient and knows we’ll be back for more. 🙂

      Have a fantastic week and thank you again for sharing Liz!

  • Reply
    Nicole Frain
    May 14, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I think you missed so much on this list!
    I’m from Launceston and would have to add a number of things to this list!;
    – Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm ; on the drive from Launceston to Devonport this café/breakfast/lunch stop is always super busy and the prefect stop for a raspberry hot chocolate, large pancakes and crepes, and you can take some of their raspberry jam and choc coated raspberries home with you!
    – Ashgrove Cheese ; further downt he road from Christmas Hills, this is the perfect stop for dairy loves with cheeses, dairy, condiments of all sorts all made on site and Tasmanian!
    – Anvers Chocolate Factory ; delicious Tasmanian chocolate made on site, available for tasting and has tea rooms
    – The Cherry Shed ; although I haven’t been here I have heard amazing things about this!

    If you come over from Melbourne on the boat, driving up to Launceston on the highway means you can do all of these things!

    in Launceston itself;
    – The Gorge ; Is a location not to be missed, if your lucky in winter you may see it in its flooding glory or in the summer take your bathers as the steep hills will leave you wanting a swim in its fresh Basin waters. then enjoy the walking tracks and a coffee/lunch at the Basin Café
    – The Black Cow ; Is a top rated restaurant in Launceston, don’t be alarmed by its name they serve all options not just beef! bookings essential.
    – Cucchina ; Is a lovely little café with a great value for money breakfast or lunch. would recommend booking
    – Aromas ; Located up near hospital, again like Cucchina great value for money and busy.
    – Coco Bean ; If you enjoy chocolate this locally made chocolate café is perfect for you
    – Mona ; This museum is a well known site to see located in Hobart. It is a must see, and I recommend taking three hrs to see it all
    – Campbell Town ; On your way to Hobart make sure you stop here, in particular the red bridge café. This little café is on the end of Campbelltown and is both a café but with the addition of a gourmet shop attached to by Tasmanian created foods from health food to gourmet foods. I recommend buying ‘the bomb’ dip and ‘the tub of love’, as well as grabbing some choc coated nuts and other goodies for your road trip!

    I hope this has provided some help into travelling Tassie!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:55 am

      Holy moly Nicole!!! You rocked my world when I read this.

      Thank you so so SO much for taking the time to write all of this out.
      I will be putting it to good use (and hopefully in another post!) when I get back down to Tassie, and I hope readers find it useful as well. 🙂

      Thank you again!

  • Reply
    Jenny
    May 26, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Kate’s Berry Farm is a must…

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:54 am

      Thanks for the tip Jenny!

  • Reply
    Ronny
    August 30, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Loved reading about your trip! We are heading off for a second time in September and looking to travel the East Coast, but we are tempted by your experience to put it off and follow your route.

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