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, 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.
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.
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’.
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 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.
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!
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 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?
This post has been published with support from Shell Australia.