Taking the Spirit of Tasmania from Melbourne, Victoria to Devonport, Tasmania is high on many Australian travellers bucket lists. Forget the hassle of airports and car rentals when taking the ferry instead enjoy the journey and road trip around Tasmania which is perfect for families, couples or girl friend getaways.
A few weeks ago I took a girl friend road trip, with my housemate Vickie. We travelled from Melbourne to Hobart by taking my car onboard the ferry between the two states. Here are just a few of the highlights that I’d recommend for your journey to the Apple Isle.
Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe
Getting off the Spirit of Tasmania at 6am the first thing Vickie and I wanted to do was get breakfast. We’d been told to make the short drive from Devonport to Elizabeth Town for a breakfast with a difference.
Raspberries; everything on the menu at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe contains them. From jams to raspberry dust, raspberry flavoured sauces, hot chocolates, ice cream and even a sausage made with a hint of raspberry. Everything that we tried was amazing so be brave and give it a try, the crepe with raspberry ice cream is my top pick though!
Feed a Kangaroo at Trowunna Wildlife Park
Being full from breakfast we weren’t quite ready to go on a tasting mission at House of Anvers – one of Tasmania’s premier chocolate makers – or Ashgrove’s phenomenal cheese rooms. Taking a turn off mid-way between the two stores I saw a sign for a truly Australian experience – hand feeding kangaroos.
Trowunna Wildlife Park is most well known for being a Tasmanian Devil rehabilitation centre. The animals currently under threat by a facial tumour but the ones within the park are disease free and, if you come at the right time of day, you will even get to pat one of these misunderstood creatures. Also on site are wombats, quolls, a variety of Australian birds and a cute little ring tailed possum you might have the chance to hold!
Take the Scenic Route at Cataract Gorge
One of Launceston’s best known attractions, Cataract Gorge is just a 15 minutes walk from the city centre where you’ll find walking trails, a swimming pool, restaurants, cafes, lookouts and manicured gardens alongside the natural beauty of the Gorge.
There’s also the longest single-span chairlift in the world, the longest stretch being 308metres, and a funicular railway with a small cottage at the bottom showcasing photographs and painting of the basic and along the river gorge.
You could easily spend a few hours here relaxing or getting active but Vickie and I needed to keep moving as the sun began to set.
Stay at the Country Club of Tasmania
Just minutes from central Launceston but far enough from it to give you that real country feel, the Country Club of Tasmania provides comfortable accommodation and plenty of activities to keep you busy. Relax in cosy rooms, decorated with Tasmanian timbers, or take part in the busy schedule of activities available for guests.
At the country club you’ll find a 18-hole golf course, pool and spa, squash and tennis court, trout fishing, and horse riding. There’s also a choice of restaurants, bars and a boutique casino and with Launceston on your doorstep there is plenty to keep you busy for a weekend getaway or a longer stay.
Be Surrounded by Art at MONA
I’d heard a lot about MONA, Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art. Some called it ‘refreshing’, some called it ‘a little odd’, and after spending half a day there I say that it’s a little bit of both but I needed more time!
Located within the Moorilla winery a short drive or ferry ride outside of the cities heart, MONA is the largest privately funded museum in Australia and described as “subversive adult Disneyland” but it’s owner David Walsh. The exhibit, which includes over 400 pieces from Walsh’s personal collection, are interesting. A ping pong table they invite you to play on, the court covered in stylised graffiti; a water fountain that spells out emotive words, a full screen projection of a computers programming running, or an inflated version of a Ferrari. It’s rather odd, slightly confusing and often confronting but well worth the time to visit.
If you’re visiting during the winter season be sure to come during the winter art exhibition Dark Mofo which has instillations throughout the city, including at the museum.
Rest in Comfort at Salamanca Wharf Hotel
When you visit Hobart you will be drawn to Salamanca Place. The historic sandstone buildings, markets, boutiques and restored dock precinct offers visitors a vibrant atmosphere as well as the chance to see the Antarctic research ice breaker, the Aurora Australis, during the winter months. Just a short walk away the luxurious Salamanca Wharf Hotel sits. Guests can choose from boutique suites, premium apartments or loft penthouses with full kitchenettes, baths and showers, and beds so comfortable you may never want to leave. Be sure to have a meal at Castray Esplanade Food + Wine, located adjacent to the reception area, for fresh local produce from a simple yet sophisticated menu.
Visit the Cadbury Factory
What many people, even Australians, don’t know is that Cadbury’s first factory was in Hobart, beating a bid by Melbourne. Today, the factory is still there. Though the technology has been upgraded the taste is the same delicious creamy Cadbury taste!
Take a visit to the Cadbury factory. There you’ll find a small visitors centre and tour of the production of the chocolate. While you can’t enter the chocolate making floors you can learn about the history, the types of chocolates made and how cocoa beans are processed. Of course there’s also the wholesale chocolate store. If you bought your car stock up because the prices are a bargain and I stocked up on plenty of chocolate for family and friends presents. Entry does cost $4.00 for adults (children free!) but you will get a goodie bag filled with your favourite Cadbury sweets as well as plenty of tasters along the way.
Pit Stop for Souvenirs at House of Anvers and Ashgrove Cheese
Tasmania needs to go in for a (nick)name change. Currently known as the ‘apple isle’ I think it needs to be renamed to the ‘cheese and chocolate isle’ for it’s amazing products, particularly by these two brands who are just a few kilometres apart. House of Anvers is a Belgian chocolatier who combines the finest chocolate and Tasmanian ingredients to create truly tasty treats. Alongside their tasting room there is a Museum of Chocolate, highlighting the history of chocolate from the Aztecs until present day, gardens and a tasting centre. The kings of everything dairy, Ashgrove Cheese is not just famous for their award winning cheese but also ice cream, milk, cream, and butter! On sight you can see how cheese is created, try some of their cheese flavours (lavender flavoured cheese anyone? how about wasabi?!) and of course stock up before the ferry ride home!
Now it’s over to you
Which highlights would you stop at on your Devonport to Hobart road trip?
Where else would you stop on a road trip?
This post has been created with the support of Shell Australia.
All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.