There is a lot more to Tasmania than just Hobart and Launceston, travel editor Winsor Dobbin reports.
The Cradle Coast, in the far north-west of Tasmania, is a region of contrasts. From a chic seaside town overlooked by a volcanic mound, the winter wonderland of Cradle Mountain and the wilderness of the Tarkine, there really is something for everyone.
Here are three of my favourite places to stay when travel opens up again:
Cradle Mountain Lodge
The wilderness setting at Cradle Mountain Lodge is a quintessentially rugged Tasmanian experience. One of the state’s iconic retreats underwent a facelift during the Covid-19 shutdown. The ideal spot to combine animal watching with a little luxury, Cradle Mountain Lodge has had a recent multimillion-dollar upgrade to its accommodation, dining, and spa facilities.
Choices here include deciding whether to attend a wine tasting accompanied by a range of gourmet local cheeses, or to venture outside on a guided night tour of the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park to look for wombats, wallabies, possums, pademelons and a Tassie Devil or two. A spa treatment, perhaps, a choice of dramatically beautiful walks, a waterfall experience, or a helicopter ride over Dove Lake?
The five new King Billy Suites are a delight. These offer central fireplaces, outdoor spa baths and elevated mini bars featuring a variety of items from high-end Tasmanian producers. Think heated towel rails, satellite TVs and serious rural luxury. There are also more affordable accommodation options.
Work has been completed on the Highland Restaurant, with the casual vibe maintained while, at the same time, introducing a new menu. The Tavern Bar & Bistro has a new wood-fired pizza oven and open kitchen, along with an expanded deck offering space for 80 more patrons.
The Ship Inn, Stanley
Stanley is a pretty seaside village that is a 90-minute drive from Burnie Airport away, where you can climb the iconic volcanic plug known as The Nut – or take a ride on the chairlift when it is operating.
Alternatively, settle in at the Angel’s Share tasting room for the chance to sample the creations of several of the Apple Isle’s growing number of artisan whisky producers. You can walk off any excesses with a 2km stroll around the top of The Nut.
Stay at the Ship Inn, a cosy Tasmanian story-telling guest house which embraces local tales of shipwrecks, sailors, and a prime minister.
This charming guest house started life as a pub in 1849 but today caters for modern tastes with luxury suites that start from under $200 a night. For more active guests it has its own gym and yoga studio. The next-door cottage where former Prime Minister Joseph Lyons was born is now open to the public as a museum.
Eat at Tasmanian Wine & Food, where you will find platters and local wines, or across the road at the Stanley Hotel. Local restaurants options include bistro style, Asian-fusion, seafood, pizza or takeaway.
The town is home to Hursey Seafoods’ fleet of nine vessels, which catch southern rock lobster, scallops, giant crab, stripey trumpeter, gummy shark, flathead and other local fish – and sell them direct to the public.
Local Stanley attractions include penguin viewing at dusk, a heritage walk, Dip Falls and Blue Hills Honey, which hosts the delightful Leather & Wood café. https://shipinnstanley.com.au/
Alternatively, check out the wide range of street art in Sheffield, some artisan beers at Seven Sheds in Railton, explore the limestone caves at Gunns Plains or enjoy the Waratah Falls in the small town of Waratah, where a large waterfall drops from the town down into a gully below.
The waterfall can be seen from near its base, thanks to easy access tracks from the main road as well as from different vantage points around the town, from the main road itself.
Corinna Wilderness Experience
Take a step back in time at this delightful former mining town deep in the Tarkine wilderness on the edge of the Pieman River.
There is no phone signal here, no wifi, no TV signal and no mains electricity (meaning no microwaves and no hairdryers) – making it the perfect spot to chill out from the stresses and strains of daily life and breathe in the freshest air in the world. The landscape is home to unique flora and fauna, including rare quolls, healthy Tasmanian Devils, wedge-tailed eagles, and giant freshwater lobsters.
There is a range of accommodation available in this historic mining town including the original Roadman’s cottage with double bed (from $175), the old pub which is like a guest house (with single and double rooms) available for groups, and 16 retreats built in country style (pictured above), with en suite bathrooms (from $230 a night).
Tannin restaurant is open for lunch and dinner (September to May). Booking is essential. Meal packs are offered through the winter season.
Set among 447,000 hectares of forest, wild rivers, exposed mountains, magnesite cave systems and extensive coastal heath, the Tarkine has the largest tract of temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere and has sacred significance to Tasmanian Aboriginal custodians. Visitors can get close to nature culturally, spiritually, and physically – just make sure to wrap-up warmly in winter.
The Arcadia II Cruise departs Corinna dock at 10am daily, taking 90 minutes to travel the 22km down to the Pieman Heads. Enjoy morning tea and coffee on board.
A one-hour cruise on the Sweetwater vessel – with a stop at picturesque Lovers Falls – a usually departs at 3pm.
Corinna is on the northern side of the Pieman River. If you are driving from the south (Queenstown, Zeehan etc) you must use the Fatman Barge – which takes two or three vehicles at a time – to get to Corinna.
For more of Winsor’s work visit www.gourmetontheroad.com