Tasmania’s Time to Shine

Warmer days see Tasmania emerge from its winter slumbers. Travel editor Winsor Dobbin checks out two contrasting bases from which to explore the island state.

The Little Seed
Take an idyllic farm on 15 acres of bushland overlooking the lovely Huon River in Tasmania’s deep south. Add a cosy studio cabin with all modern conveniences, a wood fire and delicious local produce. Throw in delightful bush walking tracks, including one down to the local creek, where you might spot a platypus.

Then think of fresh fruit, vegetables, and chicken’s eggs from the property’s own permaculture garden so you can create a breakfast or snack crafted with minimal food miles.

The two hosts have decades of hospitality experience – and one of them is an expert chef, who can whip up a three-course gourmet meal for you to enjoy in your cabin, or on the deck in summer.

Welcome to The Little Seed, a lovely couples retreat at Franklin, less than an hour south of Hobart in the food bowl of the Huon Valley.

Peter Clarke and Charlie Ebell opened The Little Seed about a year ago after selling their hugely successful Mavis’s Kitchen accommodation and restaurant business in northern New South Wales.

They transformed a shed/car port into delightful accommodation and grow their own fruit and vegetables, which they craft into jams and chutneys. They are charming hosts: leaving you to your privacy, but available should you need anything.

The hamlet of Franklin, just a two-minute drive away, has several cafes and restaurants (Italian-accented Osteria at PettySessions is recommended for lunch or dinner) and Cinnamon and Cherry does great coffees and breakfasts.

Huonville and Cygnet – two popular weekend destinations for Hobartians – are both close by.

The hosts have thought of just about everything – from USB chargers in the bedroom to hand-written welcome notes with local suggestions.

The leisure options are myriad – and very chilled.

Sit by the dam with a good book, take a long, slow bath in the old-style tub, or stroll around the property, check out the local wildlife and take in the views of the sleepy river below.

You can kick back in the large living room with its old-style charm. It boasts a large TV, free wifi and access to Netflix, Foxtel, and Prime Video.

A fully equipped kitchen with gas hotplates, oven, microwave, fridge, dishwasher, toaster, kettle, cutlery, and crockery makes self-catering a breeze and there is a wood-fired heater, air conditioning, and comfortable bedroom with a king bed and luxury linen.

Help yourself to a gin and tonic from the honesty bar, or maybe a bottle of local wine from the likes of ultra-local producers Kate Hill Wines and Heriots Point.

Our dine-in menu featured goat cheese and red onion tart with garden salad; twice-roasted free-range duck with organic potatoes, greens and orange sauce, followed by Huon apple crumble with ice cream.

The Tasman, Hobart

The new Tasman Hotel has gained an instant following both with locals and visitors.

There is plenty on offer here for gourmets with Mary, Mary bar churning out very fancy cocktails and Peppina restaurant offering a sophisticated dining experience. The Tasman opened nine months ago and has quickly found its hospitality rhythm: there is someone to valet park your car; someone to carry your bag to the room; no long line for check-in.

The hotel brings together three buildings in the city’s centre, just a hop skip and a jump from the waterfront, the MONA ferry and Salamanca market.

There is the original 1840s heritage building rich with history; the 1940s Art Deco-styled wing and the modern Pavilion Building.

Each wing is different – and each room is different. There is a definite boutique vibe. This is the first Marriott Luxury Collection hotel in Australia and clearly pitching to the luxury market: fine diners, whisky lovers etc.

Mary, Mary, situated in the heritage wing, is a perfect spot for drinks with friends, or a full-on evening of cocktails.

Just two decades ago, this was part of a city hospital – St Mary’s – and key historical elements have been retained.

This wing is also home to Peppina, The Tasman’s signature Italian restaurant, where chef Massimo Mele is the guiding light.

The celebrity chef was born in Tasmania and has close relationships with local producers. With Covid on the wane, Peppina has moved from set menus, Tutti A Tavola, to upscale a la carte dining.

Here think starters dishes like raw kingfish, fennel, almond cream, citrus dressing, chilli and capers, or wood-fired meatballs with smoked mozzarella, basil.

There is a selection of authentic pasta dishes and mains may include grilled pork chop with potato cream, radicchio, and salsa verde, or char-grilled lamb rump, celeriac, olive, greens, and mint jus. Or some fresh fish from the local fleet, docked 100 metres away.

There is also a stunning wine list put together by leading sommelier Michael Fisher. If he is on duty when you dine, put yourself in his hands and enjoy some stunning selections by the glass.

If you have plenty of cash to splash, The Tasman recently launched a new collection of luxury suites.

Highlights include The St. David’s Park Suite, featuring an original 1840s ceiling and fireplace, while the Aurora Suite has panoramic views across the River Derwent from an impressive entertaining terrace.

The two Pavilion Suites also have panoramic views over the Hobart waterfront.

A range of Tasmanian food and beverage refreshments are also included in the top suites, including Lark Distillery’s Docks Release single malt, crafted for The Tasman, an exclusive beer collaboration with Moo Brew and Storm + India organic wellness teas.

A pretty awesome place to stay overall.

For more information visit www.thetasmanhobart.com.