It’s no secret we’ve been crushing on Tassie for quite some time. The jaw-dropping natural beauty, the butt-busting hiking trails, the exceptional seafood, gourmet produce, world-class whisky and stunning cool climate wines… Throw in the gloriously mind-bending MONA and the friendliest locals going ‘round and you’re only starting to scratch the surface of the charming island state.
For many travellers—let’s call them idiots?—a trip to Tas begins and ends in Hobart. While we’re not dissing the big smoke, we reckon it’s kinda nuts to bypass the epic opportunities for adventure (and food-gorging) that lie off the beaten track. Yup, if you want a wondrous wilderness weekend where fresh air and fine wine flow in equal measure, the East Coast can’t be beat.
Here’s how to do it like a pro.
Drink & Dine: Devil’s Corner’s New Cellar Door
A leisurely (but winding) 1.5-and-a-bit hours’ drive from Launceston airport, you’ll find Tasmania’s largest vineyard and the home of Devil’s Corner wines. Set on 165 bucolic, sheep-dotted hectares in Apslawn, south of Bicheno, the Hazards Vineyard was purchased by Brown Brothers in 2010 to tap into Aussies’ growing thirst for Pinot Noir. Since then, they’ve been producing such delicious drops as the award-winning Mt Amos Pinot Noir, a stellar Chardy, and a highly quaffable Sparkling.
With the vineyard perfectly placed to lure vehicles off the Great Eastern Drive, the team first tested the wine-tasting waters with a basic shipping container set up, before upping the ante with the opening of a cracking cellar door in December 2015. Designed by Cumulus Studio—of Pumphouse Point note—the stylish timber and dark metal cellar door and lookout boast sweeping views over the Hazards’ enchanting pink granite peaks, Freycinet Peninsula, and Moulting Lagoon (home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest contingent of black swans, dontchaknow).
Open every day from 10am-5pm, dining here’s a laidback, al fresco affair, where you might pair farm-fresh Pacific Oysters with Reisling, or wood-fired pizza with Pinot—whilst also drinking in the top notch panorama.
For the seafood fiends, ‘The Fishers’ of Freycinet Marine Farm are on hand to dish up fish and chips, mussel pots (hellllo coconut and chilli), and freshly-shucked oysters.
On that note, a trip to the Fishers’ joint in Coles Bay should also be on your East Coast agenda. Book a tour of the farm with the charismatic Giles—not only will you get to wear highly attractive waders, you’ll learn the ins and outs of oyster farming and get to sample the goods, straight from the sea.
Meanwhile Tomobolo Café, another Coles Bay fave, takes an Italian-inspired turn with fancypants pizzas and gelato to rival the mainland’s most popular (the locally-sourced Leatherwood Honey and macadamia combo is the bomb). They also pedal caffeine and bircher muesli for the poor bastards who are designated drivers.
Give Your Guns a Work Out: Freycinet Adventures
After all that indulgence, it’s time for a work out. Because, balance—and if there’s a prettier place on earth to get hot and sweaty, I’ve yet to find it.
The multi-award-winning Freycinet Adventures offer a variety of guided sea kayaking tours—by far the best way to soak up the grandeur of Freycinet National Park. With much trepidation on my part (the last time I kayaked I was in pigtails), we took off from Coles Bay and paddled a leisurely (cough) 8 kms through the pristine blue waters of Great Oyster Bay to Hazards Beach, stopping along the way for a much-needed cookie and tea break.
The tours are suitable for all ages with no experience needed, and I’m assured the vast majority of man overboard scenarios involve precocious school kids with their sights set on a refreshing dip. No such (bad) luck for my little paddling posse: our friendly, knowledgeable guides (Hi, Alice and Ryan!) got us to our destination with only the odd soggy bottom, taking regular breaks to point out majestic sea eagles, marine life and scenery and, I suspect, ease our weary, landlubbing arms.
Walk Off Your Lunch: Wineglass Bay
After all that arm and core action, a picnic lunch is well earned. It’s an easy, flat (enjoy it while it lasts) walk from Hazards Beach over to Wineglass Bay—an absolutely stunning spot with aqua waters and a dazzling, white sand beach.
Depending on your fitness level, from here it’s about a 45-minute walk up to the Wineglass Bay Lookout. (If you're starting from the carpark instead, it’s approximately 1 hour return.) The fairly steep, stepped track passes through the saddle between Mt Amos and Mt Mason, continuing on up to the Wineglass Bay Lookout, where you (and all your new wilderness-loving mates and their selfie sticks) can take in the stunning views of Mount Freycinet and Wineglass Bay.
The walk’s hot and sweaty and gets pretty hard going near the top, but by golly it’s worth it. A final word to the wise: Make sure your bladder’s empty and you’re well stocked with fresh water and bug spray as there are no toilets until you return to the carpark, and it’s pretty bitey, especially down near the beach.
The Urban List tasted the East Coast courtesy of Devil’s Corner. Thanks also to Happy Glamper for the uber-deluxe digs!
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Image credit: Pip Jarvis lead image, others provided by Dig + Fish by Aleksander Jason.