- Shelley Dark
#10 Launceston to Burnie and beyond...
Since we left you last at Launceston, we've covered the north-west of Tassie - easy to do in a short time because the distances are so small. We stayed for two nights at the most delightful AirBNB in Burnie, two at a boutique hotel in Stanley and two at Cradle Mountain Lodge.
The drive from Launceston to Deloraine is a delight - irrigated crops, fat cattle, and big round bales of hay, always with the backdrop of those beautiful indigo hills.
First stop was the unpretentious Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe just north of Deloraine. I was hankering after their famous waffle. The waffle itself was deliciously golden warm and crisp, softening under the melting creamy home-made raspberry ice cream, and the raspberry coulis the most intense raspberry flavour I have ever tasted! I'd make a detour from anywhere to go back there.
It's a great place to take kids - there's a playhouse and garden with games and a pretty walk around a dam behind.
This road from Deloraine to Devonport is foodie central! Our next stop was Ashgrove Cheese for tasting and buying ....
We were still full from our waffles, or we'd have had an early lunch at the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory, set a little off the road outside Sassafras.
Once a green house, its long arched windows throw light into a restaurant reminiscent of the deep south with ferns, fans, chandeliers and a honky tonk piano. The food ingredients are all sourced locally.
On the recommendation of our Airbnb hostess in Burnie, we ducked into the little town of Latrobe to visit the huge, amazing shop Reliquaire, a mix of old-fashioned toy shop and gift shop for the whole family.
The stock is different from anything you'll see anywhere else. It's almost like a department store with a vast range of stock housed in a huge skylit building.
With secret places adults have to stoop to enter, it's the sort of shop your kids and grandkids would love to visit!
photo courtesy Anvers website
Just before Devonport on the side of the highway is the Anvers homestead chocolate factory - fudges like this, truffles, pralines, couverture. It's the brainchild of Belgian chocolate maker Igor Van Gerwen. Of course we had to stock up!
We visited the regional gallery in a modern building in Devonport, then headed for a seafront restaurant called Mrs Jones. When we found it closed, we had a fish'n'chips lunch at Drift in the same building, on the Bluff overlooking the ocean. REALLY good!
It was time to check in at The Grove, Burnie, our next Airbnb house. I knew we were going to love this one, as Wendy and I had got to know each other a little through messaging and Instagram before we arrived.
She's a reno-tragic with a passion and a great eye for interior design. She and her husband live next door in an 1890's cottage they're doing up.
There were fresh garden flowers in every room - hydrangeas, lavender, roses. The frig was full of goodies. Two bedrooms, one bathroom, beautiful thirsty towels, a shower and a bath, toiletries, washer and dryer, outdoor patio, every conceivable thing you could ever want.
And almost as soon as we arrived, Wendy came over with a fresh loaf of artisan bread. Generous to a fault, she invited us over for drinks that evening.
We spent a most enjoyable couple of hours with them that evening, polishing off a couple of very good Tasmanian wines. They were full of helpful hints for what we might do in and around Burnie...
Afterwards we walked across the road to the penguin viewing walkway, where volunteers each night narrate the nightly ritual, highlighting the baby penguins with red torch light. It was such a special experience, and all that's asked is a gold coin donation. I can't imagine a better penguin viewing experience.
Could there be a harder life than the parents of fairy penguins, who go out separately at dawn each day to fish for their babies, then return at night exhausted to feed the two clamouring offspring who have slept in the burrow all day? This process happens every day from when the chicks are born until they're 8 weeks old, between December and January, so that's the best time to visit.
A view of Burnie from the local lookout.
We visited the regional gallery where there was a fascinating display of necklaces by indigneous artist Lola Greeno.
And the museum which cleverly recreates the main street of old Burnie. This is part of the facade from the original Van Diemens Land Company building.
The Makers Workshop in this modern building on the waterfront celebrates Burnie's paper making history and showcases local artists with paper making tours, cheese tasting and gift shop.