There’s so much ‘new’ this summer it’s difficult to know where to start. Do you raise your glass with a new gin mixer, fly across Freycinet waters, swing a club for a trip to America or hover high over western wilderness? Perhaps don’t try all at once, but here’s our picks for all the latest fun to be had this summer.
1. GET DOWN TO THE DEN
New to Salamanca Place, The Den gives a gracious nod to Tasmania’s elements. They believe it’s their duty to honour the island’s fine natural conditions through Tasmanian tastes and cocktails. You can too by opting for The Apple Isle cocktail, featuring Granny Smith infused vodka and some Bruny Island oysters with yuzu, pickled ginger and micro wasabi. Served in a seriously stylish fit-out.
Visit: The Den
2. SWING A CLUB AND WIN
There’s lots happening at Ratho Farm, just outside Hobart. Play a round of golf on Australia’s oldest course and you could be heading off on a golfer’s dream getaway to America’s mighty Midwest. The winner gets to play at recent US Open, PGA and Ryder Cup venues from Chicago to Wisconsin. There’s also a round of golf with David Boon up for grabs, in support of Common Ground Social Housing. Those less inclined to swing a club will love the summer Birdies, BBQ & Beers - playing at Australia's newest 18 hole course followed by a BBQ and the option to purchase or bring your own bevvies.
Visit: Ratho Farm
3. KICK OFF THE NEW YEAR WITH GIN-UARY
Ready to sample over 30 different gins in a gin inspired garden? We thought so. Gin-uary is happening in The Goods Shed. There’ll be tunes, cocktail demonstrations, master distillers to meet, gins to sample, Lady Hester gin and plum doughnuts and plenty more at this zero waste event. Don’t miss sampling 'The Splendid Gin Summer Cup', a fancy new mixer from Tassie’s east coast and the first of its kind from an Australian distiller. Could just be your new summer drink.
Visit: Splendid Gin and Gin-uary
4. RETREAT THIS SUMMER
Sink into a generous outdoor tub, hugged by World Heritage wilderness. The Retreat is Pumphouse Point’s brand new offering on the edge of Lake St. Clair. It’s exclusive, it’s all inclusive and it even has a ‘Midnight Snack’ button by the bed that lights your way to the fridge. Everything has been afforded careful thought …. Your only job is to choose the indoor or outdoor bath, to plan your wilderness walking and what local spirit takes your fancy from the indulgent larder.
Visit: Pumphouse Point
5. WESTERN WANDERING
There’s plenty happening out west including a new Heli Steam Experience, combining the wonder of Strahan Helicopters and the West Coast Wilderness Railway. You can also combine your train trip with a rafting journey (King River Rafting) if you like to mix rail travel with wetsuits. Come nightfall, catch a classic movie in the 1930s Art Deco Paragon Theatre. They’ll even serve you up a wine and decadent dessert once you’ve settled in to your comfy seating. Movies start at 8.15. Oh, and Captain’s Rest is one special place to stay in Strahan.
6. FLY IN TASMANIA
With 780 horses propelling you along, the brand new Freycinet Flyer jet boat is built for thrills. Expect spins, jumps, fleeting cliff views and maybe even a dolphin visit or two on this Freycinet National Park adventure. The 10 metre-long vessel is fully enclosed, meaning up to 12 passengers stay cosy and dry year round. So get flying from Coles Bay with Tim.
Visit: Freycinet Flyer
7. YES YOU CAN AT THE HOBART BREWING CO.
Cans are in this summer! Think of them as mini-kegs, ensuring your ale is fresh as can be. These handsome new beer vessels hold more than a bottle at 375ml (yay) and are lighter to pack on your camping trips. Oh, and better on the recycling front. Brewed and canned right here in Hobart Town, pick up yours from the taproom for takeaway or enjoy at Macquarie Point with your mates.
Visit: Hobart Brewing Co.
8. WUKALINA WALK
This new Aboriginal owned and operated walk takes its first guests in January 2018. The guided three-night experience in the Bay of Fires region includes two nights in palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) domed huts and the final night in a Lighthouse Keepers Cottage. Packed with culture and stunning North East surrounds, find yourself listening close to creation stories carried through generations and joining in cultural practices around the night fire.
Visit: Wukalina Walk
9. COD ROCK POINT
Like your accommodation waterfront? Like the possibility of Little Penguins calling your front garden home? At Cod Rock Point in Bicheno on Tasmania’s East Coast, the water is just beyond the doorstep. There’s special torches at the ready to enjoy the Little Penguins, but be respectful, after all it was their home first! Redbill Beach is just five minutes wander and with so much to do on the East Coast make sure you don’t just stay one night.
Visit: Cod Rock Point
10. OCEAN BLUE SAFARIS
Coming in February, prepare for an ocean adventure taking you straight to the famed Wineglass Bay beach. More news to come on this so stay tuned!
Visit: Ocean Blue Safaris
11. McHENRY DISTILLERY GIN PAVILION
There’s a fancy new Gin Pavilion high on the hill at McHenry Distillery near Port Arthur. If you like the sound of becoming your own distiller for the day, sign up to a four-hour workshop at one of Gourmet Traveller’s favourite gin distilleries. Created by Kim Dudson (Bespoke Tasmania www.bespoketasmania.com) and Master Distiller William McHenry, the workshop includes a gin-matched lunch and 500mls of your very own gin label.
12. EDGE OF THE WORLD TOURS
So, you’ve arrived at the Edge of the World. If you’re unfamiliar with this part of the planet, why not go with pro and let them guide you? Edge of the World Tours is a new way to explore rare and remote locales. If you want to explore the West Coast, Freycinet or Bruny Island, these guys have you sorted!
Visit: Edge of the World Tours
13. VAN DIEMENS LAND CREAMERY PUNT
What goes well with summer? Artisan ice cream and gelato of course. Not only can you find Van Diemens Land Creamery near Elizabeth Town in the North West, but also now at the Hobart waterfront. Roll up to their Constitution Dock punt for the most delicious gelato and ice cream, established by a dairy farming fam and all handmade. Yum!
Visit: VDL Creamery
I rarely invite others on writing assignments but this was too good. My mother’s response to suggestion of her first helicopter flight? “No way.” So we gave her the front seat.
Osborne Heli Tours are into their second season of operation from their Port Arthur base (opposite the Port Arthur Lavender Farm) and I was absurdly excited about taking flight. So excited, I bundled my father into the fold as well. Off we ventured down the Tasman Peninsula beneath brooding low clouds and a weather report that whispered of thunderstorms. I was certain it would clear while Mum was no doubt secretly delighted.
The grey skies allowed us to go slow en route to our flight. We dropped in to Cubed Espresso at Pirate’s Bay Lookout for a delectable orange hot chocolate and morsel of raspberry infused brownie that was so delish it was hard to savour and inhale at the same time.
On arrival for our 30 minute flight, Two Capes and Tasman, only one young lady was in the office. Cheery and bright, she held hope the clouds may part. As she began talking radars and weather patterns, it didn’t take long for us to ascertain that the 22-year-old was not only our reception welcome but also the pilot.
With a flick of the pony tail we were told there would be no lift off. Lucy didn’t want to take us if we wouldn’t be able to see the magic she knew awaited. My shoulders dropped but a promise of improved morning conditions meant we just had more time to enjoy on the peninsula and after all, this region is no day trip. Many a tourist has fallen for a Port Arthur visit of hours, later realising the ancient rock formations, distilleries, walks and eco-cruise are deserving of far more time.
Next morning we front up eagerly and again have to wait on a weather break. Our pseudo Qantas Lounge (aka the Port Arthur Lavender Farm) welcomes us once more with savoury scones and tall coffees. The suspense has raised Mum’s nerves, but I insist that my first chopper flight over World Heritage Wilderness on Tasmania’s west coast remains one of my treasured memories and indeed the sensation is like nothing she’s experienced.
A quick text from Lucy confirms it is lift off time. We arrive two minutes later. After a safety briefing, Mum is fitted with her waste-belt life jacket and directed to co-pilot position, much to the grins of my father and I. For a moment I feel waves of ‘mean daughter,’ with flash backs to the time I invited her canyoning up Cradle Mountain, where she leapt off 9 metre precipices in thick neoprene like a good mid-sixty aged sport. I was about to test her comfort limits once more. “Sorry Mum,” was all I could manage but the emerging smile conveyed a silent delight.
As the rotors warmed above us with a noisy whir, I gave a knowing backseat nod to Dad. A second later came the customary and thrilling vertical rise, followed by a swooping over the treetops before we barely realise we’re airborne. Through the headsets come an excited shriek from the front-seat passenger. Mission accomplished – Mum is settling into her bird-like role with delight.
In what feels like seconds, we are suddenly peering over Port Arthur Historic Site and careering out toward the ancient coastline. Lucy points out the sweeping white curve of Crescent Bay and the famed Remarkable Cave down below.
Casually, she navigates the low level cloud with the finesse of someone who has been in the air with her Dad since the age of 12. We are doing the tour in reverse order, Tasman Island typically first. In safe hands, the avid surfer points out Shipstern’s Bluff and arcs around dramatic Cape Raoul. From above, the sheer dolerite columns plummet into the sea. Incidentally, the cape was used as target practice by the British Navy during World War 1, missing some of its towering ‘fingers’ as a result.
We swoop around, next destination, Tasman Island. Mum can be heard chirping away about the Three Capes Track down below, hugging the cliff edge. It’s a walk we’ve all enjoyed, entirely anew in its perspective when hovering above. Her words drift off, replaced with gasps of wonder. There is Cape Pillar and Tasman Island. Tiny dots of humans can be seen taking in the view from Pillar. Known as ‘The Blade,’ it remains one of my favourite places to perch for lunch.
We arc around Tasman Island, the lighthouse and cottages in clear view. Its flat green top looks prime for a golf swing, sitting 300 metres above sea level at the highest point. No sooner are we hovering on the world’s edge, next stop Antarctica, Lucy lays us safely back down to earth. We each shake our heads. Words cannot be found. Was that spectacular, momentary bird-embodiment a fleeting dream? Mum climbs out, dizzy with wonder. The giddy smile says at all.
With flights starting at $145 for 15 minutes (Sea Cliffs and Convicts) whether you want to impress a first date or simply push your mother to the edge, book some time with Osborne. Lucy has flown around the world from Canada to northern Australia and considers it the finest flying territory she’s found. For around the cost of filling a mundane supermarket shopping basket, a lifetime memory can be forged in one of the most spectacular locations on the planet.
This summer, add something lofty to your must-do list.
Words & images: Alice Hansen (unless otherwise captioned)
BOOK NOW IN LIVE TIME DIRECT WITH OSBORNE HELI TOURS
WILD SCENERY FROM HIGH ABOVE
Want to really take in the dramatic nature of southern Tasmania's rugged coastline? Osborne Heli Tours operate a selection of scenic flights and unique experiences from Port Arthur, from their heli-base on the stunning Tasman Peninsula.
They'll take your breath away, soaring high above the towering sea cliffs of Tasmania's famous three capes. Peer down over the exposed lighthouse on Tasman Island and see Port Arthur Historic Site from a perspective few ever witness.
There is no better way appreciate the raw and wild scenery than from high above. A collection of non-stop tours and tailored experiences are available from Osborne's base opposite Port Arthur Lavender.
Your launch pad for exploring Tasmania like a local.