“I reckon I’m the luckiest girl in the Valley,” says Bec with a proud grin. “From where I stand, I can see the point of Mount Wellington and the snow on Mount Field.”
We’re standing in the middle of a paddock in the Derwent Valley. I’d never met Bec until I casually asked one of her neighbours where I could find ‘some of those shaggy looking cows.’
A big grin had appeared on Ashley Huntington’s face as he whipped out his phone and told me he knew just the lady to help. She lived just over the river, and if she wasn't home apparently if I jumped a fence I’d find her prized highland cattle.
Turns out Bec is a former Valley girl herself, who lived many years away before returning to her home patch where she has about 50 of these beauties and plans to build her home.
Ashley and wife Jane are equally fond of the Valley, and although I spend a few short hours meeting the locals and discovering what lies behind unmarked farm gates, I realise there’s lots more to this region than a road to elsewhere. It’s filled with characters in the kind of surrounds that beg you to stay longer than planned.
As tall as the fellow himself, Ashley’s Two Metre Tall Brewery is a pretty special 600-hectare haven. There’s Black Angus cows and Wagyu cows and chickens and pigs and, believe it or not, there's also a bar in his paddock.
Here, Ashley will pour you an ale or cider from farm grown ingredients- a true 'paddock to hand-pumped pint' experience. They grow grain and hops, and Ashley puts his organic chemistry degree to work in a way that brings much happiness to his visitors. Beer-Fed Beef can also be purchased at the brewery, and they’re most happy for you to bring picnics.
Just up the road, there’s even more surprises in store. It just so happens there’s convict buildings a good 12 years older than those of Port Arthur. What’s more, they come with a fine dram of single-malt whisky.
No sooner have we arrived at Redlands Estate, we are whisked round the corner to the ‘smelling room’ where wooden plugs are pulled from three hefty barrels. It’s a sensory welcome about as intriguing as the newly bottled apple schnapps that come complete with a bobbing apple.
Redlands has a good bit of history- it was granted to George Frederick Read, an outcast son of King George IV of England and was the location of bushranger hold-ups and much more. So much, we decide to wander the three-hectare gardens to contemplate its past.
We walk over cobblestones to an old wooden door- push it open- walk through a dimly lit outhouse and into the bright light. There before us, of all things, is a full-length clay tennis court. As a former tennis player, I'm overcome with nostalgic excitement and rush over with the haste of someone who's just seen Steffi Graf lining up to serve.
It's magical. There’s lush green surrounds that tumble down to the rivers’ edge. The sound of water tumbling over rocks adds a whimsical soundtrack. It’s like a fairy tale; a hidden garden that only the royals of the time might have played in. There’s even a swing in the sunshine.
Next-door are the Salmon Ponds, the heritage trout hatchery where our very first trout were raised in 1864- first in the Southern Hemisphere. Those who love hooking a rainbow or brown trout here in Tassie, like my uncle, have much to be thankful for to the men who carefully reared these babies. In doing so, they hatched a beloved pastime.
Talking of years gone by, New Norfolk is also the place to go if you’re after something beautifully old. Speciality antique stores are sprinkled through the town like little windows into the past. The Drill Hall Emporium is so tastefully displayed you’d think that someone from 1873 is far more stylish than any of us could attempt to be.
Dining tables whisper secrets, rolling pins tell of hard-working palms and suitcases hold tales of long-gone journeys. Speaking of journeys, some were sent to New Norfolk to get help. And perhaps some of these people never left.
The former Psychiatric Hospital has now been transformed into little stores featuring antiques and collectibles. Willow Court Antique Centre, the quaint Patchwork Café, boats under willows, outdoor pianos, dilapidated buses….for me the area cast a rather intriguing spell. I couldn't help but wonder about those once locked behind doors, confined to Willow Court's grounds; a place as peaceful as it is eerie on our quiet sunny day.
Now, I’ve barely told half the tale of my day in the Valley but there’s one thing I’ve realised for certain. One day isn’t enough. Not even two or three perhaps. We didn’t even start on the vineyards, the cooking schools, nor the wall in the wilderness or that gorgeous Russell Falls. So, it’s important to find a place to rest your head.
There’s one you can stay in, that may just have you feeling like royalty; an 1825 convict-built mansion. Is it because you can pluck an apricot straight from the tree on arrival or you can see a hand-written convict name that ‘Lewis’ wrote in chalk on the staircase? Or is it because it overlooks the gorgeous River Derwent and although boasts 39 rooms, only allows a maximum of 16 guests to enjoy its opulence?
I’m not sure what it is about Woodbridge on the Derwent that makes it feel so luxurious, so regal. What I do know, is that when you walk through its doors, you feel at home. You feel enveloped in charm. You feel its walls want to share a distant past while indulging you in today's luxury.
Not far up the road, for those wanting to share with up to 10 guests for a modest price of $400 ($350 for multiple nights) is Swallow’s Nest. Whatever your accommodation budget or choice, just be sure you book yourself in because eight hours simply isn’t enough. Alternately, if you want to be the luckiest girl in the Valley, plant yourself here permanently.
Find out more about:
Bec's Highland Cattle
Woodbridge on the Derwent
Two Metre Tall
The Drill Hall
Words and images by Alice Hansen
*Please note, with so many secrets tucked in this valley there will be a Part 2.
Some of us are lucky little interstate travellers who have friends like North Hobart’s Liza Jane. This bubbly local loves entertaining visitors and whisking them away to her favourite gems. Whether you live here or plan to visit, this is a weekend you’re going to want to borrow!
Friday night we’d head to Grape for bubbles and tapas then round to Rektango for some live music.
Saturday would start with a session at the barre (as the locals know it, otherwise known as Barrecode, cures any hangover!) followed by brekkie at an artisan bakery such as Daci & Daci or Pigeon Hole. Then it’d be off to Salamanca market and Salamanca shopping – Spacebar Gallery, A Common Ground, The Maker and Handmark Gallery are my favourites, then we’d hit the Hobart Bookshop.
Next, we’d stroll back up to NoHo (aka North Hobart) pop into Tusk for some more retail therapy before catching a flick at the State Cinema –checking out the bookstore there too. After, we’d treat ourselves to an old fashioned milkshake and lollies at Renown before heading to either Raincheck, Smolt or Ethos for dinner.
Alternately, I would hit the road after stocking up on fresh produce and head down the Channel to Bruny Island – stocking up on more gourmet produce along the way – Get Shucked Oysters, Bruny Island Cheese and bread, and treats from the smokehouse. I might even consider overnighting on the island as there are some great new accommodation places.
Sunday we’d hit the Farmers Market for a Haloumi burger (and ask for an egg to be added – delicious) and a great coffee. We’d then stock up on some sushi from the Farmer’s market before hitting TMAG (Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery) and hiring Art Bikes to ride out to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). We’d eat sushi on the pink bean bags and wash it down with some Muse bubbles. We’d spend the afternoon at MONA – with more bubbles at the bar in the museum to top off a day!
“That used to be mine,” came a voice from over the road. I didn’t know someone was watching me photograph their rubbish, and the Richmond local seemed amused enough to peer over her newspaper.
“I decided it was time to get rid of it. It’s quite old,” she carried on with a smile. She wore a patterned summer dress and was taking a moment to enjoy the afternoon sunshine.
She was right. There are plenty of things that are ‘a bit old’ here in Richmond. But unlike her television set, these are not the type of things to be left on the curb. Old is new again here in Richmond. And gosh they’re doing it well.
The locals here enjoy a steadier pace in life and it doesn’t hurt to join them for a day. A good way to do so is to equip yourself with two wooden oars. There’s a certain old-fashioned charm that comes with rowing someone upstream. And if you’re slower than the family of baby ducklings bobbing beside you, you’re on track to becoming a local.
We Tasmanians can likely all say we’ve seen the Richmond Bridge, but have you seen its underbelly? Floating in the shadow of convict-laid bricks is a special way to see Australia’s oldest bridge still in use. Swapping seats in a tiny wooden boat to capture it on camera is less wise. But that’s another story.
For those who prefer dry land, the Richmond Boathouse offer more than just rowboats. They have two-wheeled transport and gourmet picnics too- including one offering that brims with fresh Tassie berries. It’s the perfect reason to find a shady patch of grass to park on.
Wander the town, step inside the maze, swing a golf club, visit a Tassie devil, sip a Pinot, stock up on old-fashioned lollies. A trip down the Coal River Valley to Richmond is an experience that will take you back. That will slow you down. Even the bathroom at a local vineyard, Pooley Wines, invites you to stay a while.
Wind your way round a few more bends and you’ll find a cheery local at Littlewood Strawberry Farm. Who wouldn’t be smiling if they looked out over a giant strawberry patch? When asked if I should pay my $3 now for the punnet we were about to pick ourselves she began to laugh.
“I’m not going to chase you down the road,” she said smiling behind her sunglasses. “And make sure you try some as you go, won’t you?” With that, she stepped back into her makeshift office and sat down to the paper.
Another lesson learnt. Honesty is a given in these parts, it’s important not to hurry and savouring the experience is a must. We did just that. Next stop, a favourite, Puddleduck Vineyard.
This is a quick hello to the ‘wine corgi’ and of course the owners Darren and Jackie – a place where reverse BYO is quite the trend. They supply the Bubbleduck bubbles or award-winning pinot for instance, and you bring your own tasty treats to enjoy by the lake.
A quick wander through the vines at Frogmore Vineyard, and a late afternoon drink, then its time to head back to Hobart. But not without hopping on the children’s play equipment first. No, it’s probably not allowed, but it’s a fitting way to end a day in the Coal River Valley.
Start the day rushed, ease into a locals’ pace and by the end of the day you too might find yourself perched on a bobbing barrel. Not because you planned to, but because when the day slows you can see it through the eyes a child might. Where abandon replaces restraint- and you’re in the moment. Hell, at least kick off your shoes and feel the grass beneath your toes. The city can wait.
Words & images: Alice Hansen
Tailored Tasmania had the joy of experiencing the Bruny Island Long Weekend a few months back and our story has just appeared in Great Walks Magazine from this glorious three-day adventure. Click on the image below to read the full article.
It’s a funny old way to start a work day, being invited last minute on a flight. To be honest, I don’t even know its destination. But I say yes anyway, arriving at 8.10am as instructed. Peering up from my latte, I see the plane float into view.
I know the morning will involve a seaplane and a boat, but that’s about all. We each are invited aboard the snug six-seater as Jethro, a former fighter-pilot, begins to explain the journey. I smile. It’s the stuff of movies- seamlessly transitioning from seaplane to yacht.
But it’s also the stuff of Hobart’s latest tourism offering. Blending Tasmanian Air Adventures with Hobart Yachts sounds a compatible partnership. But to be whisked from capital city to remote D’Entrecasteaux cove quicker than one can adjust to the silence of untouched surrounds - that’s a match made in Tasmanian heaven.
As the anticipation builds, we smoothly lift from the River Derwent into the air. Trees of the Botanical garden grow small as we follow a gentle arc and head south. Down below a blanket of diamonds dance across the water, as if promising we will reach the 28 degrees promised.
Our mystery flight turns out to be a whopping five minutes. We’re experiencing just a snippet of the full-day experience, with Ralph’s Bay our destination. Lowering in anticipation of our watery runway, the yacht comes into view. It’s rather idyllic.
Well it’s not just rather idyllic, it’s the type of destination that makes you want to whip out a paintbrush and capture it. The secluded bay is nestled between Tranmere and South Arm peninsulas and as the plane door is swung open a delicious waft of salty breeze hits us.
The movie part of this experience for me is more like an awkward clamber onto a rubber dinghy, but Jethro holds out a hand and makes me at least feel like Angelina for a moment. In moments we are aboard the luxury yacht tucking into plump Tassie strawberries and treats from Daci&Daci, the local artisan bakery. It’s the type of work morning that’s difficult to top.
As we venture out of Ralph’s Bay, it manages to get a smidgen better though. The motor is cut and the sails billow into action. We’re even offered a chance to helm- and are free to wander the deck while the friendly crew members share a few tales of the remote South West.
Although this is just a taster of the full experience, the sea and air combination works a treat. It offers an entirely different perspective of Hobart. You can view the watery backyards of historic Battery Point, see Mount Wellington from the air, and find yourself transported from a bustling dock to a remote bay in minutes.
The full day runs from 9am to 4.30pm, with prices starting at $285 for groups of 12. Groups can opt to sail and return by seaplane, or divide the group and have some sail while others fly. Check the website for details and combination options.
The team is happy to put together any combination and destination package that works for you, so dream up your own movie scene and let them organise the plane, yacht and gourmet Tasmanian fare. Not many people can say they’ve eaten smoked Tassie salmon in a cove off Tassie- not even Angelina.
Words & images: Alice Hansen
We're terribly excited to announce the launch of our online store, filled to the brim with Tasmanian goodness. Read below about some very talented locals that we're working with and feel free to browse their wares on Tailored Tasmania. It's the perfect time to find special Tassie treasures to pop under the tree.
avadon luxury candles
This range of luxury artisan candles began as a humble experiment in the kitchen of Tennille Avadon. Today, her 100 per cent pure soy candles, hand poured in Hobart are spreading light to the world. The scents speak for themselves- from pomegranate rouge to papaya and limeleaf these candles have the power to take you places. The elegant collection is inspired by Tennille's love of travel and appreciation of art, literature, beauty and fashion. This passionate local wants to bring you "a little luxury to brighten your space wherever the road takes you, whatever the day brings."
rebecca roth jewellery
Rebecca Roth is a jewellery designer based in Hobart. Working exclusively with resin, from her studio in Hobart’s Salamanca Arts Centre, Rebecca’s pieces are handcrafted with passion and care. Her contemporary range includes necklaces, bangles, rings, earrings and cufflinks. Rebecca’s designs reflect a raw beauty inspired by the Tasmanian environment. Rebecca's jewellery can be found in her boutique gallery along Hobart's waterfront.
Visit rebecca roth
elliot my dear - art
Hamish and Sarah Elliot form 'Elliott My Dear'. Sarah has a BFA from VCA, Melbourne University, where she studied painting and printmaking. Sarah paints with oils on wooden panels, watercolours, and copperplate etch.
"I love painting from a childhood imaginative space where a visual narrative takes on a life and language of its own. Each painting is personal and important to me and is like a little story. But my favourite thing about working visually is its openness to interpretation and multiple readings," says Sarah.
Visit: Elliot My Dear
smith+purton is a creative partnership who like to design, print and make homewares, soft furnishings, gifts, art prints and more. They work with sustainable materials such as hemp or organic cotton and solvent-free, water-based inks. Smith+purton's aim is to create products for you that will be long-lasting and long-treasured. Their ethos is low impact on the world, high impact on your life. All their soft furnishings are manually printed, so they will sometimes have the characteristics of a hand crafted process.
nanna woo handmade
Hanna Woolley is creator of Nanna Woo Handmade. Hannah loves to focus on turning every piece into something special for you. Ninety per cent of her work is one of a kind and the other ten is limited 'runs.' Hannah makes dainty polymer clay earrings, pendants and brooches by casting her own moulds, one of a kind patchwork stitched cards on recycled paper and natural fibre wearable art and wall art. Hannah's focus is to work towards building a fully sustainable and earth friendly business from the comfort of her home.
Visit Nanna Woo Handmade
huon pine picnic planks
The Huon Pine Picnic Plank has been designed by hand, right down to the hand rubbed oil finish. Each piece is unique and has been individually selected to display the best of its grain and natural features. The more the picnic plank is used, the more worn and distinctive the character of the timber will become…. Like an old worn farmhouse kitchen table.
Visit: Huon pine picnic planks
This little market sign says it all:
Take a peek at Tailored Tasmania's store and know there's more to come as our locals continue to create on this inspiring patch of the planet.
Your launch pad for exploring Tasmania like a local.