Sam, of Bruny Island Marine Farm, left behind his stockbroker's suit for waders and his blissfully relaxed nature mirrors his new office space. As warm water swirls about our ankles, we each enjoy a freshly shucked beauty straight from the farmer's hand......click on the image below for full story.
It seems like a good yarn- heading to Tasmania’s impenetrable South West wilderness in search of the orange-bellied parrot, one of the rarest bird species, and to uncover the legend of Deny King. Accessible only by sea or air, Deny lived some 50 years self-sufficiently at this far-flung outpost.
When the editor takes fancy to this tale my eyes grow wide with excitement. Like any Tasmanian, my research begins with the local folk.
First stop- Dad. He politely informs me I’m two decades late to meet the legend, but to my surprise, adds that he recalls well the day he met this weathered, likable fellow. With my living connection intact, I make call number two.
“We rarely fly to the South West in mid-winter,” says my seaplane pilot mate, “but you’re in luck Alice, we head down the day after tomorrow. Weather permitting, you’ll be my co-pilot.”
Little did I know the way those words were about to move me. Less than 48-hours later pilot Nick Swinton helps me aboard his floating plane with a knowing smile - unspoken confirmation this is going to be special.
The first time I met Nick, I’d never come across a pilot like him. He stood on a remote Bruny Island beach, with his pilot-pants rolled knee high. His plane had an anchor for goodness sake, and mid-flight he opened his window to cool us down. I knew today would be no different.
Our airstrip this morning is the River Derwent. A little radio chatter and next minute our water-skimming vessel transitions smoothly into the air. The bustling bodies of Salamanca Market grow small and the city buildings are dwarfed by the great expanse of unfolding wild.
Hugging the coastline as we head south, there is nothing but Antarctica directly ahead. But today, we veer south-west following the winding Weld River on a 45-minute passage past snow-capped Federation Peak.
Ever since I saw a photo of Bathurst Harbour as a young girl, I have wanted to visit this lonely harbour equal in size to Sydney’s. But nothing prepared me for its Jurassic-like landscape; imposing Mount Rugby, weathered button-grass plains, white-quartz coves lapped by tannin waters and hedged with ancient forest. This was nature in her wildest mood.
Today Celery-top Island is ours. No permission is granted to remove seatbelts; us adults have already broken free and are clambering out. In my haste, I gracefully end up with a water-filled boot. And that’s when it hits me.
The race is over. My camera falls down by my side; I want to see through both eyes. Immense silence. There are few times in life that can bring you to a complete stand still.
In that moment I am as still as the landscape. Frozen in time, the same way that it has stood for thousands of years. Am I suspended in place or time I can’t be sure? But finding a moment like that - it can last forever.
What pulls me from this curious trance? “Hey Alice, come and climb up on the plane’s wing,” tempts Nick. That’s when my other boot fills with water, but, once up on my lofty perch I ask about that little parrot, the one who chooses this haven as its only breeding ground on the planet.
“Ah those guys migrate for the winter,” Nick informs me,“they’re not stayers like Deny but you can see why they choose this patch.”
I nod and glance out to a watery reflection so perfect a handstand could produce the same view. Why those sweet little parrots and Deny chose here? The mystery is answered in the majesty before me, the solace of a place that demands equal sacrifice.
I recall Christobel Mattingley’s biography of Deny, King of the Wilderness and her vivid account of one man’s love of place, of the woman he lured here and the way he drew her rainwater bath. ‘As she relaxed she
had no idea what labour and love it involved. Deny had to carry the water inside and heat it in kerosene tins over the fire- a fire for which every single piece of wood had to be cut and rowed eleven kilometres by dinghy.’
Perhaps the coffee Nick passes me is less time intensive, but no less appreciated. Others emerge from barefoot mossy wanderings and we gather in readiness for boarding the plane for a coastal journey home.
The Ironbound Ranges roll down into the Grand Southern Ocean. The wind-battered Friars Rocks keep watch over secret coves that dot the coastline. It’s raw, shipwrecked and unforgiving yet I see lonely fishermen forging southward.
And as the isolation of the South West fades into darkening clouds behind, I feel its spell drawing me back. My half hour was not nearly enough. Deny’s fifty years perhaps a little lengthy. But how could one ever know in a place where time stands still?
or call 1300 359 822
tunnel vision coffee
People take their morning coffee seriously here in Hobart. Just ask someone who hasn't had theirs yet. I saw a huddle of them this morning and I’d dare not step in line before them. But this was no ordinary coffee queue on a 2-degree morning. As I walk down the steps, Barista David Osborne looks eerily God-like; a silhouette with blinding light at the end of a tunnel, steam rising up in swirls of delicious coffee aroma. Commuters rub their chilled hands with anticipation, drawn like moths to a flame (or at least like heater-hoggers to a small electric heat-giver David has tucked alongside his formal dining table).
Cheery chatter fills what’s typically a dull, cold, tile-walled tunnel and I can soon understand the appeal. David not only serves up a great coffee but injects such enthusiasm into each cup that I see folk wander off with a new spring to their step….disappearing into that strange light.
David says hello to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re pushing a lawn mower, pedalling an infant through the blistering cold or walking at a ‘I’m late for work pace' that better resembles a comical Kath and Kel powerwalk. He’ll still afford you a generous smile.
It seems David believes in more than just a coffee, he’s created in his own words, “a little place in a beautiful space for the human race at a Hobart pace.” That means you can pull up a pew and listen to David’s jovial chatter all morning in his quirky makeshift living room, view artwork beautifying the grafitti-ridden walls and listen to live music of a Wednesday….let’s just say you get your $3.50 worth.
Tunnel Vision is located in the Rose Garden Tunnel of the ‘ABC roundabout.’
Vist Tunnel Vision on Facebook
from builder to barista - parklane espresso
It's tiny. It's humble. And it's beautifully Tasmanian. The unassuming coffee stop is tucked away near the lane-way to a car park, from which it owes its simple name. Step inside Parklane Espresso, and the sweet
It's cosy enough to notice that the Mum rocking little bub is popping in to see 'Barista Daddy.’ It's friendly and warm enough to strike up a conversation straight away with most of the coffee goers. It's easy,
it's pleasant, it already feels like coffee-home.
And like most innovative Tassie locals, it turns out Barista Joe Ware hasn't always been a boutique cafe owner. In fact, he's spent many a hardy day as a builder and as I glance around the handsomely crafted space I begin to see his handiwork.
"This striking Myrtle was all salvaged from the Upper Florentine," Joe tells me frothing the milk as passionately as he's looking down at the rippled markings of the Myrtle countertop. "Tallest hardwood on the planet comes from there. This Myrtle and Black Heart Sassafras was collected from the forest floor by my mate. Beautiful isn't it?"
I nod appreciatively, running a hand over the smooth Tasmanian piece, hundreds of years my senior. It certainly is beautiful. And it's as Tasmanian as the couple bringing Parklane Espresso to life. Just as the
tea is local and the coffee beans are from the neighbourhood too.
"We want to have a really nice local feel," he continues, sliding my coffee towards me. "Zimmah Coffee- this man knows how to roast beans. I tried beans from all over the country and yet the guy up the road had the finest."
So engrossed by the experience I fail to ask for sugar. Those who need it in their cup will know..without it... potentially your morning is all but ruined. My anticipation flounders in bitter fear. I take my first precarious sip. I pause. It's heavenly.
I'm not sure if it's the big proud smile from Joe just a few weeks into his new venture, or the sweet glow of the Myrtle, but today my coffee needs no sugar.
In fact it never will from Parklane.
Parklane esppresso is located in Salamanca Square and also offers coffee beans, Tassie tea and delicious treats.
For more information find them on Facebook.
coffee on the run with a smile- Cuppa Coffee
Coffee on wheels? Now there’s a thought. Coffee that can come to you…with a big complimentary smile? Now we’re talking. If you have employees that work much better with a dose of caffeine, Cuppa Coffee’s owner Bella Hart has you covered.
Bella’s gourmet coffee van begins its morning tending to commuters at Midway Tavern 6.30-9am then trundles its way happily through the suburbs of Hobart brewing for businesses in the know….bosses who understand the productivity value of a latte.
Bella also offers muffins, biscuits and wait for it…icy poles. But let’s stick to the toasty items for now. If you’d like Cuppa Coffee for an event, a meeting o to perk up those bleary-eyed non-morning folk you’re trying to motivate, get in touch with Bella.
Visit on facebook or also stop by the Cuppa Drive Thru in Newtown.
*Those who have your own treasured coffee stops, we'll be covering more soon. Alternately share your local favourites with us.
He was four years through a medical degree and now he's all wrapped up in Tassie woollen goodness. Why the shift of career? Lachlan Davey, of the Tasmanian Weaving Company, is like any interesting story you'll find behind a stall at Salamanca Market.
He wanted a life less scripted; now he jumps out of planes, leaps off bungy platforms and well, surrounds himself with the soft landing pad of alpaca and mohair delights when he's on the ground.
I first spotted this burly young man wrapped up in Tassie's winter uniform, a puffer jacket, and sporting a rather delightful scarf at Salamanca Market. It's the type your grandmother would confirm as '18 micron cashmere quality' with a quick reach over the stall table.
I later learn he's set his text books aside to embrace the creative joys of Tasmanian-made goodness. And by the looks of those scarves, throws and blankets being swept up in the chilly morning air, Lachlan is onto a fine little winter recipe. People love quality. People love Tasmanian made. And people especially love warm scarves when it's 0 damn degrees at 8am.
Lachlan so believes in bringing the woolly goodness of Tasmania's north to Salamanca, he's even opened up a large retail space on the main Salamanca strip. You see, this wool comes from good ol' Tassie sheep, gets shipped off to the Head Weaver at Waverly Woollen Mills and is spun into rich coloured wearable warmth. It travels few kilometres before it snuggly reaches around your neck.
Step inside the store and this tactile journey takes you from raw product to an artisan's handspun garment. The colours and softness breathe a sense of warmth. And those feeling a little 'Kath and Kim' will be tempted by the purely Tasmanian MerinoWild throw for their couch.
You'll find Lachlan at 25 Salamanca Place 7 days and every Saturday at the Salamanca Market. This winter, let’s face it; wool is cool. Ask Lachlan. Knit with Lachlan. At least let him help keep you warm.
For more information visit the Tasmanian Weaving Company or find them on Facebook
Your launch pad for exploring Tasmania like a local.