The borders shut. Bookings stopped. Streets emptied. Doors closed. The lights went out on Tassie’s tourism with a silent flick named Covid-19. The glorious wave we’d ridden was wiped out by a global tidal wave … a viral dumper. But did our ingenious, resourceful Tasmanian industry break? Hell no. They found new ways, better ways, novel ways to combat that novel virus.
When the world stopped still, so did we. Shocked. But days later we decided to contact our industry mates and see how we could work together. Gosh, what a rewarding move. By offering our services complimentary, hundreds of stories came forth. It was the least we could do for those who have made our career possible. Their tales nearly brought a tear.
We decided they were worthy of their very own hashtag: #givetassielove. We wanted to encourage togetherness. What did the tag mean? It meant interstaters ‘giving Tassie love’ by forward booking, locals ‘giving Tassie businesses love’ by way of coin or individuals ‘giving Tassie love’ by gifting something Tasmanian. It seems the momentum has swung and we’re all supporting our own.
While we can only share a handful of stories here (*do note, some offers/activities only occurred during lockdown), you’ll see the resilience, you’ll be reminded of what us Tasmanians are made of and hopefully, you’ll want to support local forever. Get comfy, we’ll mention more than 60 here! Despite the economic whack, hardships and uncertainty that Covid-19 has brought, we’re hopeful much good will come from it. Have families come closer? Have less planes littered our skies for ‘vital’ meetings? Have we reshuffled our priorities? Have we connected while apart? Do we want to explore our own backyard? (scroll to end to win a 2-night getaway!)
It didn’t take long for the stories to come through. In usual style, they were humble. They read along the lines … Hi Alice, I’m not sure what you’re after but we’ve just planted a veggie patch to feed the oldies of Bruny Island … Yes, Hundred Acre Hideaway that’s exactly what we’re after! It’s easy to feel individual loss and inertia, but how mighty to turn respond with a big virtual community hug.
Next came an email from the wild west. Who knew that the West Coast Wilderness Railway are busily laying railway sleepers made from recycled plastic? Not only did the news come with details about the upgrade, but a warm invite to return when steam is billowing skyward once more.
Then from Pigeon Hole Café … “Our current staff are all visa holders – German, Brazilian, Italian and Nepalese so no entitlements from the government. Our other casual hadn’t been with us for 12 months so once again no government assistance. They totally banned together, and split their shifts to all be equal in pay even our FOH supervisor. Even one employee stood down handing in his resignation to go on Job seeker so the others could obtain more hours, to assist in their survival. What a selfless act. These visa holders have no family or other assistance – but I can truly say we are their family – “The Pigeon Hole Family.”
Anyone else notice one of the most heartening scenes of lock down were the Italians singing from balconies? Tassie had their own songstress beaming into living rooms as far as the UK …. Ange Boxall kept spirits up with live tunes each Friday night, warmed up by wine chats with Curly of Vintage Tasmania. Music Therapist Alli Davies created a catchy tune that reached millions from her Wynyard home. Don’t even get us started about the creative ideas Tassie folk have come up with …. Tasmanian Air Tours offering ‘fly-through takeaway’ says it all! Their Private Beach Picnic Flight featuring Bangor pick up looks something else ... but take your pick ... Frogmore Creek, McHenry Distillery, Shene Estate?
Willie Smiths have been using their downtime to create the first ever virtual Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest so set July 11 aside! They stream live from their FB page and feature all the festival faves including the wassail, costume comps, Hairyman telling tales and burning of Big Willie of course. They’ll encourage you to dress up, whip up a bonfire if you can and will also have hot spiced cider kits and Huon Valley produce packs available so you can feel like you’re really there!
Some of the emails were hard to read. Little businesses clinging on, doing their best to ‘pivot’ in an unfamiliar world. But cling on they did. Providore 24, tucked beneath the Stanley Nut, busily prepared Mother’s Day hampers so that our North West mums could feel some love despite celebrating in the Covid-19 epicentre.
Meanwhile, at the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory, Survival Packs were being prepped and sent all over, packed to the brim with no less than 16 Tassie producers. Every pack helped so many more. One was delivered to the doorstep of a family who lost their 39-year-old daughter, unable to even conduct a funeral for her. The Conservatory didn’t just offer their standard; but handpicked mugs and candle and thoughtful touches. The hamper was so fine that through tears, the recipient could not believe it was for her. Now this is the Tasmania we know and love …. Where in spite of isolation it was connection that prevailed.
Speaking of, then there’s Katinka, owner of gift store Lily & Dot in Hobart. While Katinka had to close the doors of her sweet store, it didn’t stop her hitting pen to paper. She penned greeting cards for those who couldn’t get out, ranging from birthday wishes and new born congrats to ‘just because’ notes, shouting a stamp and popping every single one in the post. Katinka also hit the road, hand delivering everything from felt toy sharks to a doorstep gift for a newborn complete with roses from her garden.
While we’re on deliveries, Wobbly Boot Vineyard got in touch too. Who doesn’t like a doggy that delivers wine? Many have had the joy of Maeve the Golden Retriever at their door, diligently dropping wine around the hood to delighted Wobbly Boot fans.
How have Moo Brew combat iso? They created the Lonely Beers Club where they brew a super rare one-off beer for the club every fortnight. With all that extra time on our hands, the brewer shares all the nerdy deets as the beer baby comes into being. Plenty Cider also created a club, so you can join the Plenty fam with 15% off an added bonus for twice yearly orders … cider from their farm to your fridge.
As if Mona have been hibernating … despite the gallery being closed and empty…they’ve had Tim (a human artwork by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye) continuing to sit and spectra, Ryoji Ikeda's beam of light, beaming into the sky sunset-sunrise every Saturday night. Then there’s the Victory Gardens project, with Kirsha Kaechele digging up the Mona lawns to plant vegetables and which helped inspire the garden at Hundred Acre Hideaway to feel those Bruny elders!
Some couldn’t believe the unfortunate timing. What are the chances of working towards launching a whisky label only to be halted by Covid-19? Robbie and Emma Gilligan weren’t deterred and may just be the first distillery in Australia to launch via an interactive online tasting. Derwent Distillery won’t forget their ‘arrival’ – their name coming from the second distillery ever built in Australia – Derwent Distillery circa. 1823. Follow them for more exciting developments.
What have Wingtons Glamping been up to in the north? They’ve restored their great grandparent’s clawfoot bath so that future guests can enjoy toasty baths under starry skies. What did Prospect House do when folk couldn’t be spoilt dining in? They hand delivered three courses to your door, complete with a smooth jazz tunes playlist and candle. Tameka of The Spotted Quoll sent plants galore and Tasmanian-made wares in a lockdown period that rivalled Christmas trade. Then there’s Redbanks Fish & Field – they’ve taken time to finesse their Woodball course and equipment. Haven’t heard of this new sport? You’ve gotta try it!
The stories go on and on … art deco cinema Star Theatre Launceston had a virtual Great Gadsby movie night, Beauty and the Bees sent Tassie soap to first responders, Miss Arthur Homewares swung open the doors of their online store, Home State were super busy online too, Sanctum Medical designed gorgeous survival boxes, Claudia Jewellers celebrated their Tasmanian range, Millie Ma kept us soothed with the likes of Good Night Balm and Tasmanian Devil Unzoo launched their Tasmanian Devil Channel on Youtube. Tailrace kept fams connected with Baby and Toddler Sense @ Home classes, Smitten offered great online storewide discounts to keep locals employed, and the list goes on….
On the foodie front, the Hanging Garden Green Grocer opened, supporting local producers Wednesday to Saturday and The Farm Gate Market worked diligently to adapt to our challenging climate and now even has a Farm Gate Drive Thru! The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery provided sell-out pick up menus, The Tasmanian Juice Press kept our thirst quenched with home deliveries in reusable glass bottles – the likes of apples straight from Huon Valley pickers. Apogee Tasmania offered special rates, Fat Pig Farm whipped up produce boxes (soon to be re-launching their amazing long table lunches) and Maxie Coffee kept the doors open to ensure we were all well fuelled with great coffee. Pollen Tea Room kept up a nourishing weekly collect menu, Tasmania Gourmet Food Tours offered voucher specials and Metropolitan Pizza threw in extras with pizza orders.
Mic of Sirocco South has busily developed his wild asparagus spring time forage and feast tour, offering an early bird special of $250 a person (just do it – we LOVED it). Blackman Bay Oysters got super swift, offering home delivered oysters to Hobart and Melbourne (plus the Mornington Peninsula), to the door within 24 hours of harvest from their boutique farm. Further south at the Old Bank of Geeveston, doors have swung back open and Huon Valley apple crate veggie beds are set to explode with goodness come Spring! The good people at Urban Greek kindly offered discounts for front line workers and emergency services throughout lock down and can’t wait to re-open! And let's not forget the amazing folk at Dawat Indian Cuisine who fed front line workers and those less fortunate for free every week once a week through lock down as well as Gormanston Road Store with daily soup for whatever could be afforded.
T-Bone Brewing Co. kept our hopes alive with their Meat Mistress meat tray still up for grabs weekly and 4-7pm Friday beer pick-ups. You may not have been able to spot Henry from Tasmanian Truffles at Salamanca Market, but you could catch him with Ben Milbourne on the first episode of Channel 9’s Award Winning Tasmania. Hill Street Grocer kindly picked up staff from Suzie Lucks to keep folk in work and have done a wondrous job keeping us safe while shopping. Oh ,and news just in…Hobart Brewing Co. will reopen from 3pm this Friday for a max of 40 so head down for a drink by their fire. St. Albi are also excited to get back open and had quite the busy time making 250 take home meals for Mothers Day.
Free Spirit Pods prepared a special Bounce Back to Bruny experience and Waterton Hall Wines got busy offering a virtual visit for those dreaming of their wedding day beyond Covid-19. Rochford Hall offered a complimentary night with any two-night stay (Promo code 1878, valid till Sept 30) and Coast House delivered a 20% discount for Tasmanians wanting their very own peninsula to escape to. At Mallavale Farm (can’t you see yourself there?), the owners have planted hundreds of tulip bulbs from Table Cape Tulip Farm to ensure an even more spectacular Spring for their guests, launched Boat Harbour Boutique Accommodation and are hanging regular artists in Aquila Barn. Phew, they’ve been busy! As for Novo Luxury Apartment in Penguin they can't wait to welcome their winning guests.
Who knew a L’Orangerie (structure from the 17th to 19th centuries to protect oranges and other fruit trees in winter at fashionable residences) would pop up in NW Tassie? Using the greatest hotchpotch of scrap materials, Table House Farm is the proud owner of one that doesn’t quite look Parisian but does have chandeliers (from a salvage yard!)
Over on the East Coast, the Sanda House owners have been flat out installing solar power, building more veggie beds for brekkie produce and are in the process of creating a toasty firepit for guests. Pop Up Picnic Bicheno picked up a bell tent beauty – perhaps for your next special escape?
In need of some fresh Tassie air? Walk on kunanyi is soon to launch a new winter walk for locals called Five Huts. With this blog being one of our most popular of all time about mountain huts and a hidden ice rink, we know this will be a hit! The team will also launch a collab with Hobart Mountain Bike tours including a North South track descent, walking in Darwin’s footsteps and a drink in Midtown. Art Farm Birchs Bay is open daily for sculpture trail walks through the community garden, pepperberry crops and orchards (café currently closed). Wild Island is about to re-open and have busily been upgrading their website. Take a peek at the homepage – it’s a stunner! Oh and Rob Blakers has been having fun with night sky videos.
Other operators are opening their doors including the Blue Derby Pods Ride – offering Tasmanians ‘accommodation only’ on select weekends from June 5. They’ve always been keen to find a way to reward the locals! And Freycinet Experience Walk are doing the same with private lodge hire. Read about our amazing trip here.
We could go on but with restrictions lifting, we can all peep out of hibernation with a brighter future on the horizon. Yes, we might be plagued with Covid-19 outbreaks, but we can rest assured our tourism industry is robust and tough. We’ll get through. And we’ll do it together.
Now get out there and support our locals and be sure to enter for your chance to escape to the North West.
Go on, #givetassielove. This pair are read for their King Island Escapes sauna ....
Words: Alice Hansen
Remember, you can book Tasmanian adventures and accommodation in real time with Tailored Tasmania. We've got your trip sorted and can also deliver the latest edition of Tailored Tasmania with free shipping to your doorstep.
Want to win a luxe Tassie stay?
To celebrate the re-emergence of Tassie we’re also offering 3 prizes ... 2 nights accommodation at Novo Luxury Apartment, 2 at Mallavale Farm and 2 at Aquila Barn (Boat Harbour Boutique Accommodation) that's over $1500 in value!! To enter, just like and share our Tailored Tasmania Facebook post and tag three people, or find it on Insta. Comp closes and winners announced June 26! Prizes non-transferable for 2 consecutive days between July 1 & Oct 31.
Meeting a royal, climbing offshore peaks and sharing long table brekkies by candlelight. The Freycinet Experience Walk invites an East Coast encounter far from the ordinary.
Beneath my bare feet is 370-million-year old granite. It’s coarse underfoot, contrasting the silky-smooth curve of Wineglass Bay beyond. I’m crouched low in makeshift swimwear, prepping mentally to launch into chilly waters.
Other walkers have taken the dive. Call it peer pressure or the beginnings of a cold water love affair – I launch with an ungraceful splash. Dutchman Wim Hof’s global waves about the benefits of cold water had been high on our chatter list descending Mount Graham so it seemed fitting to test his theory.
Enveloped in the bracing waters of Wineglass, an exhilarating calm sweeps over me. I smile at the other walkers, bobbing beside me. It occurs to me this small cocoon of strangers has become firm friends. Friends that let another go first in the rainwater bath. Friends that natter late by candlelight. Friends that tread icy water together. I realise it’s these unexpected moments (oh, and midnight spotlighting) that set Freycinet Walk apart.
The lodge-based walk on Tasmania’s East Coast is one of the island’s original, founded by Joan Masterman, considered the matriarch of Tasmanian eco-tourism. Today, the ‘invisible lodge’ with its timeless Ken Latona-architecture sits lightly in the Friendly Beaches landscape unchanged, some three decades on. It’s the welcoming haven each eve after walking windswept beaches, summiting granite peaks, weaving through Casuarina shaded trails and following steps taken by the Oyster Bay Tribe 20,000 years before.
No sooner are we whisked from Hobart’s city streets, we find ourselves shaking hands with a salty skipper aboard the Naturaliste. We’re bound for Schouten Island, the southernmost tip of Freycinet National Park. There’s a fleeting sense of movie star status as we step off our private vessel onto pristine white sands of an island rarely accessed. Our mission is to climb Bear Hill, while a few sensible ‘walkers’ opt to stay aboard dropping a line for Flathead in Schouten Passage.
It doesn’t take long following well-trodden guide boots to realise they know their stuff. From Fairy wren calls to trigger plants to female trees that grow nuts, my curiosity peaks far from the summit. Back down at shore level I watch as thick granite sand spills through the guide’s fingers as he traces 120,000 years of time. There’s a lot to ponder as we take a dip on this late summer afternoon. After a swift boat trip via an eagle’s nest so impressive it looks like it could comfortably sleep three grown humans, we walk a short distance to our lodge.
It really is hidden. Hugged by tea tree, banksias and casuarinas, the lodge feels more a homely shelter than a flashy lodge with its weathered timber and tin roof. It’s invitingly informal yet quietly elegant. Two giant lodge host smiles beam from the deck, a candle topped table behind whispering of what’s to come. We’re taken to our quarters, equipped with a cosy wood fire and large windows that have my Queensland cabin-buddy quick to whip out his art pencils and capture the forested frame. That night we dine by flickering candles, just enough light to point a finger at the failed fisherman of the day. In their off-grid petite kitchen those lodge hosts magically turn out Flathead all the same, served with East Coast whites from up the road, as strangers from the UK to Bondi become new friends.
The day begins with the sweet sound of rain on our tin roof and a hot brekkie of eggs, bacon, Pigeon Whole bread, tomato and mushies that look straight out of a swish city cafe. We coat up and head for Bluestone Bay to embark on a sacred path exclusive to guests of the Freycinet Experience Walk, following the steps of the Oyster Bay Tribe. We’re already well waterlogged as we gather on a wet log for a ‘sole cleansing’ ceremony to ensure we don’t carry any nasties on our boots, leading to root-rot of the giant Xanthorrhoea (grass trees). They’re a favourite of mine with their perfectly-manicured do’s as though a barber has raced ahead of us.
The 14-kilometre coastal sojourn includes a steep climb up along the clifftops – it’s not enough to warm my bones. The rain is unrelenting but manages not to dampen our mood. It draws me deep into a time some 20,000 years back when the tribe walked this patch. I wonder how they warmed up on a rainy day without the latest thermal tech tops and Gortex shells when it’s too wet to light a fire. I am informed they would carry fire with them. Who knew? All I knew is that I gasped in shivery delight when a mirage-like camp kitchen appeared in the wilds, complete with hot coffee and local fare. Beneath a canopy tied between trees we cosy close.
My pace quickens as we reach the southern end of Friendly Beaches. I know if my soggy boots can speed, I’ll be deep in a rainwater bath in a jiffy. Sinking down with Epson salts swirling, I feel equal parts spoiled by lodge bliss and in awe of those who walked before us. We re-gather around a roaring open fire, followed by hearty lamb shanks with polenta.
This one is a biggie. We’re back on the boat, cruising down to Cooks Beach where those choosing the longer day walk are dropped. The conditions are not perfect and I begin my morning tripping in the shallow surf complete with backpack much to the stifled giggles of my new found friends. Our former-military-man-turned-nursing-student guide, Rob, assures I’ll dry off quickly. It takes my pride longer. He’s keen to work in disaster relief and I’ve kicked the day off with an impromptu swim.
Fortunately, the rest of the day is disaster free as he leads us through tall Peppermint and Blue gums, pointing out a family of Scarlet robins. He’s enchantment is infectious – much like when we come across a fresh water lobster on our way to the top of Mount Graham. It’s a climb but with views stretching back to day one’s Schouten and up the coast towards our ‘friendly home,’ we pause to breathe it all in.
As we step out onto Wineglass Bay, I’m met with a surprise unlike I’ve seen in near four decades of being Tasmanian. I drop my walking poles in shock. There in front of us is a Royal penguin. The moulting, lonely looking mate is a rare site hailing from Antarctica or perhaps New Zealand. While we are assured by a passer-by they often moult alone, I feel an odd sense of abandoning as we walk on, hoping a feathery friend joins for company. Striding on, I figure if the lone penguin is going to waddle up to an unfamiliar beach it might as well be one rated among the world’s finest many times over. It would be at the beach’s northern end that I myself waddle to the granite’s edge and take a plunge.
After raising glasses of Jansz teamed with Great Oyster Bay oysters in celebration of a guest’s birthday, we return to the Tasmanian oak table for Cape Grim eye fillet and mash. Little do I know a small huddle of us would be back out walking until midnight – lured by the blue sparkles of bioluminescence and a spotlight tour of Saltwater Lagoon. It’s hardly on the guide’s job description but these guys love the patch so much they leap from the couch immediately. Strolling the dark beach wakes new senses as stars punch through a cloudy sky. Friendly Beaches in yet another mood – dark of course but equally affable – true to its name.
Just to make the farewell from our homely lodge a little harder, we wake to a glorious morning and preparation for a lazy brunch out beneath the casuarinas. We are invited to take George’s favourite walk (Joan’s late husband) along a fossil-clad ridgeline and back down to the lagoon. Part of the walk is shared in silence, to soak up the landscape and reflect. We take a leaf and a stick – symbolising what we might like to leave behind following our journey and what we’d like to stick with us. It’s a fitting close to a moving four days.
As I walk the final 4.5 kilometres along Friendly’s to Isaac’s Point I know the bus is waiting. I smile, knowing my pack is now full of new memories. Fireside chats. Rainwater bathing. Tribal tales. Meeting a ‘royal.’ Oh, and sea plunging on a peninsula dotted with pink granite mountains lapped by turquoise seas. No wonder famed British writer Nicholas Shakespeare said of this place, “I knew, without knowing the first thing about it, that I was gazing at the most beautiful place I had seen on earth; a conviction that all subsequent experience has served to deepen.”
I’m no Shakespeare but I tend to agree thy is spot on.
Duration: 4 days/3 nights
Distance: up to 37-40km
Base: Friendly Beaches Lodge
Max group size: 10 guests
Cost: from $2350 per person for four-day private lodge hire and $2750 per person for signature four-day walking experience.
Ride. Connect. Eat. Strum. Rest. Repeat.
World class mountain bike riding with a side of long-table dining and a nod from the resident platypus. There’s much to love about a stay at Dales of Derby.
Rolling into town, Dales of Derby sits gently on the landscape to our left. It’s long, well-proportioned and sleek – like an elite, Lycra-clad cyclist. But at the Dales accommodation, there’s a seat for everyone round the fire, whether talking up a mighty rainforest descent or a tot’s pumphouse track debut.
Once a bustling town home to the world’s richest tin mine, Derby has reinvented since the 1800s and today is hailed as a mountain biking mecca. It’s a little over an hour north-east of Launceston. With some 125 kilometres of trails weaving through temperate rainforest, in an Australian first, Derby played host to an Enduro World Series stage in 2017. Having competed in the likes of Canada, France and New Zealand, the professional riders selected Derby as their top pick. Little wonder the world class series returned two years later.
But we’re not at Dales of Derby to break any downhill records. While the pros gush over Derby, the network of trails is designed with everyone in mind. This fits nicely as extended family vehicles pull into the Dales across the afternoon and toddlers emerge beside big brothers who love nothing more than to tackle trails with names like ’23 Stitches.’
The architecturally-designed Dales sits effortlessly on the banks of Ringarooma River. Those with a penchant for panning, I’m told may have luck upstream. Our main mission is to satisfy one young voice that’s determined to meet a platypus. As we pull ourselves from the river and file inside, the communal space draws us in. Bright yellow light fittings give a splash of colour and a sense of impending joy. The fire is pre-prepared, ready to strike a match and whip up tall yarns from the highest trails. The long timber table begs for as many seats to be filled as possible - there are 11 of us but the Dales’ capacity is up to 24 guests (16 bunks, 4 queens). The commercial-quality kitchen is generously long and capable, promising room for several helpers. By design, everything about this place spells togetherness.
Separating the sleeping quarters from the communal living space is a well-equipped alfresco area, complete with open air barbecue. We share a grin at the gift of fine weather for our evening steaks and continue on to check out the rooms. In between, some of us are dutifully popping bikes into the purpose-built storage area, complete with repair stand and bike hooks. There’s no doubt this Dales place is made for riders. A few tweaks to the back brake can be made while snags are turned on the barbie.
As we pop individual keys into room locks, each reveal is different. There are bunk beds topped with crisp linen, followed by queen-size escapes with Ringarooma views. Although the five-year-old is certain she’s seen a wallaby in one of the rooms (courtesy of two nights camping with her father), we all settle just right and in plenty of time to regather for dinner.
Getting more familiar with our riverside home, it’s apparent the Dales just ‘works.’ There is good reason it picked up multiple awards at the 2019 Tasmanian Architecture Awards. Along with its well styled functionality though, much of its impressive heart is hidden. Tucked away beneath, the Dales is dutifully heating water via solar power to run the efficient dwelling. Invisible genius! It’s the work of owner Martin Dingemanse, founder of Mode Electrical.
Martin’s the type who has managed to engineer solar powered hospitals in Africa, that he can monitor from his Tasmanian home. His wife Margaret and their three children have been to the continent as part of this outreach effort. A close-knit crew, the family touches evident at Dales are reflective of how the Dingemanse team like the gather. Indeed, it was a lack of options when they sought to bring extended family together from as far as Holland that sparked the idea of accommodation in Derby where both Margaret and Martin holidayed as youngsters.
As the barbie fires, our determined platypus-hunter returns to the water’s edge with little success. The rest of us study trail maps that weave across the Blue Tier, a new option traversing 42 kilometres to the East Coast’s Bay of Fires. Following dinner, just as dusk falls, we hear squeals of delight as not one but two shy platypus playfully perform near the banks. It’s highlight enough for us all to turn in for an early night.
Luckily the first to wake are dutiful chefs and our eggs and bacon are nearly to the table. There’s little for me to do than strum a few chords on the resident guitar – enough encouragement for the brekkie to arrive at speed. We’re then off to the trails in every direction. It’s only a five-minute walk, even quicker by two wheels, to the central township. A little further on at the trail head, we part ways.
Most of us enjoy a relaxed morning circling the dam, a relatively flat ride ideal for my mountain-biking enthusiast brother who has a special contraption affixed to his handle bars for his two-year-old son. I’ve often felt no seat could be more terrifying, but this Derby cruise proves to be a giggling delight for his chief navigator. Later in the day, he’ll hit the big descents sans child.
After a quick bite at Two Doors Down, a great little café on the main strip (note, there is just the one main street!) we hit the trails again. A group of us girls decide to challenge ourselves on Flickity Sticks. At 65, Mum takes the turns well as we climb higher through the forest. Although I’m a touch fearful as we gather speed back down, the four of us are all smiles at the base. A combo of relief and elation. We push on to an opening where we take a refreshing dip before heading back to home base.
The Dales seems even more exceptional on night two. Perhaps it’s because we’ve carved new memories out on the trails and our chatter echoes off the walls with heightened enthusiasm. There’s already talk of a return trip and high fives at the thought of tackling 42kms through to St Helens. Perhaps that’s the real enchantment of the Dales – it brings folk together in the moment and equally offers space to dream up new two-wheeled Tassie fun.
It may just be a place where new generations of riders emerge; where mini-riders move from handle-bar home to handling their own bikes. For us, it brought together the family of now and fireside talk of where to next. Cocooned in the Dales, even a marathon pedal to the) East Coast seems a sensible idea. Nothing like some more quality family time – clearly the Dales have worked upon us!
Foraging and seaside feasting with Mic Giuliani in Tassie’s south.
We meet on a blue-sky morning at Dodges Ferry. As Mic Giuliani leads us to a grassy patch between two homes, I look at the foraging basket hooked over his elbow and up to his enthusiastic smile. I look back at the empty grassy paddock. It’s my first day out foraging and for the life of me, I can’t see past the inedible emptiness. There’s something in his stride though, that draws us all into obedient line.
We become Mic’s students. He’s best known as the familiar face at Hobart’s Farm Gate Market, sharing generations of Italian secrets through his Sirocco South handmade pasta. His love of food is palpable, but his real passion is plucking it straight from the source.
“Follow me,” he enthuses, as we meander along what feels like a wallaby’s well-worn path. The neighbourhood sounds begin to fade as we journey into a wild food tour in Mic’s coastal backyard. Having lived at nearby Carlton, about 45 minutes from Hobart for more than a decade, he knows the patch intimately.
He takes no more than six on his foraging ventures, because he wants the experience to be intimate and equally, there’s a need to tread lightly across these grasses and shores. It begins to quickly feel like a secret mission as he details what we might find; swiftly holding up a dandelion and explaining its edible and medicinal wonders. Gone are my childhood beliefs that they’re reserved only for wishes.
I think back to living with an American a couple of years back, who had come to work in one of Hobart’s finest restaurant kitchens. She waved goodbye one sunny morning and returned with her bicycle basket brimming with foraged fare. It was then I realised that foraging had become rather fashionable. But as I stood on Mumirmina country with Mic, I was reminded that the indigenous people were many thousands of years ahead of the trend.
“We’re not doing anything new here,” says Mic. “We’re simply returning to ancestral roots. For me, I feel privileged to have grown up foraging for wild asparagus, just like my mother and her mother. It’s precisely what we’ll be looking for today.”
Once he’s shown us a couple of wild asparagus, a fellow forager becomes particularly adept at shoot spotting. From a group standstill, she darts like someone who’s just spotted a cash note in the grass. With childlike excitement, she scans for the next find, slipping it into the basket. Mic’s enthusiasm is infectious.
As is custom when we find something new, Mic hands me a sample of what I think looks like the top of supermarket-variety celery. I take a nibble and it even tastes like celery, but indeed it’s Lacy sea parsley. It’s another flavourful surprise like the petite flowers he drops into our hands that taste of leatherwood honey.
We stand beneath pines where Mic talks of the mushroom goodness that he harvests come Autumn and we pass around the shores of Blue Lagoon. Along the way, we collect the salty delights that are marsh samphire and some buck’s horn plantain for our salad. As we step out into the sunshine of Frederick Henry Bay with sand underfoot, the basket is now suitably overflowing with our bounty. But it’s what we find up a few wooden steps that brings us all to a halt. There before us is a Michelle Crawford-styled (think Gourmet Farmer level amazing) outdoor dining scene complete with outdoor chef busy at the grill. Mic has spared nothing – not even the kitchen sink.
We are shown to our seats and swiftly poured a 2012 Cuvee Traditionelle sparkling by Rafe Nottage of Bream Creek Wines. It feels like some sort of foraging fantasy where fairies appear to fill your glass and whip up a feast from all that you’ve gathered through the morning. It’s seaside bliss as our wild asparagus is barbecued by one of the attentive crew and plump Pacific oysters arrive, some topped with butter fermented asparagus.
There is no doubt, the courses taste better outside. The exquisite flavours feel heightened as the sea breeze swirls between our conversations and the canopy shades us from a warm Hobart sun. Our neatly printed menus outline items that we didn’t source ourselves (ie. no, we didn’t forage for tender octopus down Port Arthur way, but we did find its wild parsley garnish), most of which are found within thirty kilometres from our airy dining room.
We tuck into the lamb breast served with wild cabbage shoots and a salsa verde created with buck’s horn plantain and bower spinach. Another forager and former chef, who lives at nearby Lewisham, gives a nod of delicious approval. Even our dessert is infused with nearby fennel pollen flavours. It tops off one sweet day out with Mic.
What sets the Sirocco South foraging experience apart though, is that no two days with Mic are alike as Tassie shifts through the seasons. He never knows what the land may bear. In summer, the former diving instructor may take you along the dunes and shallows, seeking out round leafed pig face, dune spinach, mussels and oysters.
What’s next to get excited about though is upcoming autumn, with an enticing forage centered around wild mushroom and game. Think dining deep in a pine forest by candlelight. With only a few seats round the table, hop on www.siroccosouth.com.au early to secure you possie.
2020 FORAGING TOUR DATES
The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery has just been voted the number one restaurant in Tasmania. And the best way to experience it? Hop aboard with Alex Palmer of Tas Gourmet Food Tours. That way, you are chauffeur driven by convivial Alex to and from the pretty Derwent Valley and what’s more, he has some special stops along the way. It’s a full sensory day out. Oh, and Tailored Tas readers get a special treat ... read on.
The day goes a little something like this. You’re scooped up at 9.30am from your waterfront hotel or other, and settle in with your new wining and dining friends. It’s always an intimate group in size, or the option is there to gather friends and hire Alex out all to yourselves.
It doesn’t take long in Alex’s company to find he’s a passionate born and bred local. He serves up more than 20 years of food and travel industry experience. So, it’s like winding down the valley with a good friend who happens to know the best foodie stops with a side of history sprinkled in. As a professional photographer and video producer, he also provides a complimentary ‘postcard experience’ of the day. This all-inclusive tour is a step beyond.
First stop is Glen Derwent Tea Rooms for Devonshire tea, with some smart looking peacocks watching on. It’s little wonder, with scones so fluffy and fresh anyone would envy. Glen Derwent is wrapped in history dating back to convict days and sets the scene for a day where old and new meet.
Rolling into New Norfolk is an opportunity for Alex to share snippets about this historic town before chairs are pulled around a table at the Agrarian Kitchen Eatery. This is a place where seasonal produce is the hero. There’s an authenticity about it that weaves throughout – from the eatery’s interior to the wholesome friendly staff to what’s on the plate. Here, there is a genuine sense of place. Naturally, the menu shifts with the seasons but expect the likes of purple mandan corn polenta with calamari, green garlic and chilli. It’s quite the divine fusion of flavours.
The day rolls on with some antique hunting followed by wine tasting at Derwent Estate and Clemens Hill vineyard. The sweeping views from Derwent Estate are rivalled only by the rich calcite soil that deliver Derwent Estate’s distinct flavour. At Clemens Hill, the delicious golden fume blanc is a must try, and heading into afternoon hours, a delicate dessert wine might call.
From here, Alex shifts direction to Hobart’s waterfront. Leaving the countryside behind, it’s onto Mures for an iconic Tassie scallop pie. Surrounded by fishing boats, they are so delish because those scallops weren’t long plucked from the salty waters. Your host isn’t done just yet though. There’s one more stop at the Brooke Street Pier. It’s time to settle in for award-winning Grandvewe cheese and Hartshorn gin and vodka (that’s right Grandvewe just won world’s best cheese at the World Dairy Innovation Awards for their Gin Herbalist cheese and took the gong at the World Vodka Awards in 2018.) And doesn’t gin taste even more divine on a floating pier? Don’t forget to enjoy the River Derwent views! Alex then dutifully delivers you back to your drop off point around 4.30pm, just in time to freshen up and head out for dinner. Ah, that’s if you have room.
Tour: Agrarian Kitchen Eatery and Derwent Valley Gourmet Tour
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
GET IN TOUCH:
Words: Alice Hansen Images: Alexander Palmer unless otherwise stated.
*Book your tour by Nov 14 to receive a complimentary Tailored Tasmania book (rrp $39.95) on the day. Just mention Tailored Tas!
Escape to Bruny for a long wild lunch! Believe us, you'll want to. Don't just drive and ferry to the island. Do it in style. Hobart Boat Charters have a hand out waiting to welcome you aboard from the Brooke Street Pier. They'll whisk you down to Bruny and even have Tassie bubbles and fresh oysters waiting at the jetty before a long table lunch. Expect the day out to be spot on - brought to you by Rob Knight the founder of Bruny Island Long Weekend - which we were fortunate to trial on Rob's first ever trip. If you love Bruny, you'll love Rob's style of showing off his favourite offshore island whether it's for hours or days.
Know anyone who needs this for Christmas? Or someone who would love to sit by your side on this dreamy five hour ($165) escape? Rob also offers private charters ... so if you're thinking about a floating Christmas Party just call him: 0437 256 270.
*Book your cruise by Nov 14 to receive a complimentary Tailored Tasmania book on cruise day. Just mention Tailored Tas and you'll be sorted!
While we are on the topic of Bruny Island we have included here a novel we are deep within, after attending the launch. Bruny, by the lovely Heather Rose, is simply a must read. We can't put it down. When asked about a 'link' to add for her novel in this blog Heather said the bookstores have been so wonderfully supportive that she'd love anyone who wants a copy to head to a local store. Now that's a beautiful Tasmanian response!
Enjoy these warmer, longer Tassie days,
Tailored Tasmania xx
PS. Find out more about the long wild lunch.
Where in the world can you rest your head on a hotel pillow knowing that by doing so, you’re feeding 210 orphans a nutritious brekkie in India? Launceston, of course.
It’s dark and cold when we arrive at Change Overnight. A biting wind whips up the side of this black Launceston building. Eyes barely adjusting, we make out an understated entrance. The harsh, wintry conditions are fitting for arrival to a hotel believed to be a world’s first – a better night’s sleep where we’ll be giving back just by drifting off to sleep.
Chilled fingers key in the access code as we trip over each other to escape the night air. We’re certain warmth and comfort awaits. But it’s not immediate here at Change Overnight. The corridor is equally blanketed in black paint, lit with dim industrial lighting. As hints of ‘change’ appear graffiti-style, the senses liven.
Although we don’t hear echoes of children in the streets of Kolkata through these hallways, future guests shall. It’s all part of this social enterprise’s story, written by two young Launceston founders, Sam Haberle and Tara Howell. To realise their vision, the pair joined forces with local co-directors Marcel Anstie and Toby Wilkin. Their intent? That this 18-room York Street hotel headquarters will be one of many Change Overnight hotels across the globe. At the end of the narrow, long hallway we find our room. A gentle push of the door delivers a splash of light, colour and genuine hope. The contrast is palpable. By design, it invites a feeling that change is possible and can reach far.
So how does it work? When booking one of the rooms, ranging from $145/night studio apartments through to a three-bedroom penthouse, guests choose how they’d like to ‘change the world.’ Weaved into Change Overnight’s rates is a direct contribution to one of eight causes.
Each cause is offered to encourage guests to rest easy with intent. Do they want to feed 210 orphans during their overnight, or stay a few nights knowing they’re contributing a full term’s education to a handful of children in Vanuatu? Perhaps they want a cause closer to home, say, ten square metres of Tassie locked up never to be developed by supporting the Tasmanian Land Conservancy. Those touched by mental health struggles in their families can curl up knowing Beyond Blue are making calls to those in need as a result.
It’s not only the good ‘give back’ feels that are part of the Change Overnight experience. The edgy, beautifully-appointed rooms speak style. Sleek appliances sit opposite a sliding door that spills out onto a generous patio beneath clear stars. The vibrant mural of a young girl I could gaze at for many more hours than the flat screen TV above. Globally-focussed books are a nod to further change beyond our hotel stay. The entire experience encourages us to re-think. It brings the streets of Kolkata closer – the problems not so far away that we can’t find a small impact. It challenges by issuing high level comfort but in equal parts a moment of pause. We have it good. But not everyone does.
All rooms have loft bedrooms. Our stairs lead up with a graffitied reminder that “you’re not here to play the game you’re here to change it.” Upstairs views spill over a night-lit city. It’s striking. Naturally, the bathroom is well stocked with Thank you hand soap and Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. The socially aware will love every corner of thought applied here.
For us, it’s time to head back out into the bracing night for dinner at Geronimo Apertivo Bar and Restaurant. As we’re ushered into its warmth another is being helped on with her coat by an attentive waiter. The service and quality never disappoints in this Charles Street institution.
We only need a light bite, moving between crusty sourdough with caramelised onion and mustard butter through to beef cheek ravioli and an awfully tender duck ragu with pancetta, red wine, sweet potato and ricotta dumplings. Beside the glow of a spirit’s locker, keeping watch over aged Tassie whiskies and the like, we chatter about the possibilities that could be if we all committed to change …. from our cosy Geronimo seats with well-fed tummies to the orphanages of Banbasa, India.
Tonight, we curl up knowing change is activated. Already, by choosing the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission cause, 210 nutritious breakfasts for orphaned children have been sorted. Now that makes for a better night’s sleep!
Need more reason to stay? We've teamed with change overnight for a special Tailored Tasmania readers deal:
A WEEKEND OF CHANGE FOR TWO
- 1 night in a Game Changer 1-bedroom apartment ($230)
- An evening at Geronimo Restaurant for two ($180)
Total Value: $410
Your price: $380
To access simply add the promo code TAILOREDTAS10 when booking here.
RATES: start from $145/night
ADDRESS: 25 York St, Launceston TAS 7250 Australia
PHONE: 03 6388 9291
Return to you on Tassie's North West Coast - and don't miss the special Tailored Tasmania reader's offer through September
By definition Novo means ‘from the beginning. Anew. Afresh.’ A stay in Novo Luxury Apartment in North West Tasmania’s township of Penguin delivers just this. There’s a restorative quality about Novo that’s hard to define. It hits with the same undeniable power as its Bass Strait views. Ascending the heritage listed staircase, there’s only one word that escapes my lips. “Wow.”
Novo’s own beginnings date back to 1912 and the staircase is a well-preserved nod to its early days. But as the creaks of its early bakery days fade behind me, I’m enveloped by the apartment’s top floor luxuries. Open living spills out to commanding Bass Strait views. It’s hard to shift between the beautifully appointed foreground and nature’s epic backdrop. Somehow, the two meet in perfect harmony.
We’re greeted with a handwritten note, a treat from Renaessance Café and warmth indicative of an owner who knows how to turn on a winter welcome. I plunge into one of the ‘bean beds’ just in time for the sun to sink. The shift to Penguin pace happens with unconscious ease. We’re surrounded with furnishings that look as though they’re straight from Melbourne’s fashion strip. But they happen to be direct from Cocoon Designs, the homewares store residing underneath Novo. Everything works. Beautifully.
Dining in at the long table is followed by Trivial Pursuit by the fire. It’s not everyday one can change the flame colour depending on one’s mood with the flick of a remote! This is followed by a deep bath before slipping between crisp linen sheets to the lull of waves. Tonight’s good sleep is assured before my eyes even close as I busily admire the original pressed tin ceiling.
Staying at Novo is as much about the inside comforts as it is about experiencing the neighbourhood and beyond. Armed with a comprehensive list prepared by the owner, the options range from never leaving the apartment (tempting considering the library of books, Netflix password and the July chills) through to Cradle Mountain walks and main street galleries and eats.
We opt for seaside yoga. Instructor and local, Caz, warmly invites us into the restorative session and next minute we’re stretching out on mats with equally broad smiles. Preservation Bay just beyond works its North West magic, rivalled only by the encouragement to go gently on our bodies. We sink yet another level into the re-boot and recharge feels of Penguin.
With well limbered legs, we then venture out into the wilds for a climb of Mount Gnomon after a quick coffee at Letterbox (naturally connected to the Post Office). Oh, the coffee here is divine – as are the artworks and the beaming smiles of the baristas. The relatively steep one-hour return rewards with sweeping views across the east to Ulverstone, Mount Roland and beyond. On the loop back down we stop to admire sandstone caves and sip from the mountain’s spring water. (Nothing to do with me forgetting my drink bottle).
We drop in for a quick hello to Guy at Mount Gnomon Farm before catching last light at Level Canyon, about an hour’s drive. Talk about dramatic scenery! It’s Leven River’s pounding winter torrents that catch my ear on the final metres to the lookout, well before the view swallows me in. It’s natural drama that usually takes a day’s walk to reach. Instead, it takes but 20 minutes’ return from our car. We finish up just as the first wallabies are coming out to play.
All good mountain climbs should be rewarded with El Perro. Back down on the main street, a whopping ten metre hike from our door, the tapas restaurant was busily getting ready for the evening’s trade. Reading through their beautiful menu of twice cooked local Scottsdale Pork and local scallops over cauliflower puree tempted, but tonight it was their pizza menu that called for another winter night in at Novo. It would be 15 minutes after our call that we had the most delish two pizzas on the table – one generously topped with Tassie smoked salmon on a cream cheese base, the other a Pollo barbecue chicken favourite. Perfect with a side of Trivial Pursuit.
We wake to another stunning morning – one that begs for a morning foreshore jog following by a quick dip. Even though it’s winter and seems absolutely insane, we plunge into the icy Bass Strait waters. The experience lasts about 92 seconds but the invigoration lasts day long. It’s a fitting farewell and although I believe we’re the only nutters on the coast to have taken the dive that morning, it’s not the case.
Lining up for morning coffee at Renaessance (a whole 40 metres from Novo), I feel guilty interrupting the delightful chatter between regular customers. Having spent just 48 hours in Penguin it’s clear this town has community spirit in spades. They’re like a flock of Little Penguins, huddled and getting through winter with shared smiles. (incidentally the real penguins are currently out at sea so we’ll have to come back for penguin spotting).
I somehow join the early morning chatter and find that the young local waiting for her coffee had taken a swim too. I also find that the café has ten free coffees to give away during the month to anyone in the community who might be having a tough day or a hard time. After this, another café will take the helm. I smile, realising the good mornings on my jog earlier are further evidence that this town really is the friendliest little tight-knit family on the coast. They’d only just spent seven days as a community helping to put in new decks, outdoor seating and a ‘take a book leave a book’ tardis (fictional time machine) library, watched over by the famous Big Penguin.
As I wander out, hands wrapped around my morning coffee I see Cocoon Designs isn’t quite open. The world beyond Penguins calls me back to work, but the pull is too strong. I make arrangements to return to North West Tassie the following week to complete the experience. There’s still a Leven Canyon floor to visit, wooden deck chairs to relax on by the water’s edge and meerkats to meet at the nearby wildlife park.
I leave feeling restored. I leave feeling anew. I leave feeling like Novo wasn’t just a luxurious apartment but a seaside home to retreat to whenever I need a reset. And with enough room for 8 (6 comfortably), I will be sure to share it’s calming spell with many more.
Thank you Novo.
Special Tailored Tasmania offer:
Head to Novo Luxury Apartments and enter the promo code TAILOREDTAS.
Book and pay for a minimum 3 nights during the month of September 2019 and only pay for the price of 2.
To stay 3 nights or more please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Starting from $450/night
93 Main Road, Penguin
3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 300sq metres of wonderful
For more information visit: www.novoluxuryapartment.com.au
I’m not sure if it was the wallaby welcome party or that we were unlocking a door to perhaps the world’s first fully zero-emission house, but I felt a wave of natural calm on stepping into Tamar Solarhome.
As a worldly collective, we are learning to tread more lightly. Off-grid, low emission, enviro-friendly terms are thrown about with fashionable abandon, but Tamar Solarhome has taken it to a new level. It’s not just ‘off grid’ until that moment guests need the generator. It’s not just ‘brochure green’ but arguably the world’s first house that is 100% off-grid and 100% electric. There is no wood fire or gas for heating and cooking, there is no backup generator. No powerlines stretch overhead and it’s no hybrid car needing a plug in for juice. What’s more, it’s fittingly on the doorstep to some of northern Tassie’s finest natural assets.
Pushing open the thick triple-glazed glass door, it’s immediately apparent that staying in this solar home doesn’t mean a dip in modern comforts. It’s warm, state-of-the-art and appointed with everything from an ethanol eco fire to an induction glass cooktop. Wandering through the two-bedroom secluded haven, I pull open grand French doors – the master bedroom spilling out onto the deck. Walking back by the bathroom, I pause. The generous bathtub just begs to bathe in Tasmanian rainwater.
After studying a masters in sustainable building design in the UK, homeowner and architect David Macfarlane chose Greens Beach in northern Tasmania to test his solar concept home. It took two years to devise his storm and fire-proof dwelling. He selected the location based on its challenging climate and natural seclusion. Choosing this harsher environment allowed Macfarlane to test the sustainability of his off-grid features and monitor for warmth, power outages, and energy efficiencies, using the highest quality products available.
Completing the build in 2017, Macfarlane lived in the property for one year to test the solar home’s performance. The home, with its 25 solar panels, performed well beyond his expectation. He has now opened its doors for others to enjoy.
Nestled on an acre of bushland, the home is just an hour from the Launceston Airport. Greens Beach is a small community at the Tamar River mouth that I hadn’t spent much time exploring, so I was delighted to see the myriad of walking trails and tips provided by David. Directions to the sheltered swimming beach and a walking trail leading past the wallaby welcome crew seemed a suitable evening stroll for us.
Weaving through the casuarinas and tea trees, it didn’t take long to reach Greens Beach where the sun was sinking in spectacular fashion, casting final light over the colourful boathouses lining the shore. Out on the horizon, Low Head Lighthouse commenced its dependable recurrent glow.
Retreating back to the Solar Home, a quick gas lighter flick and the eco fire licks into flame. It’s ambient company for a moment of stillness, musing over the selection of coffee table books before dinner. Although we don’t light up the pizza oven, I make a mental note the home can accommodate four, making it ideal for an evening of woodfired pizza and chatter into the night. For us, dinner is a selection of regional treats from an area famed for its Tamar Valley wines and rich bounty best collected en route. Naturally, the bath then calls.
I wake early in king-sized luxury to the sound of the sea. The room is awfully cosy and if there wasn’t a DeLonghi coffee machine waiting, the rise may have taken longer. We took coffee to the deck and hatched a plan. World class golf at Barnbougle Dunes? Platypus House? A wander to Badger Head via Copper Cove? With every booking allowing for early check-in (any time after 11am) and late check-out through until 4pm there was time to take a longer 6-8 hour Badger Head hike departing from nearby Springlawn at Narawntapu National Park.
A few things fascinate me about this coastal walk. First, we are pretty much guaranteed to see wildlife – Badger Head was documented as containing over 200 species of native fauna within just a two kilometres radius. Next, the idea of walking four pristine sandy kilometres along Badgers Beach to Badger Head sounds like the ultimate head-clearing sojourn. Finally, I want to see where Australia’s first female pirate used to hang out! Badger Head is named after Charlotte Badger, a convict escapee who roamed the region back in the early 1800s.
The walk rewards in every way, complete with echidna and wallaby encounters. Down on Copper Cove I stumble across thousands of beautiful shells, all pushed against shoreline boulders by the moving tides. They have me down on my knees like I’m hunting for treasure Charlotte Badger-style. I’m lost in time at this remote cove before being nudged to begin the return trek. It’s no surprise the late Steve Irwin handpicked land here for a wildlife sanctuary just before his death – it’s simply stunning.
We get back to solar home-base by mid-afternoon with plenty of time to freshen up and bid farewell. It’s a genuinely pleasant feeling to know that our stay has involved treading gently, all the while feeling relaxed and indulgent. I eye that wood fired pizza on the way out, with a silent promise of return.
To receive a complimentary bottle of the region's wine on arrival, simply note Tailored Tasmania Promo in the Comments Section when booking.
Bookings must fall between July 1 and August 31, 2019. Visit Tamar Solarhome to book your escape.
Dark Mofo. It’s beguiling and hypnotising. Under the cover of Tasmanian darkness each June, all manner of experiences unfold. But how does one navigate beneath those 20-metre glowing red crosses in the chilled night air without FOMO fears they’ll miss a highlight. What’s down that dark laneway? Why are people lining up there? What shall we feast on? How do we make the most of this year’s dark forest-themed festival?
Wrap your mitts round this must-do list and stride out into the Dark Mofo night.
1. WINTER FEAST
It’s the biggest feast yet and there will be much cooking over fire at this year’s Winter Feast. It's where the winter hungry come to feed. Familiar faves like the Heavy Metal Kitchen will be there and new experiences like ordering an Unholy Water – perhaps a Behold Fashioned from the Void’s range? This Dark Mofo exclusive has much rum. There’ll be guest chefs, live music and far too many indulgent eats and drinks to list here. Just be sure to pull up a pew at this winter banquet ... and more than once.
Princes Wharf 1
Friday 14–Sunday 16 June
Wednesday 19–Sunday 23 June
2. DARK FAMILY TIME
Bring the kidlets down to the Winter Feast between 4-5pm for free sessions of Fire + Ice. They’ll learn all about native ingredients and hear stories from Tasmanian Aboriginal elders. They’ll try native periwinkles by the fire circle and smash local spuds on a long table. Who knows, they may even learn how to whip you up a native dinner.
Want to submerge your kids in the sound of an electrically-charged wave ... transcribing patterns of solar wind and the Aurora Australis? Drop into the Long Gallery at the Salamanca Arts Centre for Coronal Mass (also free.)
Fire + Ice
Princes Wharf 1
Friday 14–Sunday 16 June
Wednesday 19–Sunday 23 June
3. DARK PATH
This 4-kilometre path of darkness is accessed at the Regatta Grounds and leads through Queens Domain and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens too. By the River Derwent, venture into the All This Coming and Going with its 12 shipping containers – an installation about humankind’s fatal relationship with the ocean ($15). Want to see a Tassie Tiger? Head to Beaumaris Zoo for 6th, a ‘digital de-extinction’ of the legendary icon (free). Enclosure is another goodie.
If you’re feeling like tea and scones at Government House book your place with a $15 donation to the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania (pre-bookings essential) for Take This, For It Is My Body. Aboriginal performers ensure you’ll get more than the traditional European fare. There’s so much along this path, but half the joy is happening across it in the dark.
Friday 14–Sunday 16 June, 5–10pm
Wednesday 19–Sunday 23 June, 5–10pm
Regatta Grounds + Queens Domain + Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
4. TALISKER IMMERSIVE BARS
Talisker have something super special planned along Dark Path – The Talisker Wilderness Bar. Keep an eye out for a rustic boat shed-inspired bar, aglow with flames from open log fires. They’ve been making single malt scotch whisky since 1830 and have conceived some Dark Mofo specialties including the Talisker Campfire Hot Chocolate and Talisker Spiced Hot Toddy, complete with spices and topped with an Aussie gum leaf or two. Pair it with a Tassie blue cheese jaffle. You’ll also find Talisker at the Winter Feast!
5. FREE STUFF
David Walsh is a kind man – there’s always plenty of free stuff to experience for those who lost their wallet in the forest or missed ticketed gigs. Tip – the Winter Feast is free nightly after 8pm and all night on Sunday June 23. Yay. Take the Dark Path. That’s also complimentary but we can’t say where it might lead. Wander alongside Hobart’s Centre for the Arts and peer in the windows … don’t be surprised if some windows of Panopticon III: The Garden of Earthly Delights hold very, very random oddities.
The Ogoh-Ogoh burning and purging is free too (this year an enormous swift parrot), along with that much-loved Ryoji Ikeda beam known as Spectra that seared its way into the hearts of locals during the first Dark Mofo festival. It'll be out at Mona. There’s lots more free stuff including the Nude Solstice Swim … you couldn’t pay me to join as a local in fear I might bump into a former colleague but this bare-bottomed tradition grows bigger every year. For church-goers, Coronal Mass is another freebie.
6. FROLICK IN A FOREST
Oh, we haven’t mentioned there’s A Forest to explore. Prepare for serious noise, art, performance and ‘the violent undergrowth of human nature.’ It’s $20 timed entry on the hour up in Melville Street and really, we’re having trouble visualising ‘an industrial vacuum pump sucking at empty oil drums,’ virtual reality violence and a durational performance with an artist pressing up against melting ice. We don’t really know what to say but to go! When you leave and can't sleep ... drop into 'In the Hanging Garden' (image below).
Wednesday 12–Sunday 16 June, 5–10pm
Wednesday 19–Sunday 23 June, 5–10pm
There are so many more ticketed events and happenings out at Mona that we literally must stop here …. to rest and prepare for the dark nights ahead. So, get with the program here and follow this handy map when lost.
See you in the darkness ...
Words and images: Alice Hansen (unless captioned otherwise)
Your launch pad for exploring Tasmania like a local.