Monday, 21 January 2013

Family break in Tasmania: part 2

Here is the continuation of our holiday in Tasmania.

After staying in Hobart for a few days we hopped into the hire car and meandered our way up to Launceston via a small historical village called Richmond.

Congregational Church 1873 Richmond
As we weren't able to go to Port Arthur because of the bushfires, we decided to stop at Richmond Gaol for our convict history hit. You can't go to Tassie and not visit at least one defunct penal institution.

Life behind bars in the Richmond Gaol

We loved Richmond Gaol. It is Australia's oldest and best preserved jail, built in 1825 and has displays and exhibits of what it was like to be a convict. Such a great history lesson for the children to absorb.

Entry to the cook house

The boys outside of Richmond Gaol entrance

While in Richmond we visited another attraction called Old Hobart Town Model Village. It's the city of Hobart circa 1820 replicated in miniature. The research and the work involved to create the models makes it worth a visit, if you appreciate such things of course. The kids liked it and we could pick out a lot of the Hobart landmarks which we had recently seen.

Old Hobart Town. We love our models. Jason's favourite place on the trip. Ha!
There was also an arts and craft market in Richmond that particular day, so we wandered around to have a look. We rounded the corner of one of the halls and lo and behold I saw a fellow blogger.

It was Jane from Life on Planet Baby who was selling her crafty wares. She got the shock of her life when I introduced myself. I had no idea she was going to be in Richmond that day. Nor did she know I was in Tassie. I very naughtily did not tell my Tassie blogger connection that we were visiting Tasmania...

I bought one of Jane's Liberty covered creations. Lovely souvenir!  Blurry shot naturally in the car!

Don't think you can sneak into a new state without seeing another blogger. Ha! I really didn't want to impose on my blogging mates, especially with the family in tow...but how wonderful to have seen Jane!! That's serendipity.

Anyway, back to the trip.
public art on our walk to Launceston Seaport
I was so surprised at how much we loved Launceston. What an easy and pretty place to visit with a meld of old architecture with some great examples of Brutalist architecture...it's also such a great stepping stone to some of Tassie's wine regions. We stayed in an apartment at the Sebel in Launceston which felt like complete luxury. It's located between Launceston Seaport and the centre of town.

Foyer of the Sebel with Son #3

On our first full day in Launceston we visited Cataract Gorge and First Basin which is a beautiful natural attraction just 15 minutes walk from the CBD. Unbelievable to have something so beautiful and pristine in a built up area.

Cataract Gorge - taken at one of the lookouts on the zig zag track.
We didn't realise the extent of the walk to the gorge when we first set out. We walked the Zig Zag Track to the gorge which is a mostly steep ascent through a one kilometre windy path. Make sure to wear something other than sandals/wedges to do this walk. And bring water and a hat too. Ha! You are rewarded for your efforts though with the magnificent views.

The outlook. Thank goodness for these...I  really needed to catch my breath.

Once you reach the first basin, there is an oasis of a free swimming pool and lovely park lands to greet you. Jason took one of the boys on the chairlift which is one of the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. I chickened out and took photos instead.

The boys on the Chairlift to the other side - they bought a return ticket.
We walked across the suspension bridge and explored the tracks on the other side. It was a bit wobbly.

Suspension Bridge

This is taken above at the outlook on the other side.

The view on our walk back into town.
After our walk the boys were quite exhausted so we took it easy for the rest of the day and made plans for an early dinner at Seaport where the food was great.

We ate well during our stay in Launceston. Fresh Tasmanian salmon couldn't be overlooked. It was just a casual dinner at Fish 'n Chips at Seaport.  

On our last day, we decided to do a drive through the Tamar Valley to visit some wineries and visit Beaconsfield before taking our late afternoon flight back to Brisbane.

It is such a gorgeous drive through the Tamar Valley, with orchards and vineyards dotting the landscape. We stopped at Ninth Island or the Kreglinger Wine Estates to taste test their sparkling and pinot range. They were very friendly and helpful and suggested a couple of other wineries we could visit on our way. Needless to say we bought a few wines which are being shipped back to us.

Ninth Island Wine Centre
We then drove up to Beaconsfield. We had no expectation about what we would be able to see on our limited time schedule, but were hugely surprised at how interesting the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre was.

Ruins in the foreground with the closed Beaconsfield Mine in the background.
It is sent in amongst the ruins of an old engine house once owned by the Beaconsfield Gold Mine and now donated to the people of Tamar. It is a very hands-on museum and you are encouraged to touch and play with some of the industrial displays, which is fantastic for the children. We spent a lot longer in the Museum than we had anticipated. It is definitely worth a visit to see the ruins and to learn more about the history of the Tamar.

Our last stop on our Tasmanian Trip was to Tamar Ridge Wineries which is owned by Brown Brothers. We stopped in to have a cheese platter and taste some of their offerings. It was a lovely but quick visit as the children had a limited attention span for the finer things of life, despite demolishing the Tasmanian brie. Again we bought some more wine, which includes a great sticky botrytis to have this winter with pudding. Lovely!


After this winery visit, we were pressed for time and drove down to Launceston airport taking a different route to see a little more of Tasmania for one last time. I asked Jason to drive through a lavender farm with the windows wound down to smell that heady fragrance. Just beautiful.

And so that concludes our Tasmanian trip. It was fabulous, but way too short a visit. We liked it so much that we are thinking of visiting again next year...

12 comments:

  1. Firstly, you must come down again and next time you just have to visit us. It's absolutely no imposition at all.
    When I was a teacher I went with a class to the model village and despite expecting it to be crappy I really enjoyed it. I haven't been to the Richmond Gaol though.
    I don't know if you realise but in Tassie there is a real north south rivalry. Use Hobartians can't like anything up north and vica versa. But, I love the gorge. What a beautiful spot! When I was little I thought the suspension bridge was a superstition bridge! My dad loved the get in the middle and make it swing so much my sister and i would get down on our knees and crawl over it. A very sensible dad we have :)
    I am so glad you loved Tassie xx

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  2. Thanks Sarah. I wish I had emailed you before our trip now!!
    Funny about the model village...I thought the same! And no I had no idea about the rivalry between north and south.
    You are so lucky to live in such a wonderful place. We could definitely spend every Qld summer in Tassie. xx

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  3. Wow, what a fab holiday. Besides NT, TAS is the only state I haven't been to yet. We too have discussed doing the drive-around Tassie holiday, and good thing you did it over the Summer holidays. It's been an absolute stinker. Mark is in love with Matthew Evans (Gourmet Farmer) and if it's as lovely as everyone keeps saying, I fear he may buy some land and move. xx

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  4. Your trip looks fabulous and you managed to fit so much in! We had planned to go last year but unfortunately it didn't happen. I am looking forward to getting there for a visit though. xx

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  5. I am amazed you allowed Jason a bit of time off from his house-painting duties.

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  6. yummy tassie salmon - I'm there :)

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  7. Thank you for an interesting couple of posts - great to see more of the country and glad you had a good holiday. Sounded hectic though!

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  8. Wow-Tassie looks gorgeous. It is definitely somewhere I want to see! Add it to the list :)

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  9. It is great that you ran into Jane at the markets! I can't believe you've gone through a whole couple of weeks without a shot of Jason with a paintbrush in hand! Tassie looks great.

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  10. You've got some great shots here. I wish me and my fiance lived in a place like that. We're looking to relocate somewhere more scenic and it can not happen soon enough!

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  11. I really like your blog , will visiting often , regard - Edi

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  12. Just catching up on this fab post, Anita. Love it! It was certainly blessed serendipity, meeting like that. Fabulous. Yes, next time, you must catch up with Sarah and me. I will gladly share the delights of our wine with you! Next time you are in Beaconsfield, you can catch up with gorgeous Ness from Marley & Lockyer. When are you coming back?! J x

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