In Travel

Touring Tasmania: What’s New On The Apple Isle

Tasmania used to be a sleepy hollow, but it has transformed itself into one of Australia’s travel hot spots.

Known as for its cool-climate wine and gourmet food, Australia’s island state used to be a purely summer destination, but Hobart, in particular, is now home to several winter festivals that draw in the crowds.

New resorts and eateries are popping up all the time as Tasmania becomes used to being a year-round attraction. From wilderness experiences to hip city destinations, here are some of the latest attractions to know about on the booming Apple Isle.

Where to stay

Free Spirit Pods

Image: Free Spirit Pods / Winsor Dobbin

Two eco-luxe pods Free Spirit Pods overlook the water on beautiful Bruny Island are a perfect escape from the everyday grind.

The luxury pods were handcrafted from sustainable Tasmania timbers and fitted out with quality inclusions on eight acres of waterfront bushland that comes alive with wildlife at night.

Get Shucked Oyster Bar and the Bruny Island Cheesery are just a short drive away and there is a two-seater kayak and fishing rods available for guests.

While you are miles from anywhere, the pods offer all modern luxuries including Smeg appliances, a De Longhi cooktop, free wifi, Netflix and Bose sound system, along with little gourmet treats left by the very hospitable owners.

There are little luxuries like heated bathroom floors and surprises in the fridge that make this somewhere special to stay. Throw in spectacular views from the deck and the fact it is just a short stroll to the beach.

You can even arrange to fly in from Hobart by seaplane with Above & Beyond, ensuring an unforgettable experience.

Prospect House

Image: Prospect House / Winsor Dobbin

Visitors to the Coal River Valley wine region – just outside Hobart – have a new luxury accommodation option that is owned and operated by one of the island state’s most famous wine-making families.

Prospect House Private Hotel, one of Tasmania’s oldest and most elegant country house hotels, is open for business after new owners John and Libby Pooley invested more than $5 million in refurbishing and upgrading the historic property they bought in 2017. Built with convict labour in 1830, Prospect House is a fine example of a Georgian-style country house. It’s a truly charming place to wind down for a day or two with lovely grounds and beautiful surroundings.

Prospect House now has 12 guest suites to accommodate up to 24 guests and, with a minimum staff to guest ratio of around 1:2, aims to attract guests looking for a luxurious experience with exceptional hospitality and service in a heritage location. Rooms have tablets with local information and all the usual hotel luxuries. All stays include arrival beverages, afternoon tea, free wifi and Nespresso coffee and Poet teas.

Local experiences available include Pooley vineyard tours and tastings; in-room massage and wellness treatments; farmhouse picnic lunches and chauffeured private car transfers and tours.

The restaurant at Prospect House celebrates the farmers and producers of Tasmania’s south-east. Guests can dine inside or under the stars in summer. There is an honour bar for those wanting a late-night tipple; maybe a small-batch Tasmanian whisky in the lounge.

The house is situated within an easy stroll, bike ride or short drive from the historic village of Richmond – and just across the road from the Pooley Wines cellar door.

Stillwater Seven 

Image: Stillwater Seven / Winsor Dobbin

One of Launceston’s culinary landmarks, the 1830s flour mill that has housed award-winning eatery Stillwater for two decades, is now also a boutique luxury hotel.

Farewell to Stillwater’s former provedore and art gallery and hello to Stillwater Seven, which is billed as “a uniquely indulgent accommodation experience”.  The seven striking rooms all have waterfront views and their own style.

Each features locally designed and produced furniture, a luxury Tasmanian pantry and even locally sourced toiletries, as well as access to the private guest bar.

Early in the morning guests are welcome to wander down into the restaurant to chat with the chef and see what is coming out of the oven.

In-room features include king beds and king pillows, well-stocked pantries, Netflix and Spotify, Lentara Olive Grove toiletry products and spa-quality 100% cotton towelling, as well as free wifi and USB bedside charging ports.

An indulgent Stillwater breakfast is included in the tariff, as is parking.

Where to eat and drink

Port Cygnet Cannery

Image: Port Cygnet Cannery / Winsor Dobbin

Head deep into the Huon Valley, Tasmania’s most southern municipality, to discover the revived Port Cygnet Cannery – built in 1937. Situated 45 minute-drive south of Hobart in the historic port town of Cygnet, Port Cygnet Cannery is the home of Cannery Kitchen and Bar and Sailor Seeks Horse winery and cellar door.

The building was formerly an apple canning factory and has now evolving into a hub for local food, beverage and agricultural businesses. The space hosts weddings, parties and functions as well as live music, movie nights and special events. It has its own courtyard, table tennis and table football and an events space that will be ready by mid-2020.

Cannery Kitchen and Bar comprises a restaurant, cafe and beer garden. At the heart of the open kitchen is the Italian wood-fired oven that creatives Asher Gilding and Franca Zingler have named Dante the Inferno.

The on-trend wine list is curated by winemakers, and co-tenants, Paul and Gilli Lipscombe from Sailor Seeks Horse.

In The Hanging Garden 


Image: In The Hanging Garden / supplied

Initially opened to coincide with the Dark Mofo festival in June, In the Hanging Gardens – the name given to a radical mixed-use precinct surrounding the former Odeon Theatre site in downtown Hobart – reopened permanently on November 1 after a long renovation.

The centrepiece of the $5 million precinct, which is a collaboration between Melbourne-based Riverlee and Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art’s subsidiary for creative projects DarkLab, is a newly erected outdoor space dubbed the “Cathedral lawn”.

Fitted with faux grass and surrounded by potted trees, the space has been designed to host a weekly produce market and street food vendors as well as acting as a beer garden for a crop of new bars opened at the relaunch.

There really is a lot going on here at weekends. Fine food and drinks from multiple vendors scattered throughout, an undercover beer garden with beanbags and picnic tables, free entertainment.

What to do

Trout Tales


Image: Trout Tales / supplied

This new adventure company offers all-inclusive one-, two- and three-day guided fly-fishing adventures in Tasmania’s Central Highlands. Guests fly-fish Tasmania’s world-renowned lakes with a guide to help every step of the way.

Overnight packages include accommodation at spacious and comfortable Highland Lodge, on the shores of the Great Lake as a base.

Highlights include spectacular views and the chance to enjoy local cuisine by a wood fire. Local craft beers, organic ciders and cool-climate wines are other highlights.

(Lead image: Free Spirit Pods / supplied)

Published 08 January, 2020