Catriona’s Travel Tips – Your Travel Questions Answered #23!

by Friday, September 28, 2018


Dear Catriona,

I’m looking for recommendations for a short, four- or five-night itinerary for a trip to Tasmania at the end of January next year. We’ll be flying over and hiring our own car and I’ll be travelling with my mum in her late 60s, and my two children (aged seven and five). The options online are a little overwhelming and we’re not sure how ambitious to be and whether we should try and do a circuit of the island, or not. Thank you!



Image: Laura Smetsers on Unsplash

Catriona’s Answer:

Well, Dear Traveller,
I just know you and your Mum will have a ball, as Tassie is so easy to navigate and you’re guaranteed these sure things:
1. Delicious local food and wine.
2. Lovely accommodation.
3. Juicy history and pretty views (does that make it 4?)
Anyway, so, you’ve a few days, let me give you some tips…

1. Take your car over on The Spirit of Tasmania but do remember your Travacalm. It’s the only ship I’ve been truly seasick on. If you fly, it’s really easy to hire a car there, but look out for fun vehicles. I once did the whole island in an old Mini and loved it (Mini’s are very popular in Tassie. Hey, clearly they have great taste.

2. First stop is no doubt Hobart. Time your trip to be there for a Friday night: the pubs are great and the weekend leaves you open to the Salamanca markets. If you stay at The Henry Jones Art Hotel, you can just walk there. The Old Woolstore is great for  serviced apartments and the Ibis is great for those with special needs. Ask for room 428 if that includes you (nice and roomy). Now, I love to have fish and chips at Fish Frenzy. Mures is very good too.
2. Visit MONA and freak your Mum out with all the modern art but, if you go to the markets, you have to buy something in Huon Pine, something made from the sublime, local, fine wool, and say hi to the apple seller – he’s a legend in this town.
3. Book yourself in for cooking class at The Agrarian Kitchen, it’s just bloody yummy, paddock to plate food, in a gorgeous old schoolhouse and it’s a short drive from my favourite antiquing town New Norfolk. Last time I was there, I left all the crew eating lunch and asked to go shopping in town, everyone was happy. It’s a 45-minute drive from Hobart, sweet!
4. Longford is about 142km from Hobart and it’s a beautiful old country town, I’ve just always loved it and recommend The Racehorse Inn. Please say hello to the Hosts for me – genuinely lovely people.
5. Woolmers Estate is in Longford and it’s your Aussie duty to go. You can actually stay in the Coachman’s Cottage if you like. They have electric blankets, which I like, but the estate gives you an insight into the pioneering families and convict past of Tassie. It’s gobsmackingly beautiful and fascinating to boot.
6. For a wilderness experience, I recommend The Tarkine. I was in tears over its beauty. It’s not very well known but it is my favourite park in Tasmania. You can stay in a cabin there and I warn you now, you’ll have the best sleep of your life if you stay there. Something about the energy maybe. It’s just exquisite.
7. Saffire Lodge. Now, everyone will tell you to go and visit Wineglass Bay and yes, it’s stunning, but why not make it truly memorable and treat yourself to one of the finest hotels in the world. Yes, I’m saying the world. You and you Mum can have a spa treatment and then eat yourselves silly over a degustation meal. Unforgettable!
8. Stanley would have to be the most fun town in all of Tassie and the locals are all nuts, I mean that literally as they live at the base of The Nut, which you can get a chair lift up and down. You will just have a ball here. It’s great shopping and fab food. Go on a seal cruise. I’ve never had a bad time in Stanley.
9. Port Arthur. Hands-down the best guided walk I’ve ever been on. I believe that the Guides in Tasmania are amongst the best rangers in the world. They’re not rude to you, they’re inclusive and can really tell a good yarn. I swear you’ll feel the spirits around you here.
10. Rosevears Estate, The Tamar Valley, near Launceston. This is one of the best places I’ve ever stayed and not enough people know about it. From here, you can drink yourselves silly on the famous Pinot, after sampling the glory of Launceston or “Lonnie’. The restaurant is just brilliant and the wines were established under the guidance of one of the greatest ever winemakers this country has produced, Dr Andrew Pirie, who also created Ninth Island and Pipers Brook. The valley will absolutely put a smile on your dial.

Dear Lord, this itinerary has got me so excited I think I’ll pop my own Mum in the car and head over.

Have fun and send us a postcard!
Bon voyage! ?