NEW. FRESH. NICHE.
What's new in Tasmania.
Jason Charles Hill
From rooftop dining to island hopping, trail shredding to foraging, hit the road to discover what’s new in Tasmania.
Eat and drink
Less is more
The tiny-diner movement gathers pace with the opening of Seven and a Half, a 10-seat dining experience by acclaimed chef and photographer Luke Burgess. Named for its position in the building, the rooftop “pod” has harbour views high above Macquarie Street in central Hobart. Burgess says his dining room is inspired “in part by times spent dining high above Tokyo, in the most unlikely of spaces”. He’s taking bookings for leisurely Sunday lunches, and plans for special events including “dark sky” and full-moon dinners with Dark Sky Tasmania. Another intimate dining experience awaits at Van Bone, a 20-seat restaurant at Marion Bay, about 50 minutes’ drive from Hobart. A wood-fired grill sits at the heart of the sleekly designed diner, where chef Tim Hardy serves set menus of up to 14 courses showcasing local and on-site produce.
Ashgrove Cheese Dairy Door
An essential stop along the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail, Ashgrove Cheese has opened a new visitor centre and eatery. At the Dairy Door, watch the cheesemakers in action behind glass panels and learn about Ashgrove’s pasture-to-plate operation. Take a tour, stock a picnic hamper, sample a cheese flight or indulge in truffle fondue.
Eat the Wild
Love Her Wild Photography
A tour bus turns into a mobile kitchen on tours with Eat the Wild. Owner Josh Phillips multi-tasks as personal chef, driver and tour guide on day excursions from Hobart, turning old barns, winemaking sheds and beauty spots into impromptu dining rooms. Current behind-the-scenes tours focus on winemaking in Coal River Valley and produce on Bruny Island.
In the spirit
Distilleries are popping up all over Tasmania. Second-generation distiller Kristy Booth-Lark has opened Killara Distillery at Richmond, aiming to grow much of the produce on-site for her whisky, gin, brandy and seasonal spirits. Meanwhile, in the northern village of Westbury, long-time friends Mark Kolodziej and Tim Freeman have opened Western Tiers Distillery, using water sourced from highland lakes. On King Island, buy and try native gin, ruby vodka and single malt whisky produced by the new King Island Distillery at the King Island Hotel in Currie. And joining the party later this year will be Alchymia Distillery on Table Cape, on the north-west coast.
There’s a lot going on behind the heritage sandstone facades of Oatlands. The Imbibers wine bar, in an atmospheric former dispensary, serves wine, spirits and beer produced within 60 kilometres of town, along with platters of local produce. The 1830s country pub The Kentish Tasmania, has had a makeover, with all-day dining and house-made baked treats, and a beer garden with pizza oven opening soon. Boutique stays in restored sandstone cottages – such as Raffah House and 101 Oatlands – complete the heritage immersion.
Bangor Vineyard Shed
What's old is new at storied Bangor Vineyard Shed, where a dedicated wine tasting room has opened beside the original vineyard shed. There are tastings of the farm's eight wines at the long bar or out on the tasting room's covered deck. Raise a glass and reflect on your proximity to so much vital Tasmanian history – Dutch explorer Abel Tasman made his only landing on the island along Bangor's coast, and it was later the site of first contact between Tasmanian Aboriginal people and European explorers.
The distance from forest to feast could scarcely be shorter on seasonal foraging trips with Mic Giuliani of Sirocco South.
He runs tours for up to six guests, who join him in the hunt for wild ingredients, including native greens, wild asparagus, mushrooms, saltbush and more. Then, beside Frederick Henry Bay, Giuliani prepares a long-table lunch with the just-found ingredients and local meat and seafood, matched with wines from nearby Bream Creek Vineyard.
Embrace the extremes at Floating Sauna Lake Derby, moored just a short walk or ride from the mountain-bike hub of Derby. Spend an hour alternating between the wood-fired sauna, relaxing behind a wall of glass, and repeated plunges in the chill lake outside. "It's not far from Derby but you become disconnected from the village. You become part of this beautiful lake - that's your new world," says owner (and sauna master) Nigel Reeves.
"My overall philosophy is to leave everything behind and enjoy an hour trying to reconnect to nature." Nigel Reeves, Floating Sauna Lake Derby
Yoga, art, writing and photography are among the special interests developed in a raft of new expert-led retreats by the Tasmanian Walking Company at its celebrated remote lodges. Among these special events is a partnership with Wild Wellness, a retreat at the Three Capes Lodge Walk focused on the restorative power of nature, meditation, writing and cold-water immersion. Meanwhile, hikers on a new four-day Lake St Clair Walk by tour operator Walk into Luxury spend cosy nights at Pumphouse Point and sparkling days walking at Lake St Clair and nearby Mount Field National Park.
By sea and land
Combine sea kayaking, whale watching and cliff-top hiking on the Tasman Peninsula on a new sea-and-land experience by Southern Sea Ventures. A half-day whale-watching cruise to outlying islands and otherwise inaccessible coastlines is included in the three-night trip with a resident biologist. Further afield, the beauty spots of the east coast feature in a new five-day expedition cruise by Tasmania Boat Charters. The itinerary is tailored to suit guests, with shore excursions, guided bushwalks, kayaking and onboard dining with a chef punctuating time at Freycinet Peninsula, Maria Island and the Tasman Peninsula.
Tasmania's celebrated networks of mountain bike trails are growing quickly. New in the trail arsenal are Dreaming Pools, a 27-kilometre backcountry trail past its namesake natural rock pools on St Helens Mountain Bike Trails. At Maydena Bike Park, a new Lower Mountain uplift drops riders at a raft of new and enhanced beginner flow trails. Iron Tor is a 15-kilometre loop with challenging descents through the Dial Range near Penguin on the north-west coast. And on the rugged west coast, the challenging new Mount Owen network spans 35 kilometres on the rocky slopes above Queenstown. Bunny-hopping between trail centres? Hire a campervan custom-fitted with bike racks and workshop tools from White Knuckle MTB.
Enjoy royal treatment at a trio of luxury retreats on King Island. And at the four-bedroom Taraki Lodge, the wow factor lies in a new cedar outdoor hot tub and a wood-fired sauna with spectacular Bass Strait views. Leaving the bath's ocean view is the hardest job at Kittawa Lodge, but dinner awaits, prepared by a private cook. Glass-wrapped Ettrick Rocks, designed by Tasmanian architect Rosevear Stephenson, commands absolute waterfront. "We're sitting high on the dunes, taking the brunt of the winds," says owner Sam Giudice. "We wanted to give guests the feeling of the weather patterns of the Southern Ocean, but protected by all the glass."
Melanie Kate Photography
One of Tasmania’s grandest colonial-era estates has thrown open its doors as boutique accommodation. Established in 1825, Vaucluse Estate near Campbell Town can sleep up to 24 people, with nine individually styled rooms in the main house and more in the three-bedroom Coach House, a stroll down a garden path. Catch views over the South Esk River and across to mighty Ben Lomond from the homestead’s wide, wraparound verandas.
Ship Inn Stanley
Ship Inn Stanley
In the shadow of The Nut and overlooking the port at Stanley, the Ship Inn Stanley embodies the rich history of this fishing town. Each of seven boutique suites, two apartments and a chic new guest lounge tells a story of shipwrecks, tumultuous conflict and salty maritime characters. The ghost of a heartbroken convict gardener named John Peacock inspired the lounge, occupying a former cool store, occasional mortuary and billiard hill beside the inn dating to 1903. Also new is the one-bedroom, fully accessible Van Diemen’s Apartment with ocean views, and the luxe two-bedroom Old Tom’s Apartment, with open fireplace and lashings of style.
Raise a dram to Australia’s southernmost whisky distiller from Devil’s Lair Cabin – it’s on-site at McHenry Distillery near Port Arthur. Better still, enjoy a dram and an evening of dark-sky stargazing from the distillery’s new observatory, inside a converted barley silo. Also on the Tasman Peninsula, stargaze from bed in a geodesic “eco dome” at Luna Lodge, a luxury farm stay on 16 hectares of pasture and bushland at Wattle Grove. Lie back and view a constellation of stars beneath a panoramic skylight or from an outdoor tub carved from rock.
Put two new west-coast hideaways on your GPS. Salt Box Hideaway sits on the water’s edge at historic Lettes Bay. The restored cabin teams its original rustic exterior with a modern luxe interior, perfect for a couple. And two-bedroom Seaforth Shack is a classic fishing shack near Strahan, in four hectares of bushland. It has been renovated with a mix of recycled, new and natural materials and features an outdoor shower, toasty wood heater and an outdoor firepit.
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