9 top tips for a romantic road trip in Tasmania
Islands have always promised seclusion and romance, and a road trip through Tasmania well and truly maintains the tradition.
On the east coast, Thalia Haven and The Keep command contrasting but equally romantic locations – along a secluded stretch of coastline for the former, a hilltop perch above rainforest for the latter – with outdoor bathtubs that are hard to resist. The outdoor tubs at Eagles Nest Retreat are just as enticing, overlooking farmland to craggy Mount Roland. Take both glamping and beaches to new levels at Bay of Fires Bush Retreat, while waterfront shack life goes chic on the west coast at simple but sensational Captains Rest, with its clawfoot bath, large antique windows and personal jetty. Transformation is everything at Pumphouse Point, a hydro station turned luxury wilderness retreat atop World Heritage-listed Lake St Clair.
Paddle for two
Hire a kayak at Corinna Wilderness Experience and paddle through perfect reflections on the Pieman River to Lovers Falls – what could be more romantic? Kayak among platypuses on the River Derwent with Tassie Bound Adventure Tours, or head out to sea and paddle with seals beneath Australia’s tallest sea cliffs on a Tasman Peninsula tour with Roaring 40s Kayaking.
Sparkling, spirits and cider
Take a leisurely tour along the Tamar Valley Wine Trail, which connects more than 30 cellar doors. Appoint your designated driver and head to Pipers River for bubbles at the likes of Jansz Tasmania, Clover Hill Wines and Delamere Vineyard. Distil your own hand-crafted gin during an afternoon masterclass at McHenry Distillery at Port Arthur. The forbidden fruit has never tasted better than at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed, a cidery, distillery, bar and restaurant inside an apple packing shed in the Huon Valley.
Shred the world-class mountain bike trails at Derby, then settle into a soothing sauna session at Floating Sauna Lake Derby, alternating between the heat of the wood-fired sauna and bracing leaps into the chilly lake. Need more post-ride therapy? It’s only a 45-minute drive from Derby to the golf resort of Barnbougle and a vinotherapy session at its day spa, soaking in an antioxidant-rich wine bath (Tasmanian wine, of course). In the state’s south, the riding comes easily on an e-bike tour around history-rich Bangor with Tasmanian eBike Adventures, with a gourmet picnic lunch and time at the Bangor Vineyard Shed.
The slow romance of village life is never more charming than in seaside Stanley and Strahan. In Stanley, join Provenance Kitchen for a cooking class in a convict-built barn, watch little penguins march ashore at dusk, and then settle in for the night at stylish Ship Inn Stanley. In Strahan there are wilderness cruises on the Gordon River with World Heritage Cruises and Gordon River Cruises, Tasmania’s longest beach (Ocean Beach) and the old-fashioned thrill of a ride on the West Coast Wilderness Railway.
To satisfy seafood cravings, make an oyster stop at Freycinet Marine Farm near Coles Bay and a crayfish stop at Lobster Shack Tasmania in Bicheno. Stretch lunch across an afternoon with a set menu of up to 14 courses at Van Bone, a new hyper-local 20-seat restaurant in the hills behind Marion Bay. Across the north, follow a mouth-watering itinerary on the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail – think oysters, honey, olives, truffles, cheese, wine and whisky among 30 stops.
There’s romance in the air on a host of flight-seeing trips. Helicopter to a private island for a gourmet picnic lunch with Unique Charters, float through the dawn with Hot Air Balloon Tasmania, skim over the Tasman Peninsula with Osborne Heli Tours, and fly deep into the Southwest wilderness for a day of wild and remote beauty with Par Avion.
Romance at sea
Tasman Island Cruises and Bruny Island Cruises pack high drama – towering cliffs, marine wildlife, lonely lighthouses – into fast boats, while a cruise to Peppermint Bay combines lunch at the namesake hotel with fine views of the coastline south of Hobart. Fancy an island of your own, perhaps? Satellite Island and Picnic Island offer secluded stays on private islands in spectacular locations.
Make memories on a walk into World Heritage-listed wilderness to find Nelson Falls fanning through rainforest near Queenstown, and wander the lawns at Narawntapu National Park to mingle with wildlife. For a hike with the most romantic name of all, make the climb to St Valentines Peak midway between Burnie and Cradle Mountain.