Chocolate, Wine & Whiskey in Tasmania

Danielle Wong, an Infinity Consultant recently spent some time in Tasmania, exploring the landscape, and  learning all about the states famous wines and cheeses. This is her journey …

Our amazing Tasmanian adventure started with a ‘Behind the Label’ tour of Josef Chromy Winery.  This tour is actually a full day tour; however we were lucky enough to experience a shorted version, which took around an hour. They took us through all of the stages of processing wine, from the vine to the glass! This tour is a brilliant introduction to wine, even for those who don’t necessarily like it! They allowed us to taste the wine straight from the barrel!  A great recommendation to anyone visiting the area.

Hotel-Charles-ExtAfter our bellies were warmed with, we started getting slightly peckish. We made our way to our hotel in the city of Launceston to put our feet up for a moment before dinner.  We were lucky enough to stay at the Hotel Charles, a central property located in the up and coming ‘cosmopolitan’ area of the city. The hotel unbeknownst to us is actually the original Hospital and had been refurbished to a beautiful and elegant hotel.

Once we were all refreshed and ready to take on the night, we took a short stroll down the road to our a hosted dinner at the Quality Colonial Hotel. This property is absolutely stunning and full of history. This hotel was actually an old school and kinder garden with very few changes to the lobby and breakfast room which delivers a very traditional and elegant vibe with a fire place in the reception to finish off the feel. The restaurant we dined at was ‘Three Steps’ this is the restaurant on site, which actually used to be the sports building where the children would practice boxing etc. The décor in this restaurant had a very colonial feel with dark wooden polished timber and high ceilings.

After a good nights sleep, we were all up and ready to go for the next action packed day in Tasmania. First stop on the agenda was the Cataract Gorge Chairlift. This is beautiful little detour spot, especially for those snap happy travelers.

Collage1There is a large amount of wildlife around the area, including a clan of Peacocks who definitely don’t mind posing for the camera. The Chairlift is a nice way to view the Gorge but bear in mind it is a very old chairlift, so those who aren’t good with heights may want to do the walk up to the café at the top and walk back, it’s only about a 10 min walk.

After the delightful stroll through Cataract Gorge it was time get on board the bus and head to our next destination; The Anvers Chocolate Factory! Safe to say we were all super excited to get to this factory and taste the local produce! When we got there we were greeted by the tour guide and offered two bowls of chocolate to get the tour running. The tour guide took us through the history of the business and how it became what it is today. This is a fantastic little tour for anyone visiting this region, as the chocolate factory is free entry and if you are hungry there is a café and plenty of chocolate to satisfy your desert cravings!

Whisky-BarrellWith chocolate covered teeth and a slight sugar headache we left the quaint chocolate factory and hit the road to head to our next stop; Hellyers Whisky Distillery! As if all the chocolate wasn’t being spoilt enough, we then were given the opportunity to taste Barrel stage whisky and learn how they distill the different types. Although bear in mind, Barrel stage whisky is about 70% alcohol and definitely not for those with a sensitive palette. But a very interesting insight into the produce that Tasmania offers, great for groups, families or solo travelers.

Leaving the whisky distillery with a little more knowledge about whisky than we thought, we made our way to our next stop. ‘The Makers Worksop’ a paper making company in Burnie. We were greeted with a cheese and wine tasting before we embarked on our papermaking tour.

This Workshop is a great place to visit for anyone who has a day or even and hour to spare in Burnie. Not only did we taste some of the most delicious cheese made right there in the region, we were taken behind the scenes to see how treeless paper is made. Such an interesting little Workshop, as they have different artist from all around the region that display their work or do work shops there. So great for anyone who is interested in anything arty!

 Collage2By this time of the day we had been on chairlifts, saw chocolate being made and tasted pre shelf whisky and made our own tree less paper! It was time to make the drive to our accommodation for the night in Smithton at The Tall Timbers Resort.

This is a beautiful lodge style accommodation with studios, twin rooms and self contained apartments. Set on a very large amount of land there is so much on offer at this property.

Ranging from; an indoor heated pool, tennis court, a bottle shop and a upbeat sports bar to shoot some pool in after dinner. The rooms are large and there is a lot of wild life roaming around the grounds which give it such a tranquil feel, perfect for customers to relax and unwind away from cities.

Another cracking early start to the day to make sure we see as much of Tasmania as possible! First on the agenda today was The Nut Chairlift at Stanley, a small drive from Smithton. This chairlift has a little less height between your seat and the ground but has some spectacular views from the top, although hang on to your hat because it can get quite windy up there!

With our hair flying sideways we made our way back to the car to embark on the long drive to the quaint town of Strahan on the edge of the West Coast. But on the way we took a quick detour to the .

This was one of the first settlements built in 1832, designed by Henry Hellyer (who’s distillery we visited) for Edward Curr the chief agent. A bit of history below:

‘The house came to be built after Van Diemand’s Land Company (formed in England ) was granted the rights by the Royal Charter King George IV to a huge tract of unsettled land, beyond the ramparts of the unknown. The company was to breed fine wool on a large scare for England. Circular Head (where the house was located) was ultimately chosen as the centre of operations. Stud livestock, implements, craftsmen and indentured labourers from England (along with convicts) arrived in October 1826.’

 This house is not for the faint hearted though, the lovely lady who sells you the entry to walk through the house will more then happily share ghost stories on this property with you! Being a house close to 200 years old it has seen many people traffic through the years. However, spooky details aside, it is such a great insight to the history of this region of the State.

With a 3 hour drive ahead of us from Stanley to Strahan we all jumped in the car and set off to check into our next hotel, Motel Strahan.

Motel Strahan is quite a small property but well located, only a small 10 min from the Strahan Village and waterfront. Although it is small, the beds are very comfortable and the rooms are quite large including toaster and kettle in the room, they also have laundry facilities on site with a microwave for guests use. This property is very good option for those travelers looking for a clean and comfortable stay and value for money.

After we were all checked in and refreshed from our 3 hour drive, we all piled back into the car to head to Strahan Village on the Waterfront for an introduction to the area and then dinner at View 42 the restaurant on site at the The Strahan Village. The Strahan Village is one of the oldest buildings in the main town hub of Strahan.  The property is in the best location and has great views from several different room types. The hotel is currently planning all room types to have undergone a ‘soft’ refurbishment by next summer season. Their vision is to be the best on the west coast.

This restaurant has absolutely stunning views of the marina and bay. The restaurant offers a seafood buffet with all the finest local produce including fresh ocean trout farmed just outside of Strahan. The service is great and the views are to die for! A perfect property for families, corporate or leisure guests.

With the end of our trip near we had one last early morning start and were off to cruise down the Gordon River in the Upper Captains deck! This cruise is an absolute must do in Tasmania!
The tour starts from Strahan and takes you out on the water for a full day or cruising and island exploring. If you purchase the Upper Captains Deck tickets you are located on the top deck where the captain sits, you have full beverage service, morning tea and afternoon tea! Not to mention the captain also give you a chance to steer the boat down the river! Amazing!

Sarah Island GaolTo add the adventure of the day, there are two land stops to explore. One is a small boardwalk through the forest which is about 10/15 min in total and is a great opportunity for those snap happy travelers. After a short stroll through this magical rainforest, we board the boat again and head towards Sarah Island. The first working convicts settlement built off Tasmania.

When we stepped on shore we were greeted by ‘Disco Dave’ (as his name tag read) , who was our tour guide on the Island. Disco Dave took us through all the different ruins on the Island and explains the course of history in an interactive animated fashion, that is not only informative but super entertaining!

 After about an hour on the island, lots of photos and a thorough understanding of what happened on Sarah Island, Disco Dave ends the tour and it’s all aboard the boat to begin our journey back home to Strahan! This tour is a MUST MUST do if you are in Tasmania, from the beautiful scenery to the depth of history and not to mention how luxurious the boat is, it is a perfect day out for any type of traveler!

With our feet back on land, we headed straight for the car and began our drive to the famous Cradle Mountain to check in at the Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village. This property has a very relaxing feel as it is stand alone cottages, spa, 1 & 2B chalets, all nestled amongst the rainforest to give it a real wilderness feel.

 After checking in we made our way to Peppers Cradle Mountain lodge to check out their rooms and dine in their Tavern.   This property has got very much a ‘ski lodge’ type of feel to it, with their highest room type housing a wooden Jacuzzi on the balcony, double sided fire place and extremely large bathrooms with his & her shower heads!  This property has a very luxurious feel to it and the property have a mantra of ‘getting away from everything’ so they don’t have WIFI or TV in the rooms, however if needed WIFI is available in the lobby.

The Tavern at the property is one of the restaurants on site, this is more of a laid back feel with a fire place inside, and the other is a fine dining a la carte restaurant.

After another delicious meal with local Tasmanian produce and we were off to our last activity for the trip; The Tasmanian Devil Feeding!

This tour is a fantastic tour to slip in if they have a spare hour or two! Not only do you get up close and personal with the Tasmanian Devils and get to watch them feed, you also get to see spotted Tiger Quols feed as well. The sanctuary also provides education and understanding of the endangered animals and their plan to rebuild the population and also the epidemic disease that the species are battling to keep numbers. This little animal is such an icon to Tasmania and watching them in their environment is a once in a life time opportunity!

 After an amazing 5 days in this beautiful state, tasting chocolate, wine and whiskey, rising to new heights on chairlifts, cruising down waterways in World Heritage Areas and watching some little Tasmanian Devils eat it was time to head back to Launceston to depart for our journey home.

Written by Danielle Wong, Infinity Consultant