It's easy to get from one end of Tasmania to another. The excellent roads and favourable driving conditions has made Tassie one of the most popular driving holidays in Australia. Sure, you can choose to zoom along from Launceston to Hobart down the centre of the country in a matter of hours. But I recommend taking things slow and meander along the East Coast of the Island. Make sure you stop frequently to taste the scrumptious treats along the way. If you're still not convinced, take a look at the highlights below.
1. Best Place to be a Sheep
If I was a sheep, I would hop on the next ute to Launceston and never leave. The vast fields on either side of the roads are topped with luscious green grass and vibrant yellow Canola flowers. This makes for picturesque scenery for humans too as they drive from Launceston airport along the coast. With all this lush grazing, it's no wonder that Tassie produces some of the most succulent lamb in the country.
2. Pancake Heaven
Make sure you pop by the famous Mount Elephant Pancakes on Elephant Pass. It's a ramshackle diner with quirky decor and scrumptious pancakes. There is a delicious stack of both savoury and sweet treats on offer.
3. Fishing at Bicheno
Head towards the East Coast from Launceston and you'll come across this quaint fishing village. It's picture perfect with small fishing boats bobbing on turquoise water. Try your hand at catching your dinner on an organised fishing trip. Or grab those tanks and head underwater for some of the finest scuba in the world.
4. A Feast of a View at Freycinet Lodge
The Freycinet Lodge is an upmarket yet laid-back family friendly lodge in the Freycinet National Park (which is about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Launceston). There is a variety of accommodation to choose from ranging from the more basic Freycinet rooms to the Premier luxury suites. All rooms have a kitchenette and gorgeous views. There is no television or phone in the rooms so guests can't be distracted from the breathtaking natural surroundings.
More info about the lodge.
5. Sampling the Wine and Food
Tasmania is a giant gourmet farm store. Tassie is famous for an overflowing basket of fresh produce including King Island dairy and Tasmanian Smoked Salmon.
Sample the best of Tassie cuisine at the food tasting at Freycinet Lodge. The seafood is as fresh as you can get. It's no wonder that visitors come from all over the world to munch on the lodge's fishie feast. The emphasis is on using local ingredients and Tassie is blessed with the best. I loved the excellent cheeses, accompanied by Bush Dust - which is a mix of aromatic herbs and spices, kind of like a Tassie Dukkah.
The wines are outstanding, with the Tamar Valley Joseph Chromy varietals coming up tops in my selection. I also sampled wallaby - the Tassie alternative to kangaroo. It was delectable - tender and juicy with the meat falling off the bone.
6. Black tie service with blue jeans attitude
Tasmania is no longer an el-cheapo budget holiday destination. These days the hotels and activities on the Island are world-class. The stand-out factor is that service is five star without the snob factor. They've got the right attitude in Tassie. They offer the best in food, wine and service without the pretention that usually goes along with top-notch establishments. So refreshing.
7. Wine Glass to Wine glass
This is a must-do full day tour at Freycinet Lodge. It involves a seven kilometre walk with a few steep stretches and eye-popping scenery. We were accompanied by well equipped tour co-ordinator Richard who made sure we each had a rain jacket and proper shoes.
The name of the trail embodies the route from Wine Glass Bay to a wine glass filled with the best Aussie wines as a reward for our efforts. Wine Glass Bay was grimly so-called for the colour of the water during the early 1820's when this inlet was the site of a whale processing plant. There's no longer a scrap of evidence that the water was once crimson - it's now a magnificent azure blue.
We took a walk along powdery Hazard beach, which is pristinely deserted as it can only be reached by foot or boat. Thirty minutes later, we hit foodie heaven. A table laden with gourmet goodies had been set up in a clearing in the middle of nowhere. Within a nearby tent, Freycinet Lodge head chef Konrad was conjuring up a delicious lunch. Fresh crayfish was the star of the menu, followed by a feast of King Island beef and Flinders Island lamb.
More info about this adventure.
8. Ultimate luxury
Watch out for the uber-pampering property planned to open towards the end of 2009. Saffire is going to be an ultra-luxurious five-star boutique hotel set within Freycinet and will be perfect for a honeymoon or special occasion getaway.
Tasmanians are very protective of their precious environment. Tassie must be doing something right as the waters here are pristine. Make sure you amble along the jetty at Freycinet Lodge. The water is so clear that you can see schools of squid swimming by.
10. Heavenly Hobart
Continue on your trip southwards along on the East Coast and you'll hit Hobart. Hobart is a cross between laid-back harbour city and an old-worlde traditional village. It's one of my favourite holiday destinations. Find out why
How to get there
Award winning airline Virgin Blue is the second biggest airline Group in Australia, incorporating Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue, Polynesian Blue and the recently launched three class boutique long haul airline, V Australia which operates flights between Australia and the United States. The airline Group operates a modern fleet of 79 aircraft across 76 domestic and International routes including domestic Australia and New Zealand as well as trans-Tasman, Pacific Islands and trans-Pacific.
For more details and to book your flight to Tasmania, visit Virgin Blue
Where to Stay
With a spectacular waterfront location at the foot of the Hazards, just inside Freycinet National Park, Freycinet Lodge is a superb base for exploring the Freycinet peninsula.For more details and to book your Freycinet Lodge stay, visit Pure Tasmania
Plan your trip
Pure Tasmania is all about providing visitors with enriching experiences - including the people you meet, the things you do and what you eat and drink.Visit Pure Tasmania for all your Tassie holiday needs.