Cradle Mountain is Calling
FROM HOBART TO CRADLE MOUNTAIN – AN EPIC, DELICIOUS ROAD TRIP
Pack up your car and hit the Heritage Highway. You’re off to the mountains of North West Tasmania. Driving time is over four hours from Hobart to Cradle Mountain, but this roadie is best enjoyed slowly … punctuated with plenty of tasty turn offs. We’ve got them covered for you, from ginseng stops to truffle farms, craft brews to sharp cheeses.
Time your drive to arrive at Red Hills around lunch time, three hours from Hobart. Only in Tasmania will you find a ginseng and salmon farm combo. At 42 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm, the petite café serves up sandwiches like the Wetlander, packed with hot smoked salmon and juicy ‘41er’ salmon burgers. Take your time exploring the wetlands, feed the fish and find out about Ziggy’s fascinating operation. Stock up on ginseng, honey, spices and nougat.
After lunch, call into Ashgrove Cheese. It’s hard not to miss with its ‘colourful cows,’ just north of Elizabeth Town. There’s all manner of cheese here from wild wasabi infused (well matched with beer) to traditional cloth matured cheddar. Watch the cheese makers at work as you pick out your faves. The Ashgrove Bush Pepper is made with Tasmanian native pepper, foraged from our forests.
Remember how the wasabi cheese goes well with an ale? Next stop is Railton where you’ll find Seven Sheds Brewery. Drop in here for a late afternoon sip, the tasting room and hops garden is open until 5 pm Wednesday to Sunday. Perhaps a Kentish Ale, named among Australia’s top 20 beers by the Weekend Australian a few years back takes your fancy? Give a nod to the topiary on the main street and continue to Cradle Mountain, about an hour away.
Tonight is about getting cosy in the highlands. Crisp mountain air, hearty Cape Grim steaks and comfy lodging are on the menu. If you arrive in time, The Sanctuary at Waldheim Alpine Spa might tempt with its spa, Tassie sparkling and chocolate dipped strawberries. After dinner, fire up your flashlight and meet the locals… Bennetts wallabies, wombats and perhaps even a Tasmanian devil. An alternative to mountain lodging is Eagles Nest Retreat near Sheffield, that’s if you like the sound of an outdoor spa and watching the sun’s final glow against Mount Roland.
EARLY CRADLE RISE
Fuel up on brekkie and take a brisk morning walk around Dove Lake or even power up Marion’s Lookout for elevated views of Cradle. Before leaving the Cradle area, pop into the recently revamped wilderness gallery, open from 9 am. Follow this up with a well-earned feast at Truffledore. Although truffle hunts run only June to August, get in touch with owner and host Jen for a gourmet truffle lunch. You might also get to meet Chicken, one of her truffle hunting dogs, who has been known to gobble $500 in truffles when heads are turned.
NORTH WEST SIPPING
Drop into Spreyton Cider and Emilia Wines, a little slice of Tuscany, back in Spreyton. Continue on to Devonport where new doors have opened. Let George Burgess take you on a gin-tasting journey from mountain to meadow to sea at Southern Wild Distillery. The former food scientist turned distiller loves sharing a little of his North West backyard in every bottle. Continue your stylish ‘watering hole crawl’ with a visit to Empress Craft Beer, Devonport’s latest addition to the bar scene with over 200 beers on offer.
COASTAL VINEYARD VISIT
On your way back south, complete your regional sojourn at Ghost Rock Vineyard. Former Devonport boy, Justin Arnold has returned to home turf with his family to head the vineyard. Outstanding Pinot noir, sparkling and all served with views down to the ocean. Time your trip to coincide with their Hundred Bears Popup Restaurant, 20-27 October.
From Ghost Rock, it’s about three hours back to the capital. We didn’t get round to Cradle Coast Olives with their award-winning olive oil, or Blue Hills Honey in the far North West, harvesting organic Leatherwood from the Tarkine’s edge. That just means you’ll have to stay a little longer.
Words: Alice Hansen
Photos: Tourism Tasmania, RACT