As Tasmania reopens after lockdown, tourism operators are planning different offerings and post-COVID treats.
Other island state attractions, including highly-respected Hobart eatery Franklin, might have closed for good but there’s still plenty to keep future travellers busy.
- Important: Australia’s post-coronavirus travel regulations vary by state. See up-to-date details here
1. Meet a gourmet farmer
Hobart has a new produce market, Hanging Garden Green Grocer, where you can meet celebrated food writer and host of SBS’s Gourmet Farmer series Matthew Evans and Nick Haddow from Bruny Island Cheese, among many local producers.
The market was opened by DarkLab – the team behind the now-cancelled Dark Mofo festival – in late May.
The precinct’s central “cathedral” is a large and safe space for locals to buy and sell fresh produce. With entry via Murray Street and exit via Liverpool Street, the site has been redesigned specifically to accommodate the market, which will operate Wednesday to Saturday 9am-2pm.
DarkLab creative director Leigh Carmichael says the grocer differs from conventional produce markets.
“The grocer has been designed in collaboration with advice from the Department of Health to work specifically within a COVID-19 world, and to mitigate as many of the risks as possible,” he says.
Stallholders will supply produce on a rotational basis, offering fresh and local fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, honey, and bakery products, as well as prepared meals to take home.
There will be a one-way flow and strict hygiene guidelines, with sanitation stations at the entry and exit.
It’s won the support of Evans and his Fat Pig Farm produce.
“Who doesn’t love a market?” he says.
“This one is terrific, because it gives us what we all need now, right in the heart of the city, delivered in a safe, responsible manner, while ensuring quality is key.“
2. Get under the wing of Cygnet
This chic little waterfront village 40 minutes south of Hobart is the location of Fat Pig Farm and is a perfect day trip or overnight excursion. Cygnet is known for its many galleries and cafes, along with upmarket bed and breakfast accommodation options.
Options include the Red Velvet Lounge, the Conservatory Cafe at the Old Bank and newcomer The Port Hole Cafe, while a recent gourmet attraction is the Thai food at Ashcraig Farm, surrounded by apple orchards just out of town at Nichols Rivulet.
Eat-in or take away at the roadside diner that is part of an organic farm and has a chef from the north-eastern Thai province of Isan. The food can be as spicy as you like.
3. Taste your way down the Tamar Valley
Cellar doors are starting to reopen in the Tamar Valley wine region.
At Timbre Kitchen, at Velo Wines’ cellar door, they have introduced special feasts for groups of 10 for a payment of $700. Think three courses of local gourmet goodies.
4. Take in takayna/the Tarkine
This wilderness area in Tasmania’s north-west is a perfect destination for anyone looking to reconnect with nature over winter.
Set among 447,000 hectares of forest, wild rivers, exposed mountains, magnesite cave systems and extensive coastal heath, the Tarkine has the largest tract of temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere and has sacred significance to Tasmanian Aboriginal custodians.
Visitors can get close to nature culturally, spiritually and physically – but make sure to wrap-up warmly.
Keep an eye out, too, for the endangered, nocturnal and shy Tasmanian devil. They can be seen in the wild, but more reliably at wildlife parks around the island, including Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, Devils@Cradle and the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo.
Named by early European settlers for its unearthly screams and guttural growls, the devil is a scavenger that feeds on entire carcasses, including bone. Two other carnivorous marsupials also inhabit Tasmania: The spotted-tailed quoll, and the eastern quoll.
5. Get cosy at Cradle Mountain Lodge
The ideal spot to combine animal watching with a little luxury, this famous resort has had a multimillion-dollar upgrade to its accommodation, dining and spa facilities.
A new room category in the King Billy Suites has been launched. These offer central fireplaces, outdoor spa baths and elevated mini bars featuring a variety of items from high-end Tasmanian producers.
Work has also been completed on the Highland Restaurant, with the casual vibe maintained while, at the same time, introducing a new menu. The Tavern Bar & Bistro has a new wood-fired pizza oven and open kitchen, along with an expanded deck offering space for 80 more patrons.
6. Switch to island time
Free Spirit Eco Pods on Bruny Island is offering guests a special post-COVID gourmet gift with every booking.
Free Spirit has partnered with biodynamic and organic “funky neighbours” to offer organic vegie boxes freshly harvested from their farm. Guests also receive their own Snug barbecue sourced from a local gourmet butcher, as well as a bottle of either Tasmanian wine or warming spiced-mulled wine, Bruny Island chocolates and ‘oversized’ marshmallows to toast.
My tip: Enjoy a glass or two of mulled wine while fishing for flathead from the shoreline.
Just down the road is Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co, which also can ship its chilled boxes of artisanal cheese anywhere in Australia.
The company has assembled all manner of Tassie gourmet goods for dispatch, from pickled walnuts to apple cider vinegar.
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Just a few free spirits with wild hearts and an open road ahead 🛣️ ✧ To be honest, until we started planning Tasmania we had never even heard of Bruny Island..but boy are we glad we found out about it. Just a short half hour drive then ferry away from Hobart and you'll find yourself truly immersed in nature. Pristine farms, thick forest, wildlife everywhere and epic ocean views. So what property could be better suited to such natural environment than these awesome eco friendly pods! Luxuriously appointed fully self contained units with waterfront views where you feel able to totally unwind, relax and recharge the batteries. It was also a pleasure to meet and hang out with the owners who felt like long lost family. Although maybe the best part was the bunch of local wildlife that call Free Spirit home. We had Padmelons, Poteroos, Possums and Quolls all eagerly hanging around just by the doorstep! We know those all sound like made up names but they're actually super cute Aussie native animals 😂 seriously Google them! ✧ If you could be any animal what would it be 🐨 ✧ #freespiritpods #brunyisland #instatasmania #familytravel #takemetoaustralia #tasmaniagram #livefolk #visitaustralia #earthfocus #australiagram #ig_australia #travelwithkids #discoverearth #voyaged #seeaustralia #traveltheworld #travelaustralia #earthoutdoors #travelawesome #earthofficial #discoverearth #tasmania #australia_shotz #passportexpress #folkscenery #getoutdoors #seeaustralia #takethekids #discovertasmania #livelifeandroam
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7. Visit a platypus in its pond
Rathmore House (circa 1828) offers more chance of spotting a platypus than just about anywhere in Tasmania – a family of six lives in the bottom pond on the property.
A special post-COVID deal for bookings of three nights or more is a complimentary starry sky dinner ($400 value) for a group of eight in either the rustic Shearers Quarters or Homestead.
Rathmore is on 37 hectares at remote Hollow Tree in the Southern Midlands and offers heritage shearing shed tours and farm-stay experiences.