A visit from the mainland

 

Flying into Hobart airport to a snowcapped vista was breathtaking.

Having never visited our neighbouring southern state before, I was a tad apprehensive as, regardless of how beautiful I had heard Tasmania was, the reported weather was expected to be a chilly 6 degrees at most!

I don’t handle the cold well and my wardrobe doesn’t lend itself suitably to cooler climates. The question remained…would the beautiful landscape make up for the weather?

The answer was a resounding “yes”!

My first impression of Hobart was that it reminded me a lot of San Francisco with a dash of the NSW south coast.

 

 

Acres of lush farmland and rolling hills were accentuated by the quaint fishing village vibe of Waterman’s Dock.

Our ‘foodies tour of Tassie’ commenced with morning tea at Quality Hotel Hobart Airport where melt-in-your-mouth carrot cake and a frothy Chai latte were a very welcome start to the day after an excessively early flight from Sydney.

We learnt of “shacks” (holiday houses) and were referred to as “mainlanders” which was amusing to this virgin visitor. What were we supposed to call Tasmanians then?

This term was bandied around for most of the trip and, I was quite surprised of its commonness in the vernacular of those who live in Tasmania.

Amidst intermittent shivers and gasps at the beauty that faced us seemingly every step of the way, we headed to the Barilla Bay Restaurant & Oyster Farm because what better food is there to sample after morning tea than freshly shucked oysters?

 

The labour intensive operation (detailed in the video below) was impressive, with a very simple, yet efficient set up to process the oysters that are farmed over some 30 hectares.

From Pacific to Angasi (a Tassie native that is more minerally rich and saltier than other styles), Barilla Bay oysters truly did knock the socks off any other oyster I have ever tasted.

With farm gate sales available seven days and the ability to package oysters for extended airline travel, this is definitely somewhere that I recommend visiting when in Hobart.

Located several minutes from the airport, guests can either enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour (bookings essential), a meal in the restaurant or purchase local gifts and produce in the gift store.

With taste buds tingling, we board our mini bus to drive to Cygnet via the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

 

Our ever knowledgeable driver, Ben, points out Australia’s first ever legal casino, Westpoint, and we focus intently on the expanse of water surrounding us to see if we can catch a glimpse of a whale on the way through.

The Southern Right whales have only just recently rediscovered this region and my fellow travellers and I are hoping to bear witness to their migration.

It was time for lunch and I enjoyed an organic hamburger at the ‘Red Velvet Lounge’, a quaint restaurant-come gift store located in Cygnet.

With a mixed bag of furniture to dine on and artworks to admire, this eclectic restaurant transports you back to a bygone era, something that was to happen more and more during my stay in Tasmania.

Clearly we had discovered some of the best offerings of food in Hobart but we were yet to sample some wine, so Home Hill Winery was our next stop before heading to the Quality Hobart Midcity Hotel for a much-needed siesta before dinner.

 

Home Hill Winery will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary on the 1st September and, being a family run business, it made me yearn for my parents to be winemakers as well, when I discovered that eldest daughter Kelly, has several wines named after her. Now that’s a talking point at a dinner party!

Our much-needed siesta ensured that we were well on track to enjoy the varied menu on offer at Smolt.

A warm, vibrant restaurant in the heart of Salamanca Square, Smolt offers friendly service whilst ensuring patrons are treated to a culinary experience rather than a simple dinner in a fabulous location.

 

Pairing wines with their Italian and Spanish influenced modern Australian offering, patrons have the option to sample dishes in a ‘tapas’ style which is always a preference for a person regularly afflicted with food envy like me.

Our waiter encouraged us to order mains and dessert as well and, regardless of how full we may have been, the food was just too divine to say no to!

The short walk back to the Quality Hobart Midcity Hotel was much needed to work off at least part of the food and wine we had the pleasure of enjoying throughout the day.

 

Something I discovered during our day of progressive eating and drinking, is that when the scenery is as breathtaking as it is in Hobart, time really does just escape you.

We had whiled away our first 24-hours in Tasmania’s capital sampling some of the most amazing local produce whilst overlooking vistas some could only dream about.

The friendly locals are so proud of their piece of paradise and rightly so. I wonder if they realised that they had some mainlanders on their bandwagon now…

Click here for a complete photo gallery of my time in Tasmania.

 
Source = Natalie Aroyan
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