When you look at a Tasmanian number plate – “Explore The Possibilities“– it’s pretty enticing. With no grudge against any of Australia‘s bloody beaut locations (you’re all doing great, sweeties), it’s a tad more sexy than, say, “The Education State” or “The Premier State“, is it not?
More than that, it’s a statement that doesn’t lie. Despite what you may have heard about Tassie, it is not just a place for you to either grow up or grow old / die. It is legit one of our country’s best vaycay options. Because it’s beautiful? Yep, sure (it’s kinda like a slice of NZ in Oz, really). But we reckon a fair whack of you knew that already.
Tassie is also a culinary hotspot boasting local produce and brews like no other, thanks to it’s easy-access close proximity, even if that aspect of the destination has gone largely underrated for too long. No more. Below’s some of the best places to drop in to if you’re thinking about hitting up Tassie.
Pop your buttons, chuck on your loose eating pants and prepare to get hungry-thirsty in more ways than one.
6173 Bass Highway, Elizabeth Town
Mon-Sun, 7.30 am – 5.30pm
Photos: Rob Burnett
If you love cheese (lol, everyone) then hello, welcome. Northern Tassie’s pride and joy, Ashgrove Cheese, is legit open every day except Chrissy, which speaks volumes of the tastebud traffic that comes through the joint. Cop a mouthful of Ashgrove’s farm ice-cream, fresh milk, cream, butter and, of course, CHEESE, but also go behind the scenes to see how it’s all made. You might be surprised to see how traditional techniques + modern methods = lactose brilliance. It’s a 40-min drive west of Launceston.
CHRISTMAS HILLS RASPBERRY FARM CAFE
9 Christmas Hills Road, Elizabeth Town
Photo: Nick Osborne
Photo: Melinda Ta
This place is quite literally a berry good place with a berry good menu and berry good view (not sorry). It’s famed for its ridic amazing, real chocolate-covered raspberries which have a cult following in the way cult is now chic and not at all problematic. Normally I’d say that if you don’t like berries of any kind you shouldn’t bother, but the atmosphere alone is 10/10 worth the visit. Seriously, it’s a primo wedding venue for a reason. Tuck in, take some ‘grams from the stone-and-wood cafe’s lake-view deck and bloody enjoy that serenity. Open every day except Christmas and Good Friday.
HONEY TASMANIA / THE BEEHIVE
124 Main Road, Exeter
Open daily, 9.30am-4.30pm
Photos: Facebook / Honey Tasmania
Even if, like me, you saw the horror movie Candyman are forever petrified of bees, you’ll be in safe hands at The Beehive. The new boutique is one of the sweeter local experiences you can have, with the family owned and operated biz showing a true love for all things pollination. Moving their hives around multiple locations in Northern Tassie, they have 15 distinct honeys you can smack into your gob as well as honey booze (the largest selection in Aus), beeswax / honey beauty products and more.
THE HUB PIZZA + BEER
72 Main Street, Derby
Mon-Fri, 4-8pm. Sat-Sun, 12-9pm
Photos: Facebook / The Hub
All homegrown and brewed in Tassie, this newly opened restaurant / bar is a little slice of home away from home.
Situated in the charming town of Derby – Tassie’s mountain biking mecca – it makes for the perfect end to a day taking in nature’s best, as well as a stunning view from the verandah complete with barrel tables. One you’ve filled the belly, head to the beer garden and mingle with locals / holidayers like your fine self.
71 Cimitiere Street, Launceston (in the car park opposite Albert Hall)
Every Saturday from 8.30am – 12.30pm
Photo: Rob Burnett
Photo: Chris Crerar
One of the many ripper things about Tassie is mixing with the locals and feeling like one while you’re at it. Nowhere else will you feel those community ~vibes~ like at the Harvest Community Market in the heart of Launceston.
The stalls are overflowing with produce that’s so fresh and so clean (clean), including ethically raised meat, organic dairy, artisan bread / pastries, berries and apples.
Seriously, there’s a great rule here that says all stallholders must in fact grow what they sell (in their own or a community backyard). Doesn’t get more legit than that.
If you wanna treat yourself to a pretty picnic, you can predict the weather with goods from this local hotspot, including some artisan bevvies to help wash down your primo selection.
1083 Golconda Road, Lebrina
Open by appointment only
Photo: Matthew Newton
Just North of Lebrina (one of the coolest places to grow grapevines in Tas, so bring a jumper) you’ll find Dr Andrew Pirie‘s bubby Apogee vineyard, spanning two hectares.
It champions fine wines and Champagne on par with France (without the travel time and costs, obvi) that are the perf example of what the island’s capable of producing. Mr Pirie really is quite the celeb in Tassie and for good reason, but the Tamar Valley boasts plenty of other A+ wineries to explore as well.
SAINT JOHN CRAFT BEER
133 St John Street, Launceston
Mon-Sat 12pm – late. Sun, 2pm – late
Photo: Facebook / Saint John Craft Beer
Decorated with framed bottles, deep-brown vintage leather couches and a whole bunch of greenery, Saint John’s is dark, cool and a level of hipster that’s permissible, not wanky. In true Tassie form, it has an offering of local brews and it’s BYO FOOD for lunch, which is a trend all venues should get around tbh. There’s also a permanent food van out back from 5pm.
Keen on copping a taste of Tas? You and everyone else, pal. Explore and discover all those possibilities we, and the number plates of Tassie, are talking about and create your own story HERE. Or, you know, you could enter for a Tassie weekender below: