Travelling to Tasmania, I never predicted I would be bidding at an auction. I had never even attended an auction, let alone gone in to bid. But I did. And I won! I’m now the proud owner of some retro cameras.
It was an antiques auction, you see. And I am now a little obsessed with the idea of an auction, the high you feel while trying to play it cool, scoping out your competition and then going in for the kill! Oh boy, this could be dangerous…
Let’s head back to Tasmania and talk it out.
Burnie Farmers’ Market
Day three of our trip to Tasmania to explore the abundant North-West coast, saw my mum and I leaving Penguin early Saturday morning and driving to Burnie. We were there to visit the Burnie Farmers’ Market, the very first farmers’ market established in Tasmania.
I had been hoping to visit a good farmers’ market on our trip, with dirty carrots, bags of potatoes and the scent of bacon and egg rolls filling the morning air. Burnie gave us just that.
We sampled some fabulous local Dexter beef from Preston Gourmet Produce. Usually my body believes 9am to be too early for chunks of meat, but the smell of these products sizzling and caramelising was deliciously persuasive. These guys were ace, very friendly and passionate about their produce.
I just loved this market and am thrilled, though eternally jealous, to read that there is a new Cradle Coast Farmers’ Market that will be running every Sunday in Ulverstone (near Burnie). This market sounds absolutely fantastic. Oh, to have access to such brilliant Tassie produce every week!
For breakfast I picked up the most gorgeous spinach and feta pie, made superbly and skilfully by The Pie Man.
Island State Antiques, Collectables and Estate Auctions
Right next to the market we came across an antiques auction that was brimming with finds, from ornate tea sets to kitsch nick-nacks. We had arrived right before it was about to start, and so mum and I darted from table to table inspecting what was on offer before sensibly settling on a few that we simply had to have and requesting that we pull each other in line if the bidding got out of hand.
Luckily it didn’t come to that. I don’t think I would have been able to depart from the set of antique bone-handled cutlery with much grace or poise…
Mum and I each got some outrageous steals including an antique porcelain jelly mould for $9. I was contemplating bidding on the most stunning wooden desk but it was just too difficult to figure out the logistics.
If you’re in the market for antiques, I highly recommend visiting Burnie as you’ll likely pick up some amazing gems and have a nice holiday in the process. This auction runs quite regularly, so check out the website for more details.
Hellyers Road Distillery
After all that bidding excitement we left with our goodies and headed to Hellyers Road Distillery for a stiff drink. Here I learnt a great deal about whiskey and their single malt peated variety (which was voted Australia’s best). I’m really pleased to say that I began to appreciate whiskey at Hellyers. And it wasn’t just the whiskey-flavoured fudge they serve, I swear. No, previously having directed most of my liquor love towards gin, I feel this may be the start of a beautiful relationship with brown varieties.
Cheers to that.
Burnie Makers’ Workshop
Mum and I took our groggy gift packs (happy birthday, Dad) and drove back into town to the Burnie Makers’ Workshop for a bit of art and design education. This centre is a great place to shop for gifts, too. I was dying to leave with this hat by local artist Susan McArthur, look at the craftsmanship. And that colour! Major millinery respect.
Delish Fine Foods
Next we dashed to Delish Fine Foods and stocked up on deli goods for a picnic dinner. We left with more 41 Degrees South salmon (can you ever have enough?) as well as some local cheese, and enjoyed a lovely coffee while pondering our next move…
I am all for planning when taking a holiday. It’s important to make sure you’re at the right place at the right time so you don’t miss out on gems such as Farmers’ Markets, festivals, dinner bookings, etc. But there’s something special about stumbling across events, such as the antiques auction in Burnie. These sudden delights become instant trip highlights, as you simply weren’t expecting them. They’re a true treat.
This is how mum and I feel about our detour to the pleasant town of Flowerdale. Driving past fields of dazzling red tulips, we felt compelled to pull over and soak up the beauty before us.
We then decided to drive through the winding town and chat with some local cows. Taking a few quiet, contemplative moments. I’ll always fondly remember Flowerdale for this…
Boat Harbour and Harvest & Cater
We happened upon the town of Boat Harbour in a similar fashion, actually – by pure chance. And it turned out to be another Tasmania highlight.
Boat Harbour is the most charming, small sea-side town on the North-West Tasmania coast. It feels calm, with it’s soft sunlight and gentle breeze. I hear in Summer it gets busy, as families tumble in for beach days and BBQs with neighbours. What a great family holiday spot it would be. I’d like to visit during Autumn or Winter, when it’s quieter still. Fleeing to the harbour to escape the noise and expectations…yes, I quite fancy that.
Mum and I had lunch at the local cafe, Harvest and Cater. This fabulous spot is run by a friendly, casual and clearly very talented couple named Nick and Suzie.
Harvest and Cater serve up scrumptious seafood with skill. There are non-seafood bites on the menu also, but I encourage you to run with the theme, as they do it well. Their seafood chowder was truly delicious and understated, and mum’s fried fish burger was super fresh and really, really yummy (as were the hot chips). I only wish I could have returned to try their seafood curry (next time!).
Luckily we saved room for a scone. These lightly golden mounds had a lovely, slightly crisp crust and were super fluffy (yet without a hint of excess metallic leavening flavour, which can be so common and disappointing). We were so in love with these scones, a display of truly good baking. Dressed up with vibrant jam and whipped cream, we were tickled raspberry pink. I tried to get the recipe for you but alas, it’s a Harvest and Cater secret. You’ll just have to visit and try for yourself.
Completely sated, we packed up and drove further along the coast, stopping before Rocky Cape National Park at Sisters Beach for a walk on the stones and sand. The scenery changed here, it was less green and more, well, rocky.
Mum and I walked in silence, feeling the cool breeze kiss our cheeks somewhat less affectionately than before, in Boat Harbour. A reminder that it’s not all sunshine and green hills in Tasmania. But it’s still life, it’s still beauty. You just need to take out your umbrella and live it, with your head held high, admiring the pretty pebbles that turn up as you stride through the storm. We like to stop and look at the pebbles, mum and I.
There is one more post to come, day four. We’re going to Stanley. It’s one of the most charming towns in Tasmania.
* Disclaimer: although I traveled courtesy of Tourism Tasmania, my opinions and recommendations are most sincerely my own.