So here we are, day four of our Tasmania trip. The final day. The day that further cemented my love for this state. Not that I needed more encouragement or persuasion. Tasmania really put on a show for mum and I during this visit, my very first time crossing the strait to the apple isle. And that’s it, it’s done and I’m sold.
From the nature (oh, the nature) with generous greens and golds and bountiful browns and magnanimous magentas decorating the land…the undulating scenery of rocks and hills and water and mountains and paddocks…To the food and produce of the finest quality, crafted with sincerity and integrity. And then there’s the people behind this stellar food and produce, their pride and neighbourly warmth.
My affection comes after only treading so far as the North West region of Tasmania, there is so much more to see. I hear that Hobart is brimming with food and culture and art, so that is next on my list.
Let’s end our visit on a high! We’re off to Stanley.
Have you been to Stanley? It’s incredibly charming. The giant rock you see above is called “The Nut” and it’s probably what Stanley is most famous for. We climbed The Nut and it is indeed a fabulous feature of Stanley, however I was more thrilled to simply be in the place where Bill Mollison was born. There’s something special about this place…
Stanley feels like a quintessential English seaside town. There are cobblestones and pubs and fishing boats and scallop pies. Heck, there’s even a red phone booth, encouraging cheesy tourist posing. The clouds came and went over the course of our visit in a terribly fickle manner, but that just made it feel all the more like England. We just loved our stay in this town. Stanley gave us the perfect dose of comfort and exploration on our last night in Tasmania.
Mum and I arrived in Stanley quite tuckered out after all our travelling and tasting. We went for a wander around the town and took a few photographs, before heading to the pub for a drink and a chat with some locals. The Stanley folk were so welcoming, we had a nice chat about the area and were keenly encouraged to sample the local pickled octopus. The girls working at the pub even took our details to see if we could tour the factory and pick up a pickled octopus supply to take home (alas, it wasn’t possible, but we did find some at the local supermarket).
The Ark Stanley
After our pub visit we checked into our accommodation at The Ark. This bright home is an excellent place to stay, it’s clean and spacious and has all the amenities you’d desire (including really fabulous, large, sleek showers). The Ark is situated below The Nut and overlooks the water, so it’s in an ace location. We could have quite happily stayed here for a few more days.
Mum and I tried multiple times to get a table at Xanders Brasserie, an incredibly popular restaurant in the heart of the town, but it was completely booked out. This was a real shame, as we hear it’s an amazing, innovative restaurant (they had possum on the menu – possum!). We’ll have to save it for our next visit. Though I must say we were very happy to collapse in our room and enjoy our night in such lovely comfort – hot showers, white robes and a picnic dinner in our room. Not too shabby at all.
That evening we devoured a veritable feast of Tasmanian goodies. There was 41 Degrees South hot smoked salmon, incredible cheese from Ashgrove and King Island Dairy, the divine Ashgrove cultured butter and a bottle of Ghost Rock Two Blocks 2012 Pinot Noir (oh, that wine!). Whilst delighting in our spread, we had a bit of a Kathy Bates marathon, courtesy of The Ark’s ace DVD supply. First up was Fried Green Tomatoes, which is such a favourite of mine, and then Misery (creepy, creepy)! I felt like I was thirteen again sitting with my girlfriends watching scary movies.
In the morning we headed straight to The Nut for a super steep hike and walk around the top of the rock. The views of Stanley, the water, the land, the space, were truly stunning. What a refreshing way to wake up in Tasmania.
Hi, wallaby, how are you doing?
Back in the town we enjoyed a fabulous takeaway coffee at Touchwood cafe, a lovely local gem with cottages, a gallery and cafe/restaurant. The owners are very friendly and they serve Genovese coffee, what more could you want? Cake? Well yes, they do that too, with an excellent selection – check out these gorgeous wholemeal savoury buttermilk muffins!
I was about to devour a muffin but instead we saved ourselves for some local scallop pies. These pies were a bit of fun, one mornay style and one curried. Though I am still thinking about that muffin…
After brunch we visited Highfield House and explored the grounds. You can do tours at Highfield, which would be a fun activity if you’re anything like me and love history and homes. You can also hire the venue for Weddings. Wouldn’t that be divine?
All our senses satisfied, feeling completely full of gratitude and inspiration and seafood and wine and cheese, we bundled up and headed back towards Burnie to fly home.
Tasmania, you’re a true beauty. Thanks for the superb scenery and food, your natural charm and warm spirit, and the chance to spend this special time with my mum.
All I have left to say is…
* Disclaimer: although I traveled courtesy of Tourism Tasmania, my opinions and recommendations are most sincerely my own.