I didn’t know how this trip was going to go. It was our first proper holiday with Charlie (our 5-month-old) and optimistically *or naively* I decided to book as if it was pre-baby – a 10-day road trip around Australia’s apple isle with hikes, wineries and 5 different places to stay along the way.
The major changes; we did more laundry (like every day!); we were back at our accommodation by 8pm at the latest; and had abrupt stops in random locations when the little guy got HANGRY. Read more about what we packed in 10 items for holidaying with a baby in Tasmania.
It turns out our little joey is a great travel buddy. We did so much and had such a great time that it warrants 2 blog posts. Here’s part 1.
Launceston, Tamar Valley & Cradle Mountain
As we descended into Launceston I knew I was going to love Tasmania. From the air, the landscape is breathtaking. Blue and turquoise ocean, white beaches and green pastures. We picked up our rental car at the airport, a 4-wheel-drive with plenty of room for our excess luggage, and off we went.
Tasmania is made for road trips. From the airport, we went straight to James Boag’s Brewery for a cheese platter, pizza, and of course, beer. My favourite was the Boag’s Red, while Wizard Smith went down best with the Englishman.
We also visited Cataract Gorge Reserve, a must see! It was a recommendation from a Tassie friend. It is stunning. We strolled along the lush paths, walked across a swing bridge built it 1902, took a ride on the ‘Inclinator’ and saw peacocks running wild. All free.
Where to stay
We stayed at The Charles Hotel by Mantra. It had a little kitchenette which made preparing things for the little one easy. It was also great to be able to sip Tasmanian sloe gin by the lobby fire and have a delicious meal in the restaurant without leaving the building.
For an authentic Launceston stay, you could even rent a cottage like this gorgeous one. Launceston was settled by Europeans in 1806, making it one of Australia’s oldest cities. The city’s history is evident in the homes, they are bursting with character.
Things to do
There is so much to do in the area. The Bridestowe Lavender Estate is definitely worth a trip. We visited in summer so were lucky enough to wander through an expansive sea of lilac.
Hillwood Farmgate is also a great stop, especially if you’re travelling with kids. It’s a massive berry farm with pick your own and a cafe filled with berry treats.
A trip through the Tamar Valley is not complete without visiting at least a couple of wineries. Janz was fantastic and a must visit if you like sparkling wine. It’s also right next door to Piper’s Brook Vineyard.
We had lunch at the Bridport Bunker Club. The menu boasts local produce and I can recommend the seafood chowder.
Tamar Valley Wine Route is a great website for helping you plan your route.
From Launceston, we set off for Cradle Mountain, stopping at 41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm on the way. This was one of my favourite experiences of the trip. It’s set in the most serene surroundings and the hot smoked salmon is the best I’ve ever tasted. It’s definitely worth timing a visit with lunch. You can also check out the farm and take a nature walk. And… they do mail order salmon!
The best hot smoked salmon… ever.
Another great place to stretch your legs is Deloraine, a quaint riverside town littered with historic buildings. The Deloraine Deli is worth going miles out of your way for. It perfectly showcases delicious, fresh, Tasmanian cuisine with friendly service.
Images of the Tasmanian wilderness is what drew me to the island. To explore it, we based ourselves at Cradle Mountain Hotel. It was the perfect place for our stay. We stayed in one of the older rooms which could do with a refurbishment but it was clean and comfortable and the hotel had 3 dining options, a well-stocked bar and communal areas where you can kick back next to a fire. It was also family friendly. Outside there are boarded nature trails through wooded areas where we took in beautiful sunsets and spotted wombats and wallabies roaming wild.
To get to Cradle Mountain National Park, a world heritage area, we drove to the visitor centre. From there you can take a bus which drops you off at a number of locations depending on which walking trail you’re planning to do. As we had to carry Charlie (by ‘we’ I mean his Dad), we opted for an easier walk, the 6.5km trail around Dove Lake. The scenery was stunning and the little guy absolutely loved it. I want to go back and do all the trails!