The car has been packed well and tight, given we are doing a mix of camping and accommodation, we’ve got a fair bit of stuff, including a fridge which has been the best thing when you need a cold cider after a long hike. But we didn’t know packing until we were joined by Ryan, Octavia and nearly one year old Oscar, and all the luggage a one-year-old brings on his first Tassie adventure. A lot went on the roof and we were bursting at the seams, Hillbilly style. If anyone breathed out, boom, we’d pop.
Now, with great friends in tow for a week starting in Hobart we were to begin the real gastronomy tour of this foodie Island and Oscar was ready to paint the town and his face with whatever food he could get his little cute hands on. A hot juicy pastrami roll was first on the menu from Tom McHugo’s, alongside Tasmanian wines and beers.
Each morning started with fresh coffee and pain au chocolat from Pigeon Whole Bakery devoured by the Hobart harbour in the sunshine. We feasted at the Glasshouse on oysters, king fish sashimi and scallops, at Fish Frenzy on creamy seafood chowder and fish burgers filled with the freshest, mouth-wateringly delicious daily catch. We tried the finest Tasmanian whisky at Sullivans Cove and Lark, spending way too much money on their award-winning golden delights and enjoyed tastings at Pooley Wines and the Wicked Cheese Factory.
We were so busy feeding our faces we didn’t take many photos so you’ll just have to believe us when we say Hobart is beautiful, surrounded by the grand Derwent River and shadowed by Mount Wellington which sat for the majority of the time in a pool of mist at its top. The harbour is lined with fish mongers and shady parks, many cafés, restaurants and bars line the streets. It’s quiet though, and most places are closed except from Thursday-Sunday nights, and some just seemed to never open, perhaps a result of COVID, or maybe just people living the good life and opening when they fancy it.
Of course we visited MONA, The Museum of Old and New Art, self-described as, “Mona: a museum, or something. In Tasmania, or somewhere. Catch the ferry. Drink beer. Eat Cheese. Talk crap about art. You’ll love it.” We did many of those things, and the building itself was truly impressive, but I’m not always keen on seeing a wall of cast vagina’s, a pooping machine that imitates the digestive system or a whole lot of shelves with glass bottles which are supposed to eventually fall, but do they ever? Not in the hour we walked around it, maybe that’s the art, and we talked about it, so MONA mission achieved.
With Hobart now having to order in more food from the mainland, we headed south to the Huon Valley, also a foodie hub known for its apple orchards and cider, incredible seafood, vineyards that crawl up the mountainside, berry farms (Oscar’s favourite) and cheese making (my favourite). The Valley cuddles the Huon River, which is where our over 120 year old cottage sat with a boat to paddle on and a sunset to enjoy a feast beside. We paddled, lit the fire on the chilly nights and played Scrabble while filling our bellies with morsels of Tasmania’s finest.
We’d been told about a sushi place in a small forestry town called Geeveston, where you have to order days in advanced for take away sushi boxes, Masaaki’s Sushi. Masaaki Koyama is a world class Japanese sushi chef and fits in his exquisite sushi making around surfing the waves of the south. It was some of the best sushi we’ve ever had and I’d highly recommend the trip.
We day tripped to Bruny Island, over on the early ferry, and traversed through farmland and wetlands dreaming of living a life on an island off an island off a bigger island. Salty wind swept across our faces as we arrived at Get Shucked Oyster Farm at 9:28am, where we had to slide fat and creamy pacific oysters down our throats while washing it down with Devils Corner Champagne. *I realise a lot of you are probably thinking I can Get Shucked with all these food descriptions…sorry. I’ll stop now.
We swam in freezing waters at Adventure Bay and climbed the many stairs to the lookout at The Neck, a thin strip of land joining North and South Bruny.
Our last day together turned out the be Hobart Regatta Public Holiday, which is only a public holiday in the small part of Tasmania we were in, so most things were closed. We found a café in Cygnet, a small town that’s given most industries a go, mining, forestry, woodworking, farming, apple growing. The UK used to be the biggest buyer of Tasmanian apples, but when it joined the EU one of the agreements was that Europe would become the main supplier changing the industry and livelihoods overnight. Now they’ve made the mental decision to leave the EU (I have a UK passport so I’m still bitter), maybe it’s time to take up apple farming again, wouldn’t be a bad life.
At our little café with dined with nonother than Bob Brown himself. He chatted away telling tales and jokes, enjoyed a tasty feast and even paid the bill. It was a real-deal Tasmanian experience.
He did none of those things with or for us, it was with some other people, but that’s as close as we’ll get to Tasmanian royalty so I’m going to put a little top edge on it for shits and giggles.