The Big Lap - Launceston Tasmania



Upon reflecting on our Big Lap trip so far, we have seen some amazing places in Australia.  

Western Australia - Beautiful beaches, unique horizontal falls and fabulous gorges. 

Northern Territory - Rugged mountains, stunning waterfalls, refreshing hot springs, cool billabongs and Uluru.

South Australia - Vast countryside, deep blue cenotes, fresh seafood, delicious cheese platters and wineries.

Victoria - Wild coastline with towering cliffs, lush countryside, picturesque waterfalls and untouched beaches.

New South Wales - More rugged coastline, pure white sandy beaches and serene rivers.

A trip down memory lane back in Sydney.

So why, you might say, did we then fly to Tasmania for a week.  There were a couple of reasons for this.  Firstly, we both were looking for a cooler climate place to settle down in.  As much as we both love the beach, cooler climate is more conducive to old age.  We are feeling the heat so much more these days.   We both ruled out South Australia, South Victoria and Southern New South Wales for various reasons.  So now, our sights are set on Tasmania.

Second reason is that due to the coastlines of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales being inundated with rain the rest of our journey would be marred and no fun.  The forecast is for more rain in the coming months.  I am disappointed by this as I was so looking forward to revisiting the beaches which I consider to be some of the best in the world.  That will now have to wait.  I am determined to do this on a separate trip later on as well as finish off the Queensland bit of our big lap.

Following on from my Sydney page, we made a snap decision to get out of the caravan park that we were staying in as it was located near Windsor and flood warnings.  Thank goodness we did.  We drove the van up to hubby's sister's property in Tamworth and our niece looked after Tookie for us for a week.  She has a bird too so it was nice for both of them.  Then we drove back down and stayed for a night at the Sydney Airport Travelodge before catching the plane to Tassie.  We were able to leave the car at the Travelodge so that worked out well.  



We both liked Launie when we visited in 2018.  I had already spoken to a caravan park 16 minutes south of Launceston who confirmed that they take permanents.  We were looking forward to visiting and checking it out.  More about that later.

Ahhh, the food and the Pinot Noir!  This is what Tasmania does the best.  So of course we were going to taste a bit of what Tassie does the best.


The Jailhouse Grill

Oysters!  Yuum!  I do the best Oysters Kilpatrick.  Guess what?  The Jailhouse Grill does them better!  The other thing that is good about the Jailhouse is the salad bar.  So many nice choices.  We dined here twice.  I think our first meals were the best.  Hubby got the duck which he said was delicious and I ordered the meat pot pie which was juicy and full of flavour.  My mouth is watering right now.  Second time around hubby got the prawns on skewers and I had a juicy steak.  And of course we ordered the oysters again.

The food here is equally as good as The Black Cow Bistro in town and probably half the cost.  Last time we visited we went to The Black Cow and it was real good, but the price you pay really sours it a bit.  




We ate here last time and loved it so much that we had to come back.  The thing I like about the Alchemy is its cosy ambience and quirky decor.   The food, although not as good as the Jailhouse, is nicely presented and well made.  We will be back.



Last time we visited we stayed at the Grand Chancelor in town.  This time I chose a cheaper one, Hotel Launceston which is now under the Mercure group, located up the hill a bit.  Yes Launceston it very hilly.  In fact one of the hills we drove up kind of scared me.  It was like driving at a 90deg right angle.  I had to shut my eyes.

Anyway, I prefer the Grand Chanceler, but it was a little bit too expensive.  This time around it was all about obtaining bargains.  We sure got a bargain travelling Jetstar.  Actually I like the leather seats in Jetstar and checkin was easy.

We had dinner one night at the Titanium Bar here.  Not real good I'm afraid.  The calamari was cut in huge strips and way over cooked and my fish was muddy and tasted like Mullet.  The only thing that was good about the Titanium Bar was the lovely lady that runs the place and the big Margarita they made me.



We couldn't wait to go back to the Lavender Farm.  Main reason was to have some more Lavender Scones.  True to form, they were just as good this time around as last time.  Still no signs of the fields of Lavender.  We need to come back in summer for that.  Never mind, we enjoyed the views anyway and bought a couple of essentials - Herbs of Provence and Lavender spray for hubby's mask.


Lavender Farm Update

Finally!  We visited in December when the lavender was in full bloom.  Check out my Nabowla 2022 page for the full story and fantastic pictures including why the name Bridestowe and not Nabowla where the Lavender Farm is actually located.  I did not know that at the time of writing this page, so if you have come here because you know the Lavender Farm as the 'Bridestowe' Lavender Farm, then now you know to look for it in Nabowla and not Bridestowe.  Does that make sense? 



Further up north from Bridestowe and Scotsdale and right up the top end is the quaint coastal town of Bridport, a fisherman's paradise.  It totally looked and felt like Esperance down the bottom end of Western Australia, a place that people gravitate towards in the hoards in summer.  In winter we could imagine it to be only for the toughest of fishermen.

The beaches here are pretty.



We took the cross country road to another fishing village, Low Head.  The countryside was lush green with lots of pine forest and mountanous bushland.  It was a nice trip.

Low Head is located just above the township of George Town and at the mouth of the Tamar River and Bass Straight.  It's claim to fame is the Pilot Station and Accommodation including the Maratime Museum, lighthouse and Foghorn which is one of the only two operating in Australia.  The Foghorn goes off at midday every Sunday.  

We stopped off at the Pilot Station which consisted of these unique white washed buildings with red roofs overlooking the Tamar River.   The little cafe here is lovely.  We had a small snack and coffee.  Everything was nice.

After, we checked out George Town and the wood carvings on the foreshore.  

The other claim to fame here is the penguin tours.  We'll save that for another time.



We think that we may have found our place of retirement.  After checking out the Riverside Caravan Park at Longford, it didn't really do anything for us.  The sites that they offered us were too out in the open, there was no bus stop nearby and the cost seemed to be rather expensive.  Although on a river there didn't seem to be any place to actually swim here and obviously no pool.  There were a couple of pros, Longford is 16 minutes south of Launceston, within 10 minutes to the airport and has a bowls club nearby.  I thought I might like to take up bowls.

We were also advised that there is a Discovery Park at Hadspen that does permanent residential living as well.  Hadspen is nearby so we decided to pay a visit here.  I had already researched caravan parks with a pool and unfortunately neither had one.  I thought that if we couldn't live by the beach, then the next best thing would be to have a pool.  I dipped out in both departments.   😔

We were much happier with the caravan park in Hadspen.  The Manager was super nice, it had lots of greenery and the sites that she showed us were way better than at Longford.  Other things going for it is a community vege garden.  Sounds good.  I would love to plant some herbs, tomatoes etc.  There was a sign out front saying community BBQ on Friday.  Nice.  😀    Plus we can put a permanent hard annex onto the caranvan.  That is important for us, especially in winter when we need the warmth.

Plus there is a little IGA, Bottlo, Post Office, Take Away and Fuel just next door.  Brillant!  There is a bus stop right outside the front of the park with regular buses into Launie.  Perfect!  Woolies is only 10 minutes up the road and Launceston is 15 minutes.  The airport is just 13 minutes away.  That is a must for us as we need to be close to an airport to go visit the family and make quick getaways to the sunshine and coast up north QLD in winter.  We were happy also to see that the Esk River is just down the hill, so I can get my swimming fix when it gets hot in summer.  There were plenty of places to walk into the river here.  All the above, plus our electricity and water are included in the rent which is way cheaper than at Longford.  Now that, we consider to be a bonus.  Almost too good to be true.

Below is a pic of the site we are looking at moving into.  A motorhome is parked there at the moment but the Manager assured us that he does not plan to stay there permanently.  Right next door is toilet and shower amenities which is a bonus.  Behind the van is a quiet space that we plan to have table and chairs, BBQ and lots of nice pot plants.  Our own little paradise.  

One little problem though, by the time we put the van and annex on site, there will be no place for a car port.  But just to the left is an old what looked like abandoned caravan just out of shot.  We are hoping to use the empty space that you can see there to park the car.  If not, then guess we will have to figure out a Plan B.  

I snapped the other photo as we were coming back down the hill into Launceston.



The other caravan park that we have been advised of is at Beauty Point which is north of Launceston.

We checked it out and it didn't suit us.  The caravan park here is mostly permanents.  They were squeezed in like sardines and the park is miles away from anything.  I guess it would be nice for fishing and boating, being on the Tamar River, but that's about it.  

Moving on, we drove over to Devenport.  I didn't realise Devenport was so far away from Launceston.  I thought it was up at the mouth of the Tamar River.  Nope, you can see from the map below that it is quite a way up north/west.  

I found a cafe here for a late breakfast.  The Laneway Cafe has good reviews on Google.  It is tucked away in a laneway so it was difficult for us to find.  After driving up the road and coming back down, I spotted it.  So we went around the block to find a parking spot.

It was paid parking so I downloaded the app and plugged us in.

We both liked the rustic look inside and outside of the Laneway Cafe.  Very bohemian.

The menu was interesting and both hubby and I chose something a little different.  Hubby went for the deconstructed eggs, bacon and sausage and I decided to go for the waffles, bacon and maple syrup including some haloumi.  Mixed reviews here.  Hubby's deconstructed eggs looked like scrambled egg and my dish, although different and nice, would only be something that I had maybe once a year.  Nice, but kind of a little rich with the maple syrup.  After paying $60 which is expensive for breakfast, we ambled to the car.

Guess what?  When we got to the car, there was a parking fine stuck to the windshield.  WTF?  

I called the Council and they ran through the steps I had made to pay for our parking.  Part of the process was spinning a wheel.  I have no idea what that was about.  But I do remember that it showed 10:30 after I spun the wheel and then pressed start, so I thought that we were good for an hour until 10:30.  The Council chick said that it hadn't registered so I must not have pressed start.  No, I pressed start alright.  I still don't understand what the spinning wheel and 10:30 meant? ... 

Upon reading the reviews for EasyPark, it seems that we are not the only ones that have had a problem with this lot.  Google reviews show 1 star and I added my review of 1 star to the rest.  

I told the Council Shella that in future we will be parking at Coles or Woolies and made her attach the $27 receipt of payment to our parking docket and go get an envelope to put them in.  Well that was my little protest, including a no 'thank you'.  I then promptly turned around and walked out.... head held high.  Jim Carey voice in my ears, "Take care, bye bye now."   You won't see me back here.



So with our focus on moving to Tasmania, and after our bad experience at Devonport, we ask why?

Ahhh yes, that's right, food and wine!  


That being said, I just had to come back to my favourite winery - Goaty Hill.  That may change when we move down as Tasmania has plenty of wineries to choose from.  Goaty Hill Winery has a lovely crisp Rose and a devine Pinot Noir.  

Located on the Tamar River and just 3/4hr from Hadspen, it is small but the views overlooking the vines is supurb and it is quiet.  Doesn't get any better.

They also do a lovely cheese board including my favourites, lavish crackers, quince paste, strawberries and pear.  I cannot wait for daughter Kelli to visit.  She would absolutely love it here too.



Who's idea is it to put a Swiss Village in Tasmania?  

But I tell you what..... it works.

Grindelwald village is built around an artificial lake and hosts a world class resort complete with beautiful European architecture, a minature golf course and surrounded by a real golf course.  It is only 15 minutes north of Launceston.

Driving through this place we were presented with beautiful swiss style homes complete with manicured gardens and acres of lush greenery and white fences.  It was so reminiscent of the scenes that we saw in the actual Switzerland.  We were sold!

The little village here was free which surprised us.  We had brunch outside a little dutch cafe.  In fact, the village was constructed by a Dutch migrant to Tasmania in 1980 and finished in 1989, the year that we left our first house in Kincumber to live in Nimbin.

After we strolled down the quaint thoroughfare and to the lake.  There were a few guys playing with their miniture sail boats on the lake.  Beside the lake were a few BBQ's.  I am sure that we will be coming here for a BBQ.   Hubby can play golf and I will play mini golf.  

Speaking of mini golf.  The mini golf course was like a minature paradise, surrounded by a little brook complete with small fishing nets to fish our your stray balls.  Oh I am going to love playing golf here. 




We decided to drive to Cradle Mountain which is the highest one near Launceston.  It's a long trip, about 2 1/2 hours.  I wouldn't recomend doing it in 1 day.  I'll expand on that later.

After driving for what seemed like days, we hung a left at a small town called Sheffield and headed towards the Mountain.  In front of us was what we thought was Cradle Mountain and after negotiating the road almost right around, we figured that it wasn't at all.  Instead we were looking at Mount Roland, a magestic mountain in its own right.



We reached a junction in the road at Moina with a left hand turn to Cradle Mountain.  By this time hubby was concerned that we may run out of fuel.  Rather than risk it, straight ahead was what looked like a country Inn, so I said to hubby let's stop here and I will go in and ask where the closest fuel is.

When I walked in, this beautiful Inn was so inviting with its wooden architecture and homely country cooking smells.  This was the place for lunch.

The nice attendant suggested that we go right and to Wilmot, a small village about 10 minutes down the road.

So we headed towards Wilmot and filled up the tank.  The petrol station consisted of a small grocery store and the cutest little Bottlo next door.  We stopped just down the road for hubby to visit the loo and I took the oppotunity to try some close up abstract photography of the rustic wood.

There was a fabulous local grafitti painting here.  One of the better ones that we have come across in our travels.



Thoughts of those country cooking smells still permiated in my brain.  It was lunchtime and I was hungry.

I didn't have to do too much to convince hubby to stop off at Moina for lunch.

Cradle Forest Inn was just the place.  We were warmly greeted by a nice young guy who made us feel welcome and attended to our drinks order.  We made our way out to a big verandah out back with sweeping views of the countryside.  There was only one other couple here that chose to dine inside so we felt like we had it to ourselves. 

Lunch was pleasant.  Hubby ordered an Indian dish and I had the pie.  It wasn't the best we have had.  Hubby said his was sayso.  My pie was juicy, however there was something in the ingrediants that was a little sweet which turned me off.  

We enjoyed ourselves here.  If we were to visit Cradle Mountain again, then I would consider staying here.



Cradle Mountain was a huge disappointment.   After we left the Inn, we drove to the Information Centre at end of the road.  We were sad to learn that to go to Cradle Mountain we had to leave the car there and take the tourist bus to get there.  Obviously this was at a cost.  I saw red and immediately checked out.  No one is going to charge me to see a mountain.  Are you kidding?  Looking at the pictures revealed that it was nothing special anyway.   So that was the end of that.

If we ever come back to Cradle Mountain, and that is a big IF, I will not be paying to look at a mountain.  Hubby is welcome to do that.  I will instead make sure that we stay in a cabin with an outside jacuzzi that you can crank up to 40C and an inside wood fireplace.  Otherwise, forget it.  Lol.



No comments: