Launceston - 2023 - A Visit From Jesse & Ellen



We were excited when Jesse & Ellen, our son a partner decided to pay us a visit.  

We didn't think any of the kids would come to Tasmania.


So we planned an itinerary that Jesse & Ellen said they thoroughly enjoyed.  We went sight seeing, ate at Restaurants, Wineries, a Cheese Factory and a Salmon Farm.

Here is the full run down.



The itinerary today was first stop Cressy where Dad starts his bus run. 


Next, as we started the big drive up the mountain, we stopped half way to check out the big hydro pipe that feeds water downhill from the great lake. The force of the water turns the big turbine that generates power.  Poetina Power Station is located 150m undergrond.  The name Poetina aptly means cavern or cave.

We took a detour into Poetina, but there is nothing there.  Just workers quarters. 


Having traversed the long windy road up-hill,  we wanted to see what the Big Lake looked like from the eastern side.  Hubby and I have only seen it from Liawenee.  More about that later.

So we took a side road to Cramps Bay.  Here there were a number of fishing shanties.  These lakes up in the Central Highlands are dotted with little shacks that are owned by fisherman or families as a get-away.  The Lakes here hold mainly trout and there are plenty of fishing competitions to keep you well and truly occupied if you like fishing.  It is mainly fly fishing and just about everyone has a boat and that secret spot.



Located 4,000 feet above sea level, the Great Lakes Hotel overlooks the big lake.  The view here is spectacular!  Looks lovely in winter with snow everywhere but I don't think we will attempt that.

We stopped here for lunch and as usual, it did not disappoint.  Sorry, no food pictures.

However, Ellen and I couldn't help taking a few photos of this awesome Ford Mustang in the car park.  Seems like we both have a bit of rev head in us.



Hubby wanted to take us to Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake however it now costs $15 pp for the bus that takes people up to Dove Lake.  This, along with compulsary Parks Pass is too expensive for a day sight seeing. 

Hubby works for Tasmanian Walking Company, driving hikers from all parts of the world to Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake to commence their overland 6 day hike to Lake St. Claire.  6 days!  Sheesh!  I know what I would rather be doing lol.  I'm exhausted right now, just thinking about it.

You can see where Cradle Mountain is on the map below.  

So hubby decided to take us to Lake St Claire instead.  Well we were happy with that.  Lake St Claire is lovely.  The Visitors Centre has an array of gifts.  I bought myself a nice blue soft jacket.  The lake is close, just a 2 minute walk from the Visitors Centre.  We also had a nice afternoon wine at the restaurant that was not really open, but decided to quietly let us in.  Shhhh.  😉


So on the way back we passed the coldest, most desolate place in Tasmania.  Liawenee is always 10 degrees lower than the rest of Tasmania.  If the weather hits the 20's, it's considered to be a heat wave!  Mid teens?..... balmy.

Not much there, except for a Police Station.  Not sure why?  Maybe they get paid hansomely to stay warm and do nothing?.....  No....  they can have that job!

Not too far from Liawenee is the Great Lakes Look out at Breona.

We stopped for a quick leg stretch.  


Next stop, not too far, is the Pine Lake Boardwalk.

We haven't done the Boardwalk, but have stopped here a couple times before as it is pretty.
I have also included our visit in winter where we came just for hubby to experience snow.
It was sleet/snowing at the time which stings when it hits your eyes.


As you can see from the Map below, we also visited Perth.

Yes, Tasmania has a Perth too.  Not much there. 
But we had to stop for a photo opportunity.






This wasn't a big day like the previous one.

Still, we enjoyed some lovely countryside and experienced what Tasting Tasmania is all about.

First stop, the picturesque little village of Deloraine on the banks of the Meander River.


10 minutes from Deloriane at Red Hills is a natural Salmon Farm that is environmentally sustainable without the use of chemicals.

We have been to 41 South a few times.  The surroundings of natural bush along with a waterfall and ponds where you can feed the salmon, is an absolute pleasure to walk around.

I loved the share plate that we enjoyed overlooking a fountain and bush setting and I am sure Ellen & Jesse loved it too.  We had smoked salmon and salmon pate teamed with a ginseng mix that they grow and make here as well as their own spiced island sauce which goes beautifully with the salmon. 

Check out the Salmon Feeding Video below.


Next stop Melita Honey Farm at Chudleigh.

This is our favourite honey place.  They produce over 50 different types of honey. 
Our favourites are Leatherwood and Wildflower.  I also like the licorice and lavender honey and I have also bought the chili honey which is good to add to my cooking.  Honey tasting is fun.

Fun fact - Melita is made up of Mel meaning honey and Vita meaning life.  They dropped the V and became Melita.  They then found out that the island of Malta was previously known as Melita. Malta has a long history of honey production.  Fact C/- Melita Hone website.

I did not take any pictures this time so here are a couple from by previous pages.  For more on Melita Honey, click the Chudleigh links to the right.


At Mole Creek, we stopped at the Hotel for a coldie overlooking the awesome view over the mountains.


Next stop, Paradise.  Yep, there is a place called Paradise.  And guess what?  

The Promised Land and Nowhere Else is just up the road.  

We didn't have time to show Jesse & Ellen, so we stopped at the sign.


We hadn't visited the local cheese factory before.  I felt like a cheese fondue.  Unfortunately, we arrived as lunch was winding down, so no cheese fondue this time.

Ashgrove Cheese is well known in Australia.  Their cheeses are unique and very tasty.
We had some tastings and bought a small selecton to take with us to the Challet that I had booked for us for the next 3 days.  Jesse and my favourite was the bush pepper cheese.  Yuuum.







We met early in at the Stillwater Restaurant in Launceston.
Ellen & Jesse had stayed in a small unit for the first few days of their visit.
Ellen had mentioned that she would love to eat at a nice restaurant in town. Tasmania is home of great food & wine so there were plenty of choices.  

I chose the Stillwater because it has a view of the Tamar River and is close to this place that I have seen on the net that is very picturesque.  More about that below.

Well the Stillwater did not disapoint.  Their food is supurb!  This restaurant is 5 star and has a price tag to match.  We thoroughly enjoyed our early lunch along with a cocktail to finish off.
Jesse surprised us by covering the bill.  Thank you so much.



Nice Car Ellen ;)


As mentioned before, I wanted to visit this place that I have seen awesome photos of.
It didn't disappoint.

Penny Royal is a mixture of accommodation, adventure and a restaurant all surrounding a man made lake complete with a captain cook lookalike ship, canons and stocks.  See pic below.  😉

Aparently they have rock climbing, cliff adventures, scary bushranger tours, convict barefoot adventure and many more.  But we walked here from the Stillwater to check out the photo opportunities.

One day I would like to come back to check the restaurant and take some night shots.




I chose for us to stay here for 3 days.  The Armalong Chalets are located on a hillside near Grindlewald Swiss Village with awesome views overlooking the Tamar River.

This wasn't my first choice.  Unfortunately Blackwood Cottages at Mole Creek were booked out.  They are very popular.  We have stayed there a couple of times now as two of the cottages have a small round spa on the verandah that overlooks a valley complete with dam and mountains in the background.  Check out the Mole Creek link to the right.

However, I am glad that I chose Armalong Winery Chalets on this occasion as they are located on Tamar Ridge Vineyard with the cellar door plus a Distillary just a 2 minute walk from our Chalet.  Our Chalet was made up of two self contained rooms with separate doors but joined together.  This s a unique idea that caters for two sets of couples to enjoy staying together but also having our own space. 
See the video below.

We enjoyed our wine and liquor tastings up the road.  Ellen bought a bottle of their world best award winning sparkling for $150!  Wow!  I bet it was awesome!







Another great reason to stay here is that it is closer to a few places that I had in mind to show Jesse & Ellen.  We had done the scenic routes showcasing the best of northern Tassie countryside and mountains.

Now it was time for wineries, beaches and other fun stuff that doesn't involve heaps of driving.

First stop is a waterfall that I had seen on the web but we haven't visited yet.  I knew from the write up that it is not too far fom the car park.  I was hoping to get some milky water pix.

And I did!!  



Jesse Grabbed my Camera and Took This one

Moving on, we were excited to show Jesse & Ellen the famous Lavender Farm here.
And the good thing is that they were visiting in Lavener season.
We were not sure if we would see Bridgestowe Lavender Farm out in full colour as it was early December.  However we were rewarded with full colour fields of the stuff!  
Happy days! 😁

December and January, they charge each person $20 to enter.  Hubby did some calculations and he reckons they would be raking in at least $40,000 per day.  That is 500 cars by 4 people in each car times $20 per person.  This with the cafe on top that sells all sorts of lavender foods and giftware, and you can guess how much they are making.  Not sure how labour intensive lavender farming is, but I reckon they are on to a good thing.

Anyway, amongst the tribes of people, I was able to capture some good photos.  Also see my other photos here on the TAS Bridestowe Lavender Farm link to the right and also TAS Naowla.  Sorry, running out of links to my Lavender Farm pages.

Nevertheless, we will not come back here.  The food at the cafe was a major disappointment.  We are used to being pampered with fresh warm and fluffy scones and porcelin ramekins with fresh whipped cream and jam to go with our lavender grey tea.  This time, however, the lavender scones were not fresh and the cream was dollop cream.  Ok, the jam was still the same and good, but not much.  Both jam and dollop cream were served in cardboard containers.  Errrrr!  

Seems like Bridgestowe Lavender Farm at Nabowla has new ownership (probably chinese).
As such it has become too comercialised and has lost the warm family owned type good old fasioned personal customer experience.  Nope, we will not be back.

The flower shots at the end are me playing with my Lensbaby lens in the flower gardens whilst the others enjoyed themselves amongst the lavender.



Last stop of the day - Small Wonders Winery.

This used to be called Goaty Hill Wines and was our favourite.  We visited the new brand Small Wonders the second day following their take-over and were equally impressed with their set up and plan to expand.  Next time we visited, they had updated the cellar door and it looked fresh and new.  We also liked the presentations on their bottles which is a take of olden day dress with a modern silver colour touch and the cheese platter was better than ever.  See below.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with take-overs by a larger company,  the personal touches no longer exist.  The cheese tasting plate was nowhere as huge and variety?  None.  The wine did not taste as good.  And the service?  Not real good at all.  

Consequently, we will not be back.

The photo of the platter below is from the last time we visited.  Unfortunately, I did not take a current photo.  Should I be tempted to go back and shoot the comparison?  No.  I wouldn't waste my money. 
And as for their plan to expand into a restaurant and accommodation?  Mmmm, should I give my take on that?.......

My suggestion if you want to expand and become successful, take a leaf out of the multi-award winning Josef Chromy Winery.  They are huge, but still give good personalised service coupled with the full range of tastings and huge cheese & meat platter.  I wish we had have taken Ellen & Jesse to Josef Chromy.




No, wait.

The Tardis wasn't there lol

But we did spot it on the way and just had to stop to take a pic on the way back. 

Not very often you come across Dr Who in the top end of Tasmania in the middle of nowhere.






Yes, today we are going to show you one of Tasmania's northern beaches, located in the Bass Straight.

But first, it is now time to showcase our new favourite winery, Winter Brook Winery.
However, we enjoyed ourselves so much that I didn't take many photos.  Only the new wall made of cork tiles with winery names on.  Nice. 😆

Anyway, as usual, the platter and wines here was exceptional.

Again I enjoyed the Chardonnay, having just recently in the past couple of years experienced the cool weather Chardy which has so much unusual flavour without the syrupy taste that I have tasted from this type of wine in the warmer climates.  I enjoyed the wines here the first time we came.  So much so, that I sent over a case to Kelli, our oldest.  Kelli and I experienced the taste of cooler climate Chardy together on our Sydney trip and we were impressed.  Having come from die hard SB drinkers, this was a huge difference.

Teamed with a selection of cheese and meats including our favourite pepperberry wallaby (a local meat from Casalinga Gourmet Meats in Launceston), and other meats...... made for a fantastic tasting plate to enjoy with our wine.  Let me say, that EVERY wine here is enjoyable!  So much so that each time we visit we forget to take photos.  I took the 2 pics below as they had changed the wall decoration and I was impressed with the new design.  Stay tuned for updated photos as hubby and I will definitely be back.


Jesse & Ellen also loved the place.



We have been here before so didn't go in.  It is absolutely worth a visit and the cost is not too expensive.
Jesse and Ellen were  glad they visited.
The seahorses are so cute.

We headed up north to the beach.  Beaches in Tasmania are no where near as gorgeous as over in Western Australia or up northern NSW and QLD.  The locals seem to think they are the best.  Poor sheltered citizens lol.

Anyway, Greens Beach was deserted.  We have found most beaches that we have visited here are deserted.  Another testament to the above statement.



Last stop for the day was at a Brewery at Beaconsfield.

I had seen a video of Miners Gold Brewery and thought that would add to our Tasting Tasmania adventure with Ellen & Jesse.  Unfortunately we arrived a bit late for a pizza that would have been a nice way to end the day.

Jesse & I ordered the tastings.  Mmmm, not really good.  Don't think I will be back.







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