Monthly Archives: May 2017

More Information About Shene Estate

Tasmania is going through a boom right now with new distilleries opening up each week and still makers running waiting lists. Shene Estate is a family run business channeling a rich history into a new premium product, Poltergeist Gin.

We tagged along with Hobart and Beyond’s recent Heritage Highway instameet to see what we could find with a trusty Pentax Sportmatic and a few roles of Fuji Superior 200.

Shene Estate is a historic homestead located at Pontville north of Hobart. The estate is one of the oldest in Tasmania being established in the 1800’s. The buildings were designed by Francis Butler who was the architect for many of Tasmania’s oldest buildings in the early colony and much of the labor was provided by convicts.

Walking around the grounds you get a real sense of just how old these buildings are with their narrow entrances and hand carved stone. The buildings are so old there are even signs of pagan religions with symbols carved into the stone itself.

During the colonial days of the British Empire Shene was one of Tasmania’s wealthiest estates and a prized symbol of power, today it stands as a relic of a bygone era with a new found purpose.

In addition to the distillery Shene Estate also doubles up as a perfect spot for holding a unique wedding with heritage charm. Only a few weddings are held here each year making it a sought after location.

Poltergeist Gin

If you love Gin then you absolute must include a trip to Shene in your visit to Tasmania. Poltergeist Gin is an award winning product having won a Gold Medal at the World Gin Awards and the San Fransisco International Spirits Competition in 2017. Poltergeist is made using Tasmanian produced Copper pot stills and local ingredients.

If you want to take a bottle home with you make sure to check out the cosy road side stall (open sundays) where you can purchase direct from the manufacturer.

Amazing A Launceston Getaway

A few weeks back myself and Yasmin were granted the rare luxury of two days off… TOGETHER. This miracle required action, so without haste, we chose a new location to explore and booked ourselves into a hostel.

We packed weekend bags and plenty of car snacks for Yas (she gets cranky without a constant supply of food to occupy her). I updated my ever-growing Spotify road trip playlist and by 8am we were smugly waving sayonara to Strahan.

Our destination? Launceston. Tasmania’s second largest city, a leisurely 3.45 hour drive away. As well as constant toilet breaks (we like to stay hydrated whilst driving), there were plenty of unplanned stops along the way, to marvel at the mountains and lakes which dominate the West Coast.
We opted to take the more scenic route, cutting through Cradle Mountain national park in a series of twists, bends and stomach flips. As we climbed ever higher, we found ourselves blanketed by misty, white clouds, reducing visibility to just a few feet ahead at times and were confronted by the familiar smell of the recent bushfires.

Back out the other side and the scenery changed once more, to craggy mountains ranges, rolling hills, quaint, quirky towns, farms, deep greens and even a little sunshine peeking through from time to time.
Later down the road we dropped in to Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm for a sweet treat and a little break from the drive. Being unashamedly English, we couldn’t help ordering scones and clotted cream with some of their deliciously fresh raspberry jam. I also thought that it would be fun to branch out and try a raspberry latte, but this was a step too far.

A short while later we checked into our accommodation for the next two nights, Arthouse Hostel; circa 1888, creepy as hell and most definitely haunted by the ghosts of Launceston’s past.

We ‘treated’ ourselves to a private room – consisting of one double bed. Sleeping together doesn’t really phase us these days, almost 17 months into our trip we have shared most things.
That evening we splashed out at Cataract on Paterson restaurant. We were in our element, indulging on lethal cocktails, the best steak we have ever tasted and ogling the beardy barman.

We rolled into bed, exhausted by the long day and proceeded to have the worst sleep in months. It turned out, we had both become a little too used to our sleeping arrangements back in Strahan. We are spoilt with our own rooms and double beds, so the combination of Yasmin’s deep snoring and my irritable wriggling did not go down well.

Nevertheless, we were up early and after a short walk across the river into the city and a bloody good coffee with some banana bread at Sweetbrew, our grumpiness subsided.

It was then on to Cataract Gorge. The river gorge is just a 15 minute walk from the city centre and one of the region’s top tourist attractions. I can see why; I was in awe. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting much. The word ‘gorge’ never particularly conjures images of beauty in my mind, but this was simply gorge-ous. The sun was warm but the air cool, making it the perfect temperature for ambling, it was a wonderfully quiet weekday morning and for once, we were in no rush whatsoever.

We took the King’s Bridge Cataract Walk pathway and moseyed along the riverbank, stopping frequently to appreciate the interesting rock formations, wildlife and tranquil sounds of the water.

We eventually reached the basin, a haven with manicured gardens, a café and peacocks roaming around freely. We crossed the water and hopped onto the chair lift, to give ourselves a different perspective of the gorge – and because when you are presented with the option to ride along in a chair lift, you never decline, obviously.

We stopped for a cup of tea at the café, I tried to touch a few peacocks and then we slowly headed back along the path we had come and into the city once more. Another thing I loved about the gorge was how accessible it is from the heart of Launceston, making it a perfect escape for anyone residing in the hustle and bustle, craving a dose of Tasmania’s stunning wilderness. It was almost like stepping through a portal.

Post lunch, we stuck our heads into City Park after word on the grapevine informed us that there would be some monkey’s there. Again, I didn’t expect much. I envisaged a few sad cages and a couple of bored, sleeping primates. I was proved wrong again. The enclosure was large, interesting and filled with macaques. Big ones, teeny weeny ones, angry ones, horny ones… we spent a good half an hour watching them play, fight, groom, jump around and sexually harass one other. All that was missing was a comfy chair and a big ol’ tub of popcorn.

For our final evening in Launceston, we headed to the Prickly Cactus for my favourite cuisine: MEXICAN! Nachos and margaritas galore.

Although our visit was incredibly brief and work was ever looming in the back of our minds, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Launceston. Like all the other cities I have visited in Tassie, it felt a lot more like a large town. I loved the old buildings and historical feel, it is a nice place to just amble around and there are plenty of spots for good food and coffee.

The following morning, we checked out early and hit Coles supermarket to stock up on essentials. Our drive home was filled with laughs, music and sunshine.

We even had time for a last minute detour to a little seaside town called Penguin, where we contently sat on a bench overlooking a gorgeous little beach with a takeaway coffee and muffin.

Since our trip, it has been back to 50+ hour work weeks. Tourist season is in full swing here in Strahan and visitors come by the bus load – literally. But time is flying, our bank accounts are looking beautifully healthy and more adventures await us very, very soon.

Know More Aout Snug Falls

Just a 40 minute drive from Hobart is the delightfully named coastal town of Snug. So the story goes the town was named for the snug and agreeable seclusion of the inlet by European explorers –whatever the truth is – Snug is home to one of the most impressive and accessible waterfalls close to Hobart.

Once you reach central Snug, the drive up the hill to the Snug Falls track is a mix of dirt and sealed road, but was easily managed by my teeny-tiny car. Be aware that as you drive up Snug Tiers Road you will need to take a left fork into Snug Falls Road: otherwise you will end up on a 4WD track or at someone’s house. Top tip – take the drive up Snug Falls Road slowly – the road is very narrow and so passing can be difficult – and no-one wants to end their adventure tumbling the car down the side of a hill.

The carpark is clearly signed, has room for about six cars and the track starts about 150m further up the road. At only 45 minutes return the track is an easy four kilometre walk. Allow an additional 30 minutes for photos and exploring (especially if you are learner photographer like me and spend all your time changing lenses and then changing them back).

The track itself slowly descends from forest down into a gully and there are benches and a small shelter along the way if you need to stop to admire the view (or change a camera lense). We came across a mix of people walking the track: families, groups of friends and dog walkers (the trail is accessible by dogs on lead) and everyone seemed to have a smile on their face or a stick in their mouth.

When we reached them the Falls were in full and noisy flow due to recent snow and rain in southern Tassie. When you get to the Falls make sure you take a moment to take it all in and put your camera away for a bit. The gully is framed by ferns and mosses and provides ample opportunity for further exploring over the rocks and down the river. If it had been a little warmer we may have gone for a paddle at the base of the Falls, but we saved that adventure for the slightly warmer summer months.

We took the walk back up the hill from the Falls at an easy pace and reached the carpark just in time to drive back down into Snug as the pink evening light fell.

Bring:

  • Shoes you don’t mind getting dirty
  • A friend (or some random stranger to take your photos / carry your stuff)
  • Water
  • Clothing layers (it got colder as we descended into the gully)
  • Camera / smartphone (because waterfall photos obviously)

Other things nearby:

  • The Snug Tavern – there’s beer – need we say more?
  • The Beach – a bit chilly for swimming in the winter, but a pretty walk along the coast in the evening.
  • Drive on to Kettering and catch the ferry to Bruny Island – the fabled land of cheese, oysters and did I mention cheese?