From the Tamar Valley to Launceston – where to eat, drink and indulge.
The Spirit of Tasmania lands in Tassie’s North West, a region with an abundance of food, wine and culture to be explored. Home to the hub of Launceston and flanked by the scenic Tamar Valley (home to some of Tassie’s tastiest wines, ciders and produce), travelling gourmands will find themselves with an impossibly long to-do list upon stepping off the ferry. But fear not, foodie friends, we’ve made a list of the not-to-be-missed spots within easy driving distance. Let’s go!
Every good adventure involves some killer culinary finds, and Tasmania’s northern coastline is a good place to start. It all begins in Devonport, where you’ll find beachside eateries such as Drift – a casual takeaway and dine-in cafe and restaurant – and the Hill Street Grocer, home to some of the region’s most delightful cheese, bread and baked goods.
For the next stop on the journey, you’ll be adding some Tasmanian wines to the trip. Spreyton’s Emilia Wines produces drops that showcase Tasmania’s unique cool-climate winemaking conditions – their chardonnay is a stand-out. While you’re on the topic of good drinking, check out Spreyton Cider Co., just a hop, skip and a jump away. Developed on an apple plantation that dates back to 1908, the team at this brewery have had over a decade to learn what makes a good Tasmanian cider, and they’re doing a stellar job of it.
Keep driving a little further into Barrington, the inland farming area that plays host to Barringwood Estate and retro cafe and tasting room, Tuckshop at Barringwood. The vineyard boasts one of the longest growing seasons in Tasmania and produces a range of elegant drops from these harvests, plus some very special sparklings. At Tuckshop, take a seat and lap up sweeping views across Don Valley to the sea, while dining on terrines, housemade pasta and freshly shucked oysters in a stylish setting. You’ll also find a funky 1970s-style caravan on-site – once a month, the vineyard hosts a DJ day, where the food truck throws open its doors to serve up Aussie classics such as jaffles, burgers and ‘schmiko’ rolls, as well as local craft beers, distilled gins and house-made soft drinks (and spiders). There’s even an Atari, if you’re feeling nostalgic.
Armed with some lasting culinary memories and a few bottles of home-grown wines to keep you going on your adventure, add some fresh produce to take along with you from Sassafras. Just behind the Bass Highway, you’ll find the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory that serves up 100 percent Tasmanian food, wine and spirits. Try their Gourmet Platter for a taste of it all, from Bruny Island Oysters to local meats supplied by Rocherlea’s Lenah Game Meats, and even whisky cured salmon from the shores of Sassafras itself.
The next stop combines the best in wine and food with a history lesson at Josef Chromy Wines in Relbia. After fleeing his war-torn Czech village and finding refuge in Tasmania, Josef Chromy worked as a butcher before establishing and building up his smallgoods company, Blue Ribbon Meat Products. In the 1990s, at the impressive age of 74, he decided to sell the business and invest in the state’s fledgling wine industry. Today, Josef’s legacy remains – take in the idyllic views before treating yourself to the seasonally changing menu, paired with wines that are grown, harvested, nurtured, bottled (and best consumed) on-site.
When cocktail hour hits, Launceston calls. Geronimo Aperitivo Bar and Restaurant is the place to be if you’re after a classic tipple and a wood-fired pizza to graze on as you reminisce on the adventure so far. If, after all that, it’s a cup of tea or a piping hot coffee you crave, Provenance Coffee Co. is your go-to, gifting each guest with an authentic taste of Launceston and its bounty of natural produce.
Though just a small pocket of Tasmania’s copious offering, the state’s northern region is a great place to start. In just a few stops you’ll tick the food, wine, coffee and produce boxes, leaving time to delve deeper into what this ample state has to offer.
This guide is brought to you by the legends at Spirit of Tasmania.