Surrounded by lush rolling hills, rugged mountainscapes and the bounty of Bass Strait, the north and north-west coasts of Tasmania are made for exploring. Let taste buds dictate itineraries with the opening of new restaurants, bars and food markets, and then celebrate all that is uncommon and distinctly of this area with festivals, history and wilderness in abundance.
The newest project in chef Ben Milbourne's culinary journey is CharlotteJack, a modern Australian-style restaurant that brings ethically sourced local ingredients to the plate in Devonport. This is Tassie on a plate with dishes like poached crayfish tail with a mussel emulsion and lamb and potatoes (two of Tassie's fine ingredients). Ben also runs Cultivate Events who are currently developing a range of indulgent, intimate and exclusively Tasmanian tours. Guests might forage for their own truffles and experience breathtaking landscapes and locations then finish up for dinner at CharlotteJack - a day well spent.
The Grain of Silo Hotel Restaurant
As the onsite restaurant of the newly opened Peppers Silo Hotel, Grain of the Silos champions Tasmania's seasonal produce under the guidance of Food Director, Tasmanian-born chef Massimo Mele and Head Chef Peter Twitchett. Each dish is inspired by the producers who grew or crafted the ingredients, whether it be fresh seafood sourced from the nearby coastal waters or beef and lamb farmed right up the road. Grain of the Silos cafe serves locally roasted coffee beans, which can be enjoyed in the cafe, lounge or outside deck overlooking parkland.
The Unconformity Festival
Like much of what is found in Tasmania, The Unconformity is a little bit different. It's not your usual arts festival - for a start it's inspired by a rare geological unconformity and the remarkable cultural paradoxes of Queenstown, a small mining community on Tassie's West Coast. The festival is held every two years, with 2018's festival falling from 19-21 October. Meet the locals, walk the landscapes, discover a new take on sense of place and enjoy contemporary arts and cultural activities held around town.
With rolling green hills and bordered by Bass Strait, Devonport is surrounded by incredible produce. With the opening of Providore Place, where the city connects with the farm, it's becoming the hub of all things food and drink in this part of Tasmania. Currently open for Sunday Markets from 10am-2pm weekly with over 95 stalls on offer, Providore Place is also due to open a television production studio, CharlotteJack restaurant by Ben Milbourne (to open in August), Southern Wild Distillery with their bar open in the evenings as well as the Tasmanian Chip Company. The next phase of the project includes a 150 room hotel which is currently out to tender with construction due to start early 2019.
Executive Chef Fabien Lefrancois is bringing his classical French training and Tasmanian produce together at Bistro Camille in Devonport. Having cooked and trained across Europe and Australia, we're now lucky to call him a local. Think classic French fare - terrine and onion soup, boeuf bourguignon and steak frites with all the French sauces, as well as delicious desserts like creme brulee and tarte tartin.
Empress Craft Beer
The team from Saint John Craft Beer Bar have opened a new venue in Devonport, Empress Craft Beer. Named after the Empress of Australia, the ferry that ran between Devonport and Melbourne until 1984, the bar stocks beer from the North-West, Tasmania, interstate and overseas, as well as ciders and a vast selection of spirits. www.empresscraftbeer.com.au
The Paragon Theatre
Having opened in 1933 as a ‘talkie theatre' showing films to big crowds in the Queenstown area, the Paragon Theatre sadly closed its doors in 1985 and was abandoned. In 2003 it was brought back to life, with various owners since then adding to the restoration work. Open daily for coffee, they also encourage self-guided tours of the building, as well as being a home for RoamWild bookings. Films recommence is Spring with updates being shared via the Facebook page and website.
Spirit of the Wild - Gordon River
Cruising the glassy Gordon River has just gone up a level with the newly launched Spirit of the Wild vessel joining the fleet with the national award-winning Gordon River Cruise. Starting in Strahan, the boat takes you cruising across Macquarie Harbour (which is six times the size of Sydney Harbour!) to Hell's Gates then up the beautiful Gordon River. The vessel has been designed to offer quiet cruising with a unique hybrid drive system fitted with both diesel engines and electric motors. The experience includes a chef-prepared buffet lunch, two walking tours, audio tours for international guests and three seating options, or check into the Premium Upper Deck with a private viewing deck and lounge area and lots of complimentary extras.