At trail stops, the produce is on show and available to taste and buy, but you’ll also get to see how it’s grown, collected, fermented, processed and packaged. Some offer tours and often you can meet the people behind the food and beverage inspiration.
Here are some bite-size chunks of this grazing trek, plus a few detours thrown in to help work off any new belt buckle bulges.
The only thing I knew about hazelnuts, before visiting Hazelbrae, was that they taste pretty good in a block of Cadbury Whole Nut chocolate.
But fresh hazelnuts — really fresh ones — are actually crunchy. I discover, after talking to owner Christie McLeod, that the ‘softer’ hazelnuts I’ve tried before are imported and probably at least 12 months old.
Christie’s family has had Hazelbrae for seven years and with 5000 trees, it’s the biggest family grove in Australia.
The Big Nuts are the first thing you’ll notice at this great family stop, with a playground, processing and packaging plant and cafe converted from a 100-year-old shearing shed. You’re surrounded by rows of hazelnut trees — perfect for a picnic platter featuring hazelnut-infused cheese.
Where: 127 Station Lane, Hagley
Stay: Hagley RV Farm Stays
WESTERN TIERS DISTILLERY
At the heart of Western Tiers Distillery are the shiny copper stills, designed by Stillsmiths Tasmania and handcrafted on site by Kolmark.
The gin and whisky are as impressive as the views — inside, glass walls show off the state-of-the-art distillery and outside are the majestic Tiers on the horizon.
Where: 67 Meander Valley Road, Westbury
Detour: Stop off at Tamar Valley Truffles on Ecclestone Road, Rivverside. Did you know oak trees are ‘inoculated’ with truffle spores which then mate to produce truffles four years later?
That’s just one of the interesting facts you’ll learn on a tour of Tamar Valley Truffles with manager Marcus Jessup, which has 3000 truffle-ready oak trees and is just off the Tasting Trail, overlooking Lake Trevallyn. Usually dogs are used to sniff out these delicacies. The best time to see them in action is June.
If you’d rather just eat truffles, the online shop has truffle-infused products like salt, risotto, mustard and cheese. For more information, visit tamarvalleytruffles.com.au
Just out of Launceston, overlooking Tamar River is Turner Stillhouse. Pop in for a tasting and to see how Justin Turner makes gin “the old fashioned way” adding botanicals like fresh rose petals and white peppercorns.
Where: 1A Waldhorn Drive, Grindelwald.
REDBRICK ROAD CIDERWORKS & DISTILLERY
Apple and pear cider and gin on tap in a funky shed full of comfy eclectic furniture. Enough said?
Corey Baker uses natural local ingredients for his unpasteurised, unfiltered, delicious creations — and did I mention it’s on tap? Tasting paddles cost $20
Where: 30 East Parade, Deloraine
Stay: Straight across the road is the Deloraine Apex Caravan Park right on the river.
Detour: On the way to Mole Creek, stop off at Chudleigh — the village of roses.
WANDERING TROUT TAPHOUSE
Wandering Trout is a boutique craft beer brewery with a Taphouse in a historic building in the main street of Mole Creek.
The ale is hearty, the food is a fresh, sophisticated take on Mexican and Asian street food and the views of the Great Western Tiers are worth soaking in.
The beer is brewed off-site and off-grid. The Taphouse brings it all together with tastings plus stores of local handcrafted wine, cider, gin, whisky and rum.
Where: 100 Pioneer Drive, Mole Creek
Stay: Mole Creek Caravan Park on the banks of Sassafras Creek or book a room upstairs.
Detour: Make day trips to Cradle Mountain, Mole Creek Caves, Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary, Wychwood Gardens, Walls of Jerusalem National Park and walking trails to Alum Cliffs, Devils Gullet and Westmorland Falls. Check out the Tassie Tiger Bar’s memorabilia about the elusive (or extinct) Tasmanian Tiger.
Mole Creek Caravan Park
CHRISTMAS HILLS RASPBERRY FARM
A great spot for breakfast or any time you get a hankering for juicy raspberries. Berries are put into cakes, ice-cream, muffins, desserts, jams and wine.
Fresh raspberries are available between December and May, but don’t leave without a tub of the frozen choc-coated raspberries.
Where: 9 Christmas Hills Road, Elizabeth Town
HOUSE OF ANVERS
In 1986 baker Igor van Gerwen wanted to buy his girlfriend Belgium truffles, but he couldn’t find the quality he was looking for. So, he made his own.
The result is melt-in-the-mouth history with the launch of the House of Anvers.
Anvers is serious chocolate territory with a tasting centre, a museum that explains why chocolate has always been so popular (does it need explaining?), and the chance to watch chocolates, truffles, pralines and fudges being made. They make about 1000kg of truffles a week!
Break out the stretchy pants because it’s hard to leave empty handed and without trying chili hot chocolate.
Where: 9025 Bass Highway, Latrobe
TASMANIAN PICKLED ONIONS
The love that goes into pickled onions is eye-watering. Just ask the four women who pack 5000 jars a day at Tasmanian Pickled Onions. That’s 3.5 tonne a day — all hand processed so as not to bruise them.
From the restaurant, you can see the ‘crying room’ where onions are inspected, peeled, trimmed, brined, rinsed, spiced and bottled.
Where: 100 Westella Drive, Ulverstone
Detour: Take the scenic route along the jagged north coast to Penguin. The fields of small white daisies you pass are pyrethrum. Tasmania is the world’s main producer of this natural insecticide.
HELLYERS ROAD DISTILLERY
One thing that strikes you about Hellyers — apart from the 2000 barrels of whisky you pass on the way to the distillery — is the lack of copper stills.
“They’re here,” Andy Bower says on our Whisky Walk Tour. “But Hellyers was started by dairy farmers who didn’t want anyone to know what they were doing. They hid the copper stills in stainless steel vats.”
Hellyers has something for everyone. Come for lunch, take a tour, stock up, or do it all.
And if you’re not a whisky fan, try the Whisky Cream. It’s a perfect marriage between dairy and whisky — thank goodness for dairy farmers.
Where: 153 Old Surrey Road, Burnie
Detour: Explore Burnie, Tasmania’s biggest port.
GUIDE FALLS FARM
Rachel Jacka and Matt Lacey have turned a passion for regenerative agriculture into an interactive, working farm that doubles as a tourist attraction, an education centre and a restaurant.
“We want to use agriculture to save the planet,” Rachel says. “We’ve gone back to basics, and everything is done by hand or by animals.
“If you want an area dug up, just add pigs. They eat anything and trample the ground they walk on.
“If you just want soil turned over, let the chooks loose.”
There are rabbits to hold, a horse to pat, enclosures full of exotic birds and chickens, platypus in the dams and delicious lunches at Grazings Restaurant.
Where: 309 W Ridgley Rd, West Ridgley
Yes, another distillery. This one, though, is a much more intimate experience in old stables on a farm.
Sarah and Matt fell in love with distilling and decided to leave the corporate world to follow their passion. Alchymia Distillery is the result — making small-batch handcrafted gin and single malt whisky. Ask them about making your own barrel of whisky!
Where: 599 Tollymore Rd, Table Cape
Detour: Head off the trail and visit the Table cape Tulip Farm on Table Cape Road, Wynyard. When the flowering season starts in September, Table Cape Tulip Farm changes from a farm to a tourist hotspot. The gates open to 20,000 people tip-toeing through the tulips. (Mind you, it’s not easy to tip-toe in rubber boots.)
Table Cape can thank a 12-million-year-old volcano for its fertile soils. Outside of tulip season, it’s worth checking the views from Table Cape Lighthouse. For more information, visit tablecapetulipfarm.com.au.
Table Cape Tulip Farm
BLUE HILLS HONEY
When Rueben Charles established bulk honey production at Blue Hills in 1955, he started a business that has evolved through three generations. Robbie and Nicola Charles are in charge now, looking after 2000 hives as well as the interpretive centre and the opening of an on-site restaurant.
Honey production here is all about the path to “well-beeing” with a focus on honey’s natural healing properties.
“Leatherwood honey has been found to have 365 bioactives … all those things that are good for you,” Nicola says. “I think it will prove to be better than manuka.”
And if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a bee, there’s a 3D movie experience that offers a bee’s-eye view of the whole honey creation process.
Where: 1858 Mawbanna Road, Mawbanna
Detour: Drive 6km to the two-tiered Dip Falls and the Big Tree which measures 17m around the base.
You’ll have to book ahead to get a table at Hursey Seafoods restaurant in Stanley. And it’s not all about lobster, they say. (Although it’s very hard to go past it.)
Whatever is fresh from the ocean, you will find swimming in the water tanks. Buy it fresh or cooked in the restaurant or as takeaway.
Where: 2 Alexander Terrace, Stanley
Stay: Stanley Cabin and Tourist Park or Stanley RV Camping site.
Detour: Take time to explore Stanley from Highfield House up on the hill to the quaint streets with colourful cottages and walk or take the chairlift up The Nut.
TARKINE FRESH OYSTERS
Plucked and shucked straight from Duck Bay, that’s the promise. Tarkine Fresh Oysters is an oyster farm with a retail outlet and licensed restaurant.
Dine in or take them away, and add a serve of their popular seafood chowder.
Where: 1/25 West Esplanade, Smithton
Detour: Take a deep breathe, the air here is the cleanest on the planet! West of Smithton is Cape Grim, Marrawah and Arthur River — then Argentina.
WHAT WE MISSED
The trail really does have something for everyone (visit tastingtrail.com.au for the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail map. Printed copies are available at trail stops and visitor information centres.) Here are the stops we missed along the way:
- Dixie Blue Gelato Cafe
- Cycles @ The Empire Hotel
- 41 Degrees South
- 3 Willows Vineyard
- Melita Honey Farm
- Van Diemens Land Creamery
- Ashgrove Dairy Door
- Seven Sheds Brewery
- The Truffledore
- Prickly Mo
- Spreyton Cider
- La Villa Wines
- Ghost Rock Wines
- Peter and Una Seafoods
- Southern Wild Distillery
- Turners Beach Berry Patch
- Buttons Brewing
- Cradle Coast Olives
- Mount Gnomon Farm
- Penguin Beer Co
- Infuse Coffee Roasters
- The Chapel
- Communion Brewery
- Kimchime Tas Fresh Farm