Despite being July – it’s winter in Tasmania and a heavy depression was forecast bearing snow. We decided to head North out of Hobart for the day to avoid the white stuff.
The spectacular scenery of the Derwent River Valley soon had us in awe prompting many stops for photos. Very quickly we passed by road signs naming towns I knew harboured whisky distilleries. Alas – being the driver for the day meant I had to pass them by!
Cambridge – Home to the Lark Distillery after moving out of it’s Hobart base.
Kempton – The whole farm to bottle ethos of Peter Bignell certainly produces some excellent rye whisky.
Redlands Distillery is also in the town.
Bothwell – The Nant Distillery has it’s picturesque base here.
There were also a myriad of signs beckoning the wine lover to vineyards. Tasmania is truly full of wine, whisky and beer production to please all tastes.
The rains soon came down after we had crossed over Spring Hill Tier which at nearly 400m / 1300ft is one of the highest points on the Midland Highway. Rains so persistent and heavy that it reminded Mrs Whiskey of driving to work in Galway!
I only got out of the car for a brief photo opportunity at Perth. Partly as the Post Office corrugated iron work architecture appealed to me and also in homage to Perth in Scotland – once a hotbed of whisky distilling and blending being former hometown to Bells, Dewars and Famous Grouse.
By the time we reached our destination of Launceston there were flood reports on the radio. It reminded us of Midlands 103 back home and the flooding in Athlone – although we both had to laugh at the irony of Dangerous Dave on Heart 107.3 as he tended to play the most inoffensive middle of the road rock ever. We did sing along though – despite the downpour outside! Shame he didn’t play this exciting slice of Aussie pop.
Launceston also happens to have a new whisky distillery in the making – Launceston Distillery – as well as housing the James Boag Brewery of which tours are available.
We chose some lunch however.
Pierre’s Restaurant Brasserie seemed to satisfy both of our requirements. Fine food for herself and some fine whisky for me.
We weren’t disappointed.
The warm sumptuous interior contrasted with the wild wet weather outside. There were quite a few lunchtime diners delaying their departure until the deluge subsided.
I ordered a bowl of hot tasty soup along with a Nant American Oak Sherry Wood Single Cask – well – we had passed by the distillery on the way. The sherry finish gave a sweet body to the rather light yet well balanced single malt.
Hesrelf had a lovely wine and Thai fish cakes.
Tasmania seems to excel in it’s gastronomic delights. Our meal was only a light snack yet was bursting with flavours – much like the Tassie whisky!
I got chatting with some of the friendly helpful staff. They have quite a range of Tassie whisky on show at the front bar. Whisky and gin tasting evenings have been held which were very well attended and enjoyed. More events supporting locally produced food & drinks are always being explored.It’s a pity we wouldn’t be around for the next extravaganza.
Luckily by the time we had finished our lovely meal the rains had eased allowing us a visit to Launceston Cataract Gorge which was our intended tourist spot of the day.
The heavily wooded steep sided slopes drop down to a raging river below swelled by all the recent precipitation. A cable car ride across the ravine is a high point but sadly it happened to be closed. We made do with a walk along the forested trail. Dusk wasn’t far away and some of the local wildlife made their presence felt.
A quick snap of the animal confirmed it to be a Tasmanian Pademelon. A small type of kangaroo only found in Tasmania and normally nocturnal in it’s habits. Seeing it certainly made us happy to have spotted a few of them in their natural environment.
Not a bad way to end our trip to Launceston – despite the lashing rain!