Longford Show

Traversing Longford Show
Woodchopping
Woodchopping © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There are several Tasmanian events that I really look forward to each year. One of them is the Longford Show. Why? Where else will you find woodchopping, show-jumping, alpacas, fairy-floss and a good dose of Australian humour all in the one place? Today, the Longford show did not disappoint, with its green grass, blue skies and stunning display of goodwill and talent.

Animal Nursery
Animal Nursery © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You’ll be met by local Rotarians at the gate. When you enter, turn right for the woodchop. You’ll never want to leave! It’s my favourite sport! From here, work your way around the Showgrounds anticlockwise. The animal nursery and display by Tasmanian Fire Service were highlights for the little ones in our group today. Who doesn’t want to see a baby goat, sit in the driver’s seat of a fire truck or have a go at holding the fire hose?!

Fleeces
Fleeces © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

From here, it seems like the show-bags, merry-go-rounds, junk food stalls and rides have taken over but don’t be fooled! If you look carefully, you’ll find the wool-classing shed, floral arrangements, an art display (of local children’s work) and pony rides. Besides, who doesn’t love a merry-go-round?

Blacksmith
Blacksmith © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

After the exhaustion of side-show alley, grab a bite to eat and sit awhile by the show-jumping. It’s an elegant sport. From here, it’s a short walk to the snake display and the blacksmith’s shop, both of which are strangely fascinating. The craziest thing at the Longford Show, in my opinion, is the dog show. Have you ever seen people in suits prancing around with their pooches? It is hilarious, yet a very serious competition!

What to Bring

Show Jumping
Show Jumping © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Today was absolutely glorious. Blue skies and sunshine made the Longford Show delightful. Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen or you’ll turn into a lobster! Also essential is a bottle of water and sturdy shoes. You’ll do quite a bit of walking so practicality beats fashion. Cash is a must for your entry fee. Today, the line at the local ATM was very long so get cash out before you head to the Show.

Getting There

Fire Fighting
Fire Fighting © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Longford is approximately 20 minutes’ drive south of Launceston, towards Hobart. From Launceston, you can reach Longford via Perth or via a turnoff from the Bass Highway onto Illawarra Road. The latter is a very pretty, country drive. There is ample street parking in Longford but be prepared for a short walk (5 – 10 minutes) to the Showgrounds.

Cost

Alpacas
Alpacas © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

At $12 per adult, I think that entry to the Longford Show is a bargain. You’ll pay $6 for children and $30 for a family (two adults and two children). I’d pay that much just to see the woodchopping, but I am a bit of a woodchop-aholic! Please note that prices may vary from year to year. I was also impressed with the range of food (and food prices) inside.

If you have time, stay in Longford for a while and visit nearby Brickendon and Woolmers, both fabulous attractions! You can also read more about my adventures in Tasmania’s north and midlands.

Ben Lomond in Winter

Traversing Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond in winter
Ben Lomond in winter © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Ben Lomond in winter. Skiing. As my husband says, it’s “an adventure”! I may be slightly traumatised from my first ride on a T-Bar lift, from losing a ski on a black slope (we were crossing it to bluer or greener pastures!) and falling off one of the Poma lifts, but I still highly recommend a trip to Ben Lomond in winter. Why?! Read on.

Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Firstly, your ascent to the mountain is horrifyingly spectacular. Horrifying? If you don’t have your own chains, you’re in a beaten up, mud-caked LandCruiser with no seatbelts on Jacob’s Ladder, which is a very tricky piece of road. Spectacular? Look at the stacks of rock rising on either side of you! Look at the view!!! It was so breathtaking that I didn’t even worry about the crazy road.

Wallaby
Wallaby © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Secondly, I saw wallabies in the snow! There were at least three of them. What an unexpected sight! Remember not to feed native animals (even if they do look cold and hungry!) as processed foods can give wallabies lumpy jaw which is an awful disease. I enjoyed photographing them from a distance.

Poma Lift
Poma Lift © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Thirdly, the “adventurous” conditions are strangely comforting. The lifts that break down, strange bumps on the Poma tracks, rocks everywhere, people in hodgepodge clothing (including one of my workmates in his ex-postman one-piece!) and so on only add to the fun.

Snowman
Snowman © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

If you’re looking for a family day out, there is a roped off area just for tobogganing. Forgot the toboggan? You can hire a toboggan and skiing or snowboarding gear on the mountain. Warm up in the café with hot food and drinks or in the public shelter next to the log fire. Don’t know how to ski yet? Book a group beginner’s lesson with Ben Lomond Snow Sports School at 10am or 12noon or a private lesson at 12:30pm. Make sure that you book your lesson the day before you visit the mountain.

Ski Fields
Ski Fields © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Finally, you’ll find lots of lovely locals at Ben Lomond in winter. Thanks to the ranger who greeted us. Thank you to to the shoe-fitter, who got my boot size just right. Thanks to the skier, who gave us great tips. Many thanks to the lady who rescued my ski!!! It would have been a long hobble across the slope without it!

Getting There

Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Ben Lomond is about an hour’s drive from Launceston via St Leonards. Follow signs for Ben Lomond National Park. There are a few kilometres of gravel road to drive on when you reach the park. A ranger will greet you and you’ll need to pay for your entry to the park if you don’t already have a Parks Pass. Unless you have snow chains, you’ll need to park your car and take the shuttle to the top. Chains, fuel and parks passes can all be purchased/hired in Launceston or Hobart. You won’t find fuel for sale or chains for hire on the mountain though.

Cost

Shoe Library
Shoe Library © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The cost for a one-day Parks Pass for one vehicle is $24 or you can purchase a holiday pass for $60. If you purchase your pass at Ben Lomond, you’ll need correct change. An additional $15 per person will see you shuttled up to the snow. You can hire gear at reasonable prices. If you arrive later in the day, gear hire and lift passes are cheaper but you will be left with the scraps when it comes to gear. Lift passes are $70 per adult per day or $45 after 12:30pm. All this is worth it, for the adventure that is Ben Lomond in winter.

On your way to or from Ben Lomond, why not stop at Corra Linn? Staying a while? Read more about my adventures in Tasmania’s north and midlands.

Corra Linn

Traversing Corra Linn
Blessington Road
Blessington Road © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

This is my 50th post about a Tasmanian experience or place. I spent a long time contemplating where to go, what to do, but all these plans were laid to waste when, unexpectedly, a friend introduced me to his favourite place in Launceston.

Rapids
Rapids © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The best thing about living in Tasmania is when you find gems: a person you’ve never met, food you’ve never tasted, a place you’ve never seen. This week, I visited Corra Linn for the first time. Although I’d heard plenty about it (as a favourite spot with locals for a summer swim), I had no idea how spectacular it would be.

Corra Linn
Corra Linn © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The entry to Corra Linn is unobtrusive. Park in a gravel area to the side of the road. Climb over the roadside barrier. Find the part of the fence where the barbed wire is rolled over and climb over the fence. Mind the broken bottles and the cow pats. Now comes the best part: look up.

Rock Fall
Rock Fall © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Corra Linn is a gorge on the North Esk River. Towering cliffs guard a waterhole, patches of sand, rapids and rock falls. My friend tells me that one of the rock falls had occurred very recently due to ice expanding inside the rock. The area would certainly be a geologist’s paradise! I’m sure that rock climbers enjoy it too. The gorge is a magnificent contrast to the surrounding paddocks.

Water hole's edge
Water’s edge © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

In winter, Corra Linn is a beautiful spot to sit and contemplate. I’m told that it’s a great place for swimming in summer, however, take care as there are submerged and falling rocks. Ownership of Corra Linn has been unclear in the past and therefore the area is not well maintained. There are no safety barriers or signs and the gorge has not been developed. It is a wild place, worth the visit just for its natural beauty.

Getting There

Bridge
Bridge © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The gorge is about 15 minutes’ drive from Launceston or Evandale. Your navigation system may have alternate spelling (Corra Lynn). Note that Corra Linn Distillery is actually a good 15 minutes’ drive away so don’t use this as a reference point! Instead, search for 292 Blessington Road, St Leonards.

Cost

Corra Linn
Corra Linn © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Entry to Corra Linn is free but at your own risk. Enjoy the beauty of wild Tasmania!

Staying in the area for a while? Read more about my adventures in Tasmania’s north and midlands.

Claredon

Traversing Claredon
Elms
Elms © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Claredon is, as our guide so accurately said, a “happy house”. The gardens are beautiful, the house is grand and the sun was shining brightly today through the leaves of the elm trees.

 

Claredon
Claredon © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

So much love has gone into Claredon. The house was originally built in 1838 to celebrate the love of James Cox and his second wife, Eliza. They established a merino stud at Claredon. After land grants were split up and the property dwindled in size, the estate became harder to run as a farm. It was sold, first to the Boyes family and then to the Menzies family. The Menzies bred race horses, two of which won the Melbourne Cup. In 1962, Mrs. Menzies gave the property to the National Trust.

Sitting Room
Sitting Room © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Claredon has been lovingly restored from a derelict house by the National Trust. The house is currently in good hands. If you visit in the next month, you’ll have the privilege of seeing a private exhibition of paintings, including a painting by John Glover. You’ll also see antiques seated next to modern timber furniture from Launceston’s Design Centre. You’ll even get to sit on some of the precious furniture! Your guide will tell you of Dulux’s upcoming Claredon paint range, which will see the house’s walls restored and repainted. There are many stories of benefactors, such as the Sydney interior designer who refurbished the front two rooms for a private function. All this attention has resulted in a wonderful face-lift for a stately home.

Eliza's Piano
Eliza’s Piano © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

What I like about Claredon is that it is a mix of the old and the new. Eliza’s stunning upright piano sits in back room. The cellar, which was previously filled with sand to counteract poor foundations, smells as musty and old as a convict prison. The upstairs rooms, with their peeling paint and hole-riddled walls, display gorgeous bedroom linens. An upstairs room is also dedicated to ladies’ fashion from the 1830s through to the 1960s. New things grace the house too, such as Michael McWilliams’ painted table, depicting the history of the house and of Tasmania in a stunning and thought-provoking way. Pictures don’t do the intricacy of his work justice. Go and see if for yourself!

Walled Garden
Walled Garden © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Claredon’s gardens are stunning. The walled garden is very peaceful and colourful. There is even a “Secret Garden”-like doorway to the back of the house and outbuildings. Have a look at the original items in the coach house and wool shed. The stone barn is also lovely, albeit dark. Between the stone barn and the wool shed is the Australian Fly Fishing Museum. It was closed when we visited (due to Easter).

Getting There

Michael McWilliams' Table
Michael McWilliams’ Table © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Claredon is ten minutes’ drive south of Launceston. Follow signs for Launceston Airport, Evandale and then Claredon. If you are heading to Hobart after visiting Claredon, drive to Nile and then on to the Midlands Highway. Evandale is a unique town and you should plan to spend a few hours here too, viewing the buildings, the stores and the art exhibitions. You can read about my day at the Evandale Village Fair and Penny Farthing National Championships here.

Cost

Fashion Collection (Clothes Rack by John Smith)
Fashion Collection (Clothes Rack by John Smith) © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Admission to view Claredon is $15 per adult, $10 per concession and free for children under 16. Admission costs include access to the house (with an introduction by a lovely guide), exhibitions, gardens, outbuildings and grounds. Ticket holders also have complimentary access to the Australian Fly Fishing Museum and the Norfolk Plains Heritage Centre. The property is open from 10am – 4pm on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. It is also open on Fridays during summer. For up-to-date opening hours, see the National Trust’s website. There is a tearoom onsite and the house is surrounded by the river (on two sides) and is, reportedly, a good spot for a fish. Bring a picnic lunch or your fishing rod and enjoy an afternoon at Claredon.

To read more about my adventures in Tasmania’s gorgeous Midlands, click here.

Brickendon

Traversing Brickendon
Brickendon Entry
Brickendon Entry © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

If you find yourself in Northern Tasmania, I highly recommend a visit to Brickendon. Run by the Archer family continuously since 1824, this property is a unique place. Parts of the property, such as the Farm Village, seem frozen in time. You can walk into buildings such as the smokehouse, the blacksmiths’ shop or the pillar granary and feel as if you could be right there, back in the 1800s, on a working farm. Brickendon is also UNESCO World Heritage Listed (one of 11 such listings in Australia) due to its convict heritage.

Pillar Granary
Pillar Granary © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Your first stop is the farm village. This is both a time capsule and a working farm. If you are there at 10:15am, you will be able to participate in feeding the animals. Even if you’re not there at 10:15am, there are plenty of animals to see. There are sheep in the paddock near the farm village. I was greeted (loudly!) by a turkey upon arrival and found a group of ducks sitting under the pillar granary. There are also geese, chickens and more ducks near the poultry shed (which has been set up as if it were a country kitchen).

Brickendon Farm Village
Brickendon Farm Village © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The buildings have a few concise information panels and this brevity works very well, particularly if you have already seen the introductory DVD. I highly recommend viewing the DVD upon arrival. It is a first-rate production and gives you a lot of insight into the Archer family and Brickendon’s history (and future aspirations). You also get to sit in a Sussex barn while viewing it which is a lovely experience in and of itself!

Shearing Shed
Shearing Shed © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

As the farm is a working farm, some of the displays are actual work sites, such as the shearing shed and stables. Here, you’ll see beautiful timber walls and relics from times past alongside modern shearing machines. It is a privilege to see generations of hard work, progress and innovation preserved in one property.

The “working” aspect of the farm village extends to more than farming. You can stay at the Farm Village in the Farm Cottage. What an awesome experience that would be! While I was at Brickendon, a wedding was taking place in the gardens of the main house and one of the Sussex barns was set up as a reception venue. I accidentally had a sneak-peek and it looked gorgeous!

Brickendon to Woolmers Walk
Brickendon to Woolmers Walk © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Brickendon and nearby Woolmers Estate are joined via family history and a walking track. Two Archer brothers, Thomas (Woolmers) and William (Brickendon), originally owned and ran the two farms. I plan on doing the walk between them later this year (when it’s not too hot or too muddy!). It is a 2.8km walk via a suspension bridge (closed between 5pm and 9am daily). Your entry fee to Woolmers Estate is reduced if you have come via Brickendon.

Brickendon Homestead
Brickendon Homestead © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The actual Brickendon homestead is across Woolmers lane and this is where the second part of your visit takes place. Simply drive across the road, up the gravel drive, and park near the homestead. You then have access to stunning gardens and a view of several heritage buildings. These are also used as accommodation so please be mindful of guests. When I was there, the wedding was in full swing in the garden so I took a couple of photos of the house and then left them to it. I think I’ll have to return to do the walk to Woolmers and to view the rest of the garden. I don’t mind; it’s an enchanting place!

Getting There

Brickendon
Brickendon © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

As I stated in my post on nearby Longford Berries and Cherries, there are several ways of reaching Longford (and therefore Brickendon). My two preferred approaches are via the B52 with a view of farming countryside or via Woolmers Lane from the Midlands highway. These routes are both picturesque and allow you a glimpse of years gone by in the form of overhanging trees and hedgerows. If you are travelling via Woolmers Lane, Brickendon is clearly signposted with the carpark on the right. From Longford, turn left at the fork, following signs for Brickendon and Woolmers Estate.

Cost

Brickendon Gardens
Brickendon Gardens © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Entry to Brickendon currently costs $12.50 per adult, $11.50 per concession, $5 per child and $38 per family. For up-to-date prices, see the Brickendon website. There is also a small gift shop in the entrance Sussex barn. The Farm Village and Heritage Gardens are open from 9:30am – 4pm year-round except for Mondays and Christmas Day. Opening hours are extended until 5pm in summer. The Main House is the reception during winter. Whenever you visit, you’re sure to be in for a treat as you walk through the lives of the convicts and experience the past and present of the Archer family.

Brickendon Animals
Brickendon Animals © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Read my other posts on Tasmania’s Midlands here.

Longford Berries and Cherries

So many strawberries!

Tucked away down a backstreet in Longford is Longford Berries and Cherries Berries and Cherries. Their strawberries are perhaps the best in Tasmania. No, I haven’t been to every berry farm in Tasmania to test this definitively but they are the best that I’ve found so far!

Strawberries
Strawberries © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Sometimes, berry picking can be a little disappointing, particularly if you arrive later in the day. I arrived at Longford Berries and Cherries at about 2pm yesterday and there were so many berries that I could have picked until they closed! They are only open three days a week (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday) which sounds inconvenient but it’s not. It ensures that everyone can enjoy a plentiful pick. The farm may be open on other days if there is an excess of berries. Keep an eye on their Facebook page.

Longford Berries and Cherries
Longford Berries and Cherries © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Another thing that is fabulous about Longford Berries and Cherries is that the berries are organic. This means that you can bring your kids and not worry if someone stuffs a sneaky, unwashed berry into their mouth. Even though it’s always best to wash your fruit, at least they won’t be eating pesticides! Dennis also treats children very kindly. He even has a sandpit and play equipment set up for them.

Beautiful view
Beautiful view © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The farm is in a serene location. There is a lake (not accessible), a nearby farm to look up at while you pick berries and stands of gums surrounding the strawberry patch. Make sure that you have sunscreen, a hat and sturdy shoes and you’ll have a lovely time. Berry picking is also quite communal and you never know who you’ll meet. I found myself in very good company; thank you for the good conversation!

Getting There

Strawberry Patch
Strawberry Patch © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Longford is a beautiful, heritage town located approximately 20 minutes’ drive from Launceston. You can drive towards Hobart on the Midlands Highway, turning off to Longford at Perth. This is the least interesting way of getting to Longford. Instead, continue towards Hobart through Perth and take the next turn to Longford. This will take you through hedgerow lanes past the UNESCO World Heritage Listed properties, Woolmers Estate and Brickendon (add more travelling time though). You can read my post about Brickendon here. It is worth spending a full day in Longford to see these sites (and pick berries!). The other interesting way of getting to Longford is via the Bass Highway then the B52. This takes you past farming properties and stunning countryside! Once in Longford, follow signs towards Cressy and then turn right opposite the Longford Show Grounds (if the berry farm is open, a sign will be out on the road).

Cost

Pick your own berries © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Longford Berries and Cherries always has reasonable prices. Jars of jam cost approximately $4. If you’re in a hurry, there are often pre-picked berries in the refrigerator, often for the same price per kilo as to pick your own. Currently, pick your own strawberries are $10 per kg. There are also other berries available (raspberries, blackberries and red currants are my other favourites!) but these are now out of season. The cost includes the use of a picking bucket (small enough for littlies to hold). Have a fabulous time at Longford Berries and Cherries!

Read my other posts on Tasmania’s Midlands here.