Crestview Blueberry Farm

Traversing Crestview Blueberry Farm
Crestview Blueberry Farm
Crestview Blueberry Farm © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

I’m still deciding which is my favourite pick-your-own fruit farm in Tasmania. Crestview Blueberry Farm is definitely a contender. Does it have a café? No. Public amenities? No. A sealed car park? No. What is does have is an abundance of gorgeous blueberries for a very reasonable price. That’s a win for me!

Pick Your Own
Pick Your Own © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Picking your own fruit has many benefits. Firstly, you’re out in the great outdoors. Secondly, you see how your fruit grows (and why it’s so expensive to have it picked and packaged for you!). You also choose your own fruit – some people are very fussy pickers, selecting only the plumpest fruit but I tend to have a fill-the-freezer attitude! Take friends and family and it’s a community event.

Blueberries
Blueberries © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Blueberries are a fantastic berry. They are easy to eat, freeze well and make a delicious addition to smoothies. You can even use them as ice-cubes on a hot summer’s day. My picking tips are to look for the dark-blue (almost grey) berries, check for marks/splits and remove stalks (you don’t want to pay for those!). Crouch down inside the bush then look up and you’ll find glorious bunches of blueberries!

Rows
Blueberry Rows © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Of course, it’s not all fun and games! I have plenty of scratches on my arms and crouching down inside a blueberry bush is hard work. There are creepy crawlies; you’ll find spiders scurrying out of your blueberry bucket (they are often quite small – nothing to worry about!). I highly recommend the adventure of picking your own berries though.

What to Bring

Views
Views © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Although blueberry bushes are shady, it’s hot work picking the berries so you’ll need sun protection and drinking water. Make sure that you use the public amenities at Lilydale Waterfall Reserve before you visit as there are none at the farm. If you bring your own food, there are a few spots to sit and eat or you can purchase food in Lilydale. You’ll need to bring cash as credit card/EFTPOS facilities are not available.

Getting There

Crestview Blueberry Farm
Crestview Blueberry Farm © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Crestview Blueberry Farm is a half-hour drive north of Launceston via Lilydale. Don’t make a special trip out unless you know that it is open; check the farm’s Facebook page or ring ahead first. From Lilydale, keep travelling north but take care as there are some sharp turns just after the Lilydale Waterfall Reserve. At the top of the hill after the turns, you’ll find the farm on the right-hand side of the road – it is clearly signposted but has a tricky driveway to navigate. You’ll find plenty of parking but it is on gravel and grassed areas. If you’re using Google Maps to navigate, just type in Crestview (and nothing else) or the physical address (524 Golconda Road, Lebrina).

Cost

Crestview Blueberry Farm
Crestview Blueberry Farm © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Crestview Blueberry Farm is open in January and February (sometimes March too). Have a look at their Facebook page for up-to-date opening hours and farm closures. This year (2018), I paid $7 per k/g for blueberries (remember to bring enough cash). When you enter the farm shed, you’ll see a stack of white buckets. Take one and fill it and you’ll have approximately 3.5kg of blueberries. Last time I checked supermarket prices for a tiny, tiny punnet of blueberries, that’s a fabulous price!

Looking for more to do in the area? Head to Bridestowe Lavender Estate or choose your own adventure in Tasmania’s midlands, north or not too far away east coast.

Greens Beach

Traversing Greens Beach
Our swimming spot...
Our swimming spot… © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Two days ago, we went for a beautiful swim at Greens Beach. Following the coastal track around to a rocky outcrop, the water was clear, cool and deep. We saw a school of tiny fish, a jellyfish and something that looked pufferfish-esque. Today, the tide was out. Way out. A lady sat in a deck-chair in the exact spot that I had been out-of-my-depth in the ocean two days before. Welcome to Greens Beach!

Low tide
Low tide © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Greens Beach is very popular with families. When the tide is in, its shallow expanse makes for warm water and a kind environment for beginner swimmers. If you like deeper water, walk out on the coastal track or on the rocks. When the tide is out, my only recommendation is to get in (once you’ve made the long walk across the sand to the water!) and enjoy yourself. If swimming isn’t your thing, you can walk along the beach or around the headland to West Head Lookout. There’s also a nearby golf course if you prefer a different sort of walk.

Lichen
Lichen © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Views of Low Head Lighthouse make Greens Beach very picturesque. Like East Beach (on the other side of the Tamar River), you’ll also see the distinctive orange of lichen covered rocks. There are more treasures to be found in the rock pools.

What to Bring

Greens Beach
Greens Beach © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Bring all the usual beach gear – towel, swimmers, sun-protective gear, water, friends, flotation devices and, of course, your deck chair. The takeaway shop across the road was doing a roaring trade when we visited the beach; I hear that they do very good chips.

Getting There

View of Low Head Lighthouse from the rocks
View of Low Head Lighthouse from the rocks © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

It’ll take you about 50 minutes to drive from Launceston to Greens Beach on the West Tamar Highway. Stay on the highway until Beaconsfield. After the petrol station in Beaconsfield, turn left, following signs for Greens Beach (C720). If you do stay on the A7, you’ll just take a scenic tour to Beauty Point (which I highly recommend!) before making it to Greens Beach. You’ll find parking spaces at the beach front and in nearby streets.

Cost

Swimming
Swimming © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

All public beaches in Tasmania are free to access. You can also use the barbecues and amenities for free. If you’re feeling particularly sporty, there’s exercise equipment to use and there’s also a playground for the kids. All in all, Greens Beach is a great place to go adventuring!

Staying in Tasmania? There’s plenty to explore in the nearby north, midlands and north west regions.

East Beach

Traversing East Beach
Low Head Lighthouse
Low Head Lighthouse © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

I visited East Beach last week for a quick swim on a hot day. When I arrived, I realised how much I’d forgotten about the location. For one, I’d forgotten that Low Head Lighthouse is visible from the beach. I had also forgotten that there is a giant sand dune at the other end of the beach. As if all of this wasn’t enough, East Beach faces onto Bass Strait. Whichever way you look, it’s a spectacular sight.

Dunes
Dunes © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

East beach is a surf beach. This might make you think twice about going there, particularly with kids, but it is a great beach for swimming. While I was there, kids in floaties swam in the surf with their dad and a toddler played with his father in the shallows. The water was warm and clear, the waves were gentle and the sun shone brightly. I would return there in a heartbeat.

Pebbles
Lichen and Pebbles © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The beach is also good for exploring. Lichen-covered rocks (like those found at Bay of Fires) can be found at the lighthouse end of East Beach, along with many interesting pebbles and shells. The  dunes are rich with coastal flora and a good walk along the shore will take you to the impressively tall sand dunes.

What to Bring

Dunes
Dunes © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

For an enjoyable day at any beach, always check the weather and wear appropriate clothing. In winter, you’ll need to rug up as the coast can be cold. In summer, bring your bathers so that you can go for a swim (the water is beautiful!) and wear sunscreen and protective clothing. You won’t find a store nearby so bring some food and water. Low Head Pilot Station is three minutes’ drive away and has a café if you’d prefer that.

Getting There

East Beach
East Beach © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

East Beach is about 45 minutes’ drive north of Launceston. Stay on the East Tamar Highway until it turns into Low Head Road. Turn right when you reach Gunn Parade (or East Beach Road – they create a loop). You’ll find ample parking at the beach near the picnic area.

Cost

East Beach Tourist Park
East Beach Tourist Park © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

As with all public beaches in Tasmania, you can access the beach for free. East Beach has a basic toilet and change-room block available for public use. You can also use the adjacent picnic table and barbecue facilities. Nearby East Beach Tourist Park has wood carvings on display that are sure to entertain the kids. Enjoy your day!

On your way to or from East Beach, I recommend visiting Low Head Pilot Station and Lighthouse, the Bass & Flinder’s Centre and Watch House at George Town and Hillwood Berry Farm. I’ve also visited several other places in Tasmania’s north and on the east coast – happy travels!

Alum Cliffs

Traversing Alum Cliffs
Alum Cliffs
Alum Cliffs © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There are two Alum Cliffs in Tasmania: one in the south and one in the north. I visited the latter, which is located near Mole Creek and Chudleigh on the way from Launceston to Cradle Mountain. Listed as one of Tasmania’s “60 Great Short Walks”, the walk to tulampanga (Alum Cliffs) was indeed short and great!

Views
Views © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Located in a farming region, the views from between the trees, out over nearby pastures, are rather lovely. I caught a glimpse of the mountains in the distance at one point too. Look around you: A friend saw a falcon in the sky and I spied two gorgeous pink orchids in the bush. There are several interpretive signs to help you better understand the history and significance of the area.

Alum Cliffs Lookout
Alum Cliffs Lookout © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

After 20 minutes, including stops for photos, you’ll find yourself at a small staircase. This leads to the Alum Cliffs Lookout. The view that awaits is at once understated and spectacular. It’s a humble view, of the river below and the cliffs opposite, but it’s impressive because of the sharp angles of the Alum Cliffs, especially in contrast with the surrounding bush. Sit a while and enjoy the view.

What to Bring

Alum Cliffs Track
Alum Cliffs Track © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

It really is a short walk to the Alum Cliffs Lookout so you won’t need to bring much with you. That said, weather in Tassie is unpredictable and we have some critters (snakes, ants, spiders) that can make life unpleasant at times so bringing basic first aid supplies and wearing appropriate clothing is a must on any walk in Tasmania.

Getting There

Alum Cliffs
Alum Cliffs © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Take the Bass Highway north from Launceston (or south from Devonport), turning onto the B12. Head towards Mole Creek. Shortly after you have passed through the township of Chudleigh, turn right onto Mersey Hills Road. My husband thought that we were lost at this point as the road is narrow and winding. Don’t worry! You will eventually come across a well-signposted carpark on the right-hand side of the road as it takes a sharp bend. You can’t miss it.

Cost

Dusk
Dusk © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Free, free, free! As this is a reserve, entry to the Alum Cliffs Track is completely free, that is, you don’t need a Parks Pass. Thank you, Parks and Wildlife Tasmania, for providing yet another well-made track, complete with interpretive signs.

While you’re in the area, make sure that you look at the truly gorgeous Mole Creek Caves. Staying a while? Read about my adventures in the surrounding north and north-west areas.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate

Traversing Bridestowe Lavender Estate
Bridestowe Lavender Estate
Bridestowe Lavender Estate © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

I have visited Bridestowe Lavender Estate before, in winter. Even then, it was impressive. In summer, the lavender is in bloom, making the farm a must-see. Fields of purple follow the contours of the land, pointing to the distant Mount Arthur. It is a spectacular sight!

Bridestowe Lavender Estate
Bridestowe Lavender Estate © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You can wander through the fields for as long as you like. Once the hazy smell of the lavender, the beautiful view of Mount Arthur and the thrill of taking the perfect shot have worn off, there’s more to do. Walk down to the dam, picnic under the oak trees or stroll near the pines, admiring the intriguing statues. When you’re finished, head to the buildings.

Ice-cream!
Ice-cream! © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You now have choices. Ice-cream first? A lavender blend is available from the very cute truck. What about Devonshire tea? Lavender scones and lavender tea with lavender jam on the side await you in the café. Prefer retail therapy? The Bridestowe Lavender Estate gift store is bursting at the seams with lavender produce, including the famous Bobbie the Bear. When you’re done eating and shopping, join a guided tour.

The Distillery
The Distillery © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

As Bridestowe Lavender Estate is a historic property, the lavender distillery is well worth having a look at. The farm was founded in 1921 and relocated to Nabowla in the mid-1940s. The distillery is a quiet testament to times gone by. You’ll find antique bottles, signs, tins and equipment, as well as a brief explanation of the distilling process.

What to Bring

Lavender Fields
Lavender Fields © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

It sounds obvious, given that you are visiting a farm, but do wear sturdy shoes. Even in summer, it will rain at times and the red earth turns to mud quite quickly! Wear weather-appropriate clothing and take your camera with you. Selfie-sticks are very popular (and useful) but I still can’t bring myself to use one!

Getting There

Mount Arthur
Mount Arthur © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Bridestowe Lavender Estate is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Launceston. It is located in Nabowla, which is north-east of Lilydale. Allow extra time for sight-seeing. We stopped at Lilydale Falls Reserve on the way for a short walk as the falls are very peaceful and picturesque. You could also visit one of the well-known wineries in the area, such as Pipers Brook Vineyard or Jansz Tasmania. There is ample parking at Bridestowe Lavender Estate. Instead of driving, you can take a bus (either as a tour or just as public transport) from Launceston to the estate.

Cost

Gift Shop
Gift Shop © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You’ll pay $10 per person to visit Bridestowe Lavender Estate when the flowers are in bloom. If you are a local or a Friend of Bridestowe (you can sign up for free on Bridestowe Lavender Estate’s website), you’ll get in for free! You can also visit the estate out of season free of charge. The shop and café both have EFTPOS facilities but I’m not sure about the ice-cream truck so take a little bit of cash with you. The estate is open from 9am to 5pm daily (except Christmas Day). Enjoy walking through the fields of lavender and soaking in a little bit more of Tasmania’s unique history.

Staying a while? Read about my adventures in Tasmania’s north and east coast.

National Automobile Museum of Tasmania

National Automobile Museum of Tasmania
National Automobile Museum of Tasmania © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania is an unexpected gem. Filled with an ever-changing display of privately owned special interest vehicles, there is sure to be something to catch your eye. This weekend, entry is free and there is a display of vehicles outside. Yesterday, this included a vintage firetruck. Today, bike rides are on offer! Inside the museum, the delights continued.

1968 Aston Martin DBS Vantage
1968 Aston Martin DBS Vantage © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Have you ever seen a Bond car in person? I have! Although it may not have been the best Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service did feature a stunning car. Until October 2017, you can see this car, complete with guns in the glove-box, at the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania. The display also features other “movie stars”, including Herbie, a yellow Superbug and a Sunbeam Alpine Drophead identical to the one driven by Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief.

Tasman Bridge Disaster
Tasman Bridge Disaster © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The museum’s penultimate exhibit is a rather humble 1974 Holden Monaro GTS. As you look into the car, imagine sitting there, the front dangling approximately 60 metres above the River Derwent. Why? Because that’s exactly what happened to the owner, Frank Manley, and his wife on the night of 5 January 1975. After the Lake Illawarra hit the Tasman Bridge, theirs was one of two cars left hanging over the edge of the broken bridge. Being able to see this car in person is a privilege.

British Bikes
British Bikes © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The mezzanine floor of the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania was a treat for me. On this floor, you’ll find vintage motorbikes. I grew up visiting my Pop’s garage, which contained a Norton, a Douglas, a Triumph and a Scott with a manually operated horn (my favourite!). There are plenty of other bikes on display, including a rather stunning Scout. Downstairs, there’s also a 1915 Douglas and a mini Honda.

1928 A Model Ford "Lizzie"
1928 A Model Ford “Lizzie” © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Other exhibits include a sky-blue Thunderbird, several Jaguars, a Locomobile and a 1928 A Model Ford “Lizzie”. The Ford belonged to Tasmanian pioneer Fred Smithies O. B. E. Famous for his adventuring and photography, this car has seen some of the best of Tasmania. It is fantastic to have Tasmanian treasures on display alongside other vintage vehicles.

Getting There

Fire Engine
Fire Engine © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania is a ten-minute walk from Launceston’s CBD, directly opposite Launceston’s City Park on Cimitiere Street. Parking is available on the street or in the adjacent car-park (fees apply). The museum is open from 9am – 5pm (10am – 4pm in winter) everyday except Christmas Day.

Cost

Herbie and Superbug
Herbie and Superbug © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Visit on the annual Community Awareness Weekend (the last weekend in August) for free entry and an additional display of special interest vehicles. Usually, prices are $14 per adult, $11 per senior and $7.50 per child (under 16). For $35, you can purchase an annual pass. This is a good deal for those who would like to return to see the new exhibits every three months. Although small, the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania is well-curated, showcasing important pieces of our motor-vehicle history.

Traverse Tasmania with me! Read about my adventures in Tasmania’s north, northwest and midlands.