Harvest Lauceston

Traversing Harvest Launceston
Harvest Launceston
Harvest Launceston © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Harvest Launceston is a gem. The Ancient Mariner tries to make his forays north coincide with a Saturday morning so that he can visit the market. Why? In the words of Lionel Bart, “food, glorious food!” In addition to eating and purchasing beautiful food, you’ll also meet friendly producers, soak up the atmosphere (and weather!) and be a hop, skip and a jump away from some fantastic shops, City Park and Albert Hall.

Steve's Vegies
Steve’s Vegies © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

My favourite thing about Harvest Launceston is the people. There are many local producers who participate in the market. They are proud of their produce and are on-hand to answer any questions you might have. Best of all, buying groceries becomes a social exchange and not a drudgery performed under neon lights in a giant concrete box! If you’re a local, it’s also highly likely that you’ll run into someone that you know. The market is a great place to catch up with friends.

Harvest Launceston
Harvest Launceston © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Another thing that I love about Harvest Launceston is its seasonality. The amount and variety of producers at the market changes over the year. For example, in summer, you’ll find lots of people selling lovely Tasmanian berries. Easter, Christmas and Harvest Launceston’s birthday are special events. Foods like asparagus and avocado are available (and snapped up!) at specific times of the year. In winter, the market slows down a bit but it’s still very much worth visiting.

Mount Direction Olives
Mount Direction Olives © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You’ll find some fantastically unusual goodies at Harvest Launceston. Did you know that olive oil is best served vacuum-packed? Ask the lovely people at Coronea Grove Olives why. Can olives be a dessert? Yes, and a highly moreish one at that! Try the jarred dessert olives from Mount Direction Olives. Finally, ask Wild Spore why some of their oyster mushrooms are pink.

Coronea Grove Olives
Coronea Grove Olives © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You’ll also find gorgeously fresh staples. Buy seasonal veggies from Steve’s Veggies, Pink Lady apples from Lees Orchard, and a large variety of fish from George Town Seafoods. I also really enjoy beef jerky (trust me, it’s good!) from Kooee! and roasted hazelnuts from Hazelbrae (you can read about my visit to their farm at nearby Hagley here). I have food allergies but there are also lovely bread and butter options too, such as the Tasmanian Butter Co. and Sandy’s Sourdough. There was a queue building at Sandy’s when I arrived at 8:20am!

Tasmanian Butter Co.
Tasmanian Butter Co. © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Harvest Launceston is a communal enterprise. Take a seat on furniture designed and built by UTAS Architecture students. Should you need to use it, there is even a custom built, community-funded shipping container toilet! If you’re offered an advertising pamphlet on your way in, take it. It’s for a local event, which is probably worth going to. The market also showcases local musical talent.

Getting There

Breakfast
Breakfast © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Harvest Launceston takes place in a carpark bordered by Cameron, Tamar and Cimitiere Streets. There is ample street parking nearby and a small portion of parking spaces at the Cameron Street entry to the market. For free parking, park beside the North Esk River or City Park and walk in. The market starts at 8:30am (buying starts when the bell rings) and ends at 12:30pm. Make sure that you’re there nice and early if you are after something specific as some producers do sell out.

Cost

Harvest Launceston
Harvest Launceston © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There is no cost to enter Harvest Launceston. Make sure that you have cash though. Some stalls are cash only and others have EFTPOS facilities. As well as delicious food and drink, you can also purchase Harvest Launceston shopping bags and so on if you wish. If you’re pinching pennies, wander around, say hello to the producers and sample their wares. They know that you, like the Ancient Mariner, will be back to buy next time.

For more of my adventures in Tasmania’s north, click here.

Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm

Traversing Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm
Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm
Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There is a small oasis on the highway between Launceston and Devonport. Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm is a restaurant, venue for special occasions and a retreat from the nearby highway. If you don’t have time for a proper stop, you should at least purchase some chocolate-coated raspberries. Bite through the chocolate for a tangy raspberry hit that is far superior to the lolly version of this treat. Buy the bigger container. As my husband says, “that should last us for the rest of the journey”. He’s joking, but his time frame isn’t out by much!

The Lake
The Lake © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

My favourite thing about Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm is the lake. Surrounded by beautiful, old trees and filled with lilies, it is serene. The owners have created bridges and a newly renovated path so that you can stretch your legs for a short walk around the pond. The path used to be a bit bumpy but is now smoother if you’re a bit unsteady on your feet. There are plenty of places to sit and drink in the view and there are even two alpacas to say hello to! The path leads you past the raspberries but, as the farm is a commercial operation, you cannot enter this area.

Raspberry Sorbet
Raspberry Sorbet © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

My second favourite thing is the food. One thing can be said about the staff at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm: They love experimenting with raspberries! While some past experiments haven’t been so successful, they seem to be hitting the nail on the head consistently now. My favourites are the raspberry fizz drink, the raspberry sorbet dessert and the hot raspberry drink (which you can even order with soy or almond milk!). If you need more than just dessert and drinks, there are breakfast and lunch options too, many of which include raspberries. There are also options for people with dietary requirements.

Farm Shop
Farm Shop © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm is a popular place. We arrived at about 12:30pm today (Sunday, off-peak tourist season) and were lucky to be seated at a table inside. I would suggest that you book ahead if you would like to have lunch at the farm on a weekend as this gem is no secret to locals! If you haven’t booked or if you’re in a rush, you can buy fresh raspberries, frozen raspberries, chocolate-coated raspberries and just about any raspberry concoction you can imagine and take it with you. Raspberry scented socks, anyone?

Getting There

Raspberries
Raspberries © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You can find Christmas Hills just north of Deloraine (and just south of Elizabeth Town) between Devonport and Launceston on the Bass Highway. The farm is about 40 minutes north of Launceston and 30 minutes south of Devonport. Reliability is important when you run a business on a highway; Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm achieves this with excellent opening hours. You can visit the farm seven days a week from 7am – 5pm, excluding Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Cost

Alpacas
Alpacas © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

It won’t cost you anything to walk around the lake (this takes about five minutes). It is worth also purchasing a large tub of chocolate-coated raspberries (for approximately $16) and a drink. Most drinks and meals come in two sizes (small and regular) which means that you can be a bit savvy cash-wise if you would like to. Basically, you can spend as much or as little as you like. Make a purchase and you’ll even be able to taste a chocolate-coated raspberry for free! That will cost you though, as you’ll then need to purchase more… Enjoy your visit!

Heading south from Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm? To read more about my journeys in northern Tasmania, click here. Heading north? For other posts about Tasmania’s north-west, click here.

Queen Victoria Museum

Traversing the Traverse Way
Queen Victoria Museum
Queen Victoria Museum © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

After visiting the small but brilliant Launceston Tramway Museum, I walked virtually next door to visit a much larger museum: the Queen Victoria Museum. This is known, along with its art gallery, as the QVMAG but the art gallery is on a separate site and I didn’t visit it today. One of my relatives in Hobart says that this is the best museum in the state. I must confess that this was my first time viewing the main collection. I am impressed!

 

One of the best things about the Queen Victoria Museum is its location. The museum sits on the banks of the North Esk River and incorporates Launceston’s former railway workshop. The Blacksmith’s shop has been left seemingly as it was when it was closed, with a walkway added to preserve the site and sound effects played to transport you back to the workshop’s heyday. It is both interesting and eerie! Nearby sheds were used by painters, carpenters and so on. My favourite part is the Traverse Way, of course!

The Blacksmith Shop
The Blacksmith Shop © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Nearby the disused industrial sheds is an exhibition space. Currently, you can view Scott Gelston’s Steel Vignettes. These works are stunning! It beggars belief how he and his camera withstood the heat of the forge to produce some of the photographs. Printed on aluminium, the photographs glow like the metal they depict. The exhibitions in this space change regularly so check the QVMAG website to see what’s on when you visit.

Perception Tunnel
Perception Tunnel © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Locals love one aspect of the QVMAG dearly: The Phenomena Factory. This area contains several indoor and outdoor scientific exhibits that are highly interactive and a great deal of fun! Learn about viscosity by pumping air into tubes of liquid. Walk, in a straight line if you can, through the rotating perception tunnel. Transport tennis balls using Archimedes’ screw. Outside, there are whisper dishes, a bridge to build and a weight to move. It doesn’t matter what your age is, you’ll love it! It’s difficult to walk away from the area!

Dinosaurs!
Dinosaurs! © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

When you do manage to leave the Phenomena Factory, you’ll find a well-curated and beautifully displayed collection of artefacts. When we were there, the displays appeared to follow the design principle of less is more, to great effect. Don’t miss the exhibits in the main foyer too, such as the giant wasp’s nest. The model is not quite life-sized, according to a museum attendant, but it is very impressive none-the-less!

Preservation Ale
Preservation Ale © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Inside the main exhibition space of the Queen Victoria Museum, you’ll find a lot of treasures. Look out for the giant wombat-like dinosaur that you can touch, an exhibit on the extinct Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) with a touchable synthetic pelt and, of course, a very famous beer bottle. If you haven’t heard about Tasmania’s new Preservation Ale, birthed from the wreck of the Sydney Cove, you’d better head over to the museum and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.

Memorial Wall
Memorial Wall © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Upstairs, the exhibition space showcases Tasmania’s involvement in the Great War. It looks at many facets of the war. The most compelling parts of the exhibition are, of course, the personal stories of local families. The soundscape (not recommended for those who have served) is quite moving and the collection of banners made to welcome the soldiers home is intriguing. I enjoyed reading the list of applications for exemptions from duty, particularly the magistrate’s responses!

Getting There

Launceston Railway Workshop
Launceston Railway Workshop © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You can find the museum part of the QVMAG about a fifteen-minute walk from Launceston’s CBD at the Inveresk precinct. You can park at the precinct for $3 per day. We spent about an hour and a half at the museum itself but there are other things to do at the Inveresk precinct. The museum is open from 10am – 4pm every day (except for Good Friday and Christmas Day).

Cost

Entry to the museum is free! How fabulous! This means you might have a few dollars spare for a cuppa in the carriage at the Railway Café, some Tasmanian goodies from the well-stocked Museum Gift Shop or a visit the museum’s planetarium. It is such an interesting place that you might not have time for all that though! Enjoy your visit!

To read more about my journeys in northern Tasmania, click here.

Launceston Tramway Museum

Traversing the Tramway
Launceston Tramway Museum © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

What do you do on a day when rain is imminent? Easy! You visit the museum. But which one? There are many museums of varying sizes and specialties in Tasmania. I visited two museums this weekend: one of our smallest and one of our biggest. Happily for me, they are actually almost next door to one another at the Inveresk Precinct: The Launceston Tramway Museum and the Queen Victoria Museum.

Imagine a world gone by. A world where your transport options include walking, riding a horse, driving (if you’re lucky), or catching a bus, train or tram. Like several Australian cities, Launceston had its own tram network and you can learn all about it at the tiny, fantastic Launceston Tramway Museum.

Two Trams
Two Trams © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Inside the museum, you can explore the interior of two very different trams, both of which tell the story of Launceston’s trams. You can see the glory of the restored Tram 8. It is a fine piece of craftsmanship, carefully built from local timbers such as Huon pine and blackwood. Sit inside it and imagine yourself back to the early- to mid-1900s. Behind it sits the dilapidated Tram 25. Inside this tram, you’ll learn how some of the trams have spent their retirement. They have been converted into summer houses, shacks or sheds, used as dining booths in restaurants or even turned, temporarily, into a clinic. Tram 25 was most famously a chook shed and is displayed to reflect this part of its history.

Launceston Tramway Museum
Launceston Tramway Museum © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The rest of the museum is dedicated to the stories of the twenty-nine trams. This is a great read for locals; I’ve dined in two of the trams. You can also view displays about the lives of the conductors and about why trams have curved roofs (and how this design was improved over time). Children will be happily entertained in the children’s tram (a purpose-built area). The best is yet to come though!

Your entry to the Launceston Tramway Museum includes a ride on the last of the trams: Tram 29. Beautifully restored, this tram leaves from outside the museum approximately every 45 minutes and takes you on a short journey up the line to the roundhouse (ironically, this can no longer be used as a roundhouse due to the low roof design) and then back down the line to the station (now a State Government building). Note that this grand old tram is a showpiece and it is not the same as riding the tourist tram in Melbourne! This is a whole new experience entirely.

Tram 29
Tram 29 © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Getting There

Station © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

It is easy to find the Inveresk Precinct as the QVMAG is located here too. It is about a fifteen-minute walk from Launceston’s CBD or you can park at the precinct for $3 per day. We spent about three hours at the precinct visiting the two museums and a café. Once you’re at the precinct, look for the tram tracks and follow them to Blue Café. It’s a lovely place for a cuppa and they cater well for food allergies too. Next door to the café, in two sheds, is the Launceston Tramway Museum. They open from 10am – 4pm every day except Sunday and public holidays and the tram runs from Wednesday to Saturday (by prior arrangement, it can also run on the Monday and Tuesday for groups).

Cost

Tram 29 Interior
Tram 29 Interior © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Entry to the museum costs $5 per adult, $4.50 per senior, $2 per child and children under 6-years-old are free! The cost includes entry to the museum and a short ride on Tram 29. What a bargain! Next time you’re in Launceston, particularly if rain is forecast, enjoy a visit to the Launceston Tramway Museum and a journey on a finely crafted tram.

To read more about my journeys in northern Tasmania, click here.

Entally House

Traversing Entally House
Entally House
Entally House © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Sometimes, we forget the treasures that lie in our own backyard. Today, I visited Entally House in Hadspen for the first time. There was only one other couple there while we were visiting the homestead. It was nice to have the place to ourselves but it was also astonishing to hear the other couple say that they, visitors from mainland Australia, had been trying to visit Entally House for five years. Tasmania is a treasure trove.

Verandah
Entally House © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Entally House is a museum and function venue. I attended a wedding at Entally many years ago and was excited to finally view the interior of the homestead for the first time. Inside the house, you’ll find a tasteful array of Victorian furniture. A few pieces of furniture are associated with Entally’s original occupants and many pieces have a connection with the local area. The volunteers have gone to a lot of trouble to produce information sheets for each room. Read the fact sheet on women’s clothing in Victorian times (in the upstairs Governor’s Wing). It’s fascinating!

Victorian Conservatory
Victorian Conservatory © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Entally House has many claims to fame. Its cricket pitch is perhaps the oldest in Australia. Entally also hosted the first known match between an English team and a team of convicts. Unsurprisingly, the convicts won. Further, the homestead also has what is perhaps the oldest surviving Victorian conservatory in Australia. It is a beautiful spot for a photo!

Upstairs
Nursery © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

When the volunteer offers you an introductory speech about the family who built Entally, say yes. You’ll hear many interesting stories! Three generations of the Reibey family lived at Entally. First of all, Thomas Haydock Reibey II built Entally House in 1819 and named it after Entally in India. Thomas II was the son of shipping magnets Thomas and Mary Reibey. Mary Reibey is the only convicted felon featured on a country’s currency (our $20 note). The family disgraced themselves in many ways. This said,  Thomas II’s son became a respected member of parliament. He even became premier of Tasmania for a year (1876 – 1877) and Entally House therefore had its share of famous visitors.

Entally also had its share of infamous visitors. Convicts lived and worked at the homestead. Have a look at the convict bricks in the kitchen, noting the marks on them. In one of the back sitting rooms, you can view the cellar, visible through a glass panel in the floor. The convicts were locked up here overnight.

Ginge
Ginge © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Currently, the only occupant of Entally House is Ginge the cat. We were shocked when he bounded up the stairs to join us in the nursery! He’s a friendly cat. Unlike our cat, he doesn’t scratch the furniture. You can see the tide mark (of orange cat fur!) on the library door though.

Getting There

Entry
Entrance © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

To reach Entally House, drive 15 minutes from Launceston towards Devonport. On the Bass Highway, follow signs for Hadspen and then for Entally House. You can visit the homestead from 10am – 4pm everyday except Tuesday and Wednesday and some public holidays. For up to date opening hours, check out Entally’s website. Please be aware that the property can be closed during the winter months for restorations.

Cost

Tearoom
The Tearoom © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You’ll pay $15 per adult, $12 per concession and $35 per family (unlimited children!!) to view Entally House. To see where your money goes, head upstairs to the nursery. On display are several chairs in desperate need of restoration, which is an example of one of 25 restoration projects currently underway. If you’d like to give more towards these, make a donation or buy a cup of tea, biscuit or cold drink from the humble tea room. It has a beautiful view of the conservatory!

Garden
Gardens © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

A walk through the gorgeous gardens (without viewing the homestead) will cost you $7. If you’re pressed for time, or the homestead is closed for renovations, do the garden tour. You’ll get to see the famous cricket pitch and Victorian conservatory, as well as being able to admire the exteriors of the buildings and the carefully manicured gardens.

View from the Conservatory
The view from the Conservatory © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

To read more of my journeys in northern Tasmania, click here.

Hazelbrae Nut Farm

Traversing Hazelbrae
Great Western Tiers
Great Western Tiers © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Have you ever driven between Launceston and Devonport and seen the signs for Hazelbrae Nut Farm? Next time you drive past, exit the highway! You will encounter a working hazelnut farm and a fabulous view. Formerly a dairy farm, the hazelnut orchards were planted by the previous owners. Now 5000 trees strong, the current owners have diversified the farm’s offerings, including opening the Hazelbrae Nut Farm Cafe.

Hazelbrae Nut Farm Cafe
Hazelbrae Nut Farm Cafe © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The best thing about the cafe is undeniably the view. The food is tasty and well-presented, but what could beat the outlook from the deck? While you’re sipping your hazelnut cappuccino, you have the privilege of sitting back and taking in the orchard, the brilliant blue sky and the Great Western Tiers.

The Gardens
The Gardens © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

If you’re like me and you think that $5 for a garden tour is just not worth paying, think again. The homestead dates back to the 1800s and the surrounding gardens are like something from The Secret Garden. The former grandeur of the gardens is apparent despite their current state of overgrowth. Parts of the gardens are very well kept, such as the area around the homestead. In various nooks, you can sit and take in the peaceful atmosphere.

At the end of March, you will be able to collect your own hazelnuts from the orchard, which is quite a unique experience! You’ll pay a discounted rate for the nuts you collect. Keep an eye on Hazelbrae Hazelnut’s Facebook page for more information.

Getting There

The Homestead
The Homestead © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Hazelbrae Nut Farm is located at Hagley, 50 minutes’ drive south from Devonport or 25 minutes’ drive north from Launceston. Take the Hagley exit from the Bass Highway and follow signs for Hagley Station Lane. If you’re driving from Launceston, turn left onto Hagley Station Lane when you exit the highway.

Cost

Hazelnut Affogato
Hazelnut Affogato © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There is no cost for the view. At the cafe, food and drinks are reasonably priced and you can buy delicious hazelnut produce, including hazelnut oil, hazelnut meal and chocolate-coated roasted hazelnuts. Take a guided tour and tasting for $15 or you can skip the tour and just do the tasting for $7. An orchard pass or a garden pass cost $5 each. Children under 12 are free. Next time you’re driving between Launceston and Devonport, take the time to relax at Hazelbrae Nut Farm!

For more information about places to visit in Tasmania’s north, click here.