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.

Rupertswood Farm Crop Maze

Traversing Rupertswood Farm
View of Great Western Tiers
View of Great Western Tiers © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There is something nostalgically delightful about walking through a crop maze. Towering stalks obscure your view and you’re a child again…. until the beating sun and your sore feet prompt you to open the sealed map envelope and complete the rest of Rupertswood Farm Crop Maze as fast as you can!

Rupertswood Farm Crop Maze
Rupertswood Farm Crop Maze © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Each year, Rupertswood Farm in Hagley turns one of their crops into a maze. This year, it’s a field of corn; last year, it was sorghum. Each maze is created using a GPS mapping system. In 2017, the maze is a giant map of Tasmania and your task is to find various Tasmanian locations. Some of the places are featured already featured on the Traversing Tasmania blog, such as Low Head, and other locations will be featured soon!

Signpost
Signpost © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The maze takes about two hours to complete, unless you use the map right from the start. This means that you’ll need to take water and food into the maze with you (or take an exit out for lunch before finishing the rest of the maze!) as well as wearing a hat and applying plenty of sunscreen. If you have small children with you, it is possible to take prams into the maze but there are many corn stalks on the ground to navigate over. There is a tower scaffold from which you can view the maze, the farm and the stunning Great Western Tiers.

Getting There

Rupertswood Farm
Rupertswood Farm © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Rupertswood Farm is a 50 minute drive from Devonport and a 25 minute drive from Launceston. Take the exit from the Bass Highway to Hagley and then follow signs for Hagley Station Lane (if you are driving from Launceston, turn right onto Hagley Station Lane when you exit the highway). The entry to Rupertswood Farm Crop Maze is signposted. There is ample parking on site, as well as toilet facilities. The maze is open for three more weekends this year (the remaining weekends in March, including the Monday of the long weekend) from 10am – 4pm.

Cost

Vegetables
Vegetables © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

In 2017, the cost to enter the maze is $15 per adult, $10 per senior or child (children under 4 are free) and $55 per family. This includes a bag of “pick your own” veggies (pumpkins are an extra $5 each), entry to the maze and a maze leaflet to fill out (with a section to enter into the prize draw). There is hot cooked food ($3 – $12, starring Rupertswood lamb) and drinks for sale. This year, the farm has EFTPOS available but it’s still a good idea to bring cash for food (and pumpkins). For $2, you can also buy a map of the maze, sealed in an envelope. Get the map. You’ll need it.

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

Hillwood Berry Farm

Berry Bowl
Hillwood Berry Farm
Hillwood Berry Farm © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

On a road just off the East Tamar Highway lies an oasis: Hillwood Berry Farm. Amongst the rustling trees and vibrant roses, you’ll find some of the tastiest strawberries you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. And the best thing? You get to pick them yourself! There are also raspberries, loganberries and red currants to pick.

Providore
Providore © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

For the lazier among us (or those in a hurry to get somewhere else), pre-picked berries are for sale from the cafe, as are many other berry delights. The cafe has expanded its selection to include wines from a neighbouring vineyard and Meander Valley Dairy products. You can also buy  a small selection of delicious Cocobean Chocolate!

Strawberry Path
Strawberry Patch © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Hillwood Berry Farm is a very child-friendly place. It has a giant chess board, a sandpit and a slide, as well as lots of yummy berries to pick! Remember to bring sunscreen and a hat as there isn’t much shade when you’re picking the berries.

Getting There

Hillwood Berry Farm is approximately 20 minutes’ drive north of Launceston on Hillwood Road. This road runs parallel to the East Tamar Highway. There is plenty of onsite parking. Hillwood Berry Farm is open from 9am – 5pm most days of the year (the cafe closes at 4pm).

Cost

Strawberries
Strawberries © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Pick your own berries for $5 (includes one punnet, which is approximately 500g of berries). Berry prices vary but are very reasonable. Cafe and providore items are also reasonably priced. If you are planning to pick your own berries, make sure that you give yourself half an hour to pick and half an hour to enjoy a cup of tea in the shade of one of the giant trees while you eat your own, freshly picked strawberries. Pure bliss!

For more posts about places to visit in Northern Tasmania, click here.

George Town: The Watch House and Bass & Flinders Centre

Traversing the Norfolk

George Town is a small town in Tasmania’s north. It boasts a beautiful waterfront and some of Tasmania’s oldest buildings. Originally designated by Governor Macquarie as the hub of Tasmania’s north, it is now primarily a residential and tourist town, supporting the industry at nearby Bell Bay.

The Watch House

The Watch House
The Watch House © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The first attraction that you should visit in George Town is The Watch House. The reason that you should visit The Watch House first is because it contains a model village of historical George Town, as it was in the early- to mid-1800s. Created by Debbie Rainbow to commemorate the 200th anniversary of British settlement in George Town, the model shows the five remaining original buildings. One of these is The Watch House. The model of George Town is a real treat as Debbie has taken the time to show the finer details of life in the early 1800s. There is something to delight people of all ages. Find a woman moving into her new home, a blacksmith hard at work and someone sitting in an outdoor toilet!

George Town
George Town © emily@traversingtasmania 2017
The Watch House Interior
The Watch House © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The Watch House has been a police station, council chambers and a shop. Nowadays, it has been restored to reflect its original appearance (which is lovely!) but it is more of an exhibition space than a museum. When I visited yesterday, one room contained silk paintings and scarves by renowned Australian artist Barbara Gabogrecan and another contained a portion of Christina Henri’s “Roses from the Heart” bonnet display (a tribute to convict women and their deceased children). There are two cells: one contained a doll collection and the other cell was set up to show its original use.

Bass & Flinders Centre

Bass & Flinders Centre
Bass & Flinders Centre © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Bass & Flinders Centre is a relatively new attraction, which opened in 2006. The building was originally a cinema and you can still see an (enormous!) original projector in the upstairs Gun Deck Cafe. It now houses the replica Norfolk, along with various other Bass and Flinders and maritime related memorabilia. Sounds underwhelming, right? Wrong!

The Norfolk
The Norfolk © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

When you enter the Bass & Flinders Centre, you first see a copy of Bass’s book of maps, open to the page showing his Tasmanian explorations. It is a stunning representation of Tasmania’s north coast. Sadly, Bass died shortly after completing the book. A friendly guide will then lead you into the museum. This is where the real surprise is. The replica Norfolk is huge. In fact, they had to take the roof off (it still leaks sometimes) just to get the boat in!

The Elizabeth
The Elizabeth © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The replica Norfolk was created from Huon pine (not the original Norfolk pine) by Bern Cuthbertson and was used to reenact Bass and Flinders’ journeys in the Norfolk 200 years after the original journeys. Now a museum piece, the boat is used to show both Bass and Flinders’ voyage and the commemorative voyages. You’ll find the boat still set up as if ready to sail, with all the modern conveniences such as a torch and enamel crockery! You can climb down into the three compartments of the boat. Sit at the dining table and smell the Huon pine!

As well as the Norfolk, the Bass & Flinders Centre has several maritime delights on display. You can view Tom Thumb (Bass and Flinders’ row boat), the Elizabeth (a whale boat used to cross Bass Strait) and an old wooden surfboard. There is a small exhibition of maritime paintings, model boats, Bass and Flinders memorabilia and various other water crafts. It is an old salty’s delight! Dad, I think you need to visit!

Getting There

George Town is 45 minutes drive north of Launceston. The Watch House is on the main road (84 Macquarie Street) and Bass & Flinders Centre is just off Macquarie Street on Elizabeth Street. There is plenty of parking in George Town. Make sure that you take note of the signposted parking conditions though as some parks have a time limit or access restriction.

Cost

To visit The Watch House costs approximately $3 for adults and to visit the Bass and Flinders Centre costs $10 for adults ($8 concession, $5 student, $4 children, $24 family). I recommend purchasing a Historical Attractions Pass for $13 ($40 for families). This gives you entry to the two George Town sites as well as the nearby Low Head Pilot Station Museum, which is a bargain!

To read other posts about Tasmania’s north, click here.

Low Head Pilot Station and Lighthouse

Traversing Low Head
Low Head Pilot Station
Low Head Pilot Station © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Low Head is one of the prettiest places in Tasmania. It’s also one of Tasmania’s oldest settlements. Named by Bass and Flinders because it is, well, a low headland, Low Head has had a pilot station in operation since 1805. It’s still in operation today. All large ships entering the Tamar River (usually commercial vessels heading to Bell Bay) are piloted into the river due to the narrow channel, which is deeper than Bass Strait in places, and the dangerous Hebe reef between Low Head and West Head. The reef was named after the first ship to be wrecked on it and it’s thanks to this reef, and the many ships wrecked on it, that such excellent artifacts can be found in the Low Head Pilot Station Museum.

Low Head Pilot Station Museum

Low Head Pilot Station Museum
Low Head Pilot Station Museum © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Housed in the 1835 Pilots’ Row, which was designed by colonial architect John Lee Archer, the museum pays homage to the maritime history of the Tamar River, with a particular focus on the Port Dalrymple region. It has 13 rooms, each with a specific focus (lighting, diving, signaling and so on). Each room has an impressive array of well-displayed local artifacts, allowing you to imagine what life aboard a ship would have been like during a variety of eras. The ingenuity of some of the inventions, such as Walker’s “Cherub” log, which measures the ship’s speed via a spinning brass log dragged behind the ship, is staggering.

Diving Suit
Diving Suit © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

My favourite thing about the Low Head Pilot Station Museum is that it’s more hands-on than most museums. No, you can’t touch the diving suit or climb into the canvas trousers of the life buoy (even though you will probably want to!) but you can practise your Morse code… it turns out that I’m terrible at it! Look out for the button to set off the light display (to satisfy the child in us all).

The museum is located in the larger Low Head Pilot Station precinct, which is very beautiful. You can have lunch in the cafe, visit the church or even stay the night in one of the cottages.

Signaling
Signaling © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Low Head Lighthouse

Low Head Lighthouse
Low Head Lighthouse © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

A very short drive from the pilot station is Low Head Lighthouse, the pinnacle of the signaling system. Built in 1888 (to replace the original 1833 lighthouse), the tower is very photogenic. The light station is the third oldest in Australia (second oldest in Tasmania). From the lighthouse precinct, you have views of East Beach, Bass Strait and Low Head, as well as access to (very) short walks in the Low Head Coastal Reserve. At noon every Sunday you’ll even have the privilege of hearing the restored fog horn sounding loud and clear! Penguin tours take place in the Low Head Coastal Reserve.

Getting There

View from Lighthouse
View from Lighthouse © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

From Launceston, drive north on the East Tamar Highway to George Town. Keep driving north to Low Head. The way to the pilot station and lighthouse is clearly signposted (if in doubt, follow the river north!). The drive from Launceston to Low Head takes approximately 45 minutes and is lovely. We stopped for lunch on the way at Hillwood Berry Farm which was delicious!

Cost

Boat Shed © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You’ll always receive a warm welcome at the Low Head Pilot Station Museum. The volunteers are friendly and give you more than your money’s worth of information. Entry costs $5 for adults, $4 for concession and $3 for children or $13 for a pass to the museum plus the Bass and Flinders Centre and the Watch House Museum in George Town. Access to the Low Head Lighthouse precinct is currently free (but you can’t, unfortunately, climb the lighthouse). The museum is open from 10am – 4pm everyday except Christmas.

Lagoon Beach
Lagoon Beach © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

While in Low Head, walk at least some of the trail along the river, passing the leading lights, Lagoon Beach, the Pilot Station and, finally, reaching the Lighthouse. It’s a very picturesque area! We stopped to help a driver in distress and, as a passerby said while we were waiting for the tow truck, “enjoy the view!” We did.

To view other posts about Tasmania’s north, click here.