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.

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.