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.

The Julie Burgess

Traversing Julie Burgess
Julie Burgess
Julie Burgess © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

We have been watching the series Hornblower over the past few weeks. Today, we had the honour of stepping back in time aboard the Julie Burgess. The Julie Burgess is a beautifully and expertly restored fishing ketch who sails a short way out into Bass Strait, departing from East Devonport.

Sails
Sails © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Today was a sunny, calm day with just enough wind for us to sail out into Bass Strait. The Ancient Mariner (in that hat again!) joined us. Once we had motored out of the Mersey River, the crew raised all seven sails and showed us what the Julie Burgess can do without man power. She is a stately and solid lady. I didn’t feel sea-sick at all as she hardly moves in the water!

Lighthouse and Bluff
Lighthouse and Bluff © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The crew are all volunteers and are a very friendly bunch. They take you through a snap-shot of the boat’s history at the start of your journey. Later into our journey, we were given the opportunity to look at a book of photographs of the restoration process. Take the time to have a chat with the crew and you’ll find out some of the boat’s secrets, as well as a little bit about why they have chosen to give up their time to take you out into Bass Strait aboard a historic ketch.

Bass Strait
Bass Strait © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The scenery is a highlight. Tasmania is a magnificent island and you’ll get to see a few of her beautiful features. Your journey takes you out into Bass Strait and then back again. You’ll sail past the Bluff with its iconic lighthouse. The foreshore of Devonport as you sail out is very pretty. When you’re out at sea, you can look east towards Port Sorrell, west towards Ulverstone or directly behind you towards Devonport and the distinctive face of Mount Roland. Alternatively, you can kick back and look out at the horizon.

Devonport Foreshore
Devonport Foreshore © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

We didn’t see any wildlife on our journey but the crew report seeing whales, dolphins and even a seal every now and then. We saw a gull once we docked back in East Devonport. It didn’t worry me at all that we hadn’t seen any wildlife as I was content to take in the warmth of the sun and the beauty of the scenery and the Julie Burgess. The Ancient Mariner explored the engine room and even had his turn at the helm!

What to Bring

Devonport
Devonport © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You’ll be on the water for two hours and it’s important that you make yourself comfortable. Remember that its always sunnier (due to glare) and colder out on the water. You’ll need a hat, sunscreen, layers (merino is my favourite!) and waterproof gear if the weather calls for it.

Getting There

Reg Hope Park
Reg Hope Park © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The Julie Burgess sets sail from East Devonport. She is docked near the Reg Hope Park and you can park your car in the small carpark there. Devonport is a one-hour drive from Launceston and just over a three-hour drive from Hobart. When you reach Devonport, follow signs for the Spirit of Tasmania. Reg Hope Park is near the bridge, well before you reach the Spirit of Tasmania terminal.

Cost

Julie Burgess
Julie Burgess © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

A two-hour sail on the Julie Burgess is an absolute bargain at $40 per person. Bring some spare cash for on-board souvenirs. I also recommend visiting the Bass Strait Maritime Centre (you can read about my visit here). One of the rooms at the centre is devoted to ship restoration and you can view a short film about the restoration of the Julie Burgess. You can book your sailing through the Bass Strait Maritime Centre (pay by credit card, EFTPOS or cash) or you can pay via cash on the day from the dock in East Devonport. You can even book your own chartered voyage. The Julie Burgess sails on Wednesdays and Sundays at 10am and 1pm, subject to weather conditions, crew availability and passenger numbers. For more booking information, click here.

Step back into the past for a day on the high seas (or the calm seas!) aboard the Julie Burgess.

For more posts about places to visit on Tasmania’s North-West Coast, click here.

Bass Strait Maritime Centre

Bass Strait Maritime Centre

The Bass Strait Maritime Centre, once a private maritime museum, has changed hands and received a major face-lift. The building is lovely, with its boat-like shell and use of timber throughout the interior. It is part museum and part art exhibition space.

SS Woniora
SS Woniora © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

One role of the Bass Strait Maritime Centre is to record and preserve the maritime history of Tasmania’s north. The details of several Bass Strait disasters can be found throughout the museum as well as various artefacts. These include a diving suit, a stretcher for carrying injured sailors through hatches and a winch for the Julie Burgess’s anchor. Visit the ship restoration room to view a video about the restoration of the Julie Burgess. There are also fascinating information panels about the features and fauna of the Bass Strait. Did you know that Bass Strait is a raised shelf which drops dramatically into the ocean at its edges?

Container Exhibition
Container Exhibition © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Another role of the Bass Strait Maritime Centre is to foster current maritime art and displays. When we visited today, we viewed an ANZAC centenary exhibition about Australia at war on the seas. There was also an intriguing exhibition about the role of shipping containers in creating the current trends in global trade. The building itself contains several artworks such as the compass rose on the floor and the beautiful stained-glass window panes (some stating names of sponsors of the centre).

Simulator
Simulator © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Children will enjoy visiting the Bass Strait Maritime Centre for two reasons. One is the art and craft table (to the right as you enter the main room) and the other is the simulator. For an extra $2 per turn, you can steer the SS Wonoira safely through her journey into or out of Devonport, or even into Port Phillip Bay! Choose from several scenarios of various difficulty. The simulation may not be the best idea for those who suffer from motion sickness (I was fine).

Julie Burgess's Winch
Julie Burgess’s Winch © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Once you’ve had a good look through the museum and exhibitions, have a browse through the gift shop and take a seat in the café. I enjoyed my meal. There are even gluten and dairy free dishes on offer for those with dietary requirements. Best of all, the café has a sunny outlook over Devonport’s foreshore walkway.

Getting There

Foreshore
Foreshore © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Devonport is a one-hour drive from Launceston and just over a three-hour drive from Hobart. When you reach Devonport, follow signs for the City Centre. Turn left off the Bass Highway after you have crossed the bridge over the Mersey River. From here, follow the foreshore towards the Bluff, turning left into Glouster Street (the museum is signposted).

Cost

The Bass Strait Maritime Centre costs $10 per adult, $8 per concession, $5 per child and $25 per family. For current pricing, see the Bass Strait Maritime Centre website. Note that your voyage aboard the simulator will cost $2 per turn (but you do have three attempts to succeed). You can also book your voyage aboard the (real life!) Julie Burgess fishing ketch; read about my experience here. Enjoy a pleasant few hours at the Bass Strait Maritime Centre!

To read about my other adventures in Tasmania’s North-West, 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.

Bay of Fires

Sunrise, Bay of Fires
Bay of Fires
Bay of Fires © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Bay of Fires was named by explorer Tobias Furneaux who sailed by in 1773 and saw the fires lit by the Aboriginal people. These promoted plant growth and kept mammals, an important food-source, close to the coast. The area continues to be an important place for the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. A large midden at one end of Jeanneret Beach has yielded many Aboriginal artifacts. Another sacred site in the area is larapuna (Eddystone Point), which is also a large midden. Respect these sacred sites by adhering to signage and fencing.

Binalong Bay
Binalong Bay © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Today, the Bay of Fires is renowned for granite rocks covered with fiery orange lichen. It is also famous for its pure white sand and turquoise waters.  Due to its unique flora and fauna, the Bay of Fires is a conservation area. You can access approximately half of the coast by car. It is much harder to access the northern half of Bay of Fires in Mount William National Park. You can walk through with local tourism companies or you can sail past like Furneaux. I saw the area from the water on a Bay of Fires Eco Tours cruise, which you can read about here.

Taylors Beach
Taylors Beach © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The southern part of the Bay of Fires Conservation Area stretches from Binalong Bay through to The Gardens and contains several excellent campsites. You can camp here for up to four weeks at a time. Amenities are limited (drop toilets) and you will need to bring your own water but the location is sensational! If you have a motorhome, Swim Cart beach gives you an amazing view and excellent beach access for surf fishing (swimming is not advised). The most popular camping site is Cosy Corner. For more information about camping in the Bay of Fires, see the Parks and Wildlife website.

Shacks, Taylors Beach
Shacks, Taylors Beach © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There are many holiday rentals in Binalong Bay or the area near The Gardens. I’ve found that renting directly from an owner (when possible) is a better experience. There are no general stores in the Bay of Fires area so pick up supplies in nearby St. Helens on your way in. You can purchase a coffee at Moresco Restaurant or the Bay of Fires Eco Tours at Titley’s Shack.

Grants Lagoon
Grants Lagoon © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The beauty of the Bay of Fires is that it is largely uncommercialised. You can cruise the bay (read about my experience here) or do a four-day walking tour departing from Launceston. There is also a viewing platform and information boards at The Gardens. You’ll be swimming, kayaking, fishing, walking the pristine beaches, encountering the wildlife and just taking in one of the most picturesque places on the planet.

Getting There

The Gardens
The Gardens © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Bay of Fires is about a three-hour drive from Launceston and a four-hour drive from Hobart. From Launceston or Hobart, take the Midlands Highway to Campbell Town then turn onto the Lake Leake road to the East Coast. Alternatively, drive northeast from Launceston to Scottsdale (via Lilydale or Myrtle Park). If driving from Hobart, you can follow the coast the entire way. Wherever you are travelling from, allow yourself additional time to explore the regions that you are passing through as there are some top-notch attractions along the way.

Cost

Binalong Bay
Binalong Bay © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There is no cost for visiting the southern section of the Bay of Fires Conservation Area from Binalong Bay to The Gardens. If you choose to visit Mount William National Park, you need to have a Parks Pass. You can enjoy the Bay of Fires for a relatively low cost if you are camping or having a day at the beach. Enjoy the pristine waters and beautiful wildlife of the Bay of Fires!

Read about my other journeys on Tasmania’s stunning east coast here.