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.

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.

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.