This is my 50th post about a Tasmanian experience or place. I spent a long time contemplating where to go, what to do, but all these plans were laid to waste when, unexpectedly, a friend introduced me to his favourite place in Launceston.
The best thing about living in Tasmania is when you find gems: a person you’ve never met, food you’ve never tasted, a place you’ve never seen. This week, I visited Corra Linn for the first time. Although I’d heard plenty about it (as a favourite spot with locals for a summer swim), I had no idea how spectacular it would be.
The entry to Corra Linn is unobtrusive. Park in a gravel area to the side of the road. Climb over the roadside barrier. Find the part of the fence where the barbed wire is rolled over and climb over the fence. Mind the broken bottles and the cow pats. Now comes the best part: look up.
Corra Linn is a gorge on the North Esk River. Towering cliffs guard a waterhole, patches of sand, rapids and rock falls. My friend tells me that one of the rock falls had occurred very recently due to ice expanding inside the rock. The area would certainly be a geologist’s paradise! I’m sure that rock climbers enjoy it too. The gorge is a magnificent contrast to the surrounding paddocks.
In winter, Corra Linn is a beautiful spot to sit and contemplate. I’m told that it’s a great place for swimming in summer, however, take care as there are submerged and falling rocks. Ownership of Corra Linn has been unclear in the past and therefore the area is not well maintained. There are no safety barriers or signs and the gorge has not been developed. It is a wild place, worth the visit just for its natural beauty.
The gorge is about 15 minutes’ drive from Launceston or Evandale. Your navigation system may have alternate spelling (Corra Lynn). Note that Corra Linn Distillery is actually a good 15 minutes’ drive away so don’t use this as a reference point! Instead, search for 292 Blessington Road, St Leonards.
Entry to Corra Linn is free but at your own risk. Enjoy the beauty of wild Tasmania!
Staying in the area for a while? Read more about my adventures in Tasmania’s north and midlands.
Claredon is, as our guide so accurately said, a “happy house”. The gardens are beautiful, the house is grand and the sun was shining brightly today through the leaves of the elm trees.
So much love has gone into Claredon. The house was originally built in 1838 to celebrate the love of James Cox and his second wife, Eliza. They established a merino stud at Claredon. After land grants were split up and the property dwindled in size, the estate became harder to run as a farm. It was sold, first to the Boyes family and then to the Menzies family. The Menzies bred race horses, two of which won the Melbourne Cup. In 1962, Mrs. Menzies gave the property to the National Trust.
Claredon has been lovingly restored from a derelict house by the National Trust. The house is currently in good hands. If you visit in the next month, you’ll have the privilege of seeing a private exhibition of paintings, including a painting by John Glover. You’ll also see antiques seated next to modern timber furniture from Launceston’s Design Centre. You’ll even get to sit on some of the precious furniture! Your guide will tell you of Dulux’s upcoming Claredon paint range, which will see the house’s walls restored and repainted. There are many stories of benefactors, such as the Sydney interior designer who refurbished the front two rooms for a private function. All this attention has resulted in a wonderful face-lift for a stately home.
What I like about Claredon is that it is a mix of the old and the new. Eliza’s stunning upright piano sits in back room. The cellar, which was previously filled with sand to counteract poor foundations, smells as musty and old as a convict prison. The upstairs rooms, with their peeling paint and hole-riddled walls, display gorgeous bedroom linens. An upstairs room is also dedicated to ladies’ fashion from the 1830s through to the 1960s. New things grace the house too, such as Michael McWilliams’ painted table, depicting the history of the house and of Tasmania in a stunning and thought-provoking way. Pictures don’t do the intricacy of his work justice. Go and see if for yourself!
Claredon’s gardens are stunning. The walled garden is very peaceful and colourful. There is even a “Secret Garden”-like doorway to the back of the house and outbuildings. Have a look at the original items in the coach house and wool shed. The stone barn is also lovely, albeit dark. Between the stone barn and the wool shed is the Australian Fly Fishing Museum. It was closed when we visited (due to Easter).
Claredon is ten minutes’ drive south of Launceston. Follow signs for Launceston Airport, Evandale and then Claredon. If you are heading to Hobart after visiting Claredon, drive to Nile and then on to the Midlands Highway. Evandale is a unique town and you should plan to spend a few hours here too, viewing the buildings, the stores and the art exhibitions. You can read about my day at the Evandale Village Fair and Penny Farthing National Championships here.
Admission to view Claredon is $15 per adult, $10 per concession and free for children under 16. Admission costs include access to the house (with an introduction by a lovely guide), exhibitions, gardens, outbuildings and grounds. Ticket holders also have complimentary access to the Australian Fly Fishing Museum and the Norfolk Plains Heritage Centre. The property is open from 10am – 4pm on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. It is also open on Fridays during summer. For up-to-date opening hours, see the National Trust’s website. There is a tearoom onsite and the house is surrounded by the river (on two sides) and is, reportedly, a good spot for a fish. Bring a picnic lunch or your fishing rod and enjoy an afternoon at Claredon.
To read more about my adventures in Tasmania’s gorgeous Midlands, click here.
Each February, Evandale, a small, historic town in Tasmania’s north, comes alive with the sights and sounds of yesteryear. A lady in a straw sun-hat plays honky-tonk on an antique piano, accompanied by a washboard player. A couple stroll down the street in their turn-of-the-century Sunday-best. A bearded gentleman wearing breeches sits astride a penny farthing and you’d best get out of his way!
Visiting the Evandale Village Fair and National Penny Farthing Championships is a must if you are in Tasmania in mid-February. The penny farthing is a bicycle that looks like a penny attached to a farthing, hence its name. These bikes are historic, rare and are very difficult to ride. They are also very difficult to stop so be mindful of where you walk.
Watching people ride penny farthings might not seem like everyone’s cup of tea, but I promise that you’ll enjoy the day! The skill of the riders is phenomenal, particularly the children! Your “must watch” list includes the slow race, which rewards the slowest rider… a mean feat on a penny farthing! The obstacle course, which has riders run to their bikes, carry them (some over their heads!), push them and finally ride them, is a sight to behold. Most importantly, barrack for Tasmania! This year, we won the penny farthing relay, despite stiff competition from mainland states. For a good laugh, listen carefully to the commentator, who paid out just about everyone, in his own delightfully jovial way. The day goes from 10am to 4pm.
Aside from the penny farthing races, there are other events at the Evandale Village Fair and National Penny Farthing Championships. My favourites are the period costume parade and a charity race event involving a sprint leg, a (regular) bicycle leg and a wheelbarrow push! This year, the team from Hawthorn Football Club won but the other teams weren’t far behind!
The Evandale Fair provides plenty of entertainment, food and market-stalls away from the track. You’ll find penny farthing souvenirs, handmade wares (including dog treats), Tasmanian goods (this year, there was a stall of lovely thick merino socks!) and plenty of local food vans. There’s a plethora of entertainment for the kids, including a jumping castle and face painting. One of my favourite things to do is to sit and listen to the country music band and watch the locals dancing and singing along (I may have been singing too!).
Evandale itself is a picturesque town and has some must-see buildings (such as the water tower) and must-visit stores (look out for the historic cash register). If you’re feeling peckish, the Ingelside Bakery Cafe has a beautiful rose-filled courtyard area and tasty food, including gluten and dairy free options. For art lovers, local galleries house excellent artworks year-round. The prestigious Glover Prize art exhibition is also held in Falls Park pavilion on the March long weekend each year.
Evandale is about a 20 minute drive from Launceston (2 minutes from Launceston Airport). Parking is easy if you arrive at 10am but becomes increasingly difficult throughout the day. My tip is to arrive on time as there are not-to-be-missed events that take place early on in the day (such as the slow race). If you need to arrive later in the day, you’ll have to walk quite a distance from your car to the main entrance (the start of Logan Road, opposite Solomon Cottage).
This year, the cost was $12 per adult for entry to the Evandale Village Fair and National Penny Farthing Championships and children were free. This is money well spent, in my opinion! You should also bring some cash with you for food, market goodies and to tip the buskers. If you’ve forgotten to do this beforehand, there is an ATM at 5 Russel Street.
If you didn’t make it to the Evandale Village Fair and National Penny Farthing Championships today, don’t worry! You can see the penny farthings on the road tomorrow (Sunday) as they race 20 miles from Evandale towards Perth and then back through Evandale to Clarendon Homestead. And if you’re reading this post too late even for the 20 mile race, there’s always next year! Put it in your diary.
To read about other places that I’ve visited in northern Tasmania, click here or in the Midlands, click here.