Reasons to visit Tassie this summer

Fantastic food, festival fun and more.

As the weather warms, southern seas tempt swimmers, event organisers prep for summer festivities and world-class hiking trails beckon, it’s prime time to escape to the Apple Isle.

But if Tassie’s tourism mainstays like the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and the brilliant Bay of Fires aren’t enough to seduce you, the 2019/2020 line up of festivals, food openings and short walks promise much, much more.

Festivals

A Hobart summer is synonymous with Taste of Tasmania, which showcases Tasmania’s finest producers over seven days and nights. But if you’re looking to cast your foodie festival repertoire a little further afield this year, venture north to Launceston, Tassie’s wine-making heartland, for Festivale, from 31 January to 2 February.

Staged in the City Park under elm trees, this three-day culinary extravaganza promises the best in food, wine, beer, arts and entertainment that our southernmost state has to offer.

If you can’t wait until then, prep your palate for the Bicheno Food and Wine Festival, championing all things delicious and derived from Tasmania’s pristine east coast from 15-17 November.

Set overlooking Waubs Bay, expect fine wines, boutique beers, ciders and spirits that pack a punch, served alongside an abundance of local food, local artisans and local musicians. With a focus on sustainability, cooking classes and guest speakers promise food for thought, as well as stomachs.

Music lovers will know Falls Festival Marion Bay, from 29-31 December, for its huge line-up of local and international acts. It has a more family-friendly atmosphere compared to the festival’s mainland locations.

A fairly new addition to the music festival circuit, often flying under the radar, is Party in the Paddock.

Bringing to life Launceston’s countryside from 6-8 February, it’s affectionately known as “Tassie’s biggest little festival”, with an impressive array of international and domestic music acts, comedy, poetry, visual art and delicious local food and drink, making it one epic bush bash to add to mark in the diary.

Food

Return Tassie travellers will be well-versed in the Apple Isle’s culinary icons, including the boundary-pushing Museum of Old and New Art’s own restaurant, The Source. Where seasonal fare meets French inspiration, a super-sized wine list and a hint of mischief, expect a meal to remember. While the restaurant has been wowing diners for years, there’s new reason to visit with the museum’s new extension, Siloam, consisting of a network of underground tunnels and chambers that feature new artworks.

Another local legend is The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery, just down the road from its iconic cooking school and farm, 35 minutes north-west of Hobart. Revered for its simple, sustainable, seasonal and hyper-local fare, this rural restaurant has earned plenty of attention across the globe since opening in 2017... and not just because it was built on the foundations of the town’s former mental asylum. But the latest wave of fanfare is due to departing head chef, Ali Currey-Voumard, who was named Best New Talent 2019 by Gourmet Traveller.

Another newcomer to satiate your tastebuds this summer is Fondru’s, which has been serving two of Tassie’s tastiest exports as a wine and fromagerie bar in north Hobart since 2018.

Serving artisan cheese and meats from all over the globe, as well as the Apple Isle’s finest, all morsels are perfectly paired with boutique wines and beers. They also offer takeaway cheese boxes if you fancy a gourmet picnic by the waterfront.

On foot

Lush, rugged, open expanses, misty forests and coastal vistas – Tassie’s hiking trails have it all. The world-class Overland Track – a serious six-day trek taking in the rare beauty of Tasmania’s World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park – remains at the top of Tasmania’s bucket-list hikes. . The newer Three Capes Track, which opened in 2015, offers a shorter and significantly more accessible alternative, covering less than 50km over four days, taking in the breathtaking cliff-hugging wilderness of the state’s far south east.

You don’t have to embark on a multi-day trek to experience the best of Tassie on foot – there are plenty of shorter options to get you outdoors this summer. On the wild West Coast, for instance, Strahan has opened the four-kilometre Ocean Beach Trail, which is suitable for all abilities, as well as bicycles and prams.

The best way to choose a short walk to suit your skill level and location of choice is to scope out the 60 Great Short Walks, compiled by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. From gentle strolls to heart-pumping hikes, the list features walks that can generally be accessed from major roads, as well as diverse environments.

Story by Alissa Jenkins, photos by Getty Images and Claudia Ciapocha.

Escape to the Apple Isle on the RACQ-Escorted Grand Tasman Tour, taking in Freycinet National Park, Port Arthur, Cradle Mountain and more. Save $250 per person when you book by 30 September 2019. Talk to RACQ Travel on 1300 188 713.