I spent a few months in Launceston (Tasmania) back in 2005.
Can’t say it was the greatest fun I’ve ever had, but that was probably because I was running a woollen mill for my boss, the Receiver. Needless to say I wasn’t the most popular person in town. Strange, because I ended up saving 92 people’s jobs?!
Anyways, back then there seemed to be little scuttlebutt about Tassie, except for a few wineries and loads of logging/woodchipping. There was (is) a restaurant in Launie, Stillwater, which had a great rep, but that was about it. When I got there I discovered that there was a lot of hype about the local produce. It didn’t take long to figure out there is some pretty great wine and some tasty morsels to be found.
I’d been thinking about a return for a while, but this time to Hobart. A few people had worded us to up that we should visit Garagistes, but that ship sailed. It closed down a couple of months ago. Never mind, there were plenty of options for us to choose as alternates.
This was a trip for Julia’s birthday, so was intended to be a surprise, but technology let the cat out of the bag (thanks Qantas!).
I found a cool 1 bedroom apartment right on the water, half way between Salamanca and Constitution Dock. So far, so good. I even reserved a rental car to make sure we could get to where ever we wanted. Pity that was a piece of crap (thanks Budget), which topped out at 90 if there was even a hint of an incline.
The Tasmanians are getting a reputation for making good whisky. We found the Nant (www.nant.com.au) bar in Salamanca. Julia isn’t a fan of whisky, but I do enjoy a wee taste. I looked at a tasting board and when I got to the sherry cask I was reaching for my credit card, but at $165/bottle (500ml) I erred. What is interesting is that every man and his dog is making gin as well. Maybe because it doesn’t need to be bonded as long as whisky it is a way to earn some return on the spend on equipment? Some of it is really good too.
Have you been to Hobart? No? Do it, its fab.
To make sure we had somewhere to eat I booked the Friday and Saturday nights. Arrival at 9pm on a Thursday was an issue though. Who would have thought a city would be basically closed? Well, it was. We eventually found Frank (frankrestaurant.com.au). Tapas style food and some ripper Pinot from barrel made things ok. Turns out it was a good thing I waved off the 3 course meal on the Qantas puddle hopper.
So, a fresh start and plans to head to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) for the day. Brekkie…Smolt (smolt.com.au) in Salamanca. Sister restaurant to Frank from the night before. Interesting menu, good coffee. Winning!
MONA is stunning. Even the ferry ride over is fun. I’m not really an art enthusiast and some of the installations were a little…ah…challenging. The 52 plaster cast moulds of vaginas was one. The “poo machine” another. But some were just flipping cool! You have to go to understand, but the building itself is worth seeing.
It was 4 day get away, so more to come.