Thursday 7 January 2010

Launceston to Devonport, the magnificent Hawley beach and the Cataract Gorge

The drive from Launceston to Devonport in Tasmania up the Bass Highway passes through a few stops that foodies are likely to enjoy.

image001 Our first stop was at the Christmas Hill Raspberry Farm a few kilometres south east of Elizabeth Town where we had a very enjoyable experience.  The farm is well setup with an outdoor area for kids and they have made good use of showcasing raspberries,  image002 including the excellent Raspberry Latte that I ordered, Jane’s fizzy Raspberry drink she thought tasted like sea water but I enjoyed, a sweet but excellent Raspberry Crepe with Raspberry Ice cream, and Damper (okay it has nothing to do with  image003 Raspberries, but we  ordered it).  They also had jams, a raspberry vinegar and a lovely chocolate dipped raspberry.  The service was great and the cafe had a nice vibe.  This place was our favourite cafe experience of the trip.

image004We then drove a little further up the road, just  north of Elizabeth Town and went to the Ashgrove Cheese Factory.  They had many cheeses available for tasting and you could watch the cheese being made.

image005The House of Anvers Chocolate Shop near Latrobe had some chocolates to taste and to buy however I can’t say I thought much of the chocolate I had there.

Devonport is where a number of people enter Tasmania (via the boats that come in), so we were a little shocked to find that the first restaurant we decided to go to for lunch was closed and that the cafe we then tried to go to thereafter was closed until mid January.  I would have thought this would be their busy season.

image006We subsequently continued on to Hawley Beach and Port Sorell to the East of Devonport.  Hawley Beach has one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever come across and is somewhere that we are very glad we decided to go to.  In addition to rock pools there are beautiful white sand beaches and the colour of the water was akin to what you would normally associate with the tropics.

image007After a good burger at Port Sorell and a quick drive-by of Hawley House we headed back down towards Launceston via Exeter past many poppy fields, that are throughout Tasmania and a key part of the landscape.

The Tamaimage008r Valley is one of the key wine growing areas of Tasmania and the Tamar River flows through the valley looking magnificent.

We then had a short stop at the Grindelwald Tamar Resort Hotel that is modelled on a Swiss Village and has mini-golf, a 9 hole golf course, lake, kayaks, a games room and lots of other fun stuff that seems well equipped for families with kids.

image009Back in Launceston we went back to the Cataract Gorge and I walked along from the Gorge Restaurant to the Kings Bridge and was taken in by the beauty of the gorge.

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