(Continued from: Showing Friends Around – Part 1)
Our two German friends, from Bavaria, are on a tight schedule with just five weeks in Australia overall, and just six nights in Tassie!
What to do, where to take them in Tasmania?
Well of course they wanted to see Olive’s Cottage, our property at Windermere on the east Tamar, and see Launceston, my ‘home’ town.
Launceston and the Tamar Valley
An early morning flight from Melbourne to Launceston. A quick and easy pick-up of the hire car then ten minute drive into Launceston.
We stop at Davies Grand Central to buy extra food supplies for the cottage. Is it not one of the most amazing stores in Australia? A service station with a food store attached selling high quality delicatessen items, cakes, bread, wine, organic produce, best Tassie dairy products, groceries of all sorts, …. And it’s open 24 hours a day, every day. Not inexpensive but almost always our preferred stop after landing and heading to Windermere.
Fifteen minutes to Windermere Cafe to pick up our ‘breakfast hamper’ and some of Kerrie’s homemade cakes.
By mid-morning we are at Olive’s Cottage, 2 km away. Show our friends around the cottage and garden. Unpack. Morning tea of fresh coffee and the cakes on the deck looking out at the plants starting to blossom in the garden as we plan the rest of the day.
We would do one of our favourite drives, a circuit of the Tamar Valley (more details on this circuit in later posts). We would drive back into Launceston, then head back north on the west Tamar highway. First stop, Rosevears with its view back towards Windermere and Olive’s Cottage.
Then up to Brady’s lookout for gorgeous views along the full length of the valley and the distant mountains.
Normally we would have lunch at Koukla’s at Gravelly Beach, with its Middle Eastern surprises and lovely outlook. But we knew it was closed that day. That gives us the chance to let our German friends experience a typical Aussie lunch – a filled roll at the Exeter Bakery! Then on to one of favourite galleries, the Artisan Gallery at Robigana, just a few kilometres away on the Deviot road with its locally made furniture, ceramics and jewellery and wines from local producers.
Our German friends were interested in visiting Beaconsfield, the site where two gold miners were trapped for 14 days in 2006!
Then to Rowella to visit friends in their historic homestead.
After crossing the Tamar via the Batman Bridge and a tour through Hillwood and Swan Bay, we are back at Olive’s Cottage at Windermere soon after 5 pm. Along the way our German friends hear Robin’s stories of growing up as a child and teenager in those parts of the Tamar.
Time to relax before dinner in Launceston.
Dinner at 7.30 is with two Windermere friends. We meet at Mud Bar Restaurant at Launceston’s board-walked Seaport complex. While hearing about life in Tasmania from the two locals they also experience modern Australian cooking with lovely Tamar Valley wines.
After a late breakfast we head back into Launceston to see the city and the Gorge.
Launceston has a CBD grid of about six blocks by six blocks of beautifully maintained buildings. Our friends remark that it reminds them so much of lovely European cities.
We show them City Park and then stop at Design Tasmania where they see the gallery and extensive range of locally made furniture, crafts, ceramics and souvenirs.
We make our way back to the top of Charles Street for lunch among its cluster of cafes and food shops near Balfour Street. We need more provisions to prepare dinner at Olive’s Cottage that night. Ye Olde Greengrocer has an extensive range of organic and other produce and quality we trust. As expected we find packets of sensational micro salad leaves grown by York Town Organics, the best example we have found in Australia.
After lunch we drive to Kings Bridge, over the mouth of the South Esk River, the start of the walk up the Launceston Gorge. After 30 minutes on well-made paths along the side of the rugged valley gouged by centuries of rushing waters we reach the tearooms, suspension bridge and The Basin. We return on the other side, over the tops of the hills for views back to the city.
While preparing dinner we open a bottle of Tassie sparkling to watch a special sunset. Our friends are amazed by the clarity of the Tasmanian air and sky.
Dinner that night would be simple but delicious – a frittata using Tassie smoked salmon and local fresh eggs and cream that comes out of the oven like a souffle. Two years earlier we had taken a French friend to Koukla for lunch. From Paris, she is one of the best cooks we know, specialising, as might be expected, in traditional French cuisine. She was so taken by Koukla’s frittata that she asked us to get the recipe for her. Tonight we serve it with a salad using the micro leaves from York Town Organics.
For the recipe, click here: Smoked Salmon Frittata
The next morning we will wake up to a typical Tamar Valley frost with much of the lawn under the blossoming plum tree as white as snow, even after an hour of sun.
But we know it will be a beautiful sunny day as we head off to Tasmania’s east coast.
To be continued!
– Next, we head to St Helens and Freycinet.
(Continued in: Showing Friends Around – Part 3)