(Continued from Olive’s Cottage: Showing Friends Around – Part 2)
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? So far they have stayed at Olive’s Cottage, our property at Windermere on the east Tamar, seen Launceston and toured the Tamar.
To Binalong Bay, Bicheno and Freycinet
To reach Tasmania’s east coast we drive from Launceston towards Scottsdale, stopping at the Siding for the sunlit views of the rich farming region. By the time we reach Scottsdale it is time for morning tea. We stop at the Scottsdale Art Gallery and Cafe, surprisingly airy and sophisticated, on the edge of a distinctly rural township.
Then to the old tin mining semi-ghost town of Derby then towards Weldborough where we pass through lovely stands of Tasmanian myrtle beech. (From the start of their visit we had given our German friends a ‘short course’ in Australian flora, in particular, the main tree types, so they would appreciate them in their travels.)
The walk to Saint Columba Falls provides an excellent example of temperate rainforest with tree-ferns under a canopy of myrtle and sassafras.
We return to the Pyengana Dairy and Holy Cow Cafe for a cheese tasting and excellent lunch looking out over verdant dairy country. We leave with some aged cheddar for friends we will visit when we reach Hobart.
A quick tour of St Helens then onto the beautiful beaches of Binalong Bay and The Gardens, at the southern end of the Bay of Fires.
We have enough time for a coffee at Moresco Restaurant with their views over Binalong Bay. The following photograph is from their website.
We make it to Eureka Berry Farm, just south of Scamander, in time to buy some of their perfumed berry jam for our friends in Hobart. But we forego the berry ice cream and cakes on offer.
We spend tonight and tomorrow night just north of Bicheno staying in a beautiful house owned by some friends . We have the house to ourselves and the opportunity to cook the local produce we have acquired during the day and to try more Tasmanian wines. Tomorrow will be a busy but interesting day for our friends.
We pack a lunch that we intend to eat when we reach the top of the pass at Freycinet, overlooking Wineglass Bay.
Before driving into Coles Bay proper and the start of the Freycinet National Park, we check out the new developments looking back over Great Oyster Bay to Swansea. We all agree that, after our walk, we should have oysters for ‘afternoon tea’ at the marine farm. We continue on to the gorgeous beaches and rock formations looking out towards The Hazards.
Robin explains how he visited Coles Bay when he was a child, when it was an unknown destination dotted by basic shacks and accessed by gravel road from the main highway. Then it had practically nothing in the way of facilities. Today, while not overrun, it is the focus of one of Australia’s iconic destinations. We drive past Tombolo Cafe-Restaurant where our memories from a previous visit are of beautiful wood-fired pizzas served with wines from the Freycinet region. No chance to visit this time – we are off to see Wineglass Bay!
After an hour’s walking in gorgeous sunshine, we make it to the top of the pass and enjoy lunch with tourists from all corners of the globe. This photo of Wineglass Bay is not from the pass but from the top of Mount Amos, which we climbed a few years earlier.
With our tight itinerary we don’t have time to go down to the bay and do the circuit walk that returns via Hazards Beach and the headland. Back at the car park we are met by some of the locals.
We drive to the lighthouse for the spectacular views across the ocean back towards Wineglass Bay.
Then a quick stop at Honeymoon Bay.
Mid-afternoon and we head off for our ‘afternoon tea’ at the Freycinet Marine Farm. There, in the quirkiest of settings, we enjoy the freshest of oysters and abalone and a glass of wine under a bright sun. We left with our dinner for that evening – a bag of fresh scallops and some dozens of locally grown mussels.
On the drive back to Bicheno we stop at the blowhole and then its granite-wedged port, one of the cutest little harbours anywhere.
Dinner that night is easy and delicious made from the freshest of seafood – pan-fried scallops followed by moules marinières!
For the moules recipe, click here: Steamed Mussels – Moules marinières
Update August, 2018: There are numerous fabulous variations on this recipe. Search your recipe books or the Internet. Thai versions with coconut milk and chilli are superb. A Greek version is to make a sauce similar to moules marinières but replace most of the wine with 400g chopped tomatoes, add a dash of tomato paste and some chilli or equivalent, some ouzo or equivalent, and instead of cream at the end, crumble plenty of fetta over with the parsley when serving.
Our friends remark that the nature and solitude that characterise Tasmania remind them so much of Iceland.
To be continued!
– Next, we head to Hobart.
(Continued in: Showing Friends Around – Part 4)