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Old 30th December 2014, 11:55 PM   #16
yflyer
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Our next stop was Tamar Ridge Wines, also located in a very picturesque part of the valley, where we tasted more wines in their large tasting room.











Then we headed further north to Holm Oak Vineyards, where the tasting room was a far more modest affair, but whose wines were excellent.





Wines aside, Holm Oak had a unique feature which was popular with the kids: Pinot, the vineyard pig…which kept the girls occupied as Mrs yflyer and I were sampling the wine.



This pig has its own Twitter handle…


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Old 30th December 2014, 11:56 PM   #17
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After 3 days in Launceston, we left the city and embarked on a long drive to Coles Bay, at Freycinet National Park. This drive would take us through Pyengana and Binalong Bay, close to the Bay of Fires.

This was a scenic drive, through hills and forests, and the occasional stunning vista.



And that was how we ended up at Pyengana Dairy Farm for lunch.



Lots of bovine company up close…



These were intelligent animals, observing us as closely as we were observing them…



Milk from Pyengana was a world away from the packaged, homogenized (literally) product we were used to.



This was real milk, almost straight from the cow…



The packaging on each large milk bottle explained at length why pasteurization was important for milk (For health and safety) but why homogenization was just cosmetic, to make milk look smooth and uniform. Real milk contained fat and cream globules that floated to the top.

Well, real milk tasted great! And so did the food in the café.

We had zucchini soup, accompanied by bread and thick slabs of butter…



Home-made burgers..



And amazingly rich, award winning ice cream…



The cheeses here were very good as well…



…and could be sampled to your hearts content…


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Old 30th December 2014, 11:57 PM   #18
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Now this was just a farm, not unlike others in Australia or elsewhere, but for kids from Singapore, being this close to cows and other farm animals was quite eye-opening. My girls spent a long time up at the fence just oggling at the cows going about their business. In fact, the farm animals and wildlife we encountered on this trip, from wallabies to potoroos and a very rare echidna, were an endless source of wonder and excitement for the kids – exactly the kind of things Singaporean kids need to be exposed to, I suspect.

It was also strangely liberating to be in a place where there was no possibility of receiving an unwanted phone call…

Tip: Telstra have by far the best cell phone and mobile internet coverage throughout Tasmania. Vodafone has some coverage in Hobart and Launceston, and you get Optus coverage here and there as well, but if you want a reliable voice and mobile internet connection on a road trip or tour throughout Tasmania, Telstra is your best bet. They also sell 3G/wifi routers with prepaid SIMs built in that you can use to setup your own mobile hotspot during your trip. You can forget about any coverage whatsoever in inland places like Pyengana, though.

Next up, Freycinet National Park, Hobart, Salamanca Market, and a taste of the world’s best single malt whisky…

To be continued…

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Old 31st December 2014, 05:01 AM   #19
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Thanks for this! Studied in LST for 5 years and it has been 10 years since I've been back. Good memories... At LST airport, we had to collect our checked-in luggage from a trailer... Not sure if it's still the same?
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Old 31st December 2014, 11:25 AM   #20
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Welcome to Launy.... home of the world famous Australian Maritime College.

I actually did a round island caravanning trip some years back and enjoyed every minute.
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Old 31st December 2014, 01:15 PM   #21
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Keep the TR coming.

Brings back memories of my trips to Tasmania. I also drove a similar route starting in LST although I have yet to see a couple of places in this TR.

Rather surprised that Cradle Mountain wasn't included in your route.
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Old 31st December 2014, 07:48 PM   #22
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great TR as usualyflyer. Despite to & fro-ing Australia for the past 3 - 4 yrs, I have yet to set foot on Tazzie, but yr TR does make me want to head south. I was on the same QF SIN-SYD and can attest that the A330 J seat is nothing to shout abt - seats are rather dated by now and except for a set of PJs and an amenity kit, is no competition for SQ
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Old 31st December 2014, 11:33 PM   #23
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Freycinet National Park, on the East Coast of Tasmania, is a large national park best known for Wineglass Bay, once voted one of the worlds’ top ten beaches, and a series of imposing pink granite mountain peaks in a line along the coast, known as "The Hazards".












There is excellent trekking and walking in the National Park, as well as beaches and activities such as cruises and kayaking. We stayed close to the park, at nearby Coles Bay.

We drove into the park, and then took a long walk up a hilly but well maintained path up the Hazards to the Wineglass Bay Lookout, far above. The pay-off for this 30 minute trek up to the Lookout was a stunning view of Wineglass Bay.





There was wildlife in abundance as well, including wallabies, totally unafraid of human contact…

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Old 31st December 2014, 11:35 PM   #24
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Apart from trekking through the park, we also went kayaking in the bay.



Kayaking in open sea, across Coles Bay, amidst stunning scenery, was an awesome experience. Our guide for the day was Sophie, a young, and very fit, outdoor enthusiast, who, when not leading these kayaking tours, was part-way through completing her bachelors degree at the local University.



One of the highlights of the short kayaking expedition was a short break at a sandy beach close to The Hazards, the large granite mountains dominating the bay, where we paused for cookies and hot coffee, tea and chocolate.





For our younger girl, she rated kayaking as her favourite activity in Tasmania.

Mrs yflyer said the tea and cookies were her favourite part: After all that paddling along the bay, it was great to take a break. “Cookies and tea never tasted so good as after all that kayaking…”, she remarked afterwards, nursing her sore arms.

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Old 31st December 2014, 11:38 PM   #25
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Accommodation at Freycinet and Coles Bay ranged from camper van parks to high-end accomodations.

Top-end options included the Saffire Freycinet, whose eye-catching main building with the wave-shaped roof could be seen from afar, but we did not visit this resort…





We stayed at Iluka Holiday Centre, which provided a range of budget and mid range accomodations, including chalets, cabins and a camper van park.

The chalets at Iluka were large and spacious…



We stayed at one of Iluka's holiday cabins, which were smaller than the chalets, but which were still exceedingly comfortable, with two small bedrooms and a living/dining area and kitchen, as well as a front porch, and views of Coles Bay.












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Old 31st December 2014, 11:39 PM   #26
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While at Coles Bay, we paid a visit to Freycinet Marine Farm, an oyster farm with a restaurant that was very popular with tourists -- maybe too popular. When we were there, it was packed with visitors, and wait times were long for cooked items. (Cold oysters on the half shell were served right away.)



Mussels cooked in wine sauce...



Abalone grilled with butter...delicious...



We also made side trips to Bicheno, a nearby town, which had a very well known butcher, Sir Loin Breier of Bicheno, famous for meats, sausages, and smoked quail.





Once again, Mrs yflyer assumed chef duties and prepared a couple of wonderful meals, which we ate in our cabin.





Delicious black pudding from Sir Loin, with free range Tasmanian eggs.


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Old 31st December 2014, 11:40 PM   #27
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One unusual thing that happened during our stay was the discovery, in one of the kitchen drawers, of a very old copy of National Geographic, dating from September 1992. A very old issue, but in near perfect condition.



We had no idea how it got there, but it made for very interesting reading, both for a little nostalgia and also for a glimpse of how we viewed the world back then.



We put it back in the drawer when we checked out of the cabin. Hopefully the next cabin occupant will enjoy reading it too.

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Old 31st December 2014, 11:41 PM   #28
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Our next stop was Hobart...



Hobart is a very picturesque city with population of about 215,000 people -- the largest city in Tasmania. It is a very popular tourist destination, and has a University with a strong reputation as well.











The city centre is not large, and we spent many hours exploring the city centre and the waterfront on foot.








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Old 31st December 2014, 11:42 PM   #29
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In Hobart, we stayed at the Best Western Hotel. This was a basic, but comfortable hotel, in an excellent location in the city, just a few minutes walk from the shopping mall, city centre and waterfront.



We booked a family room, which was essentially two spacious interconnected rooms (a King bedroom and another bedroom with 2 singles) with a single bathroom shared between them. A great choice if you were travelling as a family of four.




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Old 31st December 2014, 11:43 PM   #30
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On one of our evenings in Hobart, Mrs yflyer and I took time off from the kids to treat ourselves to dinner for two at Garagistes, a restaurant serving innovative, modern cuisine focusing on locally sourced ingredients, in a minimalist, urban setting.

The entrance to this restaurant was so understated that we missed it twice while walking along the street trying to locate it.



Dining was on communal tables…



There was a fixed set menu, and interestingly, an optional sake pairing for each course (Wine pairings could also be arranged)…



As our hotel was a 5 minute walk from the restaurant, for once both Mrs yflyer and I could opt for the full drink pairing without worrying about who would drive.

The wine list was quite impressive, with wines offered by the glass and by bottle, grouped on the list by taste and character…



Not the most comfortable restaurant seating, but it made you sit up and focus on the cuisine…



First course, raw striped trumpeter…



And the accompanying sake pairing…



Smoked potato salad…



Accompanied by Uehara Shuzo ‘Soma no Tengu’ Junmai sake, a sake which was cloudy in colour.



It was amazing how the sake served with each course both looked and tasted different, and how each complemented the dish served…

Freshly baked bread, accompanied by ricotta cheese…



Grilled oyster mushrooms…



Garagiste in-house smoked eel, with pickled rhubarb and seaweed…


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