You’ve got a big day ahead of you visiting the Wines of the West Tamar, so start with a locally-roasted latte, poached free-range eggs and a view to bobbing yachts at Stillwater Restaurant in Launceston.
Stillwater has been serving fabulous food accompanied by terrific service for as long as most locals can remember. Stillwater may occupy an 1840’s flour mill, but the vibe is most definitely contemporary cool.
After you’ve gobbled your eggs or maybe a rye waffle with smoked salmon, pop upstairs to the Stillwater Providore and Gallery. Grab some snacks for the road – maybe some 41 South salmon rillette, Manu Bakery bread or Brick Oven pate – and peruse the latest exhibition of local art.
Hit the West Tamar Highway and head north, maybe stopping at Brady’s Lookout that offers a bit of bushranger history plus the perfect spot for a selfie.
From here you will have a choice of over 14 different wineries spattered along the West Tamar. Rather than list all 14 in fabulous detail, we have just chosen a few to feature below:
Keep driving through Exeter until you reach Moores Hill. This vineyard is perched overlooking the bushy valley and road to gold-mining town Beaconsfield.
Unless otherwise occupied, Otto the resident Weimaranar will be there to greet you. His owner and vigneron Fi shouldn’t be too far away with a selection of some of region’s most delicious cool-climate wine. Enjoy a tasting with plenty of tid-bits inside the cellar door, a beautifully designed and thoroughly cosy building beside the working vineyard. The perfect starter for what’s to come, try some fresh-shucked oysters and NV sparkling.
Time for another tasting? Head 10 minutes to Goaty Hill, a vineyard with sweeping views of the Tamar River and top notch Riesling. If you’re feeling a bit peckish, ask one of the dandy staff for a cold produce platter – think camembert, crostini and salmon caught just minutes away. Pick a seat inside or out – there’s a terrific deck and lawn shaded by gums, otherwise share benches. Keep an eye on Goaty’s social media as this place is known to throw a great jazz day.
While you’re sitting back and thinking just how great northern Tasmania is and how one day it might be nice to move here, remember most of the places we’ve chatted about have online stores and can ship interstate and overseas meaning you can always have a tasty reminder nearby.
Anyway, enough daydreaming – it’s time for lunch at Timbre, a smart little restaurant among the ageing vines of Velo Vineyard, about 30 minutes from Goaty.
Run by a stylin’ young couple who also own a flock of goats, Timbre offers local, seasonal fare done like you’d see in Flinders Lane: think share plates with Asian subtleties and stacks of panache.
Lounge about in comfy wicker chairs and sip on (more) wine from vines as far as Hobart and as close as outside. The view toward the river is interrupted only by herds of dairy cows, grazing on the valley’s lush grass.
Visit the Velo cellar door beside Timbre, and remember, before you hop in your car, breathe in the Tamar Valley and all her finesse one more time.
*Sidenote: in the middle of the year, when temperatures nosedive and Tasmanians dust off their mandaotry puffer jackets, give Tamar Valley Truffles a call. You may just be lucky enough to join them on a hunt for the opulent fungi lauded the world over.