Tour Description

Manager’s Tour: Secrets of Tasmania

Nine Days: 1st – 9th February 2020

Twin Share: $3995 per person. Sole Use: $4495 per person.

Included in the tour:
  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.

 

For this year’s tour I have chosen to visit one of my favourite places—Tasmania! However, I thought I would like to make this a tour that took in a number of spots that don’t normally get visited, including places that I haven’t seen yet! Just a couple of highlights include a cruise into the Tarkine rainforest area on the Arthur River, plus a visit to the wild north-west of the state at Woolnorth Station—where some of the cleanest air in the world comes ashore! Come join me on a special trip to the fabulous island state.

 

Day One – SATURDAY 1 FEBRUARY 2020

(includes light lunch and three course dinner)

After completing home pick-ups (limited areas*), we begin our journey by travelling through the Mount Lofty Ranges, pausing for morning tea at Tailem Bend. Following refreshments we continue through Coonalpyn, Tintinara and Keith, before arriving at Bordertown. Famous for its white kangaroos which have been bred for zoos and animal shelters around Australia, Bordertown is the perfect spot to stop and enjoy our lunch today.

Our afternoon drive takes us across the border and through the Victorian countryside. As we near Horsham we catch glimpses of the spectacular formations of the Grampians, where the ancient rocky plateaus contrast with the flat landscape of the surrounding open farmland.

Today’s destination is the town of Stawell in the Wimmera region. Stawell enjoyed a mining boom during the Victorian Gold Rush days and today, the Stawell Gold Mines are one of Victoria’s largest gold mines. Our accommodation tonight is at the Magdala Motor Lodge (Ph. 03 5358 3877) where we have time to settle in before coming together for dinner with our fellow travellers.

Paul’s notes: It’s a travelling day today, but it’s all highway and relatively easy travelling. I particularly enjoy the stretch driving past the Grampians with views of Mount Zero. Our accommodation is a relaxing spot, quiet yet very convenient.

 

Day Two – SUNDAY 2 FEBRUARY 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Today we are travelling to Port Melbourne to catch the Spirit of Tasmania, but we’re taking the long way around – right around the Bay!

We start our day by heading away from the Melbourne highway and joining the quieter roads, pausing along the way for morning tea. We pass through Geelong, and continue onto the Bellarine Peninsula. At Queenscliff we travel right to the tip of the Peninsula where we are catching the ferry. However, before boarding we stop at the Roro Café for lunch. The café is right by the beach, and we enjoy views of the water while dining.

Following lunch we board the ferry for our first cruise of the day: the hour-long trip across to Sorrento. It’s a delightful trip, with plenty to see as we travel.

On arrival we begin our tour along the coast of Port Phillip Bay, first enjoying the views of the beaches along the Mornington Peninsula, then entering the south-eastern beach-side suburbs of Melbourne.

The Spirit of Tasmania is a very modern and fast ferry, able to complete the journey in eleven hours. Each of the twin ferries are almost 200 metres long and can carry up to 1400 passengers.  The average cruising speed is 27 knots, bringing us across Bass Strait while we sleep in lovely, comfortable en-suite cabins.  As we depart it is delightful to stand on deck and watch the lights of Melbourne disappear behind us, as we cruise out through Port Phillip Bay, past Queenscliff and into Bass Strait. Dinner is served as we sail.

Paul’s notes:  Today is really all about the water! I’m looking forward to the ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento, and also the gorgeous drive along the beaches of Port Phillip Bay. Another highlight is the Spirit of Tasmania – a very comfortable way to travel to Tasmania!

 

Day Three – MONDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

We wake in Devonport this morning and after disembarking, enjoy our breakfast together at a local motel.

Following breakfast we head south to Railton, a town that began its life as a rail head but today is better known as the ‘town of topiary’. One man’s vision became a community project that now boasts over 100 living artworks. As we drive around the town we will see a number of topiary animals, people and imaginary characters that have been cleverly created.

In the foothills of majestic Mount Roland, is the friendly rural town of Sheffield, where history and art merge to create a ‘town of murals’.

Once a centre for industry, the town is now an arts community, featuring more than 140 murals, as well as several galleries, studios and museums. The murals trace the history of the area and are pictorial representations of characters and stories of the past.

Morning tea is enjoyed in town before continuing to Kaydale Lodge Gardens, where we can wander through this unique two-hectare country garden. The property has a grand-scale rockery, pear walk, zen garden and a productive vegetable area. This amazing and diverse garden is the result of the family’s love of cold climate plants and their enthusiasm for using stone. This is also a fantastic place for our lunch today.

After marvelling at the natural beauty and man-made wonders around the north west of Tasmania, we can sit back and relax on our drive back to Devonport. En-route, we take a short detour, arriving at Braddons Lookout which offers a wonderful vista across the Forth Valley towards Turners Beach and Leith. The lookout includes interpretive signs which provide information on the views and surrounding area.

On arrival back in Devonport, we check into our accommodation at Argosy Motor Inn Devonport (Ph. 03 6427 8872), where there will be time to settle in and refresh before coming together for dinner.

Paul’s notes: Tasmania has so many fascinating little towns and villages, and Railton and Sheffield are two great examples. I’m also looking forward to visiting the  Kaydale Lodge Gardens, which sound fabulous, plus seeing the view from Braddon’s Lookout – another spot I’ve never visited!

 

Day Four – TUESDAY 4 FEBRUARY 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, picnic lunch and three course dinner)

Before  leaving Devonport this morning, we visit Home Hill, the former family home of Tasmania’s only Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons, and his wife Dame Enid, who was the first woman elected to Australia’s federal Parliament. The elegant homestead remains largely the same, complete with original furnishings and memorabilia. On a guided tour we are given an insight into the political and personal lives of two people who were dedicated to public service.

We begin our travels along the picturesque north-west coast of Tasmania to Penguin where we stop for morning tea and to have a photo with The Big Penguin, a sculpture which stands proud at 3 metres tall and was erected to commemorate the town’s centenary in 1975.

Continuing on we drive through Wynyard, which lies on a particularly beautiful stretch of the coast. We reach the historic fishing village of Stanley which is nestled at the base of the ‘The Nut,’ an ancient volcanic rock formation. On arrival we have a picnic lunch before taking the chairlift to the summit of The Nut where we appreciate the spectacular views across Bass Strait and over the township. This is said to be the prettiest spot on the tip of the north-west coast of Tasmania.

After some free time strolling and sightseeing around Stanley we travel to Smithton, located on the Duck River and surrounded by amazing scenery. The economy is driven by a robust timber mill and potato processing plant. We will be staying for three nights at Tall Timbers Tasmania (Ph: 03 6452 9000) and have time to unpack and relax before dinner.

Paul’s notes: A place I have long wanted to visit is Home Hill. It’s remarkable enough to visit the home of a former prime minister, but this was also home to the first woman elected to Federal Parliament! This couple must have been remarkable to achieve what they did, and we get a glimpse into their lives and home.

 

Day Five – WEDNESDAY 5 FEBRUARY 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

After a hearty breakfast, we set off to Woolnorth, one of Tasmania’s iconic and unique properties situated on the north-west corner of Tasmania. We are taken on a tour of this historic, 22,000 hectare property. Originally a massive merino sheep farm with convict labour, it’s now a wind turbine, green energy farm, as well as a dairy. We begin with a visit to the cliff top towers of the Woolnorth Wind Farm and information centre, before exploring the historic precinct and driving through the dairy lands of Australia’s largest dairy operation.

A visit to breathtaking Cape Grim is where we marvel at the incredible coastline, breathe in the cleanest air in the world and witness the islands off the north-west coast of Tasmania. It’s great to have a local guide showing us around, and explaining the stories of this fascinating property.

Following this delightful experience, we drive to Stanley for lunch and visit  Highfield Historic Site. Highfield sits on a hillside with gorgeous views across to the Stanley township, The Nut and Bass Strait beyond. It offers an historically accurate vision of a gentleman’s home and farm in the 1830s. The house is being restored and its elegant Regency design, convict barracks, barns, stables, and a chapel are surrounded by a large ornamental garden.

We return to our accommodation in Smithton after a pleasant day hearing about the fascinating, early period of Tasmania’s history.

Paul’s notes: Tasmania’s heritage is so rich and well-preserved, so I have tried to include a few of it’s heritage gems in this tour. Today I’m delighted to be taking you to the Highfield Historic Site— a property that I’ve driven past many times but never visited. Also, I really wanted to visit Woolnorth. This property is exposed to the winds that have travelled uninterrupted since South America, resulting in incredibly clean air—and some pretty strong breezes! No wonder there’s now a wind farm there! This, plus the stories that Woolnorth holds, makes for a fabulous visit.

 

Day Six – THURSDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Today will be one of the highlights of our holiday—cruising the Tarkine Wilderness on the Arthur River!

We begin with the scenic drive south west, travelling through open farming country and dense forest along the way to the tiny coastal township of Arthur River. Tasmania’s westernmost settlement, the town  is surrounded by dense rainforest and named after the river that runs from the mountains to the sea. Here we enjoy the serenity of the river as we cruise on a beautiful old steel-hulled vessel affectionately known as “The Red Boat”.

If you’ve cruised the Gordon River before you’ll notice some similarities, but also some striking differences. Like the Gordon River, we’ll be captivated by the magical, mirror-like reflections of the lush vegetation in the river and the pristine dense forest on the river banks. There are myrtles, blackwoods, leatherwoods, sassafras, silver wattles and ancient giant tree ferns, providing opportunities for some stunning photographs. Unlike the Gordon River, the Arthur River is much less visited. This means our cruise boat is a vessel with charm and character, taking a much smaller group of people into this wilderness area. Therefore the atmosphere of the cruise is entirely different, and so much more special.

Halfway through the cruise our vessel docks at the side of the river, giving us the opportunity to stroll through the rainforest. It’s also here that we enjoy a delicious barbeque—how often do you get to dine in the rainforest?! The return journey leads us back downstream and hopefully we’ll see some of the magnificent local birdlife as we cruise.

After this wonderful, relaxing and informative cruise, we return to our accommodation for our last night in Smithton.

Paul’s notes: Today is one of the big reasons why I wanted to put this trip together—the cruise on the Arthur River! It is a very different experience to the better-known cruise of the Gordon River and because of the smaller number of visitors, it’s a special trip to enjoy. I hope you are looking forward to it as much as I am!

 

Day Seven – FRIDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

We farewell our hosts, as it is now time to leave this delightful region of Tasmania.

As we drive along the north-west coast, we stop near Flowerdale, a small rural community. Here we visit the Lobster Ponds, a tourist and educational destination providing information about the endangered freshwater lobster. The ponds are set in amongst Tasmania’s trees and we are taken on an informative tour which provides insight into the world’s largest freshwater crayfish. The lobsters are only found in streams and rivers in northern Tasmania and at the haven, they are kept in a habitat as near to their natural environment as possible.

After our morning tea overlooking the beautiful Flowerdale hills and valleys, we drive a short distance to the magnificent plateau of Table Cape, by far Wynyard’s most remarkable natural wonder. The Cape dominates the Wynyard coastline and offers spectacular views of Tasmania’s coast and agricultural farmlands. We reach Table Cape Lookout where, on a clear day, we can see George Town’s Low Head and mountain ranges, over 175 kilometres away.

Burnie, nestled around Emu Bay on Bass Strait, is Tasmania’s most westerly city. This port city was named Emu Bay when founded in 1827  but  was renamed in the early 1840s. It was proclaimed a city by Queen Elizabeth II on April 26, 1988. It is here that we stop for lunch before the last part of our day’s journey to Launceston situated on the bank of the Tamar River. We are staying for two nights at the Best Western Plus Launceston (Ph: 03 6333 9999).

Paul’s notes: Do you know what yabbies look like? Be prepared to be astonished by Tasmania’s freshwater lobster! They’re huge – the largest in the world! I’ve never personally seen them, so am very much looking forward to this visit. I’m also looking forward to re-visiting the stunning lookout at Table Cape. This is one of my favourite spots in Tasmania.

 

Day Eight – SATURDAY 8 FEBRUARY 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

We start today by making our way north along the western side of the Tamar River to Brady’s Lookout, a wonderful place to appreciate the diverse beauty of this area with panoramic views.

Continuing north, we cross over the Tamar River to the eastern side and make our way to George Town, Australia’s third-oldest settlement after Sydney and Hobart, with a rich maritime history. We enjoy morning tea here before travelling a short distance north to the small holiday village of Low Head, situated on the picturesque Low Head Peninsula, with its pristine beaches. Here at the mouth of the Tamar River we find one of Tasmania’s most dramatically situated lighthouses and the Low Head Pilot Station.  As Australia’s oldest pilot and signal station, it dates back to 1805 and has been in continuous use since 1833. We learn much from the Maritime Museum and see a whole range of 19th century buildings in this charming precinct.

Back in George Town we have lunch before a visit to The Bass and Flinders Centre. It is the home of “The Norfolk”, a full sized replica of the boat that Bass and Flinders sailed from Sydney and around Tasmania in 1798, when they were sent to ‘Van Diemen’s Land’ to ascertain if Tasmania was an island. They sailed with a crew of eight, right into the Tamar River where they anchored off what is now George Town. There are other boats here too, including a replica of Bass and Flinders’ wooden dinghy, ‘Tom Thumb’ and  the ‘Elizabeth’, the whale boat rowed by James Kelly around Tasmania. This is a unique and fabulous collection.

On a scenic drive back to Launceston, we detour to Lilydale Falls comprising two delightful, cascading waterfalls, just a short walking distance from each other and under the cover of ferns and eucalypts.

We return to our accommodation to enjoy our last dinner and evening together here in Tasmania.

Paul’s notes: Today is another excellent example of Tasmania’s rich history – this time the maritime heritage of the area. The Low Head complex combines this heritage with some stunning coastal views. Add to this the wonderful Bass and Flinders Centre, and the gorgeous scenery of this part of the state, and we’ve got a fabulous day to enjoy!

 

Day Nine – SUNDAY 9 FEBRUARY 2020

(includes cooked breakfast and light lunch)

Our wonderful holiday in Tasmania is nearly at an end. We have another hearty breakfast before setting off to make the most of our last morning.

There are a number of very special properties close to Launceston, and today we are heading to Clarendon Estate. Clarendon is referred to as Australia’s grandest estate—a significant claim indeed! However, the claim seems justified when you see the magnificent three-storey Georgian house, the walled gardens, servants quarters and more. It was built using convict labour by a wool grower and merchant, James Cox. Clarendon is very different to the other heritage sites we visit and also includes the Clarendon Fashion Collection featuring precious gowns from the 1830s through to the 1960s. There are delightful gardens to wander through and it’s all supplemented with a cup of tea or coffee and some delicious local Tasmanian shortbread.

From Clarendon Estate it’s an easy drive to the Launceston Airport, arriving with plenty of time for a relaxed check-in. Early afternoon we board the first of our flights back to Adelaide via Melbourne.

As usual, we will be met at the airport in Adelaide by an Endeavour Tours representative who will assist with luggage if required. We have a final opportunity to farewell our fellow travellers, before we meet the  drivers who will take us home to our doors, with vivid memories of the stunning scenery and diversity of northern Tasmania.

Paul’s notes: We’re finishing the trip off on a high note! Clarendon Estate is really something special; a spectacular estate that shows off the best of the wealthy lifestyle from Tasmania’s early years. It ensures we finish our time in Tasmania with fabulous memories to take home.

I hope this all sounds like a great tour for you and that you are looking forward to it as much as I am!

Kind regards,

Paul