It’d been ages since I’d been on a plane. It’d been ages since I’d had the energy to write here. And it had felt like ages that we had to wait to watch my brother marry the love of his life.
But, you know, good things come to those who wait and all. And our trip to Tasmania was great.
We flew in a few days before the wedding, and stayed on the property just outside of Launceston. It was all go and no whoa for the next few days, and before we knew it they were wed. It felt (and looked, smelt, and tasted) like something from a fairytale. Their once upon a time is now well and truly a happily ever after.
As for us? Our holiday had just begun. We hadn’t put any pressure on the plan (apart from the expectation that it would make up for three years without travel.) Adamant not to miss out on anything, my map was heavily pinned, my camera storage emptied, and my boots resoled and ready to put in the hard yards.
We decided to make Launceston our base, because, while I struggled to find anything I actually wanted to do in town, it was were the best accommodation was and relatively close to everything we (and I promise he had a say) wanted to do.
Our home for the next few days would be the Red Feather Inn, a boutique property with charming converted cottages, like the ones in The Holiday, minus the snow. And Jude Law.
We were led through manicured gardens and under a weeping willow to the main house, where our room was “up the stairs and to the left.” The fire was roaring, the bath beckoning, and the fridge stocked with fresh juices, homemade muesli and stewed rhubarb ready for breakfast.
That morning we’d driven a winding hour and a half to the town of Derby. No, not to mountain bike but to bathe. I’d found The Floating Sauna while scrolling in the years prior, and it’s remote locale and restorative promise had appealed to my locked-down self.
And as each bead of sweat dropped and sizzled against the steaming timber, it felt like a weight slowly lifted. The floor-to-ceiling window masqueraded as an ever-evolving artwork. We rinsed and repeated until the sun set.
(Hint: stop by the Little Blue Lake when you visit. Yes, it’s just a lake that’s blue but it’ll blow you away.)
We woke to the sound of rain hitting the tin roof on the pergola outside. We robed up, switched on the fire (…that’s doesn’t sound right) and made the most of our complimentary breakfast. I scrolled to find nearby towns we could tour, while he scraped home-made jam across his toast and searched for the best coffee in town (which we found at Bread + Butter.)
Now I’ve found myself quite taken by antiques as of late, and that makes Tasmania about as close to crack as I’ve come in my life. Add in a handful of historic towns within driving distance and you’ve got yourself a day. I’ll try not to bore you as much as I did him, but it started with the Evandale Sunday Markets, stops at some super-cute stores nearby, and lunch at the ever-so-chic Clarendon Arms (which I later found out was owned by the same person as Red Feather Inn, uhh duh).
That night we met the newly weds at HAVILAH, a small wine bar we’d walked past earlier in the week on our way to Geronimo’s (which I highly recommend). The wine went down a treat, and the food was fantastic, although the portions were a bit too puny for the happily hungover couple, so we indulged in a post-meal Maccas run. Why not.
This was his day. It started at what felt like the crack-of-dawn (his normal waking hour) and we hit the road headed for Barnbougle Golf Course. Now, I have no idea how, but the man who served us somehow sensed I wasn’t the most experienced (or overly-enthusiastic) golfer.
Well, I proved him wrong on the sixth hole where I chipped a little birdie into the putt putt for a handicap. Bogey. Bunker. Do I sound like I know what I’m talking about? All jokes aside, it was a beautiful walk. And he loved it, which is the most important thing.
Back on the road, we made a spontaneous stop in at Sinapius, a small-scale boutique winery in the Tamar Valley. We had absolutely no where to be, and savoured a small stolen moment, soaked in sunshine outside the creeping ivy-covered cellar door.
Sleeping dogs lay under the shade of tall trees, and chickens darted through the vines, much to our amusement. The wine kept flowing, for those of us not driving, and for those who were, a few bottles were brought away with us.
We then headed to the sea, to spend a night somewhere he had found in Swansea, called Piermont. Well, stick a fork in me. Undoubtedly one of the prettiest places we’ve been, this seaside retreat was framed by wild forests and cradled by a glimmering bay overlooking Frecyinet. A pebbled beach connected the numerous stone-stacked cottages on the grounds, and reminded me of holidays spent in the English countryside.
We sipped on local gins and watched the light fade over the coastline from the hotel’s restaurant deck. Before long we retired to our cottage, where a cheese plate past for dinner (note: you have to book well in advance to secure a spot in the restaurant). Idyllic doesn’t quite cut it. Picturesque, perhaps, but still not adequate enough to capture it completely. I’ll just have to leave it to your imagination.
We woke slowly to the sound of gentle waves crashing on the nearby shores. The smell of last nights fire still hanging in the air in that romantic way it does. I took the long way to breakfast so I could walk past the paddock with polo ponies in it again. They didn’t want my attention, again. He patiently waited beside me. Again.
As much as it strained us to turn down that driveway and away from Piermont, we’d already planned our return. And the allure of the next activity also helped a bit.
Yes, we topped off this trip in the most Instagrammable way possible. (Come on though, it’s me we’re talking about.) Our oyster farm tour started by whacking on a pair of waders and trudging waist-high through the water to the farm. We got to hold baby oysters that were as big as a fingernail, as well as 12-year-old whoppers that were bigger than my hand (but totally bland, we’re assured).
We were taught how to speedily shuck them without getting a mouthful of shell. You’ll be surprised, no doubt, to learn that he picked it up pretty quickly, and I did not. I was good a sipping the complimentary sparkling wine, though. And eating the oysters as he busily worked. We’ve all got our strengths.
And that was it. It was short-lived and super-sweet. It was a blur, but a breath of fresh air. I’m sure there is plenty I’ve missed, but I’m aware it’s taken me eight months to find the time (read: headspace) to write this, so I’m just happy a part of it has now been captured in my favourite way possible.