Launceston is a small, quaint and sleepy town in the north-east of Tasmania. One of my favourite places to visit in Tassie, it is the home of the beautiful Cataract Gorge, a must visit for nature lovers. We took a chairlift from one side of the gorge to the other, and then walked back around over the suspension bridge.
In the town itself, we discovered cute cafes, laneways, homewares shops and interesting old buildings. We stopped in at the very Melbourne-esque Milkbar Cafe + Workshop for lunch. A cafe and workshop space, they serve organic drinks and food, all made in house. Out the back is a workshop where they hold ‘making’ sessions for all sorts of things: photographic screen printing, sewing, woven wall hangings and bound journals are just a few of this months workshops. Their mantra is local, fresh, organic, in-season – and they cater for food allergies with ease.
With cute decor such as their vintage baking pan lighting fixtures, and mishmash vintage items such as bikes, suitcases and tennis rackets scattered around, the vibe is warm and cozy and staff friendly: just what we needed to recover from the cold. We tried some sandwiches and some of their organic milkshakes (chai! they have a chai milkshake!), all delicious and beautifully fresh.
Next up we visited the famous James Boags Brewery, where you can book a guided tour of the working brewery for $30 per adult. Finishing up the tour in the pub, you get to drink your entrance fee back in free beer tastings. Otherwise, wander around the Boags store and multi-level house that contains a small brewery museum. Check out labels, bottle designs, vintage brewery machines and of course, prints from the famous ‘Who is James Boag?’ ad campaigns from throughout the decades.
We stayed at the quaint Penny Royal Hotel and Apartments – by far, the accommodation highlight of our trip. Built as a corn mill in 1840, it was moved and rebuilt stone by stone 130 years later and turned into a boutique hotel. The hotel rooms have themed names – The Stables, The Bakehouse (we stayed in The Smitty), high wooden ceilings, renovated and well designed interiors, stone walls, large bathrooms, and gorgeous outdoor areas. We got a great deal, at $100 a night for a bed and a cooked breakfast for two it was an absolute bargain.
The next day, we head down south towards Hobart. We took a quick detour into Oatlands, a tiny, cute town filled with sandstone buildings from the original settlement, just off the Bass Highway. The small town is home to the only restored and working wind driven flour mill in the Southern Hemisphere; Callington Mill. For a small fee, take a tour up the windmill, working your way to the top and learning about the stages the flour goes through at each floor. Afterwards, we walked around the corner to the main street and visit Companion Bakery, an organic, wood-fired sourdough bakery that uses the local Callington Mill flour.