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Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

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Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is more than just a place to meet some local animals – it’s a sanctuary and rehabilitation facility for injured wildlife, as well as an education centre for the public and for future animal handlers who want to care for these beautiful creatures.


The Park

The sanctuary started around 30 years ago when a family began to raise and take care of injured and orphaned animals. It turned into a wildlife park where people could pay to see the animals. Bonorong’s turning point was when ownership changed over to the hands of Greg Irons. He changed the focus of the park from a money making venture to a place where animals can be rehabilitated, people can be educated, and whatever else he can achieve in between.


Bonorong became a park where injured animals can recover, where orphaned animals can grow up safely, and where disabled animals can live out the rest of their days. They run a 24 hour rescue service and receive up to 30 calls per day. They offer an internship for animal handling, which has been a great initiative because until recently, there was only one person in Tasmania with experience in seabird rehabilitation.


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A recent project that the sanctuary has been working on is establishing an animal hospital. After jumping through the necessary bureaucratic hoops, it’s nearly ready to be built but they’re still relying on donations and visitors to the park to make it happen.


General entry gives you access to all the animals in the park, including the stars of the show – the Tasmanian Devils. Bonorong also offer public and private tours, as well as a feeding frenzy tour and night tour – which would be great because a lot of the animals at the sanctuary are nocturnal.



The Animals

There are all sorts of unique Aussie animals at Bonorong.  we got to meet a 100 year old cockatoo named Fred, who received a birthday letter from Buckingham Palace with their best wishes.


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We also got acquainted with one of the success stories of the sanctuary – Fisher the bare-nosed wombat. He was rescued from an untimely death when his mother, who was infected with a parasite that disrupted her balance, had fallen into a dam and could not get out. While she was not able to be saved, Fisher was rescued from her pouch – and look at him today! Bonorong have released 10 wombats back into the wild over the last 6 years.


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As well as all the cute kangaroos lounging around the sanctuary, there are also koalas and galahs, bettongs and quolls, emus and echidnas, blue-tongue lizards and snakes. But what we were really there to see were the little devils.


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Tasmanian Devils

The animal we were anticipating to see the most was the Tasmanian Devil and we are so happy that our first encounter was at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.


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Tassie Devils are about the size of a small dog and are mainly black with a white strip across their hind legs and chest. Females can grow up to 7kg while males can be up to 10kg, and they live for about 4-5 years in the wild. Their scientific name Sarcophilus harrisii, means Harris’s meat lover, named after the guy who first published a description of the Tassie Devil in 1807.


Because their legs are a bit short and stumpy, they don’t move particularly fast and can only run as fast as a chicken. While they can manage to catch small animals like frogs and lizards, they’re great scavengers and rely on their sharp teeth that can chew through bones. They also have powerful feet and claws, perfect for digging a den where they hang out for the most of the day.


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Contrary to their reputation, they are timid and shy. In fact, when rangers check on them in the wild, the Devils freeze or play dead. The name Tasmanian Devil name comes from the settlers, who were mortified by the sounds that came from the forest at night. Back then, they were also named Beelzebub’s pup or “satanic meatlover”.


We got to meet Prince, a Tassie Devil that was born in the park. He’s about 5 years old and he loves treats (aka wallaby morsels). Lucky for him, wallabies are considered a pest in Tasmania so he’s never short on treats!


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The population of wallabies has exploded in Tasmania, particularly because their main predator, the thylacine, has been extinct for over 80 years. Also, farmers have inadvertently provided them with an easy supply of food so they never go hungry. To control the population, farmers are encouraged to cull a quota of wallabies, but the other unintended method of control is by road kill. After all, Tasmania is the road kill capital of the world!


Unfortunately, the population of Tasmanian Devils is not booming. There’s a constant uphill battle to ensure that this endangered species does not become extinct. They have battled a fatal facial tumour, but just as the disease was beginning to come under control, a new strain has appeared. This contagious tumour is spread when the Devils bite each other, whether it be playfully or aggressively.


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The Essentials

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Brighton, about 30 minutes north of Hobart.


They’re open every day from 9am to 5pm and an adult ticket is $26 and includes a free wildlife tour and complimentary kangaroo food, so you can easily break the ice with some of the resident macropods.


For more details, check out their website


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City Profile : Hobart

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Hobart is a beautiful city that has retained the nostalgia of its history beautifully. Founded in 1804 as a penal colony, Hobart was initially known as Hobart Town or Hobarton, after Lord Hobart, the colonial secretary. Settlement wasn’t easy due to violent conflicts with the traditional owners – the bloodshed and introduction of disease reduced the aboriginal population rapidly. Nearly 40 years after settlement, Hobart became a city and was finally renamed Hobart in 1881.


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The first thing we noticed about Hobart was the traffic. Of course, arriving during peak hour wasn’t helpful but it gave us a true impression of how bad the congestion actually is. Apparently, this issue has arisen because of a change in the bus timetables. The locals cracked the shits and decided to drive in to work instead but it just made things worse.


The second thing we noticed was the scenery. Hobart sits in the valley of the Derwent River, a sparkling feature, not some dirty sewer that runs through the city, like the Yarra River in Melbourne.  The surrounding foothills seem to create a bit of an amphitheatre around the city, and many of the charming houses have two storeys to best utilise the inclined landscape. The main mountain that dominates the city skyline is Mount Wellington.


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We made a bee-line straight for the Royal Hobart Showgrounds for a shower before heading into town for some dinner and sightseeing. We planned to spend the morning in Hobart before heading south for the weekend, and then returning to Hobart on Monday to stay at the Hobart Central YHA after a pub crawl.


Fast Facts

  • Hobart is the most populated city in Tasmania.
  • It is the second oldest capital city behind Sydney and has a population of approximately 218,000 people.
  • Much of the Waterfront area is reclaimed land as a result of convict labour in the 1830s.
  • Charles Darwin visited Hobart in 1836 and climbed Mount Wellington.
  • The average temperature during the summer months is around 21 degrees and the winter average is 12 degrees.


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Things To Do

Royal Botanic Gardens

Courses for horses – we like Botanic Gardens. They had a great selection of plant varieties, including a Japanese Garden, herb garden and orchid house. The gardens are quite historical and started off as a veggie garden in 1806. It was eventually known as the Colonial Gardens and cultivated fresh fruits and vegetables, some new to Tasmania at the time.


It wasn’t until 1818 that the gardens were officially dubbed the Royal Botanical Gardens, making them the second oldest gardens in Australia behind the Sydney Botanic Gardens.


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Salamanca Markets

Occurring every Saturday morning in the Salamanca district, the markets are a great event for tourists and locals alike. Stalls include various delights such as fudge, wood crafts, leathergoods, gems and jewellery, wine and whisky tasting, colourful clothes, fresh flowers and vegetables.


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There are also buskers and food vans, where we ate wallaby for the first time in burrito form. It was delicious.


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Salamanca Place is also the location of many heritage-listed buildings and is where most of Hobart’s nightlife occurs.



An acronym for the Museum of Old and New Art, this interesting art space opened in 2011 and has been intriguing, insulting and disgusting people ever since.  Reputed to be the most offensive art gallery around, the collections are displayed underground in the bunker-like halls below the main entrance.


Unlike many art galleries that can be a bit posh, stuffy or sterile, MONA has a more relaxed, creative and tongue in cheek attitude. Visitors explore the museum with an interactive “O” device that contains the information about the art instead of labelling each piece.


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While we were there, the main show was the Gilbert & George exhibition, a thought-provoking and colourful display of current affairs and personal opinions. There was also a… “ladies’ parts” exhibit, with over 70 plaster casts of wall-mounted fannies, and the Death Gallery where upon entering, you put yourself at risk of falling into eerie black water.


Possibly the most offensive piece, to Juz’s sensitive nose at least, was Cloaca – the poop machine. It is fed twice a day and poops daily, and it stunk really bad. Apparently, the commentary behind the work is that art is shit anyway, so the artist created a piece of art that creates pieces of art.




Mount Wellington

Towering over the city, Mount Wellington stands 1,271 metres high and provides killer views of Hobart and the surrounding area, as far as Bruny Island. The terrain at the peak is very rocky and harsh, probably because it’s so freaking windy and cold!



Food & Drink

We were actually quite impressed with the offerings of Hobart’s food and drink. We made sure we tasted the best that Hobart had to offer, including coffee, breakfast, pub meals and something a little different.



While Machine Laundry Cafe is a widely popular cafe for breakfast and lunch, we just stopped in for coffee before perusing the Salamanca markets. Despite the long wait, the coffee was fantastic and surprisingly cheaper than what we usually pay for a long macchiato and soy latte – $7.70.


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The other cafe we visited was Pilgrim Coffee on Argyle Street, just a few blocks from the Hobart Central YHA.  It’s a popular spot for caffeination before work, and while the coffee was good, it wasn’t as good as the ones from Machine Laundry Cafe.


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There were heaps of places we wanted to try, and if we had more time, then we would have, but we limited our breakfast outings to two only. Our first breakfast was at Daci & Daci Bakery, an incredibly popular French bakery with a huge selection and display of cakes, pastries and other delicious delights.


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Dave ordered the French toast with bacon, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and ajvar relish, while he enjoyed his breakfast, he said it was nothing to write home about and had serious food envy for Juz’s Croque Monsieur. While it wasn’t much to look at and many may see it as a glorified toasted sandwich, it was bloody delicious. The croque was filled with prosciutto, gruyere and Dijon mustard and had an excellent burst of flavour from the quality fillings.


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Our second and last breakfast was at a little cafe called Pigeon Hole in West Hobart. It’s owned by Weston Farms, a local farm to the north of Hobart that wanted to bring its seasonal and organic produce to the people via the cafe. When you read the menu, whatever has come off the farm is highlighted in green text. We parked our car on the hilly street adjacent to the cafe – we reckon the incline was about 30 degrees.


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They also had a croque monsieur on the menu, so we shared this with a serve of soft baked eggs flavoured with lemon, taleggio cheese and herbs. It was refreshingly tangy from the citrus and delicately flavoursome. The side of toasted sourdough bread was the perfect accompaniment.


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The croque monsieur was also a hit – a thick layer of ham, savoury raclette cheese and mustard for tang was squished and toasted between two thick slices of seedy bread. Different from the Daci & Daci croque but still delicious in its own way.


Lunch or Dinner

Recommended to us by a friend, we attended Mures Lower Deck for a fish and chip dinner. Geez it was busy – probably with both locals and tourists. Dave ordered the Catch of the Day – school shark with chips – while Juz wanted a taste of everything so she got the Fisherman’s Basket with blue grenadier, prawns, scallops, marinated fish, squid and chips.


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As far as fish and chips go, it was fresh and tasty, but also a bit pricy. We didn’t want to know how much it would cost to eat on the upper deck.


Hope & Anchor Hotel

This tavern was built in 1807 and claims to be Australia’s oldest pub.  It’s accumulated wealth from its years can be seen if you go upstairs to the beautiful dining rooms.


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Our pub crawl started at the Hope and Anchor so we had a big lunch. Dave had a whole Aussie parmi with egg and bacon while Juz got a half Mexican jalapeno parmi and a chicken tandoori burger, both with sweet potato chips instead of regular chips. Everything was well priced and tasted fantastic. We highly recommend this pub for both drinks and meals.


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The Winston

This was our oddball meal – the Winston is a pub with an American twist and seems to be popular with the locals. The menu has a variety of ribs, buffalo wings, burgers and such that sound very Yankee, and there is also a great selection of hot sauces available.


Dave ordered the Winston burger, the first Winston for the night. This novel burger is stuffed with deep fried bacon, grilled chicken, dill ranch sauce between two waffles – served in a dog bowl. He couldn’t finish it so we doggy-bagged the rest for our lunch the next day.


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Juz ordered the buffalo chicken burger with blue cheese sauce and fries. For sides, she also got a serve of massive onion rings and buffalo chicken wings with more blue cheese sauce to share with Dave. Everything was really tasty.


Cascade Brewery

Cascade Brewery is the oldest brewery in Australia, established in the early 1830s by a convict. The brewery itself is quite a sight, but it’s also worth stopping in at the Visitors Centre for a tasting paddle.




Larks Distillery

Located close to the Waterfront, Larks Distillery is a popular spot with locals and tourists. They offer a tasting of three whiskies – you can read up about it here…


Information & Accommodation

The Hobart Visitor Information Centre is located at 16-20 Davey St in the CBD. It’s open daily from 9am to 5pm.


Royal Hobart Showgrounds – For only $10, we had a place to stay near the city, hot showers, toilets and a community of other travellers to mingle with. Of course, we met another Troopy legend there and chatted about our adventures until bedtime. Considering how many people were camped there, it didn’t feel crowded at all because of how much space is available.


For more central accommodation, check out the Hobart Central YHA near the corner of Macquarie and Argyle Street. Everything is within walking distance, particularly a major supermarket, the Information Centre and coffee.


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Pub Crawl : Hobart

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What better way is there to see the city and meet some locals than with a pub crawl? We didn’t have any company this time around, unlike our crawls in Mount Gambier, Kalgoorlie Boulder, Geraldton and Darwin, but we still had a great time exploring the pubs and beer gardens of Hobart.


Hope & Anchor

This was our first pub for the day and our lunch stop to fuel up for the next few hours. We started with a couple of beers to sip on while we looked around the pub. Built in 1807, it is possibly the oldest pub in Hobart, so there was plenty of cool historical stuff to look at, especially upstairs!


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Fluke &Bruce

We were entitled to $5 schooners of Cascade Draught at the Fluke and Bruce Hotel because we were staying at the YHA hostel next door. So that’s where we had our next drink after we’d checked in.


This spacious pub had an old charm that came through despite the renovations. There were a few antique images on the walls and the carpet and ceiling were somewhat period, but it maintained a clean and modern feel with the new lick of paint and Ben Harper playing atmospherically.


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Customs House

The Telegraph Hotel was closed so we skipped it and went to the Customs House instead. It had a fairly standard exterior for a corner pub but the interior was much more modern than expected.


At this point of the evening, Juz moved onto neat rum while Dave continued his beer quest with a Cascade Stout. They had a copy of the Herald Scum so we sat out the front and did the Superquiz.




The Whaler

Previously known as Knopwoods Retreat – a popular place for a meal and a tipple – the Whaler got a change of identify at the end of 2015.  The name honours Hobart’s whaling history and even the location’s history as it was the place where whalers would return to get paid and have a drink.


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The Whaler is located on the Waterfront in the Salamanca Precinct. It’s quite a small pub on the inside but it increases its patronage with an outdoor area at the front. It might be an old pub but the renovations have caused it to lose a little bit of its charm. The stained glass window murals above the bar were a nice touch though.


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They have a great selection of local Aussie beers and ciders. Dave enjoyed an Ella Pale Ale while Juz tried the Ron de Jeremy rum.


The Brick Factory

Just outside of our next pub, we were halted by a South African from Melbourne who wanted to take a picture of Dave’s dreadlocks with his interesting black and white camera. We had a brief chat about photography, travel, and his vocation as a storyteller for schools before we went our separate ways.


The Brick Factory is a beautiful and classy place for a drink. The front section is a spacious bar area with booth seating, but as you head towards the Grape Bar at the back, the ceilings start to fall and it has quite a cellar feel, complete with Chesterfield lounges and lots of wine in cabinets.


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They have a huge selection of all sorts of spirits, and Juz sampled the Diplomatica rum, which had rich molasses flavours and a honey nut aftertaste. Dave had a dark lager, which got better as it got few degrees warmer.


Waterman’s Beer Market

This was an accidental stop on our way to the Victoria Hotel, which ended up being closed anyway. The Beer Market mainly serves beer, but they also have limited wine and spirit options. They have 12 beers on tap, which are frequently updated. Juz hopped back to beer with a Van Diemen’s White Ale while Dave got a nice and hoppy ale.


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Outside, they had a great little beer garden covered in Astroturf, with various nooks and crannies and giant games like Jenga and Connect 4. Dave found the urinal hilarious and was a little unsure about using it at first. It’s a one-way mirror that looks out at the beer garden.


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The New Sydney Hotel

This place was rumoured to be popular with the locals, and it was evident when we walked it because it was fairly packed. We ordered our drinks at the bar – Dave got a beer and some water to cure his hiccups while Juz got another rum but missed the name. She thinks it might have been Matusalem.


Outside in the beer garden, which was more like an alley decked out with stools, there was a huge 2 metre square fire pit with a hills hoist above it, connected to bike chains and cranks. We questioned their intention and they simply said, “to cook meat”. We wish we could be around to see that.



The Winston

It was clear that this was a local favourite. Located about 20 minutes on foot out of the city, The Winston is an American influenced bar with a great menu of drinks and food.


Because this was our last stop, we had dinner. Dave ordered the novel Winston burger with deep fried bacon, grilled chicken, and dill ranch sauce between two waffles – served in a dog bowl. He also got a beer, but currently cannot remember what he got because at that stage of the night, he was a little trolleyed. Juz ordered the buffalo chicken burger with blue cheese sauce and fries, as well as some buffalo wings and onion rings to share with Dave. For drinks, she had a Dictador rum.


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We walked home after our huge dinner, got settled in the hostel and chilled out for the rest of the night.


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Hobart Central YHA

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For a quiet and comfortable stay in the middle of the CBD, consider Hobart Central YHA. Conveniently located close to supermarkets, pubs, and the popular Waterfront area, this YHA is a great place to base yourself as you explore what the city has to offer.



Hobart Central YHA is a three story hotel that can sleep 112 guests. It has a variety of accommodation available, from multi-share dorms to ensuite and family rooms. Our multi-share dorm was on the third floor, so our legs got a good workout on our way up.


The reception and tour desk is located on the ground floor, as well as the cosy kitchen and laundry room. If you can navigate the maze of corridors on the first floor you’ll find the TV and games room. Each floor has a few bathrooms with a shower, toilet and basin, instead of a mass bathroom on each level.


There’s no secure parking, only street parking, which is free between 6pm and 8am. This was easy to work around as once we had found a parking spot after 6pm, we didn’t have to move the Troopy until 8am the next morning, which was fine because we had to be on our way anyway.


Things Close By

Walking Distance

  • The Fluke & Bruce Hotel – You can’t get any closer than next door, and you get a $5 schooners for staying at the YHA.
  • Lark Distillery – just a quick 160m stroll towards the Waterfront, Lark Distillery is one representation of Hobart and Tasmania’s love of whisky.
  • Supermarket – a major supermarket is located at 44 Argyle Street, only 230m up the road.
  • Fish and chips – if you want some fresh fish and chips, your options are plentiful on Constitution Dock only 350m away.
  • Daci & Daci Bakery –a delicious breakfast or some yummy cakes is only 450m away. If you walk there and back, you’ve nearly walked off half an apple danish.
  • Salamanca Markets – Hobart’s famous markets, full of great food, crafts and entertainment, is only 750m away.


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Via Vehicle

  • The Cascade Brewery – only 3.7km away in South Hobart.
  • Frogmore Creek Winery – about 17km on the other side of the Derwent River, Frogmore Creek have a wonderful cellar door and fantastic selection of wines.
  • Bruny Island – the ferry to cross to the island is 33km south in Kettering.
  • Tahune Airwalk – just over an hour away by vehicle is the Tahune Airwalk, a beautiful treetop walk amongst an ancient forest of trees that are at the heart of Tasmania’s wilderness.





The Essentials

Hobart Central YHA is located at 9 Argyle Street in the Hobart CBD.


To make a booking or enquire about accommodation, you can call them on 03 6231 2660, or check out the website.


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Food & Wine : Hobart & Surrounds



Tassie has an abundance of local food, wine, beer and whisky, we tried our best to visit as many as we could! There are a few places located in a the heart of Hobart, but there is also the Coal River Valley out to the east, and to the north west is the Derwent River Valley.


If a place was within 30 minutes of Hobart, then we included it in the surrounding area. We started our tasting trail to the east of Hobart in Richmond.


The Wicked Cheese Company

This was the first stop of our tasting tour of the Hobartian surrounds. The Wicked Cheese Company was established in 2007 and is an award winning cheesery. They use both goat and cow’s milk to create a variety of cheeses such as cheddar, brie and camembert. The outlet also sells various local produce like sausages and chocolate. We picked up a Mediterranean terrine to munch on later.


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Nearby is the historic Richmond Bridge, which was built in 1823. It’s the oldest bridge in Australia that’s still in use and is a popular stop with the tourists.


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Frogmore Creek

One of our favourite wine tasting sessions happened at this beautiful award winning cellar door. Even if you’re not into wine, you can still enjoy the architecture of the cellar door, great views of the winery or peruse the local produce available for purchase.


We were lucky enough to be just in time to grab one of the last bottles of 2008 Mardi, a delicious sparkling white wine with hints of orange and brioche – a little like a Panettone. We also loved the 2015 Riesling, with serious pineapple flavours.


Of the reds, we enjoyed the 2012 Pinot Noir. It had spent 10 months in French Oak and had luscious fresh berries, a hint of cedar, and smooth, silky tannins!


We walked away from Frogmore Creek with a bottle of the pinot noir and Mardi sparking. When we were strolling through Salamanca Markets, we saw a Frogmore Creek stall and got to try a few other wines. We learnt that Josef Chromy used to be their winemaker, which is why both wineries have a Ruby Pinot Noir – a delicious sweet wine with blackberry flavours and creamy cashew.


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Sullivan’s Cove Distillery

This distiller is located in Cambridge and while the exterior doesn’t seem like much, once you’re inside, you just want to sit down on the beautiful lounges and sip on a whisky while you watch the afternoon go by listening to some relaxed tunes like Neil Young.


Sullivan’s Cove Distillery take pride in their drops, and the convict symbol on their label is a historical footnote of the first drop point for convicts at Sullivan’s Cove. They also said that their whiskies are distilled with conviction.




We forked out $25 to taste a dribble of three whiskies, and an additional $10 for Juz to taste the gin.


All their whiskies are aged 12 years minimum before being taste tested. Instead of ageing for a certain amount of time, each whisky is tasted every 6 months or so to ensure that it’s at its peak.


Of the whiskies that we tried, our favourites were the award winners. The American Oak was sweet with hints of banoffee and vanilla, and the French Oak was full of toffee and fruit cake flavours.


Cascade Brewery

Cascade Brewery is the oldest brewery in Australia. It was established by convict Peter Degraves, who was not happy with the quality of beer in Hobart. He was released from goal in 1831 and set about brewing beer, and by December 1832, the first Cascade beer was sold.


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We would have loved to go on a tour of the brewery but all we had time for was a stop in for a tasting session by the beautiful gardens. A paddle of four beers was only $12 and you can choose any four beers you like.  We opted for the Lager, Draught, Pale Ale and Stout – all flavoured with Pride of Ringwood Hops but with varying degrees of crispness, bitterness and flavour.


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Larks Distillery

Located in the heart of Hobart, this popular Whisky bar has an incredible selection of spirits. We stumbled across the cellar door by accident during our evening walk around the Waterfront. We loved the atmosphere of the place – it was almost like finding a cave of wonders.


We settled ourselves at the bar and got the tasting paddle that included three little nips for $20. The bar staff were really friend and happy to talk about the spirits that we were tasting.


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The first was the 43% Classic Cask, which was a bit rough. The second on the paddle, the 58% Cask Strength whisky was gorgeous. Yes, it also had a good burn but it smelt like maple syrup and the taste had hints of coffee liqueur.  The final little nip was a Whisky Liqueur. It tasted a little like Jaegermeister, which probably explains the secret herbs and spices in the recipe. While it was a little medicinal, it was sweet and syrupy.


Derwent Valley Estate

We needed to waste a little time so we stopped in at the Derwent Valley Estate for a tasting. Our session was hosted by a nearly deaf old codger who emitted an air of playful petulance and loose authority. We tried to be playful too but it was a little awkward because he couldn’t hear our jokes.


We made it through a tasting and walked away with the Rose – smooth and sweet like strawberry jam, but we would have loved to take the buttery but peachy 2014 Chardonnay home but it was simply too pricey to justify the purchase.


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