Sparrowly Group Founder and Managing Director, Giovanna Lever shares why all destinations and the hospitality industry should look to Tasmania and learn.
Where all businesses shine for the visitor.
We knew we needed a break and wanted to go away somewhere with our kids these holidays after a busy year, but we were just too tired to think and plan.
Our initial idea was to go to Fiji, which is a highly unusual destination for us as we have never been resort-style-sit-by-the-pool-and-drink-cocktails-swim-repeat sort of people (nothing wrong with it, it’s just not us).
Finally we stopped out Fiji planning, looked at each other and said, what about Tasmania. Perfect. Booked.
This was my fourth trip, my husband’s second but the first time for our children, 10 and 8 and it did not disappoint. Four days spent in Hobart and surrounds left us feeling refreshed and connected.
When tourism folk look to who is doing it well, Tasmania is a regular star. But why is Tasmania, the Apple of my and many others’ eye?
1. Crisp Fresh Air. Whether you go in summer or winter, the clean, fresh air is incredible. At one stage, my son said to me, “Mum, I wish I could bottle this air and take it back. It is so amazing.”
2. Food, wine and all things delicious. There is an incredible variety of fresh produce to choose from and the food and wine trails are so well communicated. What really impressed me, however, is how connected the producers were to each other and were extremely helpful with recommendations of others in their region.
3. Customer service. To my point above, being willing and able to talk to customers about what they are looking for and sharing their knowledge not only shows incredible customer service, but how they truly understand that by cross promoting it enables that whole region to prosper.
4. Natural beauty. Sounds cliché but Tasmania takes your breath away with its national landscapes. Whether you are a novice walker or into something more challenging, there are so many options. Oh, and in most cases you will cross paths with a local and they will stop and spend time to talk to you about your visit, give recommendations, guidance for your walk ahead etc. This speaks volumes then any guidebook or article. Advocacy is so powerful when it comes from its own community.
So where did we go? We split the days in half. Mornings were spent being active with the afternoons spent exploring the food trails.
Whilst my husband and I had a fair idea of what we could do, we wanted to involve the kids. When we arrived at Hobart airport, we all selected brochures and maps that appeals to us (yes, old school still works) from the information point (which by the way was so well laid out as opposed to most airport information points where it looks like an afterthought to add a brochure rack and is therefore walked past and overlooked). We then all poured over them, followed up for more details information on the web, then made a list together of all the things we would like to do. Here is our list of what we did during this trip, all of which was memorable, interesting and in many cases delicious!
1. Farmgate Markets, Hobart. Recently voted in the top ten markets in Australia. I’ve never been to a produce market (and I go to a lot) where every stall holder was so informative, friendly, and generous with their time. Makes you want to buy more right (and we did). Plus they have such variety of delicious and healthy options for gluten free people like me.
2. MONA. This was my second time and it didn’t disappoint. The exhibits were all so different. Sure, we didn’t like them all, but that’s normal with the arts. Everything from the ferry trip to and from MONA, the art, the architecture and the lunchtime MOFO lawn concert, left us with so much to talk about. They are currently running the “Museum of Everything” exhibition, which is very interesting and diverse with a surprise tea party at the end. A cuppa and Anzac biscuit will set you back a gold coin donation.
3. Tahune Airwalk. Worth the one and a half-hour drive from Hobart. Easy walking but plenty of it to fill the morning and the fresh air and views from the height at which you walk will take your breath away.
4. Southern Trove Food Trail. On the way back from Tahune Airwalk, there is a well-mapped food trail heading back to Hobart. We picked up plump, tasty cherries at one of the many roadside produce stalls, smoked salmon and trout from Woodbridge Smokehouse (and it seems my son loves trout now) and after 13 years, we returned to Grandvewe cheese to try and buy more of their artisan sheeps milk cheeses. They have now diversified using the sheep whey to make gin and vodka and it’s pretty damn nice.
5. Mt Wellington. There are so many ways to experience this Hobart landmark. 13 years ago (pre kids), we were taken up and road mountain bikes back down. This time, we saw it from a different angle and had fun climbing over all the rocks and completed one of the Tasmania’s 60 Great Short walks on the mountain.
6. Coal River Farm. Being a farmer’s daughter, I love how so many working farms have diversified into food production coupled with packaging the tourism experience. The freedom to roam this property through the orchards and beyond stood out to me along with the beautifully handcrafted cheeses and chocolate. By this stage, my daughter and I had become obsessed with the well-known leatherwood honey (and we were pleased to find Leatherwood trees on the Tahune walk). So we couldn’t go past buying some of their leatherwood honeycomb chocolate.
7. Coal River Creamery in Richmond. What kid doesn’t like ice cream and this did not disappoint. Hand made, small batch artisan ice cream with plenty of vegan options and of course using local produce wherever possible. I couldn’t go past the blackberry sorbet given the abundance of berries in the region.
8. Barilla Bay Oysters. Soft and creamy and uber fresh. And at just $13.50 a dozen, we had to buy two.
9. Stefano Lubiana Wines and Osteria. We are not fans of children’s menu so were very pleased that no such thing was offered here where we enjoyed a long lazy lunch. A short, but distinctive menu showcasing produce from their property and one of the most amazing Octopus dishes we have all had, coupled with their biodynamic wines, made for a perfect finish to our Tasmania adventure.
We are looking forward to our next Tasmania adventure exploring the West Coast and Northern parts of this beautiful and welcoming state. Well done.