It's no secret that I'm madly in love with this tiny island I call my home. The food, the landscape, the history, the pure clean air and the way the sunlight casts a soft, pretty light makes Tasmania easy to love. I think I've made that clear by now.
That love was rewarded recently when I received a call asking if I'd like to participate in a Tourism Tasmania campaign, and show Katie Quinn Davies, Sydney photographer and blogger from What Katie Ate, some of my favourite local places.
I didn't have to think twice, I was more than a little excited.
Not only because I love Katie's work, her styling and magical photography, but the chance to show Katie some of my favourite places for her to photograph was an opportunity too good to refuse. After a little planning and cherry picking my favourite spots, we spent three days on the southern Tasmanian trail, Hugo and Elsa style. First day, Hobart, second day Bruny Island, third day, Huon Valley. There is so much goodness to share from our adventures that I have to spread it over a few posts.
Herewith for your reading pleasure is...Day One :: Hobart
First thing in the morning I met the totally gorgeous Katie in the foyer of the luscious Henry Jones Art Hotel - a fancy hotel on Hobart's waterfront. We loaded the car with cameras and luggage and headed over to Smolt at Salamanca to meet Mary McNeil, a friend who runs the wonderful Gourmania food tours of downtown Hobart. Over the first coffee of the day, Mary explained our schedule for the morning while we admired the water jugs and sugar bowls made by local ceramicist Lindsey Wherrett.
First stop was the Salamanca Arts Centre to visit to Bruny Island Cheese store - formerly known as A Common Ground, this little jewel of a store tucked under the stairs is filled with not only BIC, but lots of stellar Tasmanian produce like flour, pickles, ham and chocolate. We stepped across the arcade for a quick visit to The Maker, a favourite store of mine that sells divine Tasmanian clothes and accessories made with stunning Japanese fabrics along with locally made handcrafts such as jewellery and homewares with a delicious vintage feel. I think Katie was impressed. So far, so good.
Next stop was a walk along the waterfront to the Lark Distillery for a tasting of their fine whisky. It's never too early for a tipple in Tasmania. We tried four whiskies and I loved the complex woody, smokey characteristics of each one. I adore Tasmanian whisky, there are so many wonderful distillers here, but I think Lark is still my favourite, watch this gorgeous little promo for the Tasmanian Whisky Trail for an overview.
Time to stretch our legs and head off to the new Pigeon Whole Bakery, part of the new food mecca that includes the soon to be opened restaurant and bar, Franklin along with little sister Betsy, a breakfast and lunch bar. These three new food destinations are in a newly refurbished building that until recently held the printing presses of the local paper. Franklin and Betsy are not quite ready to open, so we focused on Pigeon Whole and sampled baker and owner Jay Patey's sourdough donuts with a lemony curd filling, eccles cakes and crusty croissants. The space is a massive bakery with a little window that retails bread and takeaway baked treats. They close around 1:30pm so Jay can get some sleep, but they've usually sold out by then anyway. Did I mention the sourdough doughnuts?
We then headed to Elizabeth Street to visit the newest baby in the Ethos food empire, The Providore Hobart. These guys have nailed it again. The Providore is next door to one of Hobart's finest dining destinations, Ethos Eat Drink, and the Prov is their more casual daytime venue selling loads of delicious salads, bakery treats, juices along with cook books, preserves, charcuterie, cheese, you name it. As ever, their styling and fit out is spot on...and we shared more croissants with house churned butter, homemade jam, a crazy huge rocky road and some zingy fresh juices. We didn't have time to visit their awesome fro-yo bar next door, Vita Nature + Culture but it's worth a visit for sure.
By this stage we were getting weary and needed more coffee so we headed to my favourite coffee geeks at Ecru, a little hole in the wall take away coffee bar that's part of the Villinos Coffee empire. I love owner Richard Schramm's passion for coffee, he is so dedicated to every nuance of the bean, from the farmer, to the roasting, to the grind, to the milk, which results in Hobart's finest coffee.
With a caffeinated spring in our step we headed back towards Hobart's hippest hotel, the Alabama. It's so gorgeously styled, with a bar and coffee machine, comfy vintage lounges, an awesome pillow collection, including the now famous Bill Murray cushion, and a sweet balcony filled with thriving plants that overlooks bustling Liverpool Street. Hotelier Kelly poured us a unique beer from Seven Sheds, a brewery in the north, called Black Inca a dark stout made with cacao beans and Tasmanian oats and quinoa. (I know, right?! that stuff is everywhere!) The Alabama is a great place to hang out.
By now we were reaching the end of our tour with Mary. It was time for lunch, and we walked a few doors down to visit Hobart's other culinary allstars, the guys from Pilgrim. We walked past their back alley burger joint The Standard, then slipped into their busy restaurant Property of: Pilgrim, for a seat and more food that included an incredibly tasty warm salad of alpaca and quinoa (see? again!). Neither Katie nor I had tried alpaca before, and Tasmania is full of those fluffy odd creatures. They taste delicious!
Still with me?! Well done! After lunch it was time to walk back to the waterfront and catch the fast ferry to MONA, the Museum Of Modern and Old Art. I hadn't been on the new flash MONA ROMA ferry before and the fit out is super sexy. There are two parts - the VIP Posh Pit, and the ticket includes refreshments or you can buy the standard ticket, dubbed cattle class and there are cow and sheep sculptures on board to prove the point.
MONA is a must see on everyone visitor's list to Hobart, and whilst they are in-between major exhibitions there was enough for us to take in and see in an hour. We headed to the bar in the Void, and enjoyed a generous glass of local Tasmanian wine and chatted about blogging, photography, writing books and life in general. I loved that part.
A quick stop at the MONA gift store before it was time to catch the last ferry back to Salamanca. We stopped at the well stocked market Salamanca Fresh and bought local cheeses, olives, Tasmanian ham, crusty bread and a decent Tassie pinot for a snacky dinner then drove the car south to our accommodation, Woodbridge Hill Hideaway. Arriving in the dark, our rooms were warm, toasty and utterly luxurious.
I reckon Katie was suitably impressed with Tasmania so far, and she couldn't believe how many really, really, really good looking people there are in Hobart (it's really true).
Stay tuned for part two - coming soon...
What Katie Ate
The Henry Jones Art Hotel
Gourmania Food Tours
Salamanca Arts Centre
Bruny Island Cheese
The Maker Hobart
Pigeon Whole Bakers
Franklin Restaurant & Bar
Ethos Eat Drink
Vita: Nature + Culture
Villinos Cafe + Coffee Roasters
Property of: Pilgrim
Woodbridge Hill Hideaway
Want more? Check out images on social media by searching #discovertasmania and also read the updates on Behind the Scenery online magazine.
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post but all opinions are my own. I only write about what I truly love and think you will love too.