Cradle Mountain is one of the first places in Tasmania that experienced travellers will tell you about. While the craggy dolerite peaks of the 1545m-high mountain are indeed very distinctive, the track known as the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail is also earning its reputation as a destination for lovers of fine food and beverages. Either take a tour with a local guide or customise your own Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail, which is available as a free app.
The interactive map loops in award-winning produce, cellar doors, farm gates and food festivals with suggested itineraries that are brimming with options. What better way to burn off those calories than with a post-prandial stroll around Cradle Mountain, a scenic Stairmaster of sorts.
Where to dine on the Cradle Coast
Cable Station Restaurant
Cured fallow deer, pickled mouli, pepper berry and juniper, tea-smoked trout with granny smith ice and wasabi cream, Cape Grim beef, creamed leeks, carrot puree and roasted shallots hint at the type of restaurant you’re dealing with.
Here, most of the ingredients are a mere crayfish throw from the areas they were sourced from. Forget empty platitudes about seasonality; this restaurant in the Old Cable Station riffs on the surrounding landscape of sky, land and sea. First prize for flavour.
435 Greenhills Rd, Stanley, + 61 +3 6458 1312.
Pier 01 owner and head chef Matthew Waller is making waves on the Leven River in Ulverstonewith his commitment to local produce from Tasmania’s northwest.
Testament to Pier 01’s success is the fact it won the 2014 Cradle Coast Regional Tourism Award for Restaurants & Catering Services.
You could do worse than be seated overlooking the pier drinking a glass of Derwent Estate Riesling with Seven Sheds beer-battered fish of the day with sea-salt dusted fat boy chips, salad and aioli.
Worth circling on your calendar are the Paddock to Plate Farmers’ Feasts held on the last Thursday of every month. Yes please.
Wharf Rd, Ulverstone,+ 61 3 6425 7811.
House of Anvers
This traditional European-style coffee shop specialises in chocolate. Belgian-born chocolatier Igor Van Gerwen has been capturing the essence of roasted, ground cacao seeds for three decades and he manipulates the molten product to great effect.
As well as enjoying handcrafted couverture chocolate, waffles with icecream and melted mugs of chilli-spiked hot chocolate, at House of Anvers, you can watch the staff tempering, moulding and enrobing the products that are for sale onsite.
Do stock up on Fortunato No. 4, made from Pure Nacional, the rarest form of chocolate in the world.
9025 Bass Highway, Latrobe, + 61 3 6426 2958.
Cradle Mountain Accommodation
Location, location, location. Day hikers who want to be stick-in-the-muds quite rightly suggest stopping at Cradle Mountain Hotel, an ideal and affordable family friendly location from which to launch off into the expansive wilderness.
The fact there are private rooms, clean, comfortable beds, log fires and red wine waiting for you just moments after you’ve shrugged off your mud-caked boots makes your home away from home literally where the hearth is.
Indulge yourself in a premium room, which features electric blankets, tea and coffee-making facilities. There are televisions, too, but the views outside are all that’s worth watching.
Cradle Coast Activities
Look up, look down
Experience life on the edge with a climb up the monolith known as ‘The Nut’ in Stanley. Although you can judder up to the top of the volcanic plug via chairlift, it’s much more exciting to walk the 2km to the summit, which offers views of sky and sea across Stanley and the Bass Strait. Keep your peepers peeled for pademelons.
The Nut, Stanley, Nut State Reserve, Browns Rd, Stanley, +61 3 6458 1286
Complete the Dove Lake Circuit
There’s lime green, bottle green, seaweed green, jade green and emerald. Then there are a billion other shades of everything in between along the divine 6km circuit that loops around Dove Lake. The views of the craggy spires of Cradle Mountain are also worth cooing over, as is the glistening lake.
Dove Lake Circuit, Road C132, Cradle Mountain.
As well as charting the tragic descent of the devil onto the Australia’s Most Endangered List, the devil’s own zoo allows you to adopt a devil in order to save the carnivorous marsupial.
[email protected], 3950 Cradle Mountain Rd, Cradle Mountain, +61 3 6492 1491.