Imagine a highway where every turn has a more jaw-dropping view and every stop guarantees an outstanding taste of local delicacies. Got it? Well, if you love food and you’re wondering what to do in Tasmania, you’ll love this Tasmania itinerary 5 days of tasting along the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail.
I spent 3 days in Tasmania on the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail and it was not enough. You could spend a week here and still have plenty to explore.
I’d say 5 days in Tasmania exploring this part of the state will give you a good amount of time to visit farms, meet producers and see the scenery.
Start planning your adventure now.
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Best Tasmania Itineraries
5-Day Tasmania Itinerary – The Tasting Trail
By Kerry Heaney
There’s so much food, wine and more to see in Tasmania’s North West, it’s worth allowing a few days and a leisurely drive to discover it in full.
You’ll want to stop frequently, linger longer and explore those out of the way trails, so do it.
The online Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail will help you select which places take your fancy and plot out a path.
If you’re keen on taking photos, here are 55 Tasmania photography spots to inspire your wanderlust.
Day 1 – Launceston
I took their Launceston day trip and extended it along the Bass Highway to overnight at Stanley.
It’s a trip I would recommend for the scenic beauty as well as the food.
Fly into Launceston and spend a little time exploring the city. Here are some things to do in Launceston.
Start your Tasmanian food experience in Market Square Restaurant on the ground floor as they showcase fresh local produce from the Tamar Valley and have regular local food dinners.
A four-shot flight of local single malt Tasmania Whisky is a great way to warm up.
Harvest Launceston Farmers Market
If you are in the area on a Saturday, take a short walk to the Harvest Launceston Farmers Market.
It operates from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm in Cimitiere Street and you’ll find everything from meat and seafood to bread, jams and oils.
On the list of foods I would travel to Tasmania just to sample again, the salted caramel fudge I picked up at the Harvest Launceston Community Farmers Market is very high.
Amazingly soft, crunchy, salty and sweet, this fudge is a gem and luckily travels well.
Take some home with you! The market is full of local produce, including prepared meals that you can use to stock up the mini kitchen in your room at Peppers Seaport or Sebel Launceston.
The market starts at 8.30 am and mornings can be cold so remember to rug up.
The Sebel Launceston has spacious rooms, great bathroom products and a self-catering kitchen setup.
Day 2 – Launceston to Devonport
Bright and early, head west out of Launceston along the Bass Highway towards Devonport. The area from Launceston to Devonport is packed with farms and food producers.
I navigated my trip with my iPhone, or you can use a GPS.
41 Degrees South
41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm in Red Hills is about an hour’s drive down the road through the picturesque rolling green landscape.
From the highway, there’s still a way to go before you reach the farm.
I had a few nail-biting moments wondering if my directions were wrong, but eventually, the farm reveals itself.
Meet the owner Ziggy Pyka and stroll through the wetlands with a self-guided tour learning about the fish farm, ginseng plantation and aquaponics.
From the aquaponics to recycle water waste to the power generating water wheel, Ziggy has it nailed.
“We have been growing ginseng for over 15 years,” Ziggy says.
“In that time we have harvested a few acres worth of ginseng and most has gone towards the value-added ginseng products including spice, honey, tea, nougat, chocolate, vodka and essence, that we sell in the shop. We do not sell the ginseng as a whole root. In the world market, ginseng can sell anywhere from $20 per kg to $2000 per kg. The price depends on size, grade, colour, weight, age, where it was grown and if it is wild or farmed.”
Youthful looking Ziggy says he takes ginseng every day, with a break in summer, and has done since he started growing it.
A former electrician, he moved to Tasmania from Germany via Western Australia to create the salmon and ginseng farm.
With solar panels and a water wheel for renewable energy and an aquaponics facility to make use of fish waste, Ziggy’s farm ticks many sustainable boxes.
“We have natural wetland and have added on a manmade wetland to filter the fish waste through our farm and create a lush habitat for the native flora and fauna,” Ziggy says.
“The water is gravity fed and stock density is less than 20kg per cubic metre of water.”
The farm produces around 10,000 fish per year and also works with other local salmon producers to source fish for the products sold at the farm gate and from outlets around Australia.
Visitors can wander the farm on a self-guided tour, enjoy a snack or lunch at the farm gate, taste the salmon products and take home their favourites.
You can pop a hot smoked, vacuum-sealed baby salmon into your bag and take it home without refrigeration like I did or try some of the ginseng flavoured honey.
You’ll need to work up an appetite for a hot smoked salmon sandwich or a rillettes platter and you can taste before you buy.
Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm
The lure of succulent raspberries had me back on the highway heading to Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm near Elizabeth Town.
They say the chocolate-coated raspberries are addictive and I now understand why.
Work up an appetite by taking a stroll through the gardens first and see where the raspberries grow, farmed by the same family for generations.
There are park benches along the way to stop and enjoy the view and the peaceful lake.
One bite of the chocolate-coated raspberries at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm & Café is all it takes to create a lifetime addiction.
Hiding under the thick chocolate exterior lurks sweet, fresh raspberries that melt in your mouth along with the chocolate creating an unforgettable flavour.
There’s something about the soft, sweet tartness of the fresh raspberry with the hard crunch of the cold chocolate which is simply irresistible.
Of course, I didn’t stop there – raspberry beef sausages and raspberry golden syrup dumplings were waiting to be tasted and washed down with raspberry tea.
You won’t leave here with empty arms after surveying the raspberry themed goodies for sale.
Ashgrove Farm Cheese
Back on the A1 Highway, Ashgrove Farm Cheese is 9km further west.
It’s a family-run business where the 700 strong herd grazes around the factory which produces classic and niche cheeses, such as wasabi and lavender varieties.
Check out the wide selection of local products in their shop, taste their cheeses and take some home with you.
Say hello to the friendly cows in the car park, but as the sign says, don’t feed them. They are sculptures, silly!
Check your GPS for directions to Spreyton Cider Co, which takes Tasmania apples and pears grown on the family farm or in the Mersey Valley, and turns them into hand-crafted, bottle-fermented Tasmanian cider.
The cider maker will pour you a flight of five ciders to taste so you can choose which ones to take home.
Take a walk through the apple orchards, both new and old, and soak up the Tasmanian sunshine.
It doesn’t get much more picturesque or quintessentially Tasmanian than the view from the cellar door at Spreyton Cider on a sunny day.
Clear blue sky, verdant grass and apple trees stretching off into the distance, it’s a spot where you can easily consume a quiet cider or two.
Cider is believed to be the oldest of all alcoholic drinks but despite modern innovations the technique for making it remains simple.
It’s a process of picking and preparing the apples, pulping and then pressing. Yeast is added and the temperature is controlled while the product is assessed. Then it’s onto bottling and blending.
A Spreyton Cider tasting paddle is an easy introduction to the world of ciders.
In 1908 the family started growing apples but it wasn’t until 1998 that they decided to give the juice a go with Spreyton Fresh.
With nearly two million litres of apple juice now sold each year, it was time to start experimenting with cider ferments. Spreyton Cider Co was launched in 2012.
Spreyton makes five delicious ciders all with distinctive flavours – Vintage, Dark, Classic, Perry and Bright. A cider tasting paddle can be combined with a cheese platter.
As well as tasting the product, you can take a self-guided tour of the orchard and see the old and more intensive new methods of apple tree growing.
Spreyton Cider Co is located on the corner of Sheffield and Melrose Roads in Spreyton.
Ghost Rock Vineyard
Ghost Rock Vineyard is a boutique vineyard with a cellar door where you can sip wine and gaze out over the vineyard, which was one of the first to be planted in the coastal region of northern Tasmania.
Located about 10 minutes’ drive outside Devonport, Ghost Rock has a Winery and Interpretation Centre.
The drive on the Bass Highway to Cable Station Restaurant & Accommodation will take you through Burnie and along some stunning stretches of coastline to Stanley.
Day 3 – Stanley
There’s much to do here – walk Stanley’s cute, heritage streets, climb the 152m high Nut, sample the local scallops or Cape Grim beef, walk along Tallow’s Beach and tour the colonial regency Highfield Historic Site.
High on the hill and surrounded by farmland overlooking the Bass Strait, Cable Station is located in a former telecommunication centre circa 1936.
I had the three-bedroom Tasting Trail Technician’s Cottage to myself so it was a night in front of the fire. The accommodation includes a maxi-bar stocked full of local produce, gathered from the same places I visited on my journey.
Look up into the sky and there’s a chance you might see the Tasmania Aurora of Southern Lights dancing overhead.
Day 4 – Stanley to Launceston
Hellyer’s Road Distillery
It would have been fun to extend my trip from here and head further into Tasmania, but instead, I was back on the Bass Highway to Burnie to take a whisky walk at Hellyer’s Road Distillery.
It’s not about walking a straight white line but rather touring with whisky distillery with the chance to bottle your own and see the casks maturing on the racks.
There are three single malt whiskies made here.
Lunch was a whisky-marinated scotch fillet burger followed by whisky fudge.
A waste of whisky or a wonderful marinade?
Hellyers Road Distillery obviously has no shortage of fine Tasmanian whisky at their disposal and use some of it to tenderize their scotch fillet burger steaks.
The steaks are tender with a subtle whiskey flavour and the burger is a filling lunch option.
The distillery was named after European explorer Henry Hellyer who surveyed the once dirt road leading to the distillery.
There’s a statue of Henry with his preferred companion, a trusty mutt, in the spacious Burnie Visitor Centre.
The distillery is owned by Tasmania’s second-largest milk processing company, Betta Milk and headed by Master Distiller Mark Littler.
It was established as a creative expansion following the deregulation of the Australian Dairy industry in 1996.
The spirits first flowed here in 1999 with the first product sales in 2006 and the awards have been flowing ever since.
Mark Littler will tell you that milk and whisky is not such a strange combination.
It’s all about hygiene, critical time and temperature points, rigorous quality control and a controlled storage environment.
“We produce a high-quality product using pure rainwater from this lush dairy farming country,” says Mark.
“Our Peated Simple Malt was recognized as the nation’s best at the Malt Whisky Society Awards for Excellence in 2010 and the Pinot Noir Finish was awarded Best New World Whisky at Whisky Live in Paris, 2013.”
Just a few steps from Mark’s office is the Whisky Walk where visitors can view the process from malted barley to barrel, all with a definite peaty aroma in the air.
There’s even an opportunity to pour and wax your own ‘Distillers Choice’ straight from the oak.
Original, slightly peated, pinot noir finish or Henry’s Legacy, if you can’t decide which whisky to take home, sample a few with a whisky flight in the visitor center.
Whisky has also found its way out of the bottle and into their rich, creamy fudge and marinated steak for the distinctive Hellyers Road burger.
Relax with a dram or a drop of Hellyers Road in a comfortable lounge chair, and enjoy the sweeping views over some of Tasmania’s exquisite mountain scenery.
This is a visitor’s centre you’ll find hard to leave.
Hellyer’s Road Distillery is open every day from 10 am to 4.30 pm.
Cradle Coast Olives
At Cradle Coast Olives near Abbotsham, Tony and Carol O’Neil describe their cabinet as filled with an ‘embarrassment of awards’.
Cradle Coast Olives has taken out the ‘Best Boutique Oil’ award at the Australian Olive Oil awards for five out of the last seven years.
The olive farm started out as a retirement project but their acclaimed oil products have turned this grove into a three-generational business.
What’s their secret?
Is it their valley’s microclimate with its brisk autumn weather and early frosts, the rich volcanic soil or the five diverse varieties amongst their 400 olive trees?
Maybe it’s because they pick their olives early with quality, rather than yield in mind.
Or perhaps it’s the hand harvesting and pressing straight on-site using an Olio Mio high-tech cold press.
20 years of hard work later, their success is 90 percent due to the soil and perfect micro-climate and 10 percent due to their constant, careful management.
At Cradle Coast Olives they carefully manage the process every step of the way and same-day processing is their preference.
They are also vigilant when it comes to hygiene and the olive oil press is pulled down and sterilized every day after it is used.
The Cradle Coast Olives cellar door is a small detour off Tasmania’s main Cradle Coast Trail at Abbotsham. It’s open Sunday to Friday but it’s best to phone ahead to make sure (08) 6425 3448. Find out more from Cradle Coast Olives.
The drive to the farm will take you off the beaten track into a blissful rural landscape.
Day 5 – Launceston
Depending on what time your flight is, there may be time to squeeze in some of Launceston’s sights.
Just a short walk from Launceston’s town centre, Peppers Seaport Hotel overlooks the Tamar River.
Built on an old dry dock, the hotel has a nautical theme with balconies that take in the best of the marina views.
On the ground level, Mud Bar’s menu reflects chef Jordan Guy’s travels with a little bit of Europe, Asia and Australia and draws from the executive chef’s own farm.
It’s simply great food.
Their slow-cooked rosemary cassoulet of Driver’s Run lamb with white polenta, tomato, mint and mizuna was lick-the-plate stuff.
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