Tasmania's Lush North West Coast

You’ll feel all life’s stresses drop off as you meander up the North West Coast, it’s rolling green hills, rich red soil, small friendly coastal towns, long white beaches and unique wildlife luring you to take the time to breathe in the fresh clean air and absorb the views. 

Just minutes out of Devonport before you arrive in the next town, Ulverstone, is a tiny cove where you can watch fairy penguins frolic to shore at dusk.  Perhaps one evening when staying in Devonport, stop in to watch the heart-warming parade of the miniature butlers then head on to the next town, aptly named Penguin, and enjoy one of Tasmania’s most acclaimed restaurants, Wild.  Fresh local seafood and produce that tastes like its only minutes out of the ocean or soil paired with Tasmania wines.  I don’t say "fine” Tasmanian wines because, frankly, there are no mediocre Tasmanian wines, they are all in a class of their own – but more about that later.

A bit of background on the North West Coast.The cool climate, mineral rich soils and plentiful rainfall, make it one of Australia’s most abundant (and flavorsome) agricultural belts.It also boasts a listing as having the world’s cleanest air, and much of Tasmania’s bottled drinking water comes from rain in this region for that reason. One of those, Tasmanian Rain, even plants trees regularly to help offset global warming and keep the environs pristine.

Not only beautiful, sometimes craggy, sometimes pure sand and grass, but wonderful warm swimming all months except winter, and great surf too!

Even our cows like to surf on Robbins Island
Robbins Island Wagyu Beef
King Island
Two islands off the coast, King and Robins Island bring Australians and the world some of the most amazing cheese and beef, due to the grasses that have a salinity from the ocean breeze that gives the cow’s milk and beef a flavor unlike any. Robins Island beef have even gone a step further to be one of the only Wagyu beef farmers to raise their cattle solely on grass. And, my word, can you taste it in the beef – rich, moist, grassy, salty and clean!

King Island Dairy Cheese is found all around the world having won International acclaim and awards for its exquisite Blues, Triple Crème Brie and Camembert – think Roaring Forties (named after the winds that whisk across the Bass Strait, the body of water dividing Tasmania from “North Australia” as the Tasmania’s jokingly refer to the rest of the county).  But more about these later – look out for the blog, titled “The people and their products”.

Back to my trip, cleverly and thoroughly crafted and led by an ex-cameraman for ABC Television (a very useful skill for a companion for me as my video skills are …hmm). Robert Heazlewood, is the Director of Brand Tasmania, an organization actively helping position Tasmanian industry so it receives the identity acclaim it rightly deserves around Australia and the world.  Food, wine and tourism with Tasmania as a label donates a quality experience for a hugely diverse clientele.

Our first stop was Burnie for a quick waterfront bite of local plump fresh seafood in some crisp light batter – the first of many wonderful fish and chips, one of Australia’s signature dishes thanks to the heritage of the Brits and the cooking skills of the Greek immigrants.

Turning inland, we popped by some of the main players in the regions agriculture - Harvest Moon and Forest Farm, Australia’s largest organic vegetable producer.  The percentage of produce this small area provides the rest of Australia is proof of the fertility of the region.  The seasons are long, the crops plentiful and the soils bring a wonderful character to all they grow.

We wove our way through the emerald green landscape dotted with the most contented cows and sheep (and the occasional darting wallaby or echidna), and I was both amused and surprised when Robert informed me we were driving into the homes/factories of some of the finest producers of honeys, mustards, oils and vinegars.  Perched on hilltops with views to die for, unpretentious yet elegant homesteads amid rolling hills bursting with colours of canola, mustards and flowers of all kinds, with sheds that hid within their walls some of Australia’s award winning products.  Think Naturally Nichols, Hill Farm and Blue Hills honeys!  And what wonderful news to learn that Tasmania has a moratorium on GMO technology.

Front of Hanlon House
Graham, Maxine our hosts
and Robert Heazlewood

My Bedroom, "Amy Belle"
My mind overflowing with the wonder of it all, we finally wandered up to the door to the Bed and Breakfast Hanlon House in the quaint town of Stanley, the day’s end of a 2-3 hour drive.  A deceptively simple entrance to the cottage did not prepare me for the real treat. Once inside, you are transformed into a scene of understated luxurious elegance, attention to detail, yet with a lure to sit and relax in every nook and cranny.

Hanlon House is charming grace in itself, the rooms beautifully appointed with that warm country elegance. I could have spent hours just admiring the décor, historic pieces and luxurious bedding – the towels are the plumpest and softest I have ever nuzzled into. With the background soft lull of waves, cool, crisp, clear air, and a satiated stomach, sleep is not hard to come by! Especially with that in room offering of an aperitif to cap off the night in style.

The perfect Stanley Morning.
The Nut - run, hike or ride!


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