Above: Saffire Freycinet, Coles Bay, Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania: Hideaways Under Down Under

Saffire Freycinet

An island about the size of West Virginia, located 150 miles south of mainland Australia, Tasmania is a world unto itself. Around 40 percent of the land is protected, and its half-million people breathe the planet’s cleanest air. I enjoyed my first crisp lungfuls when my traveling companion and I deplaned in Launceston.  The second-largest town in “Tassie” is a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, the gateway to the farms and vineyards of the northeast’s Tamar Valley. Launceston sits between two top national parks: Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair, in the temperate rainforest to the west, and Freycinet, on the east coast. In Hobart, the island’s walkable capital city two and a half hours to the south, restaurants and museums line the historic port and Victorian streets. It is also the jumping-off point for the wineries of the Derwent, Coal River and Huon valleys and adventures on the Tasman Peninsula and Bruny Island. 

Eastern gray kangaroo near Launceston - Keiichi Hiki / Getty Images
Bay of Fires - John White / Getty Images
Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park - Andrew Bertuleit / Getty Images
Shucking oysters at Freycinet Marine Farm, Saffire Freycinet

Stillwater Seven Rooms

In a former flour mill on the Tamar River, Launceston’s finest restaurant, Stillwater, anchors this inn of seven rooms. I had filled out a questionnaire before our stay, so hotelier and co-owner Chris McNally knew the music to program for our room, the wine to stow in our fridge and the welcome drinks to mix for us (gin and tonics with a Tasmanian gin).

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