Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tasmanian reflections: Launceston

As my last post may have indicated, we're back from Tasmania. It really was a beautiful state to explore, and the mostly clear winter weather was the perfect backdrop to amazing scenes and sights. There were some very cold days, and some rain and hail, but the majority of the time we had clear skies and sunshine - and places almost to ourselves. Perfect.

To avoid a Tasmania overload, I might spread photos and reflections over several posts and weeks. For today? Let's start at the beginning.

Days 1 to 3: Launceston and surrounds

Tasmania's second largest city was surprisingly small - considerably smaller than the capital, Hobart - but nonetheless quite appealing in a small scale way. The water front area, central city park, and impressive cataract gorge were highlights that made our 2 days there worthwhile.

Impressive drinking fountain in City Park

The City Park includes a (free) Macaque monkey enclosure

Launceston waterfront

Cataract Gorge

Cataract Gorge chairlift

Cataract Gorge gardens

The cataract gorge cafe also provided me with the best spinach and pumkin salad I have ever tasted. Multiple varieties of perfectly roasted warm pumpkin, topped with crispy pumpkin shavings, combined for an amazing lunch. The salad would usually have come with fetta and dressing, but I asked for no fetta and dressing on the side, and found there was no need for any extra flavour.

Mr Bite also enjoyed his vegetarian pide, from the same cafe, leaving us both satisfied and rather full when we headed off.

After Launceston we drove to Cradle Mountain via Deloraine, which provided us with a Woolworths at which to stock up for our Cradle Mountain self-catering plans. I really find shopping at unfamiliar supermarkets amazingly fun, even when it's the same chain that we have at home.

A little way out of Deloraine was the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm, where we had a late lunch that could have almost been described as afternoon tea (a scenario we repeated several times on the trip...).

Mr Bite ordered scones whilst I had crumpets, but the two turned out to be surprisingly similar as my crumpets were nothing like crumpets I've previously seen!

I was curious enough to ask about them, but was simply told they made them with yeast, flour and milk (clearly not vegan then) which didn't do much to enlighten me. I do have a vague sense that South African crumpets may be more scone-like than the English variety I'm used to (which have bubbly holes on one side of them), but I think more research awaits me. Does anyone know?

Irrespective, the crumpets were enjoyable, as was the berry jam and my accompanying raspberry lemon herbal tea.

After our berry lunch, it was on to Cradle Mountain national park - which definitely deserves its own post. I'll save that for another day, but will note that the first picture of my last post was taken on one of our walks there.


  1. I'm not an expert on English baked goods, but I find the texture of the scones and "crumpets" look different--the scones look lighter and airier, the crumpets, denser. I would guess that the scones have some baking powder, too. But yeah, that looks more English muffin than crumpet to me, too.

    With semantics out of the way, then, I find grocery shopping in new places to be the highlight of travel, and I have only now learned that "cataract" is a waterfall as well as a medical condition involving cloudy eyes. Huh. I guess semantics weren't over then...

    Was the goal of the trip to be active, to sight-see, to shop, or just to cross Taz off the list of "places to see, someday"? :) (Thanks to having had a roommate doing a PhD in the business of nature tourism, I now always wonder what motivates people when they travel--that's all.)

  2. Are those crumpets as fluffy as they look? Wow! Also, that chairlift photo gives me the heebiejeebies :P

    P.S. I'm a fellow dressing-on-the-side person. A good salad shouldn't need it, in my opinion! Plus I hate sogginess...

  3. @Stephanie @ extremebalance.net/blog
    It took us a while to work out the cataract reference too :)

    I like your question about the travel motivation...in part to just see it and cross it off the list, being the last Australian state to see for both of us and having heard lots of good things, and in part for the outdoor / walking activities. Shopping and my partner don't mix, so that certainly wasn't an aim :P

  4. @Hannah
    They were super fluffy indeed!

    I am so glad to read your stance on dressing on the side. The sogginess and slimy-ness are what put me off too, but so few people seem to understand!


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