What The Locals Know
Please enjoy some insider tips about the local area, from your host, Helen.
Firstly, places to eat: we provide a ‘pantry’ of reasonably priced snacks and dinner and breakfast provisions, if you want to stay in and eat ‘at home’, and you don’t have the ingredients to cook dinner/breakfast. We do this because many guests don’t realise that Kettering has no supermarket and they come unprepared. Kettering is very small and your last opportunity for a ‘major shop’ would be Kingston, some 20kms from Kettering. There is also Ye Olde Oyster Cove Store 3km north of Kettering, and Meredith's just outside Margate, where you can buy fresh produce, bread, milk, cheeses, fish, meat and a variety of other goodies. By the way, we are not on town-water and rely on untreated rain water for our own and our guests’ use – the water is fine to drink, and we drink it as is - but some guests prefer to supply their own bottled water.
If you’re wanting to eat out, arguably the best place in the area is Peppermint Bay in Woodbridge, about 4kms south from here. The food is good and reasonably priced and its setting right on the water is lovely. They’re open Thursday – Saturday nights for dinner, and every day for lunch etc. They now accept bookings.
There is also Pashas Turkish Restaurant, which is open Wednesday - Sunday (10am – 9pm). They do takeaways, as well as having an eating area. The food is also delicious. They are in Ferry Road – the same one you’d use to get to the ferry for a Bruny Island trip.
Another place to eat in the evening is the Oyster Cove Inn in Kettering – about 1.5km from us. They offer a pub menu, as well as an a la carte one. It has lovely views of the nearby marina. If you eat at the a la carte restaurant, you would need to book (I can do this for you. Closed on Sunday nights).
There is also the Vietnamese restaurant Phuongs at Electrona between Margate and Snug. It really looks like nothing from the outside and the inside isn’t special either, but the food is good and it’s good value for money. They are closed on Sundays and Mondays.
The Snug Tavern serves enormous meals, catering mainly for meat-eaters. Snug is about 7kms from us. Margate Wood Fired Pizza makes very good pizzas - they’re about 13kms from us, but closer to home, Rover, a roaming pizza van, can be found at Kettering Service Station from 5pm until ‘late’ on Friday and Saturdays (0497645239).
Further afield, there are a number of restaurants at Kingston, Kingston Beach and Blackmans Bay. One of my favourites is Bombay on the Beach at Blackmans Bay – delicious curries!
If you are wanting to pre-order dinner, Fedup Food in Kettering has an extensive menu that changes weekly. They provide both fresh and frozen wholesome meals at a very reasonable cost. Please let me know if you’d like the menu, remembering that this will be different each week. We would collect your meal, which would be in your accommodation when you arrive.
The Steam House in Kettering is open daily for coffee, sandwiches, wraps and cakes.
Another good spot for a drink and lunch is Grandvewe Cheesery at Birches Bay a couple of kilometres beyond Woodbridge - they make cheese from sheep’s milk, and they offer free cheese-tasting. They also offer wine tasting from their organic vineyard, including a vodka and gin made from whey. It has a lovely upstairs veranda with spectacular views of the channel and Bruny Island.
My favourite place is Five Bob Cafe (used to be Pepperberries Cafe) just beyond Grandvewe Cheeses, which is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10.00-3.00 (they are talking about being open for dinner some evenings). It is quiet and peaceful and in a beautiful rural setting. Their small menu is seasonal and tasty. You can stroll about in the large veg garden or extend your walk to include the sculpture trail, which changes from July.
Woodbridge Hill Handweaving Studio is worth visiting for beautiful woven tapestries, shawls and rugs. Woodbridge is 4km south of Kettering and the studio is in a beautiful garden with stunning views of the Channel.
Here are some ideas on things to do: a day on Bruny Island is a must. In the folder in your accommodation, there is a ferry timetable but I advise guests to get there a good deal earlier than the scheduled time because, once the ferry is full, it leaves, regardless of the time. So, I would aim to get there a good 20 minutes beforehand (earlier in Summer). The ferry leaves every half hour in summer and every hour in winter, and if you get there early, you can leave your car in the queue and walk around the marina or have coffee/breakfast at the Mermaid Café (now called Bruny Island Gateway), which is right there. There is lots to do on Bruny Island, both in terms of walks and being a foodie’s delight. Please let me know if you’d like a list of Bruny Island walks before you get here – there is a list in the folder in your accommodation. A word of warning: some car hire companies don’t allow their cars on Bruny Island because of the gravel roads, so it would be a good idea to check this. Doing a Pennicott Boat Cruise on west coast of Bruny (please see the details of the various Pennicott cruises at the end of this email) is also a very good idea – again you need to book and I can do this for you.
In the little village called Snug, there is the lovely Snug Waterfall at the end of an easy short walk.
The Huon Valley is lovely and definitely worth a drive. There are several ways of doing this: you could just go south and follow the road around the coast, which then follows the Huon River. As mentioned, stopping at Peppermint Bay in Woodbridge or Grandvewe Cheesery/Five Bob Cafe for morning tea/lunch is a good idea. You could then go through Gordon, Verona Sands, Eggs and Bacon Bay and up to Cygnet. A stop in Cygnet is also worthwhile; the Lotus Eaters Café is highly recommended, as is the Schoolhouse Cafe. There are two other (quicker) ways of getting there. Just before you get to Woodbridge, the Woodbridge Hill/Gardners Bay road takes you ‘over the hills’ to Cygnet (all roads in the Huon Valley lead to Cygnet). Another way of getting to Cygnet is via Nicholls Rivulet road next to Ye Olde Osyter Cove Store. Both roads are lovely to drive along (talking about driving, the toll on wildlife on Tassie’s roads at night is very high, and you are encouraged to reduce speed to avoid wallabies, pademelons and possums).
A longer drive would be to Franklin and further south. You could go to Cygnet and then drive north to Huonville – it’s not worth stopping there (but that’s just my opinion).
Having said that, a visit to Willie Smiths Apple Shed in Grove is definitely worth a stop – they produce cider from organic apples and also serve excellent food in their café in the Apple Shed, including some good vegetarian options – open until 9pm on Friday nights, when live music adds to the flavour.
Your next stop could be Geeveston, which is a pretty little village and full of character and history and well worth a visit. It has a number of interesting shops and very good places to eat. There is also a little creek with platypus – you might be lucky!
You can then go further south to Dover and Southport. Driving along the coastline is simply lovely - take the alternative road to Police Point, which will then come out at Dover. The road then comes to an end at Cockle Creek and is the southern-most point one can drive in Australia. The walks along the coast from this point are glorious!
A visit to Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs is also a popular attraction . It’s in a national park and so you would need a pass, which can be purchased at Parks Tasmania. You may want to consider a holiday pass if you’re going to visit several National Parks.
A walk in the Hartz Mountains is also a good thing to do (unsealed road for part of the way). To get there, you’d go to Geeveston and the turnoff is clearly marked. It sometimes has snow even in summer, as does Mt Wellington just outside Hobart, which is also worth the drive. If you decide you don’t feel like climbing the Hartz Mountain, there are some lovely tarns not that far from the car park, along a boardwalk – one easy walk is to Lake Osborne, which is gorgeous, especially in the mist. The Hartz Mountains are also in a national park and so you would need a pass.
There is also the Tahune Airwalk - if you don’ t have a head for heights, you might want to give this a miss! There are also several walks in this area (I haven’t been yet, so can’t make any comments on the airwalk, but guests have given positive feedback).
There are also lots of lovely walks on Mt Wellington – you don’t need a pass for this.
Another place definitely worth visiting is Mt Field north of Hobart. It is beautiful there, with some glorious waterfalls and walks. Beyond this and somewhat off the beaten track (and therefore less popular with tourists, and thus quieter!) is Styx Valley of the Giants. The trees are just breathtaking, and the area just lovely to walk in (some paths aren’t very well-marked).
Something that everyone who comes to Tassie does on a Saturday, is to visit Salamanca Market in Hobart (we’re about 30 minutes away). It’s a good idea to get there early (8.30ish), and thus avoid the crowds. It’s a fantastic market to visit (and spend money!).
Everyone goes to Port Arthur which, as you probably know, is an important piece of convict history. I think one can spend most of a day there. Something else worth doing in the area is the Tasman Island Cruise (please see details as the end), which is spectacular. The coastline is beautiful and you’re almost assured of seeing dolphins. You would need to book for this (I can do this for you). In the area and on the drive back to Hobart, there is also a Tasmanian Devil sanctuary that is definitely worth visiting.
If you’re at all interested in contemporary art MONA just outside Hobart is an absolute must! Be prepared to spend a day there, or at least a very full morning or afternoon. Be prepared also to be shocked, intrigued and delighted!
Here are little snippets of information about the different Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, with video clips (courtesy of Pennicott):
Tasmanian Seafood Seduction (my comment: not cheap at $685 pp, but it’s an all day cruise)
Spend the day cruising on pristine waterways gathering fresh Tasmanian seafood. Enjoy rock lobster, oysters shucked straight from the water and watch your guide dive for wild abalone and sea urchin. Explore the calm waterways and deserted beaches surrounding Bruny Island. Be delighted as your catch is turned into a delicious seafood feast accompanied by gourmet local produce and Tasmanian wines, boutique beers, ciders and juices. The purpose build vessels are designed for small groups of up to 12 guests ensuring an engaging experience.
Departs daily from Franklin Wharf, Hobart at 9am
Savour the experience it here: https://vimeo.com/136154508
Iron Pot Cruises (My comment: $125 pp. They have an afternoon cruise and the morning cruise is available from late December – 28 Feb, plus peak periods)
Discover Hobart’s coastal beauty and maritime history on a 60 km, two and a half hour eco cruise exploring its waterways, beaches, cliffs and caves. See iconic landmarks like Mount Wellington, Wrest Point Casino and the Shot Tower. Arrive at Iron Pot, Australia’s oldest lighthouse. The unique square spire is a testament to convict construction, still standing more than 150 years later. Voyage further south into Storm Bay to circumnavigate Betsey Island which is home to a variety of seabirds, including the majestic white bellied sea eagle.
Departs daily from Franklin Wharf, Hobart at 2pm
Check it out: https://vimeo.com/136154545
Bruny Island Traveller (my comment: $175 pp and $150 for children from 3 yrs old from 6/12/17 - this is a land, rather than a water experience)
Spend the day exploring the spectacular landscapes and gourmet local produce of Bruny Island. This is the ultimate foodie’s day out where every course on the menu is a stop on your journey. Savour freshly shucked oysters, award-winning cheeses, premium wines, seasonal berries, handmade fudge and world-class whisky along with a beautiful cellar door lunch. Meet with the local producers in an exclusive look ‘behind the scenes’ at how the produce is sourced. You'll see incredible scenery at Soak in sweeping views from the Bruny Island Neck, take a stroll and leave your footprints in the sand of a deserted beach and spot the rare white wallaby on our private bush reserve.
Departs daily from Oyster Cove Marina (Kettering) at 8:30am (departs Hobart 7.45am and calls into Oyster Cove Marina to pick up Kettering passengers)
Taste the experience: https://vimeo.com/136154405
Tasman Island Cruises (my comment: $135pp – the afternoon cruise is only available 15 Dec – 15 April)
Robert Pennicott’s Tasman Island Cruises travels along the spectacular coastline of the Tasman Peninsula National Park. You will see Australia’s highest sea cliffs, waterfalls, archways and blowholes. Enter deep sea caves and search for abundant wildlife including seals, migrating whales, dolphins and seabirds. The custom built yellow boats are ideal for eco cruising, allowing maximum vision and interaction with the coastal wilderness. The skippers are highly skilled and will ensure your experience is enjoyable and informative.
Departs daily from 6961 Arthur Highway, Port Arthur at 9:15am
See the experience: https://vimeo.com/136154406
Bruny Island Cruises (my comment: $135. Only their morning 3hr cruise is available until mid-December. The afternoon cruise is $125 and is shorter)
Winner of Australia’s Best Tourist Attraction 2012, 2014 & 2015
Join Rob Pennicott and his team on an unforgettable three-hour wilderness cruise exploring Bruny Island’s rugged coastline. Cruise alongside some of Australia's highest sea cliffs, beneath towering crags and drift up close to the awesome 'Breathing Rock' blowhole. Enter deep sea caves, pass through the narrow gap between the coast and 'The Monument' and search for abundant wildlife including seals, dolphins, migrating whales and seabirds. The custom built yellow boats with covered open-air tiered seating and all round viewing are ideal for close encounters with the spectacular coastline and wildlife.
Departs daily from 9:15 Adventure Bay Road, Bruny Island at 10:30am
This is what we’re talking about: https://vimeo.com/136154404
For something completely different, I strongly recommend doing a Twilight Sail with Sail Bruny on their beautiful wooden boat, Ubique. You don’t need any sailing experience, but you’re also encouraged to take the helm, if you want to. The trip includes a delicious platter of local cheeses and bread, as well as local wine. They have other options and also offer a custom charter around your requirements.
Bruny Island Safaris relieve you of having to driving yourself around the island. They offer a full day experience of all that Bruny has to offer, including scenic lookouts, tastings at Get Shucked and Bruny Island Cheese, amongst others, and a full lunch chosen from a menu that includes vegetarian and gluten-free options. Included in the trip is a comprehensive tour of the Lighthouse right in the south of Bruny.