An embarrassment of riches to explore in just one corner of the Apple Isle.
They say that the journey is as important as the destination – in Tasmania, they more than deliver on both fronts.
20 November, 2020
For this adventure, the drive is a spectacular yet leisurely coastal run out of Hobart and up along the east coast to the famed Freycinet National Park
For a place with such a relatively small land mass (just 68,000 square kilometres), Tasmania has been blessed with a disproportionately large number of absolute treasures – both natural and man made. From breathtaking scenery, pristine forests and impossibly beautiful coastal vistas you’d be hard pressed to find its equal anywhere. The bountiful harvest from the sea, rivers and lush pastures provide some of the best fresh produce in the country and just as importantly, Tassie has the people to make the most of it – hence its reputation as a food lover’s paradise.
Of course the diverse accommodation options make the perfect pairing with the gastronomic delights on offer, and as for the roads …
In Tasmania, even a wrong turn will land you on a road worth driving with a destination worth visiting at the other end. There is simply no such thing as a 'bad road’ in Tassie although some are next level – think Targa Tasmania stages.
For this adventure, the drive is a spectacular yet leisurely coastal run out of Hobart and up along the east coast to the famed Freycinet National Park, just under 200 kilometres to the north. An easy round trip for the Audi e-tron on a single charge, this road trip takes you right into the heart of the brilliant Freycinet National Park. Here, in this pristine wilderness area, you will find two of Tasmania’s most precious jewels, both outstanding food and accommodation venues and yet so inherently different in their approach and offering to the intrepid traveller that we suggest an extended sojourn so you can enjoy all that each has to offer.
And of course this part of Tasmania is also home to the wonderful Devil’s Corner winery, effectively sitting somewhere between the two, so that you can avail yourself of a tasting, a bite to eat and climb to the top of the winery’s ‘tower’ on you way to, from or back again on your visit.
Regardless of which you visit first though, or even on two separate trips, you will find it hard to drag yourself away from this part of Tasmania. Piermont and Saffire Freycinet share a passion for excellence, but the two properties are unique in their execution and the experiences they create for guests.
Where Piermont fans out from its central 180-year-old farm house with a truly heritage flavour, Saffire Freycinet is an architectural vision that is at once cutting-edge modern yet seemingly a part of the landscape at the same time.
Regardless of which property you choose to visit first, the route from Hobart remains the same, heading east towards Sorell before angling due north away from the coast towards Buckland. From here the road heads back towards the water at Orford and then following the coast right up to Swansea which is where you’ll find Piermont. Continue further north and then essentially hook around and double back and you find yourself heading for the Freycinet Peninsula, with Saffire Freycinet just south of Coles Bay.
Regardless of which you visit first though, or even on two separate trips, you will find it hard to drag yourself away from this part of Tasmania
Piermont is a place to escape and bask in the wonderful solitude of this beautiful part of the country
The entire trip will take a comfortable two and half hours and there are any number of stops along the way if you want to take your time. A perfect place to break the trip and stop for a coffee or a spot of lunch is The Colonial in Triabunna, which is essentially the halfway point on the way up – just a little further past Orford.
Follow the road north and just shy of Swansea, and an unassuming drive leads you to the coastal haven that is Piermont. A cluster of buildings perched on the shores of the Great Oyster Bay, if not for the very modern conveyance, it would be possible to believe that you had travelled back in time – albeit to a very luxurious time.
With the heritage farm house which houses the bar and wonderful restaurant as its central point, Piermont offers a number of spa suites as well as 15 stone cottages. These are scattered around the property to make the most of the stunning coastline while ensuring the privacy of each.
Differing in size, they are perfect for an intimate visit or a larger family stay, but each beautifully appointed cottage is self-contained with its own kitchen and laundry and of course boasts its own log fire and private deck overlooking the ever-changing Great Oyster Bay.
Piermont is a place to escape and bask in the wonderful solitude of this beautiful part of the country. Of course you can avail yourself of the various equipment on offer and venture out onto the bay in a kayak or explore the surrounds by bike if that takes your fancy – and time spent by the pool or on the tennis court its time well spent.
But the lure here, apart from the food, is the coastline, and with two private beaches at your disposal, this is a soul cleansing place to be.
But whether you dive headlong into outdoor activities or indulge in the privacy of your cottage, eventually you will need to emerge for some sustenance, and while each cottage features a fully equipped kitchen, there is nothing quite like eating at the Homestead Restaurant, just an easy stroll from your cottage.
The simple yet elegant theme continues in this 180-year-old farmhouse, which features an intimate bar well stocked with particularly local beers, spirits and wines which leads onto the restaurant itself, taking in those mesmerising views across the bay.
The menu changes regularly and offers extensive vegetarian and gluten free options as well as wonderfully fresh seafood amongst its locally sourced offerings.That local produce and striking flavour combinations are the cornerstone of all food offerings at Piermont, where the apparent simplicity often belies the clever layering of flavours.
Think Pirate Bay oysters with parsnip juice and grilled peach or great ocean duck with chardonnay pickled cucumber, sunflower, lime and black pepper with broad bean dressing. Needless to say, the wine list is extensive and takes in a generous number of excellent local wineries and there is no shortage of expert advise on hand to select just the right drop for the mood, the food or the moment.
But the lure here, apart from the food, is the coastline, and with two private beaches at your disposal, this is a soul cleansing place to be
The main structure is just as impressive on the inside, with its high undulating ceilings finished in beautifully crafted timber
Less than an hour away from this rustic oasis is the architectural marvel of Saffire Freycinet. Opened in 2010, this marvellous ‘organic’ structure is essentially straight across the bay from Piermont, and while it too offers a luxurious escape from the outside world, it offers its own unique take on the hideaway theme.
Viewed from the air Saffire Freycinet bears more than a passing resemblance to large sea creature – a manta ray perhaps. The flowing, organic design of the main building seems to morph out of the surrounding countryside with 20 private villas fanning out to capture the views of the Hazards and the picture postcard coastline.
The main structure is just as impressive on the inside, with its high undulating ceilings finished in beautifully crafted timber and the massive floor to ceilings showcasing the stunning backdrop. This building houses reception and a number of lounge areas, as well as the bar and of course Palate restaurant – each area managing to be intimate despite the considerable size and dimensions of the building.
Likewise the suites take full advantage of the views, with their modern open-plan design all focusing attention towards the great outdoors. Elegantly appointed with every conceivable convenience and beautifully finished, they make a compelling argument for staying indoors and luxuriating in the surrounds, but there are just as many reasons to venture outside and immerse yourself in the wilderness at your doorstep.
One such activity that offers near complete immersion, is the fresh oyster experience where, suitably attired in a bib and brace ‘dry suit’ you stroll or ‘wade’ out to one of Saffire’s nearby oyster leases. Here you enjoy these salty morsels taken straight from the farm and shucked before your very eyes by a true expert. Perhaps washed down with a drop of one of the local region’s finest wines as you stand waist deep in the pristine Tasmanian waters. Even the less than flattering ‘dry suits’ are quickly forgotten.
But if your tastes run more to traditional ‘sitting down at a table’ style dining, the culinary offerings and indeed the wine list at Palate does not disappoint. From Coles Bay calamari with hazelnuts, burnt onions and honey from Saffire’s own hives, to Freycinet Marine Farm mussels, broccoli soup and herbs, the fare doesn’t get much fresher. Or perhaps organically farmed Springfield Deer Farm venison loin, Robbins Island wagyu beef or a pan roasted blue eye trevalla with steamed diamond clams, Japanese barbecue sauce, sesame and ginger. The menu changes with the seasons but is always as memorable as every other aspect of this amazing place.
The fact that two such outstanding properties exist in the same small area of Tasmania is a perfect illustration of the riches that exist on the Apple Isle. And while this does present the problem of which to visit first, these are the sort of problems that make Tasmania one of the great driving destinations on earth. The food, the wine, the scenery, the history and those wonderful roads.
Visit Audi Australia to learn more about the all-electric Audi e-tron models.
Here you enjoy these salty morsels taken straight from the farm and shucked before your very eyes by a true expert
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