A taste of Southern France… (in the very southern end of Australia)
If you’ve ever come across images of the South of France and seen the beautiful country houses, rolling hills and picturesque farms, you may have become inspired to visit and experience such beauty yet been disappointed in the distance it is from your home and/or the price it costs to go there. But be disappointed no-more fellow Southern-Hemispherians, as we have a little taste of our own and it’s not too far from home either.
Let me introduce you to Launceston, Tasmania…
Tasmania was never on my list of places that I could ever be bothered going to but that’s the thing with judgment – you can miss out on so much just by dismissing places (or people) you know so little about. What got my interest was the lavender fields at Bridestowe Lavender Estate. Ever since I discovered such a place existed so close to me, I had to go!
I was a bit short on time with my visit and did want to keep it budget friendly seeing as I took my mum with me as well. We spent one night there and I feel like that definitely is a good amount of time to see the city if you arrive in the morning. Besides, to be realistic there isn’t that much to do in Launceston apart from seeing the few sights they have. Most people continue their travels to Hobart or other cities after a day as well.
On the first day we just explored the city a little and visited Cataract Gorge – a popular destination for tourists and locals for hiking, swimming, picnics and all things nature related. Here you can come across small kangaroos, peacocks and other wildlife so that’s pretty exciting. There is also a large chairlift which apparently is the longest single chairlift span in the world at 308 meters. It costs $12 to go one way or $15 return. I recommend going one way and walking back. That way you can get some exercise, view and walk over the suspension bridge and also see the parklands in more detail while saving time.
It was quite a hot day and our flight was really early that morning so after visiting the Gorge and exploring, we went back to our hotel to relax, had dinner and had an early night in preparation for the next day where we got to see what we really came for!
Dinner – Jailhouse Grill
The place we ate dinner was called the Jailhouse Grill which was right in town. The place is pretty popular I’m guessing, because it was quite busy with locals and tourists. As the name suggests, the place has a ‘jailhouse’ theme without being childish though. The windows have bars on them and the place has a very old convict style feel to it. The food is pretty good too. It’s Australian cuisine, so steaks, seafood etc.
I must say the oysters are AMAZING and probably the best oysters I’ve ever had, so if you do eat at the Jailhouse, the oysters are definitely something you need to order.
I had such a nice evening that night with my mum. It was nice to just spend time together and relax. 🙂
Hillwood Strawberry Farm
After breakfast the next day, we packed our bags into our little rental car and drove to Hillwood Strawberry Farm. Neither of us had been berry picking before and it’s such a cute mother and daughter activity!
When you arrive at the farm you go inside the cafe area and get some plastic containers for your berry picking. These containers are weighed after and that’s how the price is determined (no we didn’t get all these berries because we wouldn’t be able to bring them back to Sydney. We just got strawberries and raspberries for the day).
There’s a cafe with lots of strawberry flavoured foods and drinks but both my mum and I weren’t hungry yet as we had large breakfasts so I can’t comment on how the food there is!
Bridestowe Lavender Estate
When you arrive at Bridestowe you are immediately greeted with shades of purple! There’s a small entrance fee and you get given a map and a small purple bag with brochures and information on the estate. There is a gift shop cafe and bathrooms too. 🙂
Most people have the special lavender flavoured ice cream which they sell either at the cafe or out of a little themed truck outside where the lavender is. Both my mum and I had a scoop each and omg it’s delicious. It tastes just like how lavender essential oils smell!!!
There are free tours of the estate available but both my mum and I wanted to wander around at our own leisure. I was quite anxious at first walking through the fields because there are so many bees. Like, SO MANY. When you walk through the aisles of lavender, you can literally hear all of them buzzing in their huge bee armies. However, if you look around, you will see that no one is bothered by this or being stung! It took me a while to relax but I eventually got over it and could freely walk through the lavender. I think you just have to realise and remember that all the bees want is the lavender! If they accidentally touch you, they just fly away.
There’s so much pretty scenery at Bridestowe Lavender Estate it’s hard to not take photos of everything!
- Bring sunscreen to wear strawberry picking and at the lavender farm – we actually got burnt!
- Get a rental car – it saves you so much time and gives you a lot of freedom rather than catching public transport for these trips
- Take a flight that arrives in Launceston in the morning and leaves in the evening
- For photos, wear colours that pop against purple!
- Try to visit the farm from the afternoon onwards – better lighting for photos!