Five-day tipple traveller road trip

With mild summers and long autumn days, Tasmania’s climate is akin to great European wine-producing regions such as Bordeaux. That, plus plenty of passion and hard work, means the state produces exceptional cool-climate wines, especially internationally renowned pinot noir and sparkling. Draw straws for the designated driver and take a five-day tasting around the island, from verdant valleys to the east coast’s Wineglass Bay.

Be a spirited traveller and follow this 5-day itinerary, perfect for the drinks connoisseurs out there.

Day 1: Devonport to Launceston

Begin your journey in the Tamar Valley, following the distinctive blue-and-gold signs along one of the world’s best wine routes. Today you’re vineyard hopping in the valley’s north, including what aficionados recognise as a distinctive area called the Pipers River region. Much of Tasmania’s premium sparkling wine is produced here. The district’s pioneer is local wine hero Andrew Pirie, who established Pipers Brook in 1974. The cellar door is about 1.5 hours’ drive east of Devonport via the East Tamar Highway, but you’re spoilt for choice tastings along the way at the likes of Bay of Fires Wines, Delamere and Jansz.

A short drive beyond Pipers Brook, Clover Hill not only has tastings and light grazing options. This winery also offers a range of helicopter experiences, from popping into other cellar doors to a picnic on a private island – with a nice bottle, of course. Or simply choose the scenic flight for stunning views across this region’s vineyards.

From Clover Hill it’s about 30 minutes south to the foodie town of Launceston. Here you can while away the evening at the Bar Two and Havilah wine bars, or Stillwater, one of Tasmania’s finest restaurants. Good news – they also offer accommodation, so your designated driver can relax.

Day 2: Launceston

Take an easy drive through the Tamar Valley’s more southerly vineyards, such as Tamar Ridge and Stoney Rise, whose innovative cellar door also offers other local and international wines. The day’s main focus is Josef Chromy’s vineyard. One of the island’s viticultural legends, Joe fled his war-torn Czech village in 1950 as a 19-year-old and used his butchery skills to start again in Tasmania. Switching to wine-making in 1993, he has owned and developed some of Australia’s leading wineries including Jansz, Bay of Fires and Tamar Ridge.

Joe’s now focused on the vineyard bearing his name, where tastings and lunch at the restaurant are the bare minimum for your visit. Other tantalising options include a winery tour or The Art of Sparkling Experience. This behind-the-scenes wine lover’s adventure steps through the process of making bubbly, before you sit down and blend a bottle just the way you like it to take home.

From here Launceston is just minutes away.

Day 3: Launceston to Coles Bay

Today’s dedicated to the East Coast Wine Trail, particularly near the Freycinet Peninsula. Your first port of call is about 90 minutes south-east of Launceston via Highway 1: Spring Vale vineyard’s heritage-listed cellar door. This former stable, built in 1842, is on a property that’s been in the Lyne family for five generations, and now mostly planted with pinot noir vines.

Other top spots to get a taste of the region include Freycinet Vineyard, Devil’s Corner and Craigie Knowe Vineyard, which is the oldest on the east coast. Allow time there for a wine-and-chocolate pairing, vineyard tour or grazing lunch of Tasmanian cured meats, cheese, pinot noir paste and more. Fancy enjoying one of your recently purchased bottles of white or sparkling with fresh Tasmanian seafood on the beach? Freycinet Marine Farm produces oysters and mussels, available alongside other locally sourced delights including smoked salmon and just-cooked lobster.

Consider working off some of that good living with one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks, just inside Freycinet National Park. The steep but well-paved ascent to Wineglass Bay Lookout is rewarded with a panoramic view down onto this iconic bay. Head back to your accommodation in nearby Coles Bay and kick back with an actual wineglass – perhaps at the luxurious Freycinet Lodge, where the bar and restaurant offer sweeping vistas of Great Oyster Bay.

Day 4: Coles Bay to Hobart

About 2.5 hours south-west of Coles Bay via the Tasman Highway, Hobart’s surrounded by wineries in the Derwent, Coal River and Huon valleys. Start your wander along the Southern Wine Trail just east of the capital in the Coal River Valley. Options include Puddleduck Vineyard and Pooley Wines, Tasmania’s first and only fully accredited environmentally sustainable vineyard, while lunch could be at Riversdale Estate or Frogmore Creek wineries’ excellent restaurants.

Spend the rest of the afternoon just south of Hobart at Huon Valley wineries such as Hartzview and Home Hill, the hobby farm with six rows of vines that has evolved into an extensive vineyard producing award-winning pinot noir. Then relax at hot Hobart wine bars Sonny and Lucinda, or local secret Willing Bros Wine Merchants. Restaurants with great wine lists include Fico and Me Wah.

Day 5: Hobart to Devonport

On your final day in Tassie, explore the Derwent Valley just north-west of Hobart, including the gallery that put Tasmania on the global art map, Mona. It’s worth visiting for the outstanding food and wine experiences alone – including a taste of the on-site Moorilla winery. Other vineyards in the valley include Stefano Lubiana Wines and Derwent Estate Wines – go on, squeeze a few more bottles into the boot!

From here, Devonport is three hours north through the heart of the island via Highway 1. Before boarding Spirit of Tasmania, there might be enough time to celebrate the state’s wonderful wine with a glass of local sparkling at Mrs Jones. Soak up the Bass Strait views, and start thinking about your next great Tasmanian wine getaway. Cheers!