Eight-day Northern Forage road trip

Breathe deep. This is (officially) some of the cleanest air in the world you’re inhaling. Bordered by the wild coastline of the Bass Strait, this journey along northern Tasmania is a chance to slow down, and follow your food from paddock to plate stopping at some of the most fruitful farms and pasture in Australia. Stop at farm-gate stalls, distilleries and cellar doors to taste the produce and meet the makers behind it. Linger in rural villages and quirky coastal towns along the way.

Kangaroos on Springlawn, Narawntapu National Park. Photo: Jess Bonde

Day 1: Devonport to Bridport

On arrival in Devonport, disembark Spirit of Tasmania and set out east for the dazzling beaches of Bridport.

Embrace Tasmania’s incredible wildlife in a striking coastal setting, with a visit to the island’s best-kept secret: the blissfully secluded Narawntapu National Park. Take a stroll around the Springlawn Naure Walk to spot Forester kangaroos and wallabies roaming freely in their natural habitat, and walk the sands of Bakers Beach.

Curious creatures abound at Beauty Point’s Seahorse World – Australia's only working seahorse farm, which features tens of thousands of seahorses and a breeding program for the rare spotted handfish. Visit the neighbouring Platypus House to see Tasmania’s monotremes – platypuses and echidnas – including Big Jupiter, the largest platypus in captivity, and the resident echidnas that wander among visitors’ feet.

Delve into the River Tamar's shipping history at Low Head Pilot Station Maritime Museum.  Visit the oldest and longest active pilot station in Australia, dating back to 1805, and when in the museum, check out cargo salvaged from shipwrecks and a harpoon from the area's early whaling days.

Five minutes' drive away, at the mouth of the River Tamar, the 1833 Low Head Lighthouse is Australia's third-oldest light station. The lighthouse is home to the southern hemisphere's only operating G-type fog horn, which sounds at noon every Sunday and can be heard up to 30 kilometres away.

The drive from Low Head to Bridport skims across the northern edge of the Tamar Valley Wine Trail, passing through Pipers River – an area known for sparkling wine. Taste Tasmanian bubbles at renowned wineries including Bay of Fires Wines, Jansz Tasmania and Pipers Brook Vineyard.

Stay the night in Bridport, where Platypus Park Country Retreat and Bridport Beach Cottages are the perfect spots for a cosy night.

Barnbougle Dunes Golf Links. Photo: Caddie Magazine

Day 2: Bridport to Derby

Home to two of Australia’s top 10 golf courses, Barnbougle is a must-visit destination for avid golfers. If you prefer a walk along the foreshore, the 11-kilometre Bridport Walking Track it’s the perfect morning activity.

Unique Charters operates tailored helicopter trips to some of north-east Tasmania’s most amazing wineries and eateries from Bridport Airport. For something special, why not indulge in a private picnic on Swan Island?

As you head south, grab lunch or afternoon tea at Scottsdale Art Gallery Cafe, which showcases a permanent collection of artworks from Tasmanian artists.

Arrive in Derby, the small town made big by mountain biking. With more than 120 kilometres of biking trails available along the Blue Derby, you are set to find the one for you. Bike hire and shuttles can be arranged at Vertigo MTB.

Tonight, stay in Derby at Tin Mountain, offering serene views over the Ringarooma River.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate. Photo: Luke Tscharke

Day 3: Derby to Launceston

This morning, check out the imposing Mount Paris Dam, built by hand in 1936 to supply water to local tin mines. The Cascade River now flows naturally through the 250-metre-long unused dam, and makes it a beautiful spot for a relaxing break amid nature.

Stop to pay your respect to the fallen soldiers of World War I at the Legerwood Carved Memorial Trees, just three kilometres off the Tasman Highway.

The serried rows of purple at Bridestowe Lavender Estate – the world's largest privately owned lavender farm – are one of Tasmania’s most iconic landscapes. The lavender typically flowers from December through to early February, though the estate is open year-round.

On your way to Lilydale, take an easy 10-minute walk to the picturesque Lilydale Falls, a multi-tiered waterfall surrounded by lush forest.

For that adrenaline rush, try ziplining through the treetops at Hollybank Forest Reserve or completing the high ropes course of Hollybank Wilderness Adventures. If cellar-door visits are more your style, stop in at nearby Clover Hill Wines, The Ridge North Lilydale or (by appointment) Apogee Tasmania.

Stay overnight in Launceston. Maybe decide to splurge a little with a stay at Peppers Seaport Launceston.

Meander River, Deloraine. Photo: Tourism Tasmania & Owen Hughes

Day 4: Launceston to Deloraine

Today, stop for a visit at one of Australia’s largest hazelnut groves – Hazelbrae Hazelnuts. Enjoy a guided tasting and perhaps linger for lunch on the deck overlooking the orchard.

The feast continues around Deloraine. Within easy reach from one another are Tasmanian Truffles, 41° South Tasmania and 3 Willows Vineyard.

Join a truffle hunting tour at Tasmanian Truffles, proud producer of Australia's first black truffles, then take a self-guided tour of the working salmon and ginseng farm, 41° South Tasmania. Afterwards, indulge in a cheese platter accompanied by a glass of wine at 3 Willows.

Stay overnight around Deloraine. Sleep next to a waterfall at Falls River Eco Luxury, , or take a detour  to Mole Creek’s Wandering Trout Taphouse to sleep above a craft brewery housed in a 120-year-old building.

Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory. Photo: Kelly Slater

Day 5: Deloraine to Wynyard

Get a taste of local fare when you stop at Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory, a converted greenhouse serving only Tasmanian produce.

Set sail from Ulverstone to explore the Leven River with Leven River Cruises. Keep an eye out for white-bellied sea eagles and the rare Tasmanian azure kingfisher.

Admire stunning coastline views on your way to Penguin. Here take a ride at the Penguin Mountain Bike Park, offering over six kilometres of single track suited to all abilities, and direct links to more trails on the Dial Range.

Join the Whisky Walk tour at Hellyers Road Distillery, founded by a group of dairy farmers. On the tour, you’ll learn more about the distilling process, and get an insight into its fascinating history.

Step back in time by visiting Federation street at the Burnie Regional Museum. Then make your way to Burnie Park, for an easy stroll past the historic Burnie Inn to Oldaker Falls. Wander along the waterfront boardwalk to visit the Little Penguin Colony and Observation Centre.

Check out the stunning collection of vintage cars at Wonders of Wynyard. The jewel in the collection’s crown? A 1903 Model A Ford, one of the oldest existing cars built by the Ford Motor Company.

Stay the night at the unique Coastal Pods Wynyard, where shipping containers have been converted into architect-designed accommodation on the banks of the Inglis River.

Table Cape. Photo: Pete Harmsen

Day 6: Wynyard to Stanley

Today, venture to Table Cape – the remains of a 12-million-year-old volcano responsible for the area's fertile soils. At its tip, enjoy panoramic coastal views from Table Cape Lighthouse. In early October, the Table Cape Tulip Farm blazes with colour and is a sight to behold.

At the Lobster Ponds Haven in Flowerdale, meet one of the island’s most incredible and threatened creatures: the giant freshwater crayfish. The world's largest freshwater crayfish species is endemic to the rivers of northern Tasmania.

Poking into Bass Strait, compact Rocky Cape National Park is a place of sea caves, sheltered beaches and coastal walks. A 15-minute walk from the lighthouse leads to North Cave, once used as a shelter by Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

The fishing village of Stanley sits at the foot of The Nut, an ancient volcanic plug rising from the sea. A short walking track zig-zags steeply to its flat summit, but the easiest journey to the top is on The Nut chairlift.

Enjoy fish and seafood straight off the boats at Hursey Seafoods. Choose to dine upstairs, or grab a takeaway and take it to beach.

Spend the night at the beautifully renovated Ship Inn Stanley, Horizon Deluxe Apartments, or Stanley Hotel and Apartments.

Gardiner Point [Edge of the World]. Photo: Sean Scott

Day 7: Stanley and takayna/Tarkine

Take a trip out to Bull Rock with Stanley Seal Cruises to see up to 500 Australian fur seals enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

Learn more about the history of the town with a visit to Highfield Historic Site, perched on a ridge above Stanley. This grand estate was developed in the 1830s for the chief agent of the Van Diemen's Land Company. The now restored homestead features an ornate garden and sweeping coastal views.

Set out on the Tarkine Drive, and admire limestone sinkholes at Lake Chisholm Forest Reserve, ancient forests of myrtle and ferns, and the famous Trowutta Arch – where a collapsed cave has left a fern-filled natural archway between sinkholes.

Venture to the so-called Edge of the World, a wildly beautiful location where you’ll be able to truly embrace and appreciate the ruggedness of Tasmania.  

Take it to Arthur River for a relaxing, 14-km cruise along the still and reflective waters of Arthur River.

At takayna/Tarkine, stop at Tarkine Fresh Oysters, one of the best producers in the area, and visit Smithton centre to shuck fresh oysters.

Back at Stanley at dusk, watch little penguins suit up on Godfreys Beach. A raised boardwalk at the beach's southern end provides a bird's-eye view

Stay another night in Stanley.

The Nut. Photo: Emilie Ristevski

Day 8: Stanley to Devonport

Return along the coast to Devonport to board Spirit of Tasmania for your journey home.

Want to stay longer in Tasmania? Detour through Mole Creek on our Heartlands road trip.


Original content is courtesy of Tourism Tasmania