Teeing off to wine, cheese and history in Tassie’s north east »
One of Australia's top rating golf courses offers more than white ball fever
By Kerry Scambler
Barnbougle you say – isn’t that a new craft beer? Hang on... it’s that Tasmanian golf course for the rich and famous, isn’t it? That’s only half right. It is a Tasmanian golf links course and one highly rated around Australia and on the world stage, but it’s not, as we discovered, all about the rich and famous. It's also the perfect base for sipping, paddling, tasting and a spot of history.
Organising a staff weekend away for 50-60 people in a different location around Tasmania each year isn’t always easy, so my partner always does his homework. And naturally I’m always willing to help out with the research!
Following suggestions from staff with a particular penchant for hitting white balls around, we went on a reconnaissance to Barnbougle, to make sure the venue and surrounds offered enough to entertain those without buggies.
Barnbougle Links Golf Resort is a few minutes out of Bridport on Tasmania's North East Coast. It incorporates two iconic public links courses, Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm, both top rating in Australia and beyond. They lie along the coast where the quite different golf courses wind their way between and over the dunes offering challenges and rewards aplenty for golfers. Being a links course, there's plenty of adventure with many a ball being surrendered to nature!
Driving a leisurely hour or so north east from Launceston through lush green countryside gave us time to wind down and take in the scenery. We stopped at the top of The Sideling with its bucolic view to Scottsdale across rolling green fields dotted with cows and crops in various stages of growth and harvest.
Scottsdale is in the heart of rich agricultural land but is also wearing some hardship from the downturn in the forestry industry. It’s now busy developing its profile as a tourist hub for the north east and central to this is the Scottsdale Visitor Centre. Located in an 1898 heritage listed courthouse and staffed by enthusiastic local volunteers, you’ll pick up all the inside advice on the region. (We can also vouch for the friendly service at the local BWS store where we picked up some supplies!)
A short drive and we were on the coast in Bridport with blue skies overhead and a gentle breeze blowing, perfect for a quick beer on the deck at the top pub before we headed to Barnbougle!
The Clubhouse at Barnbougle Dunes was the check in point and yet again the deck from the bar was beckoning… come, sit and enjoy the afternoon sun with waves just over the dunes, a cold beer in hand and watch as the golfers come through with their various discussions over this hole and that score. It was a very pleasant pastime as was the rest of the Barnbougle experience.
So are we returning in November with the crew? Here’s how our checklist went:
Accommodation – tick: the cabins at Barnbougle Dunes were comfortable and surprisingly well priced (especially as they are two bedroom). It’s an easy walk to The Dunes Clubhouse with bar and dining and the seats outside the cabin look across the practice greens to the Clubhouse nestled amongst the dunes and beyond. (There's also further accommodation nearby at Lost Farm.)
Food – tick: dinner at the Lost Farm restaurant was certainly up there with the best of them for us. The Lodge is perched atop a dune to make the most of the magnificent views to the nearby beach, along the coast and over the course in the dunes. With a setting sun, a glass of Dalrymple Pinot Noir wine in hand, Tasmanian scallops, beef and cream taking their turn on the table, it was a superb meal accompanied by good service. With excellent company of course!
A hot (ordered) breakfast was enjoyed in the Dunes Clubhouse.
Activities onsite – tick:
Golf: obviously with two courses on site plus the nearby Bridport course, there’s plenty to keep the golf clubs swinging.
The beach: walking, running, beachcombing, paddling in the shallows or diving right in, sitting in the dunes with a book or simply watching the waves and birdlife, you choose.
Relax: Barnbougle Spa offers a full range of massage and beauty treatments. Personally I think the view from the massage bench alone is enough to start draining the body of stress (On the list for the next visit of course!)
Activities off site – tick and spoilt for choice:
Within a short drive in any direction you can sip on local wine, beer or cider, lick a lavender ice-cream, take a mountain bike ride through the state’s newest rainforest track or taste cheese and milk from the very cows in the paddock before you. Here are just a few suggestions:
Towards St Helens ( up to 2 hours)
Derby: the town at the heart of Tasmanian tin mining with a rich Chinese history. Check out the Tin Dragon Trail Interpretation Centre and the galleries and cafes in this delightful tiny town. Also just opened is Blue Derby offering a world class mountain bike experience.
A little further on at the Moorina cemetery is a memorial to the Chinese miners buried there which makes for some interesting reading. Set amongst the bush gums, it's a very peaceful last resting place.
Weldborough Hotel: heritage-listed hotel with a beautiful garden setting and home to Tasmania’s award-winning MicroBru Experience. Lonely Planet says ‘If you’re a beer appreciator you shouldn’t miss this place; it is now the cellar door for every microbrewery beer in Tasmania’. (And wine and cider too.)
Pyengana Cheese and Holy Cow Café: stop for a cheese tasting and enjoy a good coffee whilst overlooking the lush countryside. Check out the cows who bring themselves up to be milked when they feel like it! Can also highly recommend the ice-cream – my pepperberry was delicious but the leatherwood one was divine for a honey lover.
Nearby St Columba Falls is one of the state’s hightest multi-tied waterfalls amongst rainforest. (Can be seen from the carpark if you can’t make the walk).
Shop in the Bush: if you’re a collector of anything you’ll love this place. Old books, artworks, jewellery, antiques, collectables and much more. Many treasures and friendly, helpful staff.
Within 30-45 minutes of Bridport (towards George Town).
Bridestowe Lavender Estate: a beautiful place to visit in any season but a splendour over the flowering season (Nov – Jan). We can recommend their lavender ice-cream and of course, you'll meet the famous Bobbie Bear! Read more about visiting Bridestowe here »
This is just a very, very small slice of what is on offer around Tasmania's North East. Whether you like the rainforest walks, geological formations, a mad mountain bike ride, a challenging round of golf, an afternoon of wine or cheese tasting, browsing galleries and musuems discovering the past, there's so much to enjoy. All set in a region with tranquil rainforests, lush countryside and a coastline of long white beaches...
Here's to November and our next visit!
Kerry Scambler and her partner were independent travellers.
- North East Tas (TAS)
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