A spirited five day itinerary for Tasmania »

Meet the makers and taste the whiskies in this trip around the island state

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A measure of Spring Bay Distillery whisky

A measure of Spring Bay Distillery whisky [©Tasmanian Whisky Academy]

Fannys Bay Distillery whiskey barrels
McHenry whisky & distillery
Hangar 17 at the Launceston Distillery
Peter Bignell, Belgrove Distillery

 

Tasmania's reputation for its produce just keeps growing, along with the number of creative growers and makers. There are over 25 distilleries in Tasmania, if not more now, but it's not just quantity, it's the quality that is astounding many, including in international judges.

On VisitVineyards we have many itineraries for visiting wineries and, increasingly, craft brewers and cider makers as well. Now we can add this special five day spirited travel plan to the list!

The Tasmanian Whisky Academy developed this itinerary for those looking to focus on just the distilleries in each region but it's also very handy for visitors wanting to add a tipple to their classic Tassie travel plans. 

For additional background information to guide your travels, Kudelka and First Dog's Spiritual Journey is well worth getting hold of. Whilst it was published in 2014 when there were just 10 distilleries, it's still very relevant and a fun, easy read.

More recently, Tasmanian author Bernard Lloyd wrote a definitive volume, Tasmanian Whisky: The Devil's Share which is a magnificent and comprehensive look at the island's distilling history and the range of creative people who combine to make the renowned spirit.

Thanks to the Tasmanian Whisky Academy, here's your road trip enjoy the devil's share!

 Day 1 – The Southern Sip (Hobart)

Centred around Hobart, out to the Tasman Peninsula and Port Arthur or the Huon Valley.

Lark Distillery: most people that love whisky will want to start their trip where it all began, at the Lark Distillery. You have two options for the Lark Distillery – the first is to visit the bar which has probably one of the best bar selections in Hobart or you can take a trip out to the distillery via one of their scheduled tours, or try out Drink Tasmania’s tours.  While there you can also discover more about Overeem, which became part of the Lark family in 2016.

Sullivans Cove: Sulli’s is on our list not just because they’re a partner of the Tasmanian Whisky Academy but also because you can’t ignore the  Tassie distillery that won “World’s Best Whisky”. Sullivans Cove offers tours of the distillery or you can come behind the scenes with The Academy through our Introduction to Distilling course.

Nonesuch Distillery: another friend to The Academy, Rex at Nonesuch will add unique colour to your Hobart trip. Sharing his love of small batch gin, sloe gin and sloe-malt creation you'll enjoy every second with this passionate man. Rex also offers some unique learning experiences worth asking him about.

What else: If you only have one day in the south, it's going to be hard to visit all the distilleries.  We have a few other favourites as well, and while many of the distilleries don’t open for formal tours, visits can be pre-arranged if they’re onsite. Some of these may include:

  • McHenry Distillery – Bill makes some of our favourite whisky and the the distillery itself is worth finding a day for, spending time at the distillery and then looking around the Port Arthur Historic Site
  • Willie Smith's down the Huon – these guys make a cracking cider and are now distilling so if brandy or armagnac is your thing then go for lunch and make it worthwhile.
  • Hartshorn Distillery and the Grandvewe Cheesery are owned by the same family. Hartshorn offers a unqiue vodka made from sheep’s whey.
  • Hobart – there are amazing restaurants, bars and sites and we also recommend a visit to Destination Cellars in Hobart for a great selection of Tassie whiskies, gins and other beverages.

Day 2 – The Central Snifter (Derwent Valley)

From Hobart, head north toward Launceston and you’ll come across a run of great distilleries. You can do this day from Hobart return or make these visits on the way north.

Shene Estate: probably one of the prettiest distilleries in Tasmania. The historic estate is based on the highway just past Brighton. Distiller Damien Mackie is making a unique Irish style of whisky. An inspiring place to visit on many levels. Tours and experiences available, check Shene's website for details.

Redlands Distillery: just up the road in Kempton is the Redlands Distillery in the historic Dysart House. While Kempton is off the main highway it is worth a visit and if you’re lucky it may be scone day. A great selection of their own and others' whiskies if you want to take some with you.

Belgrove Distillery: Belgrove is a unique Tasmanian distillery. Peter Bignell is a farmer/distiller who grows the ingredients for his whisky made onsite. The original innovator, the Belgrove Distillery shows you what is possible when you set your mind to it.  A brilliant man, making brilliant spirits. Try the Peated Rye and the Ginger Hammer.

Nant Estate: still one of the most stunning distillery locations in the state, with a postive future despite some recent ups and downs. The Nant Estate can be visited by prior arrangement and the distillers and staff onsite can offer an intimate view of the distillery.  Call ahead.

Day 3 – The Eastern Tipple (East Coast)

Perfect if you’re heading north from Hobart on the Great Eastern Drive and planning to overnight on the coast or in Launceston.

Spring Bay Distillery: one of our newer distilleries, the Spring Bay Distillery is based on Orford on the East Coast.  It has already produced a great gin and laid down some tremendous whisky to age. They’re not always distilling, so give them a call if you want to catch up.

Ironhouse Brewery and Distillery: a great destination if you want somewhere cool on the East Coast to stay.  Watch the sun come up over the ocean the next morning from your unit and enjoy a meal in the restaurant.  Not yet selling whisky but they have beer and gin for sale on site. Very kid friendly too.

What else? As you head up the coast from Hobart there are some great little towns (interspersed with wineries too!) One of these is Bicheno where The Farm Shed has a great selection of locally made goodies. Stop a while and chat.

Day 4 – The Northern Nip (Launceston)

Well done, it's the fourth day and you could see just the highlights today or pick one or two between Launceston and Burnie and focus your time visiting those.

Fanny’s Bay: Fanny’s Bay is in the very north of Tasmania and has one of the best views in the state. Sit on Mathew and Julie’s deck and you may just see Melbourne (No not really). Mathew is a fabulous bloke and worth sharing a story with.  Give him a call prior if you want to visit or catch up. You’ll also find Fanny’s Bay’s newest whisky at the Kingsway Bar in Launceston.

Launceston Distillery, Adams and Corra Linn: these three distilleries are all within close driving distance of Launceston.  All three are fairly new distilleries and will be releasing spirit in the next year. Launceston Distillery is based at Hangar 17 near Launceston Airport. John at Corra Linn has one of the most beautiful Column still setups in the state at Relbia and is a great guy to boot. Adams Distillery at Perth is worth a look if you’re interested in barrel and spirit investment. Contact them directly if you’re interested in visiting.

What else? Launceston is a beautiful city on the edge of the Tamar. Famous for its wine and fresh produce there are many things to look at and visit.

Day 5  – A north-west nightcap (Burnie and surrounds)

Burnie was once known as a more industrial city but things have changed and it offers a range of activities including The Makers Workshop. The north west of course is well known as the source of much of the state's amazing produce.  Visit this region if cheese, chocolate, fruit, beer and whisky are on your menu!

Southern Wild Distillery:  this Devonport based bar and distillery brings an exciting new edge to the city. Stay overnight, visit the great laneway cafes and have a few long drinks at the distillery bar. You must try the locally inspired and farmed gins produced by distiller George. Absolutely worth a visit.

Hellyers Road Distillery: this icon of Burnie has produced some of Tasmania’s most successful exports. A complete visitor experience with tours, tastings and a restaurant, it is a great place to while away a few hours. Check their website for opening times.

What else? There are a few smaller distilleries in the north including the Wilmot Hills Distillery and the Cradle Mountain Whisky.  When you’re in the north of the state you must visit Ashgrove Cheese (near Elizabeth Town) and Anvers Chocolate near Latrobe, both on the Bass Highway. If you’re heading further up the north west then there is a little whisky nook called The Angels Share in Stanley you can visit.

This ititinerary provided by the Tasmanian Whisky Academy. Read more about the Academy and Tasmanian distillers on their website here »

See links below for more information on the spirits of Tasmania.

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August 15th, 2018
 
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