10 of the Most Impressive Food Experiences in Japan on a Budget

Japan is a food lover’s dream and the only thing more difficult than choosing where to eat for dinner each night is trimming our list of the most impressive Japanese food experiences down to ten.

1. Forget about soggy sugar-laden cereal bowls, start your day with a protein-packed sushi breakfast at Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji fish market. Whether you choose to go for a platter filled with fresh slices of tuna, salmon and prawn that was caught only hours ago, or a chirashi (essentially a sushi bowl), you’ll find it hard to go back to Fruit Loops. There are plenty of sushi bars to choose from but Sushi Dai and Sushi Daiwa attract the biggest crowds, with punters lining up as early as 6am to get their sushi fix.

2. If you love your noodles, be sure to check out Yokohama's Ramen Museum. Only an hour by train from downtown Tokyo, the museum is the world’s first food-themed amusement park with a store, race track and ramen stalls covering all three floors. The option to order mini-sized bowls of ramen means that you can sample your way through many different kinds from Men no Bo-Toride’s milky Hakata-style tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen to Shina Soba-ya’s more delicate soy sauce-based ramen, a Tokyo specialty. 

3. Nothing divides Japan more than natto, the Japanese equivalent of Vegemite. Typically eaten with rice, the fermented soy beans have a slimy texture, a pungent smell and a strong flavour which means that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. However, the beans are full of vitamins and proteins, thus making them a cheap and easy breakfast dish.   

4. Visit a 7-11 or Family Mart. No, seriously, you’ll be surprised to discover what you can find at your local convenience store – and at reasonable prices too. For less than an Aussie fiver, you can get a crispy chicken katsu sandwich or a couple of onigiri (rice ball) filled with dried salmon flakes or egg.

5. Feel like sushi but prefer to avoid paying big bucks for a meal at Michelin-stared Sushi Saito and Sukiyabashi Jiro? Visit one of Japan’s many stand-up sushi bars. Offering a warm and casual atmosphere, these bars serve fresh sushi that’s made-to-order. The usual suspects such as tuna, salmon and mackerel are always available but look out for delicacies such as uni (sea urchin) and otoro, blue fin tuna belly, the fattiest and most buttery cut of tuna. Most of these sushi bars don’t take bookings but turn over is quick, making them a great option for those wanting lunch in a hurry.

6. Another quick and cheap option is a comforting bowl of Japanese curry, perfect if you’re visiting Japan in the cooler months of October to March. Introduced by British traders in the 1800s, the dish became increasingly popular. The Japanese curry is milder than its Indian and Thai counterparts, yet is just as heart-warming and delicious. Common ingredients are potatoes, carrots and chicken though beef or tofu is sometimes used. 

7. Make like Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson by taking a trip up to the New York Bar at Tokyo's famous Park Hyatt hotel. At fifty-two floors up and with the bright lights of Tokyo at your feet, there’s no better way to enjoy a glass or five of Yamazaki whisky with some delicious bar snacks on the side. Their bar nibbles set (smoked nuts, Iberico pork jerky and shrimp popcorn) is amazing and sure beats soggy chips at the local pub back home. 

8. Although it may not be for everyone, horse meat can be found in restaurants around the country. Frequently served in sashimi form (basashi), horse has a very similar taste to lean beef but with a muted flavour and a chewier texture. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but definitely worth trying at least once. 

9. You may not visit Japan expecting to eat foie gras, however Tokyo is home to some of the world’s best French restaurants which are worth exploring if you’ve had your fill of sushi, donburi and takoyaki for the time being. Highly recommended French restaurants include Michel Troisgros’ eponymous restaurant at the Hyatt Regency (try the squash and hazelnut tortellini there) and L’Effervescence where their wild boar, foie gras and fig apple pie will change your mind about the all American dessert. 

10. If you’re lucky enough to stay at a ryokan (Japanese guesthouse) during your visit, you’re in for a culinary treat. Ryokan dinners are elaborate, multi-course meals featuring the best of the region’s seasonal produce beautifully presented and cooked in a unique style. Guests are encouraged to wear the traditional yukata to dinner and sit cross-legged on mats as they work their way through a series of appetisers, rice dishes, pickles and meat. 

5 Reasons to Visit Launceston Next Weekend

Are you looking for a weekend getaway, something that will inspire your enthusiasm and passion for food, wine and adventure? Look no further than Launceston, Tasmania. I know we can hear you saying WHAT?! Why there? Just read...


With a foodie hub bursting at the seams, Launceston is quickly becoming one of the top Australian food and wine destinations. With restaurants such as Stillwater serving up their very own contemporary Tasmanian cuisine with the likes of lamb shoulder and freshly shucked oysters as well as PX Tapas Wine serving up a paddock-to-plate menu, you will be spoilt for choice when picking a lunch or dinner location. For a modern European option you can't pass up Pierre's brasserie on George Street, look out for their classic signature dish of escargot baked in shell with garlic and parsley butter. 

Along with award-winning restaurants, Launceston is home to Festivale – Tasmania’s premier 3 day summer event celebrating the very best of Tasmanian food, wine, beer, arts and entertainment. If you time your visit for next weekend you’ll be able to experience Tasmania’s world leading produce all in one location at City Park – as well as a few drinks with some great live bands.


The Tamar Valley is the destination for any foodie or wine connoisseur and starts just a short drive from Launceston Airport. We suggest that your first stop be the Josef Chromy cellar door where you will find world-class wines that are simply a pleasure to drink. Pair this with their fine dining restaurant that overlooks the expanse of the winery and is furnished to imitate the inside of a wine barrel and you’re whole trip will be worth the time.

Continue on the trail to other cellar doors such as Goaty Hill Wines, Grey Sands, Velo Wines and Clover Hill.


Have you always wanted to climb a forest canopy? You know those tours where you are hooked up to steel cables and travel from platform to platform about 30 metres above the forest floor? Well they are called zip line tours and they operate in the magnificent growth of forests around Hollybank.

If you’re even more adventurous, think about doing this at night with a head lamp attached and platforms beckoning to you through the trees. 


Cataract Gorge offers up a number of fun activities for you to do in the natural beauty of Launceston. You can try your fitness at the walking tracks or you could jump onto the chairlift which travels its way through Cataract Gorge and over fields of flowers.

If you are a bit more daring you could try rock climbing or abseiling which will certainly leave you with an experience of a life time.


While in the Tamar take a cruise on the Tamar River, enjoy a range of scenic trips up and down the Tamar which all vary in lengths depending on what you want to do. From a special mini-cruise that takes around 50 minutes to a 4 hour cruise offering you the most sights, sounds and tastes for your money. 

With running commentary about the history of Launceston this is a perfect way to learn about the city you’re in without wearing out your legs and shoes. 

Add Sri Lanka to your Bucket List

With timeless ruins, endless beaches, cheap prices, famous tea and surf  - Sri Lanka is a destination that can’t be forgotten from your bucket list.  


As misty mountains overlook golden beaches you will be able to tick quite a few once in a life time experiences off your list. Think:

  • Mighty elephants – Uda Walawe National Park.
  • Stealthy leopards – Yala National Park (think safari camp!)
  • Giant Whales – Whale watching in Mirissa.
  • Cultural Ruins – Anuradhapura (jungle entangles ancient ruins – be Indiana Jones for a day), Mihintale (Buddhist shrines), Polonnaruwa (ancient architecture), Sigiriya (the lion rock),  Dambulla (cave temples), Aukana Buddha – the most perfectly preserved ancient statue in all of Sri Lanka.
  • Sri Lankan Food – there are a number of places to go but you shouldn’t miss main menu items such as Fish ambul thiyal (sour fish curry), Kottu roti, Kukul mas curry (chicken curry), Parippu (dhal curry), Lamprais, Hoppers (egg in a hole), Polos (green jackfruit curry) and most importantly Gotu kola sambol (pennywort salad). Also try a wood apple on its own, with a hard shell and an almost blue cheese aroma you wouldn't believe it has a delicious sour and sweet taste.

Most of these experiences can be seen with a bike (once you’re in the right location), locals are in the business of tourism so a tour is never off the cards (sometimes it’s best to leave the guided tour suggestions at your local travel agent and take a chance on a local – you’ll see more, help them make a living and have a fantastic time).


Can’t make it to Sri Lanka just yet? Don’t worry we have a number of great restaurants that will whet your appetite in the mean time. For those in Glen Waverley – you can’t really pass up Elephant Corridor and their signature dish of wok stir-fried calamari. 

If there isn’t a local Sri Lankan restaurant in your area, search under the broader cuisine - Asian

Holidays on Hamilton Island

By Julie Fision

I can’t believe I’ve lived in Queensland for most of my life and it’s taken me until now to discover Hamilton Island. My heart still belongs to Noosa, but Hamilton Island is right up there when it comes to a family holiday destination, especially with teens.

A week in the Whitsundays was going to be my chance to do lots of reading – always useful before the start of a new writing project. But sailing, snorkelling, paddle boarding, golfing and bush walking got in the way of that.



I did have a moment to pick up a book when the rest of the family spent the morning go-karting. Given my history of holiday accidents, I wasn’t going anywhere near crazy underage drivers.  

But the big surprise for me was the food. Hamilton has some really great restaurants. Top of the food chain is Bommie – the yacht club’s stylish fine-dining venue. It’s the perfect place for a special night out with deliciously modern food and innovative cocktails.

There are several other good restaurants on the marina side of the island, but for laid-back family dining my pick is Coca Chu, overlooking Catseye Beach. The food is Asian hawker-style. I’ve spent a lot of time in Asia but I’ve never had anything like beetle-leaf wrapped lobster with roasted coconut slung at me from a hawker stall. Heaven. And I’m still dreaming about the lime-cured king fish and the mouth-watering beef ribs. The food was so good we ate at Coca Chu two nights in a row. The best tables are outside on the deck, and bookings are essential in school holidays.


Sigh. Take me back there.

Spanish La Tomatina

The Largest Tomato Throwing Festival in the World

Travel Calendar 2014 – Wed 27th August


Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

We invite you join 40, 000 global travellers on the last Wednesday of August for La Tomatina, the largest food fight in the world.  Death by tomato?  Hardly, but this massive tomato schmozzle in small town Bunol of Valencia, Spain draws in tourists from all over the world.

The edible equivalent of mud wrestling, La Tomatina Festival is your chance to romp around in the muck with your friends and enemies (and friends turned enemies) in a pool of tomato sauce.  Schmuck your loved ones in the face with ripe tomatoes and reserve the rotten ones for sweet revenge on fated rivals; La Tomatina is your chance to take it to the streets.

Even if you can’t take it to the streets in Spain this year, check our AGFG restaurant guide to discover La Tomatina inspired Spanish restaurants and specials on home turf.


Bunol’s Saucy Tomato Tousle

The Spanish love street festivities (think bull running a- la Pamplona), and La Tomantina is no exception.  This year, come Wednesday 27th August, the town of Bunol will be painted red with 125,000 kg of ripe tomatoes as locals and visitors partake in the “biggest vegetable fight in the world”. Technically it’s a fruit fight, but you get the gist.  

The tomato battle of Bunol, fondly referred to as “La Tom”, is one messy affair.  The whole point is to pelt your partner with slimy veg/fruit, lob or launch the juiciest picks at your travel buddies, and catapult random tomato ammo into the crowds made up of 39,999 of your closest new slippery friends.    

Food Fight or All out War?


Although there are no official records of how La Tomatina first originated, the legend suggests that the tradition of tomato throwing in the town began as a modest Spanish-style fiesta.  As the story goes, there was an accident involving a local produce cart, spilling over thousands of ripe tomatoes into the street.  In the spirit of it all, little rebellious rascals raided the remains and began hurling the fresh fruits at one another. At first the public were appalled by this fleeting madness, but soon their annoyance faded into good humour because it looked like so much fun - laugher filled the streets as everyone got involved.

Today, La Tomatina shuts down the town of Bunol on the last Wednesday of every August, and for a couple of hours, pure pulpy chaos ensues.  Souvenir La Tomatina wet T-shirt contests occur on the side, local entrepreneurial adolescents look after tourist backpacks for extra money, and industrious businessman sell local brew and chilled sangria on the street corners.

Savvy travellers; on the last Wednesday of August - this year it's the 27th August, 2014 - spend your tourist dollars wisely and take part in this once in a lifetime tomato extravaganza.  Make no mistake La Tomatina is all out tomato war, but a friendly one at that.  

Throw a tomato … into your gob


If you prefer to chomp your tomatoes rather than chuck them, chow down on some of our classic tomato based meals in our AGFG recipe section. Classics for the cooler months include;

- Seafood linguini with tomato pesto  

- Spaghetti bolognese  

- Stuffed Greek tomatoes 

- Tuscan tomato, bean and cabbage soup 

Absolutely Positively Wellington

AGFG in Harbour city, exploring the sights, tastes and smells of a growing foodie hub. 

Affectionately known as the “coolest little capital in the world,” by locals, Wellington has much to offer the over enthusiastic tourist. Passion is the first word that comes to mind when you walk the streets of Wellington, from the local barista at the corner cafe to the bustling Moore Wilson’s fresh food market, with an eclectic mix of fresh produce to speciality items. If you’re lucky you might just bump into a head chef or two while doing your own shop.  

There is no greater time to experience Wellington then now, during the annual Visa Wellington on a Plate Festival (August 15 – 31), the perfect two weeks of food, beer and coffee. Whether you enjoy a whole pigs head for dinner (check out pigfish@prefab) or a more refined three course meal in a sophisticated setting such as Artisan Restaurant and Bar, Wellington has everything on offer. Along with more refined dining, Garage Project (craft beer rock stars) presents Burger Wellington, where Wellington’s finest eateries go head to head, to showcase their originality and creativity in creating the humble burger. Over 70 have participated this year and have matched their burger to one of Garage Projects locally brewed beer. 

Brat in a Burger - Park Avenue venison bratwurst with ParrotDog IPA-infused mustard, braised onions, slaw and Kapiti smoked havarti on an Arobake bun, with caraway-salt dusted fries. Only @ Cafe L'affare.

Taking the lead, is Leeds Street, with craft beer, chocolate, locally brewed coffee and locally made soda syrup all together on the one street. It’s truly incredible the choices that are within a few minutes reach of each other. Six Barrel Soda Co makes small batch soda syrups and supplies some of our very own restaurant such as Atticus Finch Cafe, Cookie and Markov. The syrup is made out of all natural ingredients and is perfect for any Spring or Summer afternoon, or all year round – you can even use it at home if you have a soda stream. Make sure to head around the corner to Flight Coffee Hanger on Dixon street, the choices are eclectic and the cold drip speaks for itself (we suggest Sidama).

Don’t forget that foodie heaven can also be found in the suburbs around Wellington, particularly Petone, where innovation and style meet the growing trend of dining out. We visited Taylor's on Jackson (Jackson St) where Perth raised Chef Glen Taylor brings a very modern twist to the concept of paddock to plate. Think wagyu steak tartare with fried chicken oysters an appetiser to mouth watering perfect wagyu served with a deliciously smooth carrot and buttermilk remoulade. It really was a treat to behold. 

The BFG dessert @ Taylor's on Jackson, Petone. 

Glen is one for imagination when it comes to desserts and likes to take you back to your childhood, the BFG dessert was brought to our table, in what can be aptly described as a mystery jar, expectantly we opened the jar thinking to see something resembling a black forest gateau (BFG) but we were greeted with apple crumble cheesecake with popping candy and meringue pieces as well as a sprinkling of dark chocolate cookie chards. Glen had created “dream country” a place spoken about in the 1982 popular children’s book “Big Friendly Giant” (BFG).  

Create your own journey at www.wellingtononaplate.com and enjoy all that Wellington has to offer.

AGFG was guest of Positively Wellington and Bolton Hotel.

5 Reasons Why Darwin Should Be Next On Your Bucket List


With a small town feel and cosmopolitan city style, Darwin offers visitors a blissful blend of old and new, tied in fittingly within a balmy tropical climate.

Closer to Bali than Bondi, it’s no wonder you’ll feel a world away when trekking to the Top End. Rest assured, once arrived you’ll feel right at home, immersed amongst a miscellany of street side restaurants, galleries, museums, historic sites and natural wonders. With more than 50 nationalities represented here, Darwin’s rich culture is evident in every facet of living, where the traditional land owners (the Larrakia people) still adhere closely to traditional Indigenous beliefs and customs.

Keeping it short and sweet, we have listed 5 reasons why Darwin should be on everyone’s bucket list – crocodiles, cruises and cocktails included.



5. You’re immersed in a nature lover’s heaven


With the tranquil waters of the tropics on three sides and the beauty of lush rainforests, dusty red plains and rocky ranges gracing the remaining, a trip to Darwin lands you in the epicentre of Mother Nature’s wonder world. Also known as the gateway to Australia’s ‘adventure playground’, Darwin is centrally located to some of the nation’s greatest natural sites, including the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park, the Tiwi Islands and Litchfield National Park.





4. The wet season will instantly add to your Insta cred.


Think long, hot days followed by a cool sweep of glorious evening storms that will captivate your eyes and make you sleep like a baby. Running from November through to April, the Northern Territory’s wet season often leaves tourists at bay, so if you’re feeling like a little adventure (and don’t mind getting caught in the rain), this is the time to take to Darwin with your camera in hand.

Basically, get all up in everyone’s feed with pictures like this...




Or this...




With a final...




Bear in mind that Darwin’s wet season is also synonymous with possible cyclonic activity ... so, uh ... don’t get too blown away with the views?


3.  ...And following that, your pictures will make everyone sick (with jealousy)



Famed for spectacular beach panoramas, Darwin’s Mindil Beach and its evening sunset markets are a hotspot to be – think balmy weather and a carefree ambiance combined with live entertainment, handmade goods and a banquet of 60 international food stalls to choose from. Weave your way through the palm lined boulevards, soak up the sights and snap a few pictures worthy of causing severe social media envy. A bit like this...





2. You get to cosy up with crocodiles


Offering 360 degree views of some of the largest saltwater crocodiles on the planet, Crocosaurus Cove is Australia’s only crocodile dive. With 1 or 2 people inside the cage at one time, you can soak up the serene aerial view (of 200 crocodiles swimming below you) before being plunged into the water to make friends. On site photographers capture your encounter both inside and outside of the enclosures, making for an impressive documented adventure.  



1. Finally, every day ensures a full schedule


Whether you decide to indulge your inner history buff with trips to Fannie Bay Gaol or soak your troubles away at the nearby Tjuwaliyn/Douglas Hot Springs Park, your Darwin getaway ensues all ages and interests will be kept happy.

For an easy beginning, Darwin Hop on-Hop off Bus Tour allows you to soak up the sites throughout the city in double decker comfort. Go at your own pace as you stop off at 10 convenient locations including the waterfront precinct and Fort Wharf Hill, with your choice of either a 24 or 48 hour pass. Finishing up with an evening at the Deckchair Cinema, where you can relax under the stars and recline on your deckchair. Head here to book for our recommended restaurants in the area. 

Christmas and New Years Fever

Your go to guide these holidays!

By Crystal Landers

Granted – the best place to spend Christmas and New Years is surrounded by family and friends – but with Australia’s scorching summer sunshine, the list of beautiful places to spend the festive seasons is almost limitless. Whether you’re an outdoors, party or leisure lover these options are guaranteed to excite.

Cruising the Harbour

Relax with some succulent sparkling wine, mouth-watering nibbles and a view that will remain implanted in your memory for a lifetime with a Darling Harbour Cruise.  After cruising down the endless ocean blue, be entertained by a different sea of red and white with Darling Harbour’s Santa Fest. If you’re looking at spending New Years in the bustling city, it doesn’t get much better than Harbour side fireworks.

Getting back to nature

Why not bask in the beauty of the heartland of natural wonders, Cairns? A few treasures include Lake Eachem, Millaa Millaa Falls, Kuranda, Paronella Park and of course, Australia’s very own Great Barrier Reef.  Take time to experience the Reef’s colourful characters and coral with a snorkel, or journey out in a glass bottom boat. The chef’s at Green Island Resort will also be serving up a scrumptious menu of fresh produce and traditional Christmas delights.


Pack a picnic with everything under the sun and head to Western Australia’s Kings Park & Botanic Gardens. When it turns to dusk enjoy a movie under the stars at the outdoor cinema located in the park’s Synergy Parkland. Session screening times are available online. Moonlight cinema screenings are also playing in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Port Douglas and Sydney.

Get Away

Hamilton Island’s annual Summer Festival makes it an ideal holiday spot for the December/January holidays. Get into the Christmas spirit underneath the Whitsunday skies with Christmas Eve Carols by Candlelight and dance the night away in Front Street as it comes alive on New Year’s Eve. Family friendly fireworks are also set to sparkle from Catseye Beach.

For more ideas check out our travel guide in your state: QLD NSW ACT VIC TAS SA NT WA

Cycling the Riesling Trail

All those wineries and mountains by bike! 

By Julie Fison - Blogger at Julie Fison. 

It’s a glorious sunny morning in Clare, two hours north west of Adelaide as my husband and I set off on bikes to explore Riesling country. We’re taking a path along an old railway line that cuts through the length of the Clare Valley. The Riesling Trail, as it’s known, runs for 36 km, but we’ve got our sights set on Auburn, 25 km away.

Just as train travel offers an intimate view of life along the railway line, so does the trail. At various times it borders bush land, vineyards and farms. We cycle past cellar doors, kangaroos, chook runs, duck ponds, through eucalypt avenues and along hedges of lavender and pine - the perfect country scene. 

But it is only after we stop for lunch in Auburn and begin the journey home that I realize that my bottom isn’t going to make the 25 km back to Clare. And when I dismount to push my bike I realize that virtually the entire return journey will be uphill and that my legs aren’t going to make it either.

I push and pedal as far as O’Leary Walker Wines, some eight kilometres up the track. There, I admit defeat and do the only reasonable thing. While the weather closes in and my husband presses on to finish the ride, I head for the cellar door. I find a comfortable sofa, a magazine, a glass of wine, and I wait for my husband to return with the car. Of course, it's not as rewarding as cycling uphill in the rain, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made!

The following day the rain has set in, so we head, by car, for the Skillogalee Winery. I wonder if we are the only people crazy enough to be out in this winter weather. But when we enter the quaint old farmhouse that doubles as a restaurant and cellar door and ask for a table for lunch, we are met with a surprising response from a member of staff.

‘You have a reservation.’

It’s not even a question. The restaurant, which seats eighty – between its cosy interior and picturesque verandah, is fully booked. Anyone who knows to visit Skillogalee for lunch knows to book in advance (apart from us, it seems). Skillogalee is a South Australian institution and weekends at the family-owned boutique winery are busy no matter how wet it gets outside.

As luck would have it, the restaurant can seat us for an early lunch, which gives us ample time to admire the view over the cottage garden and the misty vineyards, enjoy a beautiful regional meal and taste a selection of Skillogalee’s wines.

A fire is roaring inside, and even on the veranda we are well protected from the weather. Heaters are warming the slate floor and just in case we get chilly – there are knee rugs on offer.  

By the time we finish lunch, it’s still wet outside and our Tour de Vallé Clare has been completely washed out. My husband is disappointed. I’d also love to see the sun shining on the Clare Valley, but I’m quietly relieved. Cycling is magical, but how comfortable is it to tour the wineries by car! 

A taste of the Tamar

The wine, food and accommodation route of Tasmania

By Winsor Dobbin

Tasmania’s cool-climate wines are all the rage right now, with demand for the fresh, lively flavours of the Apple Isle often exceeding supply. 

The longest-established wine touring route in the state, The Tamar Valley Wine Route, is this year celebrating its 21st birthday and at several of the cellar doors visitors are able to taste and buy wines made in such tiny quantities they seldom make it to the mainland.

The Tamar Valley, and the adjacent grape-growing areas of Pipers River and Relbia, are based in a fertile region where grapes were first grown in the 1800s.

Today, northern Tasmania is becoming increasingly well known around the world for its sparkling wines, aromatic whites and stellar pinot noirs.

Just a short drive from Launceston Airport, the Josef Chromy cellar door recently launched a new up-market restaurant that overlooks the vines and a picturesque lake. Velo Wines, meanwhile, has opened a new architect-designed café and tasting facility that has quickly become a favourite with both locals and visitors.

The major appeal of the Tamar Valley Wine Route is the fact that many of the wineries are family-owned, so you will usually be served at cellar door by someone intimately involved with the wines.


The region that encircles the state’s second city of Launceston remains small, friendly and largely undeveloped in terms of mass tourism.

Some cellar doors are only open at weekends, or during the warmer months, so it pays to check before setting off on a day of exploration. Others, including Grey Sands, Clover Hill, Waterton and Humbug Reach, require a prior appointment.

Visitors can follow around 170 kilometres of trails marked by yellow and blue “Wine Route” road signage and the route was named one of the best 10 in the world by the UK’s Essential Travel magazine last year. 

There are over 30 boutique producers, some of whose wines you can taste and purchase at the award-winning Harvest Producers Market held every Saturday morning in Launceston, or at specialist retailers like The Pinot Shop and Davies Grand Central.

Best cellar doors:

Josef Chromy was named cellar door of the year at the 2012 Tamar Valley Wine Route awards. Here you’ll find an excellent range of wines at several price points, a tasting facility with knowledgeable staff and lovely vineyard and lake views, as well as a top-notch restaurant specialising in local produce.  

Tamar Ridge Kayena Vineyard, now owned by Brown Brothers, has a tasting facility overlooking the vines in the West Tamar and offers a large range of wines that can be sampled, along with back vintages. Cheese and other regional produce is available for sale.  

Pipers Brook Vineyard allows visitors to take a self-guided drive through the vines and offers tastings of Pipers Brook, Ninth Island and Kreglinger sparkling wines, as well as serving lunches, coffees and cakes in the Winery Cafe.

Lovers of sparkling wines will head straight for the Jansz Wine Room, an impressively modern edifice at Pipers Brook that is open seven days a week that also contains an interpretive centre and serves cheese platters and coffees.

Holm Oak offers a rustic tasting experience surrounded by vines and visitors can poke their heads into the on-site winery, where Tim and Bec Duffy also produce artisan ciders under the Small Players label. Wines here are grown, made and bottled on the farm.

Bay of Fires Wines produces still wines under the Bay of Fires label and Australia’s most exclusive sparkling wines under the House of Arras label. Sample tasting plates, tea and coffee. 

Also try:  Leaning Church, Marion’s Vineyard, Dalrymple Estate, Sinapius, Delamere, Three Wishes, Iron Pot Bay, Goaty Hill, Moores Hill, Stoney Rise, Winter Brook, Ninth Island, Native Point, Providence, Sharmans and Bass Fine Wine (an urban winery housed in a Launceston industrial complex) 

Where to eat:

Koukla’s at Gravelly Beach has been a local favourite for eight years. Chef Cathy McCarthy, a third generation Greek cook, also uses Italian, Spanish and Moroccan flavours in her dishes and her menu changes weekly depending on what seasonal produce is available locally.

The Cove Restaurant and Bar at Peppers York Cove specialises in local produce. Talented chef Jason Smith previously worked at the now closed Daniel Alps at Strathlynn. His menu ranges from traditional fish and chips to dishes like slow-roasted beef cheeks and honey and aniseed pork belly. Two dozen local wines are available by the glass.

The House cafe/restaurant at the Elmslie cellar door serves light lunches matched to the estate wines in an extension to a delightful 1900s federation homestead. There are wide verandas with water views.

Velo Wines at Legana, just 10 minutes from Launceston, is owned by former Tour de France cyclist Micheal Wilson and his wife Mary, who recently opened a new cafe/cellar door complex open seven days a week.

UtSi Cafe at Perth, near to both Relbia and Evandale, is a former church, surrounded by a kitchen garden where mother and son team Colette Barnes and Julian Davies specialise in fresh, organic, local and ethically-raised food.   

Also try:  Launceston is just a few minutes’ drive from most of the wineries and is home to outstanding restaurants in Stillwater, Black Cow Bistro, Novaro’s, Pierre’s, Salt@Seaport, Me Wah, the Terrace at Country Club Tasmania and Mud. For simpler fare try The Jailhouse Grill, Burger Got Soul, the Dickens Cider House or the Pizza Pub.    

Where to stay:

Peppers York Cove at George Town is a modern luxury resort offering hotel rooms and one-, two-and three-bedroom apartments overlooking the Tamar River.  There is a heated pool and spa and an on-site gym, as well as a good restaurant.

The River House is a luxury, boutique B&B in two hectares of bush overlooking the Tamar River at Dilston. Visitors can choose between traditional B&B service or self-catering.

The Hatherley-Birrell Collection has a selection of four different styles of luxury apartments in Launceston. All are beautifully decorated and offer the most upmarket accommodation in town. The two apartments at Hatherley House have access to beautiful gardens.

Launceston has several good hotels at various price points. Among the best are the affordable Mercure Hotel, the waterfront Peppers Seaport, Balmoral on York, Country Club Tasmania, The Sebel and the Hotel Charles. The luxury apartments at TwoFourTwo and affordable Hillview House bed and breakfast are also very good.  

Festivale, a three-day celebration of local wine, food, beer, ciders and culture is held in Launceston’s City Park each February.

The James Boag Centre for beer lovers in downtown Launceston has regular brewery tours and tastings while the Yondover Farm House cheesery at Lilydale features wine and cheese tastings and cheese platters seven days a week and the Lilydale Larder offers a one-stop shop for local gourmet goodies, including wines and produce.  

For more details visit www.tamarvalleywineroute.com.au 

Tag cloud