The following itinerary describes a range of heritage homesteads and gardens which we plan to include. Some are accessible to the public, but others require special permission which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents prior to departure. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunches & evening meals indicated in the detailed itinerary: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=dinner.
Hobart - 5 nights
Day 1: Saturday 29 January, Arrive Hobart
- Time at leisure (optional visit to the Salamanca Market)
- Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens incl. the Tasmanian Community Food Garden
- Welcome Drinks
All participants are kindly requested to make their own way to our heritage hotel, a 19th-century sandstone mansion, which is in the historic area of Battery Point and a short stroll from Salamanca Place’s Georgian warehouses that now house galleries and boutiques. Check-in time at the Lenna of Hobart is 2.00pm.
If arriving in the morning, there will be some time at leisure to explore Hobart’s colourful Saturday Salamanca Market. Located on the Hobart waterfront, the market is an eclectic mix of more than 300 stallholders. You can buy some locally produced fare for lunch, or dine in a nearby café, and it’s a great place to meet the artisans, watch buskers and soak up the atmosphere while you browse stalls with jewellery, handcrafted timber items, vintage collectables, pottery, plants and flowers.
Our program will officially commence this afternoon at 2.30pm. We commence with a guided tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens, including the Tasmanian Community Food Garden which was completed in 2013 on the site of the original ‘Pete’s Patch’ developed by gardening guru Peter Cundall. This working organic production and display garden, with a multitude of veggie production practices has a working example of the original six-bed crop rotation system made famous in the original patch. The site today is used extensively for filming on ABC television’s Gardening Australia program.
We end the day with Welcome Drinks at the hotel. (Overnight Hobart)
Day 2: Sunday 30 January, Hobart – Neika – Glazier’s Bay – Hobart
- High Peak, Neika (by special appointment)
- Welcome Long Table Lunch at Fat Pig Farm, Glazier’s Bay
Our first visit is to High Peak, a Queen Anne style house built in 1891, located at Neika on the slopes of the spectacular Mt Wellington. The extensive garden was begun soon after the house was completed, its early establishment evidenced by the huge old conifers on the drive and the many large old trees and shrubs, including many magnificent rhododendrons. There is a sense of isolation in this subalpine environment of forest and pristine creeks, and this is what made High Peak such a perfect summer retreat for generations of the Grant family from the late 1800s.
Our sumptuous long table lunch will feature food grown at Fat Pig Farm in Glazier’s Bay, the home of chef Matthew Evans, former restaurant reviewer and presenter of the SBS show Gourmet Farmer. The show is filmed at the farm and between courses we’ll tour the 70-acre mixed farm which has a 1.7-acre market garden, rare Wessex saddleback pigs, beef cattle, beehives, fruit orchard and micro-dairy. (Overnight Hobart) BL
Day 3: Monday 31 January, Hobart – Russell Falls – Collinsvale – MONA – Hobart
This morning we drive to Russell Falls at Mount Field National Park which is part of Tasmania’s World Heritage Wilderness Area. Featured on Australia’s first stamp, Russell Falls consists of two vertical drops; the 20-minute return walk to the falls is on a good track and boardwalk through lovely rainforest. The walk passes through towering swamp gums and areas close to the falls are framed by stunning tall tree ferns. After the walk there will be a coffee break at the Waterfalls Café and Gallery.
We then travel to a private garden at Collinsvale, situated in the foothills of Mount Wellington and only 25 minutes from Hobart. At an elevation of 350m above sea level it is in a picturesque valley with panoramic mountain views. Once apple orchards, Janette and Jason Good started with a blank canvas over 18 years ago and have transformed this private garden into over an acre of English cottage style garden with many twisting paths, arbours, ponds and a stream. It is truly seasonal with a wide array of plants and trees. There are also lots of animals to enjoy, including chickens, ducks, a pony and donkey. Certainly a garden to relax in and take in the fresh air. Here we will have a delightful lunch in the garden.
This afternoon we travel to the Berriedale Peninsula and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), an art museum that is the antithesis of the traditional gallery. It was created to be shocking, educational and entertaining with the confronting themes of passion, death and decay explored in unflinching detail. The controversial artworks are all from the private collections of David Walsh, a mathematician and art collector who made his money perfecting algorithms that let him beat casinos and bookies at their own game.
At the conclusion of our visit we take the short twenty-five minute ferry from MONA along the Derwent River back to Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier. From the water you can view this gallery’s remarkable architecture. Designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects (FKA), MONA sits sentinel over the Derwent, its bulk echoing the riverbank topography. (Overnight Hobart) BL
Day 4: Tuesday 1 February, Hobart: The Ecology of Bruny Island with Dr Catherine Young
- 3-hour wilderness cruise of Bruny Island’s rugged coastline
- The ecology of Bruny Island incl. Truganini Lookout at The Neck & Adventure Bay
Today we are joined by behavioural ecologist, Dr Catherine Young, who works for the Difficult Bird Research Group (ANU) which studies Australia’s most endangered birds, their ecology and conservation. Catherine will accompany us on a full day excursion exploring the ecology of Bruny Island which sits in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel off the southeast coast of Tasmania.
From Hobart we take the 40-minute drive south to the town of Kettering from where we take the ferry to Bruny. Following morning tea we commence our 3-hour wilderness cruise to view the island’s rugged coastline which features some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs and abundant coastal wildlife including seals, dolphins, migrating whales and seabirds.
After lunch we continue with Catherine to other natural highlights of the island including the lookout above The Neck, the strip of sand that links north and south. The 360-degree views from Truganini Lookout are unrivalled on the island, and it’s a quick ascent up a timber staircase to reach it. We also visit Adventure Bay, named after Captain Tobias Furneaux’s ship ‘The Adventure’ in 1773. The area was visited by Furneaux and also Captains Cook, Bligh, D’Entrecasteaux and Tobin in the 1700s. We return to Hobart in the early evening. (Overnight Hobart) BL
Day 5: Wednesday 2 February, Hobart
- Battery Point
- Narryna: The Merchant’s House
- Cascades Female Factory Historic Site
- Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery: John Glover & William Charles Piguenit with a Senior Art Curator
- Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery: The Ned Kelly Series Exhibition
We begin this morning with a short orientation walk around the picturesque Battery Point which takes its name from the battery of guns which were established on the point in 1818 as part of Hobart’s coastal defences. Having been settled in the early 1800’s, it is full of historic character with its winding streets and colonial architecture. Of particular interest is Arthurs Circle, a ring of old cottages circling a village green which is modelled on the quaint hamlets dotting the English Countryside. This was one of the earliest sub-divisions in Australia.
Next we visit Narryna, an 1830s merchant’s house built by seafarer, Captain Andrew Haig. Haig was originally a Calcutta-based merchant licenced by the British East India Company to trade with China through Canton (Guangzhou). In 1834 Haig built Salamanca Place’s first warehouses and set up as a merchant, shipbuilder and whaler. He was forced to sell up after an economic downturn hit Sydney in 1842. This fine Georgian town house was later home to Hobart’s businessmen and women, lawyers, politicians and bankers, boarding house, hospital and museum.
Beginning in 1803, over a period of 50 years, 12,500 women were transported to the territory then known as Van Diemen’s land, as convicts. They were punished by spending time in female factories. By the 1820s the colony’s jails were overflowing and the government acquired a failed distillery in the shadow of Mount Wellington which became known as the Cascades Female Factory. We take a guided tour of this factory to hear the stories associated with this former workhouse which was operational between 1828 and 1856. The factory is now one of 11 sites that compose the ‘Australian Convict Sites’ included on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
Following some time at leisure for lunch we visit the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, a combined museum, art gallery and herbarium. TMAG is Australia’s second-oldest museum and has its origins in the collections of Australia’s oldest scientific society, the Royal Society of Tasmania, established in 1843. A Senior Art Curator will join the group to view paintings by John Glover (1767-1849), dubbed “the father of Australian landscape painting”; and William Charles Piguenit (1836–1914), the first colonial-born artist in Van Diemen’s Land acclaimed for his romantic sublime vistas of Tasmanian highland wilderness. We also view The Ned Kelly series, a touring exhibition from the National Gallery of Australia which features Sidney Nolan’s 1946-47 paintings on the theme of the 19th-century bushranger Ned Kelly. (Overnight Hobart) B
Launceston - 2 nights
Day 6: Thursday 3 February, Hobart – Richmond – Ross – Launceston
- Stanwell Hall (“Glover House”) with architect Robert Morris-Nunn AM, West Hobart
- Historic town of Richmond
- Talk by historian Henry Reynolds FAHA, FASSA
- Tasmania’s History House, Richmond: guided tour & lunch
- Walking tour of Historic Town of Richmond
- Historic town of Ross incl. Ross Bridge
This morning we make a private visit to Stanwell Hall, the first Australian home to Glover and his family who lived here for approximately 11 months between 1831-32. It is also the probable birthplace and early home of Tasmanian landscape artist, William Charles Piguenit, whose mother ran a school for young ladies in the Hall in the early 1830s, and then again for a number of years from the time Piguenit was born. It was at Stanwell Hall that Glover painted his famous landscape Hobart Town, taken from the garden where I lived. The painting, which is now held in the State Library of New South Wales, depicts Glover’s magnificent garden and Hobart as it was in 1832. On the reverse Glover wrote: “The geraniums, roses etc. will give some idea how magnificent the garden may be had here — Government House is to the left of the church, the barracks on the eminence, to the right”.
This historic property, now owned by Douglas Armati and his wife, Jenny Janes-Armati who is a well-known abstract expressionist painter, has seen many changes to both its surrounding land and the house itself in the years since Glover resided here. It has, however, always been lived in and loved, and always known locally as the “Glover house”. The garden, too, has changed somewhat. In 1917, land below the house was sold off and in the early 1940s the land above the house was subdivided. It still enjoys a wonderfully wild half-acre garden around it, with many of the plants Glover mentioned on the back of his painting. Robert Morris-Nunn AM, who has frequently worked with the cultural heritage of Tasmania on many major recycling projects, will join the group for this exclusive visit.
From Hobart we travel to the historic town of Richmond located in the Coal River Valley where we meet with historian and author, Henry Reynolds. Reynolds’s ground-breaking work, The Other Side of the Frontier (1982) which won the Ernest Scott Prize, examines Aboriginal responses to British colonisation. Reynolds’s primary research interest has been the history of Aboriginal-white relations in Australia and his publications include Frontier (1987), Dispossession (1989), The Law of the Land (1987), With the White People (1990), Fate of a Free People (1995), Aboriginal Sovereignty (1996) and Why Weren’t We Told? (2000).
On arrival we take a guided tour of the Tasmania’s History House by former Senator and Minister Margaret Reynolds. Originally known as the Jolly Farmers Inn, it was built by Simon McCullough, an Irish convict pardoned for his role in apprehending a murderer in 1825. This Georgian style building features original floors, NSW cedar doors, window casements and some original glass dating back to the 19th century. Following lunch in the gardens, historian Henry Reynolds will talk about the history of Richmond and first contact with Tasmanian Aboriginal warriors. He will also escort us around the delightful village of Richmond.
From Richmond we travel north to the Peppers Seaport Hotel in Launceston, a waterfront hotel built on a former dry dock at the confluence of the North Esk, South Esk and Tamar Rivers. En route we make a short stop in the historic town of Ross. Located in the Midlands, on the Macquarie River, it is noted for its historic bridge completed in 1836 by convict labourers and designed by architect John Lee Archer, and for its original sandstone buildings. (Overnight Launceston) BL
Day 7: Friday 4 February, Launceston – Legana – Westbury – Launceston
- Queen Victoria Art Gallery (QVMAG) incl. Glover Sketchbooks (by special appointment)
- Lunch at Timbre Kitchen, Legana
- Private garden of Peter Wright, Westbury
Today we begin with a visit to the Queen Victoria Art Gallery for a tour of Tasmanian colonial art. Highlights of the collection include paintings by John Glover, Thomas Bock, Henry Mundy, Robert Dowling and W.B. Gould. By special appointment, Ashleigh Whatling – QVMAG’s Senior Curator of Visual Art and Design and Ashley Bird – Assistant Curator will assist in showing us Glover Sketchbooks from the QVMAG Collection.
Following some time at leisure to further explore the gallery we depart Launceston for lunch at Timbre Kitchen which is nestled in the heart of Tasmanian wine country in the Tamar Valley. Situated among Tasmania’s oldest cabernet sauvignon wines, Chef Matt Adams offers a wide variety of gourmet food made from local produce.
After lunch we visit the private garden of Peter Wright in Westbury. This is a designed new garden with pavilions and axis, and 40 year old English trees over three acres. Peter is 100% off grid and has built his whole garden around an empty space where his house has been constructed. (Overnight Launceston) BL
Cradle Mountain - 2 nights
Day 9: Saturday 5 February, Launceston – Westbury – Chudleigh – Cradle Mountain
- Culzean Gardens, Westbury
- Bentley Estate, Chudleigh (by special appointment)
- Devils@Cradle’ – Tasmanian Devils Sanctuary
We begin today with a visit to the Culzean Gardens (pronounced ‘cullane’), a 13-hectare property with almost 3 hectares of park-like gardens and a 3-acre lake fringed with thousands of iris. The home was built in 1840 and many significant driveway trees were planted in the 1870s. The property has hundreds of conifers and mature trees, rhododendrons and azaleas and many roses.
This afternoon, by special appointment, we tour the Bentley Estate which features a magnificent country house and heritage-listed landscape. We also hope to meet Robyn Mayo, a botanical artist whose love of landscape, combined with an inquisitive eye for botanical detail, set the scene for her unique Australian paintings.
John Hawkins’ and Robyn Mayo’s ‘Bentley’ occupies the stunning Chudleigh Valley, a revegetated creek corridor with over 50,000 native trees; it constitutes one of two Tasmanian heritage-listed landscapes. One heritage feature is more than nine-and-a-half kilometres of English-style hawthorn hedges first established in the 19th century by Philip Oakden, a founding member of the Launceston Horticultural Society. Another is 700 metres of drystone walls that surround the homestead. When the land was first granted in 1829, it had already been cleared by Aboriginal fire-farming, and so constituted easily exploited pasturage. The land, occupied by a number of important Tasmanians, gained part of its present homestead in 1879. Apart from planting more hawthorn hedges and creating drystone walls, the Hawkins have added to the original house that is now one of two wings; the Hawkins have replicated it by another wing, on the other side of a magnificent conservatory which is modelled on a Melbourne villa and is crowned with an elaborate cupola inspired by the dome of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton. The Hawthorns have also restored the original stables and installed a new clock in the clock tower. They have added to the 226 hectares to which property had been reduced, and it is now a highly successful working estate.
We continue our journey west to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, an integral part of Tasmania’s World Heritage area. The region is characterised by rugged peaks, deep gorges, glacial lakes, heathlands, Button grass moors and ancient forest.
In the early evening we meet Tasmania’s most famous animal, the Tasmanian devil. Our visit is timed to observe the amazing night-time antics of these devils at feeding time. Here we will learn more about the devil’s biology, behaviour, and the aptly named, Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) which is the only known infectious cancer. First detected in 1996, wild devils in Tasmania have been beset by this deadly and contagious cancer that affects their faces and mouths. The population has since been reduced to just 25,000 individuals. (Overnight Cradle Mountain Hotel) BLD
Day 10: Sunday 6 February, Cradle Mountain
- Dove Lake Park Explorer Tour at Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park including Waldheim Chalet and Weindorfers Forest Walk
- Afternoon at leisure
Early this morning our coach takes us to Dove Lake for a visit and a chance to take some photographs of this iconic scenery. A six-kilometre track, with much of it boarded for easy walking, circles the lake under the towering shadow of Cradle Mountain. The track also meanders through the tranquil Ballroom Forest where myrtle-beech trees are festooned in moss, and Glacier Rock can also be viewed from it. We’ll be on the lookout for Australia’s only cold-climate deciduous tree. Nothofagus gunnii is also known as tanglefoot as bushwalkers sometimes get caught in its twisted, ground-hugging branches. You’ll only find it in Tasmania!
This rest of the day is at leisure for you to enjoy the facilities of your hotel. You may wish to take a stroll along the ‘Enchanted Walk’, an easy 1.1 km circuit suitable for all ages. The walk, which starts near the bridge crossing Pencil Pine Creek, meanders through magical, mossy forest, along a cascading creek. (Overnight Cradle Mountain) BLD
Launceston - 2 nights
Day 10: Monday 7 February, Cradle Mountain – Barrington – Mole Creek – Chudleigh – Launceston
- Jennifer Stackhouse’s Garden, Barrington
- Wychwood Garden, Mole Creek
- Old Wesleydale, Mole Creek
- Melita Honey Farm, Chudleigh
Jennifer Stackhouse is a renowned Australian garden writer, editor and author of several gardening books who moved from NSW in July 2014 to a one-acre garden in Tasmania’s lush northwest. She was attracted by the timber Federation home set in an old garden with a small orchard and mature trees that had been lovingly planted and tended for 28 years by keen gardeners. The area she now calls home enjoys a cool climate with high rainfall and has rich red soil. We’ll be able to admire foxgloves, poppies, peonies, clematis, roses, rhododendrons and dogwoods, and hear about the changes she has made.
Many people think that Wychwood is one of Tasmania’s finest garden. It was nothing more than a paddock in 1991 and today mixes sweeping borders of rare perennials and heritage roses with an outstanding contemporary design unlike any other garden we visit. The garden is a work of art with inspired planning and use of materials and plants that ranges from subtle to surprising. The most talked about and photographed feature of the 1-hectare garden is a medieval turf labyrinth but you’ll also love the winding privet hedges, a heritage apple orchard with resident geese, birch copse, water features and woodland.
Old WesleyDale is a glorious English style garden that started in 2001, aided by a backdrop of mature trees and hawthorns from the 1940s that create hedges in the wider landscape. Features include a walled garden for vegetables, picking garden and glass house, a terrace garden and aviary, ha-ha walk, lake walk and an amazing sculptured elephant hedge created from honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida) that will have you reaching for your secateurs once you get home! The cottage gardens are some of the best in Australia and have symmetrical garden beds planted with a symphony of flowers including granny bonnets, lupins and roses.
Bees do much more than just pollinate and at Melita Honey Farm you can look into a glass-backed hive and see the queen bee laying eggs and the workers spinning the nectar into liquid gold! They produce 50 varieties of honey, nougat and 12 flavours of honey ice cream. (Overnight Launceston) BL
Day 11: Tuesday 8 February, Launceston – Evandale – Deddington – Perth – Launceston
- Strathmore Garden
- Historic town of Evandale
- John Glover’s house ‘Patterdale’
- The Jolly Farmer, Perth
This morning we visit the private garden of Strathmore in Evandale. It was Samuel Bryan from Dublin who built Strathmore after receiving a land grant in 1823. The house, estate buildings including a bakehouse and blacksmith shop were built with the assistance of convict labour. Strathmore has the longest mill race in the southern hemisphere, transporting water 3 kilometres from the Nile River to the lake in the front garden to power the mill. Samuel was also responsible for building the garden wall that not only provided protection from the cold southerly wind but was heated by channels running through it from the fireplace in the gardener’s room. The present owners, Sue and Graham Gillon bought the 120 hectare property in 1993, and undertook the restoration of the house and development of the garden, which includes an autumn garden, red rose garden, vegetable cage, heritage rose garden, herbaceous border and a park-like area dedicated to their son Andrew.
Next, we make a short visit to the historic town of Evandale whose late-Georgian and early-Victorian buildings, and relatively untouched streetscape, offer a unique glimpse into Australia’s past, with some buildings dating back to 1809.
From Evandale we continue to Deddington where John Glover built his house, ‘Patterdale’. We will not only see where he painted but also the garden and landscape that inspired him. Glover Country covers an area of 4000ha, which includes the original land grants of Glover and his neighbour Robert Pitcairn of Nile Farm. The area is now listed by Heritage Tasmania as both a built and natural cultural site. Glover possibly chose this land due to its picturesque views in all directions, fertile valleys and rolling hills surrounding Nile River.
We then drive to Perth to visit the Jolly Farmer. Built in 1826, The Jolly Farmer was a popular coaching inn for most of the 19th century, situated on what was then the main road between Launceston and Hobart. It is a Georgian style building with original floors and some window panes dating from the 19th century. A private residence since 1876, the property has had a series of occupants, including poet Norma Davis in the 1940s, but few of its features have changed in 145 years. The garden surrounding the building features original trees, rare and unusual plants, exotic trees, roses and perennials, all displayed in beds defined by dry stone walls and lawn walks. (Overnight Launceston) BL
Day 12: Wednesday 9 February, Launceston – Longford – Relbia – Launceston Airport
- Brickendon: A World Heritage-listed Colonial Farm Village, Longford
- Farewell Lunch at Josef Chromy Wines
- Transfer to Launceston Airport (arrival approx. 1530hrs)
Brickendon, like Woolmers, was settled by William Archer, in 1824 and has been owned and farmed by the same family for over 180 years. Members of the fifth generation of Archers are now tending the gardens. We’ll see the convict buildings of the farm village and check out the roses, shrubs and some of the oldest trees in Australia including oaks, elms, pines, cedars, yews and lindens and gardens with cool climate specialty plants like old fashioned roses and clematis.
We conclude our tour with a farewell lunch at Josef Chromy Wines, set among old English gardens and stands of 100-year-old oak trees, and overlooking a picturesque lake and vineyard. Acclaimed as one of Australia’s top 10, the cellar door is housed in the original 1880s homestead. The restaurant matches the best local regional produce with award-winning cool climate wines. BL