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 27 January, Arrive Hobart
- Time at leisure (optional visit to the Salamanca Market)
- Government House and the ‘French Garden’: guided tour by Estate Garden Manager Tara Edmondson
- Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens incl. the Tasmanian Community Food Garden
- Tour of the Henry Jones Art Hotel led by Robert Morris-Nunn AM
- Introductory talk by Robert Morris-Nunn AM
- Welcome Dinner at the Old Wharf Restaurant
Meeting Point: Foyer of the Lenna of Hobart at 12.45pm
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.
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 1.15pm with a guided tour of Government House and its gardens, with a focus on the ‘French garden’. This garden commemorates and celebrates French exploration of Van Diemen’s Land and was inspired by the garden created at Recherche Bay in 1792 by Felix Lahaye, the gardener on Bruni d’Entrecasteaux’s maritime expedition. This French garden was arguably the first European garden in Van Diemen’s Land and one of the first in Australia. The garden at Government House was conceived and constructed by Tara Edmondson, Estate Gardens Manager. Tara researched the journals of Bruni d’Entrecasteaux and his crew to learn about the layout and design of the garden at Recherche Bay and the types of vegetable seeds which were planted. This information was used in Tara’s design at Government House.
Next we visit 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 continue with a tour of the interior of the Henry Jones Art Hotel, led by Robert Morris-Nunn AM. Robert, an adjunct professor at the University of Tasmania’s School of Architecture, is principal of one of Tasmania’s most awarded practices, Circa Morris-Nunn Chua Architects. In 2017 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to commercial architecture in Tasmania, to tertiary education and to professional institutes, and as a role model. His body of work which “engages with its users, weaving the natural environment with the stories of Tasmania’s cultural history” includes the luxury Saffire Resort, the updated Henry Jones Art Hotel in one of Hobart’s oldest waterfront warehouses, and the Islington Hotel in one of Tasmania’s finest Regency mansions.
This evening we enjoy an introductory talk by Robert Morris-Nunn followed by a Welcome Dinner at the Old Wharf Restaurant. (Overnight Hobart) D
Day 2: Sunday 28 January, Hobart – Neika – Hobart
- High Peak, Neika (by special appointment)
- Lunch at Home Hill Winery Restaurant, Ranelagh
- Sally Johannsohn’s Garden and Nursery, Neika
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.
Next we drive to Ranelagh to the family-owned and run Home Hill Winery Restaurant. Inside a rustic building nestled among the lush landscape of a Tasmanian vineyard, this venue offers a tastefully appointed dining area and welcoming ambience. The menu proudly reflects a vibrant Tasmanian heritage, incorporating locally sourced seafood, some of the state’s finest produce and the winery’s own award-winning drops.
After lunch, we travel to Sally Johannsohn’s contemporary perennial garden, which she has created to complement her nursery, Plant Hunters. Sally was ‘guest gardener’ at Chanticleer, one of America’s most imaginative and exciting public gardens in 2014, and since then has concentrated on succession planting, adding more bulbs and annuals to extend the flowering season. The garden has rich basalt soils supporting many unusual perennials and shrubs from Asia, North America’s woodlands and Europe, which show the beauty and variety of ornamental plants. (Overnight Hobart) BL
Day 3: Monday 29 January, Hobart – Richmond – Collinsvale – MONA – Hobart
- Tasmania’s History House, Richmond: guided tour with former Senator and Minister Margaret Reynolds
- Talk by historian Henry Reynolds FAHA, FASSA & Walking tour of Historic Town of Richmond
- Private Garden of Janette Good including lunch, Collinsvale
- MONA – Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart
- Ferry from MONA to Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier
This morning we travel to the historic town of Richmond located in the Coal River Valley. On arrival we take a guided tour of Tasmania’s History House with 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 morning tea in the gardens, historian and author, 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. Reynolds is the author of numerous books including The Other Side of the Frontier (1982) which won the Ernest Scott Prize.
We then travel to a private garden at Collinsvale, situated in the foothills of Mount Wellington. 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 30 January, Hobart: The Ecology of Bruny Island
- 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 31 January, Hobart – Fort Nelson – Hobart
J.H. Esmond Dorney, who died in 1991 aged 85, is regarded as one of the most important modernist architects of Tasmania’s post-war period. A contemporary of Robin Boyd, in 2008 he was awarded the President’s Prize posthumously by the Tasmanian chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects. Our program includes a visit to Dorney’s famous Fort Nelson house. This 1978 modernist gem, located atop an abandoned 1900s fort on Porter Hill, was one of three family homes constructed by Esmond Dorney. Dorney House featured in the first episode of the ABC’s TV show Designing a Legacy hosted by Tim Ross. We will be accompanied by his son, Paddy Dorney, who is a former lecturer in architecture at the University of Tasmania. Paddy is also an architect and is writing a book about his father’s life.
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. We shall take a guided tour to explore treasures of the Colonial and Arts and Crafts collections, including works by notable artists such as John Glover, Benjamin Duterreau and WC Piguenit.
In the afternoon we visit the Cascades Female Factory, a purpose-built convict facility for women which operated from 1828 to 1856. Of the 25,000 women transported to Australia, around half were sent to Van Diemen’s Land. Most spent time in this grim, isolated and overcrowded factory, located in a cold, swampy valley in the shadows of Mt Wellington. The site is associated with the rise of segregated prisons for female criminals during the 19th century. Its aim was to remove women convicts from the negative influences and temptations of Hobart. During our tour we hear the stories associated with this former workhouse, and view three of the original five stone-walled compounds (or yards) which accommodated, punished and aimed to reform female convicts, the Matron’s Cottage and substantial ruins of a perimeter wall. The site was included on the Australian National Heritage List and was inscribed on the World Heritage list in July 2010.
Fuller’s Bookshop was established in 1923 and is one of Hobart’s leading independent booksellers. We visit the shop and meet with local historian and award-winning author, Dr Alison Alexander. Alison is a seventh-generation Australian, with convict ancestors in the first, second and third fleet. She was formerly a lecturer in history at the University of Tasmania, and is the editor of The Companion to Tasmanian History. She is also the author of numerous books including Tasmania’s Convicts (2010), The Ambitions of Jane Franklin (2013), and Patricia Giles, painter (2019) who brought the wilderness to Tasmanians in her watercolours. (Overnight Hobart) B
Strahan – 2 nights
Day 6: Thursday 1 February, Hobart – Russell Falls – Hollow Tree – Lake St Clair – Strahan
- Russell Falls, Mount Field National Park
- Strathborough, Hollow Tree (by special appointment)
- Afternoon tea at Lake St Clair Lodge
We depart Hobart early this morning and 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.
At Hollow Tree, in the Central Highlands, we visit a Georgian Colonial homestead historically named ‘Strathborough’. The European history of Strathborough began with a 2,000 acre grant issued to Joseph Bradbury in 1823. Bradbury who had arrived from London in 1823, was appointed pound keeper (a stock controller authorised to impound trespassing animals) for the district in 1832. The large sandstone house at Strathborough was built by convict labour for Bradbury and completed in c. 1834. As was the tradition at the time, the convict foreman’s name was carved into the stonework at the rear of the chimney. The current owners engaged the architectural firm Core Collective to restore the house and stables back to their original fabric. This is a wonderful opportunity to gain an insight from the current owners in the collaborative process of refurbishing and renovating a house of many histories.
From Hollow Tree we continue north to Lake St Clair, a natural freshwater lake located in the Central Highlands area. Carved out by ice during several glaciations over the last two million years, this is the deepest freshwater lake in Australia (167 metres) and the headwaters of the Derwent River. The lake forms the southern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park which is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Here we enjoy afternoon tea at the Lake St Clair Lodge which offers fine views over the lake and mountains beyond.
From Lake St Clair we make the 2.5-hour journey to the small village of Strahan nestled on the shores of Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s west coast. (Overnight Strahan) BLD
Day 7: Friday 2 February, Strahan
- ‘Spirit of the Wild’ 6-hour cruise of the Gordon River – Premium Upper Deck
- Morrisons Huon Pine Sawmill
Today we board the Spirit of the Wild, a purpose-built 34-metre catamaran, for a 6-hour cruise through the pristine World Heritage-listed Gordon River and Macquarie Harbour. Our cruise includes a gentle rainforest walk to view Huon pines at Heritage Landing. We also Cross Macquarie Harbour to Hell’s Gates, and take a walking tour of Sarah Island where convicts laboured under the harshest conditions at this remote penal colony. A feature of this cruise is seating in the ‘Premier Upper Deck’ which includes complimentary Tasmanian wines, morning and afternoon teas, buffet lunch, premium leather recliners with full-length windows, and a private viewing deck and lounge.
At the conclusion of our tour we visit Morrison’s Huon Pine Sawmill, a fourth-generation family business which has been operating since the early 1940s. Here we may view how Huone pine is transformed from a salvaged log to a beautiful piece of craft timber. (Overnight Strahan) BLD
Cradle Mountain – 2 nights
Day 8: Saturday 3 February, Strahan – Queenstown – Cradle Mountain
- Lynchford Express experience by heritage steam train
- Penghana: guided tour & afternoon tea
- Penghana: talk with artist Raymond Arnold
This morning we travel north to Queenstown, the largest town in Tasmania’s west with a rich and rugged mining history. The Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company (initially founded in 1881 under the name Mount Lyell Gold Mining Company) was formed in response to the discovery of alluvial gold and later vast copper deposits. In the 1900s Queenstown had numerous smelting works, brick-works, and sawmills. The area underwent mass logging; the clear-felled timber was used to feed enormous pyritic smelting furnaces. This mass logging, combined with sulphurous rain, denuded the landscape creating a rocky ‘moonscape’ of bare coloured conglomerate.
We then board a heritage steam train that takes us from Queenstown to the remote station at Lynchford, once a bustling centre for pioneers, adventurers, and those brimming with gold fever. During our journey, we also have a chance to walk in the rainforest, pan for gold, or take in the Lynchford Pioneers Room.
After some time at leisure for lunch, we visit Penghana, a splendid Federation-style house built in 1898 for the first General Manager of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway company, Mr Robert Sticht. We take a tour of this National Trust property and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea.
We will also have the chance to meet and talk with artist and Glover Prize winner Raymond Arnold. His works speak of the Western Tasmanian landscape like no other, masterfully describing, as if in geological time, the ongoing processes of restoration, resurrection, and respite that this unique wilderness offers and endures. We shall see some of his works in the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston.
From Penghana we continue our journey north 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. Our route takes us past the remote former mining town of Tullah, now located on the edge of Lake Rosebery which was created by the Bastyan Dam built by the Hydro-Electric Commission in 1983. (Overnight Cradle Mountain) BD
Day 9: Sunday 4 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
- Devils@Cradle’ – Tasmanian Devils Sanctuary
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.
Following an early dinner at the hotel 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) BD
Launceston - 3 nights
Day 10: Monday 5 February, Cradle Mountain – Mole Creek – Westbury – Launceston
- Wychwood Garden, Mole Creek
- Private garden of Peter Wright, Westbury
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.
We continue toward Launceston and end the day with a visit to 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.
We then travel 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. (Overnight Launceston) BL
Day 11: Tuesday 6 February, Launceston – Westbury – Illawarra – Launceston
- Queen Victoria Art Gallery (QVMAG): guided tour with Art Curator (by special appointment)
- Culzean Gardens, Westbury
- Grave of landscape artist, Tom Roberts, Christ Church, Illawarra
- Dinner at the award-winning Stillwater
Today we begin with a visit to the Queen Victoria Art Gallery. The exhibition deploys a dynamic and immersive mix of old and new art, which brings the histories, identities and stories of Northern Tasmania into a fresh and contemporary context. Colonial artists such as John Glover, William Piguenit, Gladstone Eyre, Joshua Higgs & Robert Dowling are represented as are Australian artists Ben Quilty, Tom Roberts, Fred Williams & Rick Amor. By special appointment, Ashley Bird – Assistant Curator – will assist in showing us through the new QVMAG gallery.
Following some time at leisure to further explore the gallery we depart Launceston for Westbury to visit 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.
On our return to Launceston we make a brief stop to visit Christ Church, Illawarra, which houses the grave of colonial artist Tom Roberts, and contains an altar decorated by artist Arthur Boyd. Tom Roberts (1856–1931), considered the leader of the Heidelberg School, produced many iconic artworks of rural labour and the light and atmosphere of the bush. Some of his most notable works include Shearing the rams, A Break away!, and Bailed up. His landscape works were often inspired by his visits to Tasmania. An admirer of fellow artist John Glover, Roberts captured beach scenes, bush compositions and sweeping mountain ranges across the state. He met his wife Lillie in Launceston and the couple married in 1896. Following Lillie’s death in 1928, a bereft Roberts returned to Tasmania. In August 1928 Roberts married Jean Boyes and the couple divided their time between Tasmania and Kallista thereafter. During his final years he produced a number of works including Woodlands (1926) and Farm, Mt Roland, Tasmania (1930) which were kindly donated to QVMAG’s Visual Arts and Design collection. He gave a larger landscape, Glover’s Country, Tasmania, to friends in c. 1929, which is now in the collection of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart.
Roberts is buried next to his wife at Christ Church, courtesy of the Dumaresq family. The small bluestone building was built in 1842 by Tasmanian Surveyor-General Captain Edward Dumaresq on his property, Mt Ireh. It was originally built as a school house and dedicated to the glory of God in 1844. The tower and apse were designed in the Arts and Crafts style by architect Alexander North (1858-1945) and added in 1910. The altar was decorate with cherubs by noted modern Australian artist Arthur Boyd.
This evening we dine together at Stillwater, one of Tasmania’s most awarded restaurants. (Overnight Launceston) BD
Day 12: Wednesday 7 February, Launceston – Deddington – Perth – Launceston
- John Glover’s house ‘Patterdale’
- The Jolly Farmer, Perth
This morning we travel 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 was so productive in his output living here that artist Tom Roberts chose to describe the surrounding hills as ‘Glover Country’. ‘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 continue 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 13: Thursday 8 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. 1500hrs)
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