Thursday, March 14, 2013

Devonport Food and Wine Festival

A casual start to the day - It was Sue's Foodie Day in Devonport. The city of Davenport was about 100 kms up the road from Launceston which we took on the freeway between the two cities. Devonport is tiny compared to Launceston with around 26,000 people. It's where the ferry from Melbourne docks.

Devonport is located on the Mersey River - brings back memories to me of Gerry Marsden singing "Ferry across the Mersey". Are you old enough to remember?

OK, enough of nostalgia - we found a place to park, amazing that we did. Here in Melbourne we have a food and wine festival down the road from Mentone in Mordialloc. We've since given up going there because of the difficulty of parking and the amount of people going there. Devonport Food and Wine festival had that country feel, relaxed and friendly. Again we sat at a table and began chatting. They were an elderly couple, he was 90, she was in her 80s, married at a young age with lots of grandchildren. They sold the farm in recent years and moved into Devonport.

A great big plastic cow

A little bit of France in Tassie - albeit Quebec.
Tassie does have spirit and lots of it. The ferry makes its way back and forth across Bass Strait every day.
A glass of wine, a lunch of lamb in a roll and some french pastries made the visit very rewarding. The pastries were made by a couple from Quebec that had settled in Tasmania. It was time to leave Devonport but we were not in a hurry. We decided that the freeway was too boring for us so we thought we would zig-zag our way back.

The first stop due to the recommendation of our retired elderly farmers was the village of Sheffield. Its only small with a population of just over 1000 but on the day we arrived, Sheffield had grown as it had both a rodeo and a steam traction exhibition. The town is known for its dairy industry, especially butter, lamb and beef.
It sits on lowland looking up towards Tasmania's Cradle Mountain and Mount Roland. The town also acknowledges itself as the town of Murals.

Check out the mountain man entering the picture - this seems to be a fashion statement in the area.
Now this really is a country store to take you back in time along with some of the fashions.
All around the village are murals - this one depicts the mountains that live nearby.
And this is the real thing - and one day we will drive there when we have more time.

After a cold Corona with a slice of lemon while the temperature rose in high 30 degree heat, we decided to move on in our air conditioned car through the villages of Deloraine, Westbury, Carrick, Hadspen before arriving back in Launceston.
Deloraine half way between Devonport and Launceston and is a very pretty village of 7000. Its on the Meander River which is what we like to do in our travels. Westbury was another one of those picture perfect Tassie towns. We drove the back street to be surprised by some marvelous homes of Georgian influence and also little workers cottages. Most of the area we drove through was first surveyed during the 1820s. The Van Diemen's Land Company had the plans to the town drawn up in 1828 and it became a garrison village for the troops. There is much to see in Tasmania that has links to its convict past.

We passed by the town of Hadspen and only days later when reading the local sports page I discovered that Richie Porte who had just won the Paris to Nice cycling classic grew up in this little village in the north of Tassie. The boy has come a long way.

Our day was long but very enjoyable and once again we had some great experiences and a few conversations with people we have never met before - all it takes is a smile and a hello!


  1. What a beautiful place this is and those murals are fantastic. Cheers Diane

    1. With a population of around 512,000, Tasmanians have a ratio of 7 hectares of space each so you can see that the place is not overcrowded. Over 30% of the island is under conservation and reserves. During winter the place a green lushness to it that many people liken it to the UK.

  2. I know one never can tell by few photos but this reminds me of the US 60 years ago. Even the people seem to be from the midwest. (Silly question and I will have to check Tasmania on Google. Are there Koalas and roos in that area?).

    1. Nadege - although I have not been to the mid-west, I think your observation is close. Some of the locals also seem to have their own dialect. There's a lot of wilderness in Tasmania hence the amount of dead animals on the side of the road. We even saw a few dead Tasmanian Devils along with a heap of wallabies, wombats and kangaroos who came off second best with cars but this nomally happens at night or at the dawn/dusk period. Was it Looney Tunes that made the Tassie Devil famous?

  3. Remember what I wrote before. Rent a place for at least 6 months (1 year is better) where you think you want to retire. It should give you a good idea if you really want to sell the Melbourne place and move to Tasmania. Aren't their winters on the chilly side? I know the weather is changing worldwide but wouldn't you want to move to a more temperate climate? Finding a good retirement place is a big deal. Finding good friends is also very important.
    That written, Tasmania must be really an amazing place and the people must be down to earth and friendly. I love the fact that there is so much wilderness. (I guess Looney Tunes created the Tasmanian Devil. There always has to be an enemy "somewhere").

    1. Very good advise Nadege. I think a few more visits to Launceston is in order.


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