Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tasmania, Day Five

Monday. The last day. I hate that feeling.

Early departure from Launceston, and up and over Mt. Blackwood where we were treated to this view of the valley.

Up onto the Central Plateau Protected Area, where we made a few lake stops. Nothing especially dramatic in the area, but it was really pretty, and there were areas of high desert and high plains.

We made stops at Great Lake...

and Arthur's Lake...

before coming across the random find of the day: Nant Distillery! This was one of those things that you see out of the blue when driving down the road. We stopped by and decided to take a tour.

The facility is an old mill from the 1800s that has been restored to a functional state. They still use the waterwheel to turn the mill to grind the barley. Pretty cool stuff. Clearly a lot of work went into the project, down to new wooden teeth on some of the gears.

The tour was quite good. It was just the two of us with the distiller, and he was quite willing to answer questions. We ultimately took about 70 minutes of his time. I learned a ton about how whiskey is made. It's quite fascinating, and the similarities to beer production in the early stages are pretty neat.

This is a pretty new operation, at just about two years old, so despite a little signage talking about cellar door sales, there really isn't any product for sale yet. They did have samples from smaller barrels that had been produced, so naturally, we had a taste. The verdict? Damn good whiskey. Kicks the pants off Hellyer from a few days back. Extremely smooth, great flavors.

All in all, a good experience, but it had its negatives. It seems that a lot of the boutique food and drink producers in Tassie charge for tours but not for tastings. There was a charge for the tour here, and at $20 it was a little high, but again, I was fine with it because I really got something out of it. However, I was pretty bummed that he then proceeded to charge us for a tasting as well. That was rather a killjoy. I'd recommend a stop here if you've got an interest in how the product is made, but otherwise, perhaps wait until the product is actually available for sale.

Of course, I fear that the end product will be too expensive to actually purchase. Thanks, Aussie taxes.

The stop at Nant took a good chunk of time, so we had a fairly casual drive back to Hobart. We stopped in Richmond for coffee and ran into this lovely bridge.

Then we went down to Seven Mile Beach, and soaked up a little bit of sun.

And then we made a quick stop up at the Mount Rumney Lookout just above the airport and enjoyed the view for a while, before grabbing a local tallboy and sitting along the water on the Fredrick Henry Bay and watching the afternoon sun dwindle away.

And that was pretty much that. An uneventful flight home, and it was back to reality. Of course, reality was a bit on the atypical side, too. A great vacation, all around, and I hope to make it back to Tasmania one day to do some hiking, and to see the east coast.

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