Terrific Tasmania

There is a Quantas airplane waiting to return us to the Australia’s mainland today. Spending the first week of 2024 in Tasmania was perfect because it was a week full of firsts for us. This week was the first time we heard that the island was originally called Van Dieman’s Land. That was before Abel Tasman showed up in the 1640s. I am quite sure we have never seen wallaby on a restaurant menu. We tasted (and purchased) vodka and gin made from sheep whey. That was a first. (Hartshorn Distillery actually won the World’s Best Vodka Award!) Never have we seen a seaplane taxi by our hotel window. Another first – tasting boysenberries – my new favorite berry. First time for doing a hard cider tasting. Hard cider is big here and I predict it won’t be long before apple-growing areas of the US will crank up the hard cider business. Another first: we found Pinot Noirs that we actually liked at Mewstone Winery. Our beloved Cabernet is so yesterday here. They are actually pulling up those vines and planting Pinot because the Tassies are so in love with Pinot Noir. You will not find Tasmanian wine in your local “bottle shop,” as the wine and liquors stores are called here. Tassie wine production can only make enough for the Tassie population, which by the way, is about 500,000. Tassies have funny ways of saying things, too, and we heard and saw lots of “firsts” for us. Examples: instead of merging in traffic, you are instructed by the sign to “form 1 lane,” and winery tasting rooms are called “cellar doors.” So, instead of saying that we visited two or three tasting rooms yesterday, here we would say that we visited two or three cellar doors. Weird, but these are the nicest people on the planet, so who are we to make fun of them for visiting doors? Here are some of my favorite pictures from the week.

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park. Our hotel room there overlooked the beach and bay.


Sleepy Bay in Freycinet National Park.


View from our room at the MACQ 01 Hotel in Hobart. You should have seen the kayaks in the bay scatter!


Cider tasting at Willie Smith’s.


Mewstone Cellar Door view of Northwest Bay outside Hobart.


Fresh summer boysenberries from a local fruit stand.


Freya, the cellar door dog of Mewstone Cellar Door. Cutest winery dog ever.


Yes, there is Vegemite on every breakfast buffet.




  1. Melinda Young on January 7, 2024 at 3:10 pm

    Love your blogs.

    • Ruth Anne Lawson on January 7, 2024 at 3:13 pm

      Thanks! We are having such fun!

  2. Pam Morgan on January 7, 2024 at 4:08 pm

    Is vegemite a jam? The berries look wonderful!

  3. Sarah Guida on January 7, 2024 at 5:35 pm

    Happy to hear you all had a fabulous week in Tasmania. So enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading the stories!

  4. Judy on January 8, 2024 at 5:46 am

    You made Tasmania sound wonderful! They should hire you for PR! Boysenberries look like blackberries (my favorite)!

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