Stay a little longer in Sorell
Too often rushed through by visitors on their way to other, big-name destinations, the Sorell region is deserving of much more than a day trip.
The Midway Point Causeway is a mere 20-minute drive from Hobart’s CBD but, with expanses of water either side, traversing it feels like driving across the ocean. Beyond the bridge is Sorell, the gateway to an area of Tasmania often overlooked in favour of the East Coast or Bruny Island. While the local hamlets of Lewisham, Carlton Beach, Primrose Sands and Marion Bay have long been prized weekend shack locations for locals, its close proximity to Hobart has meant that visitors often relegate the region to day-trip territory. But with a growing number of notable food and accommodation offerings, all minus the crowds, setting aside a week or so to explore this little pocket of south-eastern Tasmania is well worthwhile.
An exciting new dining destination that fuses food with the surrounding landscape of Marion Bay, Van Bone is the new kid on the block in Tasmania’s culinary scene. Offering a set menu of up to 14 courses across a four-hour period, chef Timothy Hardy’s food is intended to challenge and excite, utilising ingredients grown locally or in the on-site garden, designed in collaboration with Hannah Moloney of Hobart’s Good Life Permaculture. The immersive experience has been painstakingly curated by Timothy and co-owners interior designer and architect Laura Stucken and garden manager Joe Nalder.
Twenty-minutes down the road, on a hill overlooking a popular surfing spot in Dodges Ferry, Park Beach Café offers a deliberately low-key menu. Pick up an omelette roll with goats cheese and greens or a bowl of piping hot porridge for a post-beach brekkie along with killer coffee by Hobart-based roaster Straight Up. Launched by ex-Franklin restaurateur Ben Lindell and recently taken over by Will Kingston, there are plans to launch Thursday and Friday night dinner service, plus monthly pop-ups featuring local produce from the peninsula.
For a no-frills affair, it’s hard to go past Dunalley Fish Market. Forget prawn cutlets or potato cakes, there is only one item on the menu at Dunalley Fish Market: the fisherman’s basket. A lucky dip of whatever was caught that day, the paper package typically consists of battered white fish, calamari and squid piled on top of a mountain of crisp hot chips with a couple of lemon wedges thrown in. It’s best enjoyed at one of the outside tables while watching boats pass by. Venture just on to Dunalley Bay Distillery’s new beachfront Tasting Hut in Murdunna, for craft gins blended with native botanicals.
Shop and stretch
There are plenty of ways to fill the time between meals while visiting the region. Bream Creek Farmers Market operates on the first Sunday of the month and is the best place to get your hands on quality produce grown in the area. See out a leisurely morning at this community-run farmers market and grab a coffee or a glass of wine, catch some live music and meet local growers, farmers, cooks, brewers and makers.
If all the rolling hills and coastal views don’t leave you feeling blissed out enough, turn up the zen-factor with a visit to Horizen Yoga Studio. Part of the Healthy Horizons fitness centre at Dodges Ferry, this inviting studio is located between Lewisham and Carlton Beach. Complete with a state-of-the-art infrared heating system, classes here are the perfect antidote to chilly Tassie winters. Combine it with a cold dip in the ocean before or after a session.
For the antique lover, Sorell is a goldmine and well worth a stop on the way back through to Hobart.
The town is dotted with a number of antique and thrift stores, with Sorell Antiques Centre the highlight. Housed in the town’s original 1862 School of the Arts building, this antique lovers’ paradise is operated by 12 independent Tasmanian antique dealers. With a full 300 square metres of antique furniture, china, glassware, collectables, militaria and books, allow enough time for idle meandering.
#Shacklife is a way of life for many Tasmanians and thanks to platforms like Airbnb, the weekend shack tradition is now easily shared.
The Pod at Lewisham is the ultimate modern coastal shack. Described by Grand Designs Australia TV host Peter Madison as a "love letter to Tasmania", this 40-square-metre retreat is owned by Hobart-based creative and author Alice Hansen. Featuring floor-to-ceiling glass and a Huon pine bathtub with sweeping views across Frederick Henry Bay, this is tiny-house living at its best.
Just around the bend at Dodges Ferry is a more traditional shack accommodation option, Clifftop on the Park. This cosy shack is decorated with foraged treasures and local artworks and boasts ocean views across Carlton Beach. Beds are decked out in beautiful French linen and the outdoor tub is perfect for luxuriating with a good book and glass of wine.
Head to nearby Primrose Sands and you’ll find the home of celebrity chef Sarah Glover, Driftwood Cabin, now available for short-term rental. This waterfront property is ideal for cooking enthusiasts who fancy catching their dinner (fishing and diving for scallops is encouraged). Cook outside over the fire pit or make use of the Traeger Grill and fully equipped chef’s kitchen. Take a stroll along the beach, read a book on the deck, and settle into the relaxed beach lifestyle this region does so well.