Eight delicious things to do in Tasmania

Hobart's Franklin keeps it simple and delicious, with not much in the way of fancy garnishes.
Hobart's Franklin keeps it simple and delicious, with not much in the way of fancy garnishes. Photo: Cherrie Eisemann (ACOMA)

Oysters at Freycinet National Park

For whatever reason, Tasmanian oysters don't always taste that amazing on the mainland. Maybe they're keeping all the good ones for themselves because straight from the steely Tasmanian waters they're incredible. Freycinet Marine Farm (1784 Coles Bay Road, Coles Bay) serves pacific oysters daily. Briny little chubsters you can eat on the farm's deck (mussels, rock lobster and pan-fried abalone are on the menu too) or takeaway to shuck yourself at one of the national park's many picnic areas. Freycinet is a wonderfully rugged part of the world, two and a half hours drive north from Hobart and surrounded by knuckles of pick granite and sandy bays. Book an eco-lodge in advance and wake up to views of a moody blue ocean.

Rib-eye on the bone at Black Cow Bistro

Close to 800 farmers in Tasmania's north-west supply cattle to Cape Grim Beef and there's a great deal of pride in belonging to the group. Cape Grim cows are happy cows. Cows that taste of a peaceful life breathing in clean coastal  air and eating clover by the tonne. Black Cow Bistro (70 George Street, Launceston) has taken up residence in an old art deco butchery and it's the best steakhouse in the state, respectfully showcasing Cape Grim deliciousness as well as Robbins Island wagyu and Great Southern beef from the state's north. It would be rude not to pair Tasmanian steak with Tasmanian pinot, and if you're keen to kick on afterwards, Red Brick Road's cosy Ciderhouse (63A Brisbane Street, Launceston) offers unfiltered boozy apple juice a few blocks over.

A picnic at Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ale & Cider

The brewery responsible for Noma Australia's "snakebite" welcome drink also welcomes you to picnic on its lawn every Friday and Sunday. Two Metre Tall's Farm Bar (2862 Lyell Highway, Hayes) is 50 minutes drive from Hobart and you'll be rewarded for the journey with wild-fermented beer on the hand pump and a wood-fired barbecue to use at your leisure. The legends even sell cuts of their own "beer-fed" black angus over the bar, so there's no need to visit a butcher on the way. You will need to stop at a bakery though – a proper picnic needs a proper cake – so if you're driving from Hobart, pop into Sweet Envy (341 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart) for one of Alistair Wise's tea-time treats. A Boston bun would suit the occasion perfectly.

A cooking class at The Agrarian Kitchen

Most cooking classes are a bit ordinary. C'mon, it's true. You know it. An hour of chat you could have found on YouTube followed by three hours of watching husbands who don't want to be there wrestle with a carrot. Most cooking classes don't have Rodney Dunn at the helm, though, the former chef and food writer who established The Agrarian Kitchen in 2007 with his wife Severine Demanet. Classes are held throughout the year in a beautiful 19th century schoolhouse on the couple's five-acre farm and "subjects" include cooking with truffles, winter braising, charcuterie, breaking down and utilising a whole hog, natural cheesemaking, the majesty of mutton, the secrets of sourdough and Pastry 101 with Alistair Wise. Ever wanted to spend a weekend fermenting radishes with ex-Garagistes chef Luke Burgess? The Agrarian Kitchen makes that dream come true.

A long lunch at Fat Pig Farm

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Matthew Evans, star of The Gourmet Farmer on SBS and former editor of The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, decided in late 2016 that it would be a nice idea to host a long lunch every Friday at his farm near Cygnet (about 50 orchard-lined kilometres south of Hobart): $150 will get you a spot at the homestead's communal table and a feast of produce from the farm. Expect comfort classics such as ham from Evans' old-breed pigs, radishes with house-churned butter, wood-fired parsnips and swedes, slow-cooked brisket, salad leaves picked that morning, and sticky blueberry and honey pudding. About as "paddock-as-plate" as things get. The price also includes matched local booze and a stroll around the farm with Evans. A word of wisdom: wear old shoes or gumboots for the walk. It's a pig farm – there's mud.

Wood-roasted anything at Franklin

Franklin (30 Argyle Street, Hobart) should be at the top of anyone's must-visit restaurant list in Hobart. New capretto on the block Fico (151A Macquarie Street, Hobart), should be second, by the way, for smart, modern Italian, with Me Wah (16 Magnet Court, Sandy Bay Road, Sandy Bay) third for its next-level yum cha. Franklin is open all day and the Scando-fied industrial space works just as well as breakfast spot as it does as a wine bar, as it does a restaurant. A 10-tonne Scotch oven is the heart of the open-kitchen, wood-roasting marvellous things like whiting, flounder, flathead, pigeon, spatcchock and, if you're lucky, whole black-lip abalone. Don't expect much in the way of fancy garnishes either –  Franklin chef Dave Moyle isn't a fan. "It's like a truckie in tutu," the chef once told Good Food. "You're dressing up something that is quite beautiful in its brutality, you know? It's a bit strange." Here, here, Mr Moyle.

Tasmanian whisky and cheese at Willing Bros. Wine Merchants

There's a bunch of world-class distilleries in Tasmania such as Lark, Sullivans Cove, Overeem, Ironhouse and Belgrove but, unless you're a whisk(e)y nerd, they're not the most exciting places to visit. It's better to hit up a rad little bar like Willing Brothers (390 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart) to get across the drams. Somewhere you actually want to spend four hours drinking single malt and eating Coal River cheese. A shot of local sheep's whey vodka from Hartshorn Distillery is sensible too, knocked down with a can of Boags XXX. The Good Food team calls it a Burnie Boilermaker. Nevermind that Burnie is four hours drive away. It's a good name.

Sunday shopping at Farm Gate Market

Tasmania is home to hundreds of small producers growing, baking, making, and creating things that make people happy. Many of them sell their goods at Farm Gate Market (Bathurst Street, Hobart), where you can load up on all the free-range eggs and Eccles cakes you could ever want every Sunday. A beaut place to visit before boarding a flight back to the mainland. We find the staff at Hobart Airport couldn't care less how much cheese, asparagus, terrine, venison, artichokes and bay-tree branches you have crammed inside your carry-on.