The Long Lunch Tour | Hobart to Swansea
Once you’ve flown into Hobart, picked up your hire car and found your way to town for a cozy stay, you might be starting to salivate and be ready to sink into eating. Fine food and wine are world-class in Tasmania, so come prepared for epic epicurean experiences.
One foodie adventure you will always remember is the “long lunch” tour. This self-drive itinerary means a huge day on the road from Hobart to the East Coast for a memorable meal at the Fresh Fish and Chips shop in Swansea.
The two-hour drive – with over a hundred bends and curves and elevation gains from sea level to high on the hills – takes you past iconic natural wonders, turquoise seascapes and jaw-dropping scenery you will never surpass. Not to mention historic, convict-built sites near Rocky Hills, plentiful wildlife, and tiny penguins at Mayfield Beach. (The Tasmanian Devil is nocturnal and people-shy, so don’t count on seeing one in the wild.)
Breathtaking sights aside, why drive all the way to the East Coast for lunch? If you only have a day or two in Tasmania, you should get outside the capital to see and taste the fresh fish (flathead, flake, trevally and blue-eye trevalla are common on fish n chips menus) and the farm harvested salmon, oysters, scallops and abalone. Tasmanian waters are pollution free and the seafood is succulent and sought after by foodies in the know. The cost for fresh fish that is gourmet cooked ranges from modest to worth every cent.
If you have more time, add a day or two on the East Coast and visit the oyster farm, wineries, go fishing or indulge in the other gourmet restaurants on the Freycinet Peninsula. There’s a Pure Tasmania experience called “Wine Glass to Wineglass” which includes taking a picnic with local pinots and fine white drops to the pristine Wineglass Bay. To visit this remote, pristine beach with a basket full of delicious goodies, is to enjoy a wow moment that lasts a lifetime.
The distinction in Swansea from other fish ‘n chips restaurants is that everything is locally caught in or near Great Oyster Bay and it is fresh, never frozen. Opened just under two yars, the shop is located on Swansea’s main drag and the parking lot is always full. For less than a $20 note, you will dine on the best tasting fish ‘n chips ever – or try the Fisherman’s Catch of the Day from Oyster Bay or the tasty crayfish…all yummy.
After walking off lunch at the town beach or shopping at the local winery bottle shop, you’ll want to drive back to Kate’s Berry Farm which you passed on the way into Swansea. This local icon has been serving homemade berry ice cream, jams and strawberry wine for 20 years, making it a very popular spot on the East Coast gourmet trail. Recently, Kate began making fine chocolates and selling confectionery – with and without berries. The cafe cue is long, but very one wants desserts like these.
Recommendations for your Long Lunch Tour
Depart about 10 AM and expect to return by 6 PM. It’s 130 kms from Hobart to Swansea and travel time without photo stops and vineyard visits is 1 hour 40 minutes. Add another 20 minutes if you want to photograph the Great Oyster Bay from the observation point just past Mayfield.