Saturday, March 21, 2015

Australia - Tasmania / Melbourne - Day 7 (Part 2 - To do/see, to stay, to eat)

To do:
Gordon River Cruises
http://www.gordonrivercruises.com.au/
The Esplanade, Strahan, 7468, Tasmania, Australia.

The voyage: After leaving Strahan, you'll cross Macquarie Harbour to explore Hell's Gates, where the harbour meets the ocean. A lonely lighhouse guards the channel. As Lady Jan Franklin II glides back across the harbour to the mouth of the Gordon River, the cruising speed drops. The vessel is purpose built to create a low wake, so the riverside envionment remains pristine. Moving quietly upstream, you'll pass dense rainforest unchange for thousands of years. Ancient trees are perfectly mirrored in the Gordon River's dark waters, stained amber by button grass tannins, but pure and pristine to taste. 

From the jetty at Heritiage Landing, a boardwalk showing the largest tract of temperate rainforest with 2000 year old huon pines. Leaving the Gordon river, enjoy your lunch while cruising to the next stop, Sarah island. Here convicts were confined in harsh conditions in the 1820s before the establishment of Port Arthur. Then board again for the return trip to Strahan.
Gordon River Cruise

The above totally summarises what you can expect for the day. The cruise took us passed Hell's gates and salmon farms/ocean trouts but the highlight of the trip is the Gordon river. The mirror reflection of the calm waters of the clouds and hillsides is so unique and picturesque.

At Heritage landing, we disembark to visit the very old forest covered with algae/moss and tall old trees. Its nice to walk around after being on board for over an hour. Weather is nice not too cold nor warm with a nice thin jacket.

Lunch is unexpectedly delicious. I was expecting cold dishes only but we actually have quite a few warm dishes served for buffet. This is a definite plus. Though the 2nd round is less than the first serving but there is still plenty to eat from.

On hindsight, this might be a trip i may reconsider on my must do list. This place is rather out of the way. Its a 4 hours drive from cradle mountain and another 4 hours drive to Launceston. The 2 main attractions (at least to me) is the Gordon river cruise and the West Coast Wilderness Railway. Unfortunately, the railway is not open at Strahan Station while we are there. While the view is pretty, the time spent on travelling the really winding roads up the hills is quite taxing.

Tip: Gordon river cruise is booked through Sunlover holidays as it has a discount for the window aisle seats.

To Eat:
Stillwater - 4.0 stars, high end

Ritchie's Mill, Launceston, Tasmania, 7250 
StillWater

This dinner place is recommended by the owner of Rosefield B&B (our first night stayover at Kettering). And boy i love this place! So quiet and serene that i spied a lady is enjoying her dinner and reading a book at this restaurant. All the waiters are very well dressed and super good looking. A real eye candy after a long drive. Its location near Kings Park totally suit the entire ambience and environment.

The market fish i ordered is delicious. Cooked to perfection. The Slow cooked Flinder's island wagyu beef is grass fed and has a good grade rating. However, its not very marbled so does not suit my SO taste very well. And he commented it to a very concerned waiter who tries to explain that its due to it being grass fed. This is a very good dinner almost comparable to our 5 star dining experiences in Singapore. And i totally enjoyed it though it will be a better experience if i am not so tired.

To stay:
Balmoral on York
19 York Street, Launceston City, Launceston, 7250 Tasmania, Australia

Free parking is available for guests which is generally the case for all the accomodations we stayed on our trip.

The hotel is very centrally located and accessible to town area and walking distance to our breakfast place, Sweet Brew. Pricing for the hotel is also very reasonable.

Though, the hotel is a little dated, its clean and tidy. This is a must for me. Clean Rooms!

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