2 May, 2015 - We’d planned on embarking on a 4-hour cruise today, skirting the coastline of the national park. However, the skies had clouded over and rain was forecasted. With my dismal history of seasickness, we decided against navigating the waters of Great Oyster Bay in favour of a couple of short hikes and visit to a local winery for lunch. Checking our Walking Track Information Guide and Map once again, we picked the Cape Tourville Lighthouse and Sleepy Bay. After all, we had to earn our lunch.
The Cape Tourville Lighthouse, one of Tasmania’s great short walks, was a 6.5 km drive from the Lodge. An easy 20 minutes each way, it provided us with magnificent views of the granite coastline of Freycinet, a glimpse of Wineglass Bay and Mt Freycinet to the left. Tasmania’s natural beauty was truly bone deep and undeniable!
Feeling the need to challenge ourselves a little more, we found our way to the Sleepy Bay hike from the carpark. About a 30 minute walk each way, this easterly bay offered spectacular views of Mt Parsons. Luckily for us, the tide was low, revealing some charming rockpools as we walked to Little Gravelly Beach. On the way, we had the pleasure of meeting, and chatting with, Carlos (from Barcelona) and Estelle (from Corsica). After a long schmooze and exchange of email addresses, we went our separate ways. Carlos and Estelle, if you get to read this blog, we just want you to know that we enjoyed our chat with you and wish you both all the best in Australia.
With hunger pangs encroaching, we drove for roughly 20 minutes from Freycinet National Park to Spring Vale Winery. In time for lunch, we did a quick wine tasting so we could choose the wine that we wanted to drink with our meal. While Peter is a Red wine drinker, I steer towards the drier Whites. With their award winning Riesling having sold out, my only option was the Sav Blanc. But with Dave Cush’s notes on the 2012 SB, was I even game to try it:
“The biggest problem I have with most SB is that they’re not balanced wines. They have a hole in the middle of the palate – like a Cabernet “donut” (which makes sense given the close genetic relation between the two.) Of course there is also the “cat wee” aspect of herbaceous SB that can be truly one of the most offensive wine-related aromas in the universe. So our aim is to make SB that is balanced (without relying on residual sweetness to fill in that hole) and has an utter absence of cat piss.”
After trying it, my verdict was in: a truly balanced wine that I was very happy to drink, with aromas of tangerine and passionfruit leaping out of the glass and a palate that was rich and full flavoured. As for Peter, he fell in love with Spring Vale’s flagship Pinot Noir.
In lieu of a restaurant at Spring Vale, there was a food van, wood fire oven that doubled as a stove top, and a large white marquee which acted as the dining area. This ‘portable restaurant’ business was run by a self-taught chef and his wife, who presented the concept to the winery owners as a win-win opportunity. And indeed it was. Since the ‘portable restaurant’ has been running, the winery has sold more wine without having to worry about the food end of the business, which they know nothing about. As for the husband and wife restaurant team, their ‘portable restaurant’ is flourishing. As for the food, it was delicious and perfectly paired with Spring Vale’s wines. I enjoyed a delectable salmon with my Sav Blanc while Peter enjoy a backstrap of lamb salad, which he relished with his Pinot Noir.
Dinner for us was a casual meal at the Richardson’s Bistro, back at the Freycinet Lodge. After dinner, Peter and I had our first whisky tasting with Shane at the bar. Preferring to go easy on the alcohol tonight, we paid for a tasting for one and shared it. A fascinating experience, we learnt the following: what food to eat with which whisky, comparisons between Scotch and Tasmanian whisky, flavour characters, not to use tap water, ice dulls the alcohol, and there’s no right or wrong way to taste whisky.
As we savoured our last drop, we toasted to our last night at the Freycinet Lodge.