On entering the property, Glen Derwent Heritage Retreat can be seen beyond the ancient trees that line the driveway. The place is steeped in so much history, that there isn’t enough room on this page to go into it. However, the website has a well-articulated timeline that begins in 1807. If you want to stay overnight, there are cottages and rooms available, including the repurposed stable. The Glen Derwent Tea Rooms are located in a few rooms in a corner of the main house, including a glorious glass conservatory. In summer, you can dine on the verandas and lawns overlooking the croquet lawn, and when the weather cools down, the fire in the conservatory is lit or you can snuggle in the drawing or dining room. The three small fresh-from-the-oven scones are slightly crispy and still warm. My only gripe is that they are so small! The raspberry/black current jam from Derwent Valley berries is rich and fruity and a delicious accompaniment to the thickly whipped cream. Glen Derwent Tea Rooms are available for high teas, lunches and group functions.
Tea: A few kinds of loose-leaf teas and some tea bag varieties served in a good-sized teapot.
Overall: A tea room embedded in a property rich with colonial history.
Location: Ph: 0427 480 057 glenderwent.com
Reviewed September 2019
‘The Possum Shed’
When we initially drive past The Possum Shed I swear I see people sitting out the front, but when we park and wander in, we notice it’s a mannequin dressed up to look like a patron. It doesn’t really make sense, but it makes you notice the place nonetheless. There’s a rabbit warren of seating: inside, outside on the deck under umbrellas or in a semi covered dining area or in the garden. Wherever you sit you’re no more than spitting distance from the small river out the back that apparently sometimes have the elusive platypus paddling about. The scones are fluffy, creamy and oh-so-fresh, although they could be a little warmer. The raspberry jam is rich and fruity, and so it should be, berry farms surround us. The thickly whipped cream is the final magical touch to an amazing Devonshire Tea. A truly worthy pit stop.
Tea: A wide range of loose-leaf tea for all tastes served in good-sized pots with extra water on the side.
Overall: A beautiful spot by the river.
Location: 1654 Gordon River Rd, Westerway TAS 7140 Ph: 03 6288 1364 thepossumshed.com.au
Reviewed in December, 2012
‘Waterfalls Cafe and Gallery’
Waterfalls Cafe is no doubt named after the Russell, Lady Barron and Horseshoe Falls that are a short walk away from the Visitors Centre. The Russell Falls are the main tourist drawcard to Mt Field National Park and is famous for being chosen as one of eight images to appear on a series of postage stamps in 1899. Further afield, the park offers longer day and overnight walks in the alpine area above Lake Dobson and around the Mt Mawson ski fields. After any of these hikes you’re sure to work up an appetite, so a quick pit stop at the visitors centre, Waterfalls Cafe and souvenir shop on the way back to the highway is a must. While we wait I peruse the Tassie souvenirs in the shop and watch a DVD that shows an impressive collection of photographs of the Apple Isle. I love the doily on the plate, you don’t see that very often and it adds some class to the presentation of the Devonshire Tea. The scones look impressive but are a tad rubbery from being heated up in the microwave and there are small bits of hard pieces of dough throughout – not sure what that is. Shame as I think they would be tasty had they been fresh. The raspberry jam is exquisite – rich and fruity – but the cream too light and airy.
Tea: A variety of teabags served in a small pot.
Overall: An airy cafeteria feel.
Location: Visitors Centre, Mt Field National Park, 66 Dobson Rd, National Park TAS 7140 Ph: 03 6288 1526 waterfallscafe.com.au
Reviewed in December, 2012
I haven’t visited Richmond since 2011, and I can’t remember it being so touristy. A convenient day jaunt from Hobart (even for Tasmanians), it’s only about 30 minutes, the gorgeous village has plenty to keep visitors occupied. The convict-built town was established as a military and convict post, strategic in linking Hobart and Port Arthur. What’s left and well-preserved are a cluster of Georgian style buildings housing all manner of interests for visitors; think galleries, museums, boutiques and of course tea shops. The first cafe I see is Ashmore on Bridge Street, which on the exterior is a restored Georgian-styled corner building and on the inside is light, bright and modern. The scones I believe are freshly baked (says so on the menu), but mine are slightly chewy and moist, a tell-tale sign that they’ve overstayed their welcome in the microwave. There’s a selection of strawberry, raspberry and apricot jam available. The apricot jam is housemade (says so on the menu), and is more sweet than tart. It’s a shame there’s not enough of it, and the fresh cream is from a canister, which is super light and aerated. Before you leave, tour the spooky Richmond Gaol and explore more of the Coal River Valley.
Tea: A small selection of loose-leaf tea served in a tiny teapot.
Overall: A modern vibe in a very historic town.
Location: 34 Bridge St, Richmond TAS 7025 Ph: 03 6260 2238 ashmoreonbridge.com.au
Reviewed September 2019