Northern Tasmania

‘Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe’

The Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm first planted their raspberries in 1984 and haven’t looked back since. The eight acres of succulent berries are ready to harvest at the end of November and the season can last as long as until the end of June. The on site restaurant also sells various condiments and jams as well as their more-ish dark chocolate covered raspberries. A small bag will set you back $5.80, but it’s worth it. The scones are warm and light, served with amazing homemade raspberry jam and thick cream. There’s definitely not enough jam, I found you need at least twice as much, so don’t be afraid to ask for more. My travel companions order the gluten-free scones and are surprised that they are airy and light, and give them a five-out-of-five. You won’t be able to stop at the Devonshire Tea as the other desserts are just as good!

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A generous pot with loose-leaf teas. Try the raspberry/peppermint or raspberry/lemon teas.

Price: $$

Overall: You’ll want to try every dessert on the menu.

Location: 9 Christmas Hills Rd, Elizabethtown TAS 7304 Ph: 03 6362 2186  raspberryfarmcafe.com.au


Reviewed in November, 2012


‘Distillery Cafe’

dthellyers-road-distillery-burnie3

I’m not a whiskey drinker, but my partner doesn’t mind a drop and has become a kind of ‘collector’ of fine single malt whiskeys. Tasmania has also become internationally renowned for quality whiskeys, with some even topping the best 100 list. Located on the southern edges of Burnie, Hellyers Road Distillery is Tasmania’s most northern and produces about a dozen varieties plus a cream liqueur and a crisp vodka. The location is magic; an outlook over a lush green rolling landscape a distillery that doesn’t feel commercial. All activities radiate from the Visitor’s Centre. The Whiskey Walk Distillery Tour kicks off here, there’s the gift shop, and of course the whiskey tasting bar, as well as the Distillery Cafe. It’s still early and the lunchtime diners are yet to descend on the Distillery Cafe, but it’s perfect timing as the scones are straight out of the oven. Crispy on the outside with firm robust centres, it’s hard to fault these warm scones. The scones are paired well with rich and fruity raspberry jam and lots of thick whipped cream. My only grizzle is there isn’t enough jam. What am I going to do with all that cream?

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic variety of loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Hypnotic sweeping views from every angle.

Location: 153 Old Surrey Rd, Havenview TAS 7320 Ph: 03 6433 0439
hellyersroaddistillery.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2016


‘Holy Cow Cafe’

dtholy-cow-cafe-pyenga

Set amidst lush valleys in Tasmania’s north-east, the Holy Cow Cafe in Pyengana is tucked away up a country road not far from the Pub in the Paddock. The farm cafe uses ridgy didge dairy cows as the main attraction to draw in crowds of city slickers keen on a taste of the country. The gorgeous views are soul cleansing in itself, and the dairy cows are amusing to watch as they come in for milking and a well-earned head and back scratch. To keep with the dairy theme, a milkshake can be ordered instead of a tea or coffee as part of the Devonshire Tea. Since it’s something different, I go with a chocolate milkshake. It’s certainly a novelty, but I’m still not swayed, I’ll definitely stick to tea with my scones. The scones are fresh and crispy, but their substantial size does not match the quantity of the condiments. Although there’s enough of the Pyengana whipped cream, the fruit-rich raspberry jam is on the thin side and barely covers a scone. Am I the only one who likes a thick cover of jam on a scone? I’m impressed with the unique creamy flavour of the cream and it’s thick enough as well. Wander about the shop and take home some Pyengana cheese or other cow themed souvenirs.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

 Tea: Choose from a handful of loose-leaf teas, coffee or a milkshake as part of the Devonshire Tea ensemble.

Price: $$

Overall: A quirky diversion to a working dairy farm.

Location: St Columba Falls Road, Pyengana TAS 7216 Ph: 03 6373 6157 pyenganadairy.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2016


‘Neil Pitt’s Coffee Shop’

DT@Neil Pitt' Coffee Shop-Launceston#2

A hundred years ago, the Majestic Theatre in central Launceston was once a buzzing entertainment hub with a Tea Room for refreshments. The former cinema still has a majestic and intact façade, but in 1970 the interior was transformed and in moved Neil Pitt’s Menswear. Not a newcomer to Launceston, the menswear store has been going since 1949 and moved into these digs in 1970. Neil Pitt’s Coffee Shop is perched on the mezzanine level, allowing a birds-eye view over the trousers. The store reminds me of David Jones in the 70s and 80s and it’s definitely something I haven’t seen for a while. What I love most about Neil Pitt’s is the fact that a cafe in an old-school menswear store is renowned for their Devonshire Teas, and most of all, men are ploughing through them. This is a revelation, and my partner is neither impressed nor amused. The cafe is integrated into the store and is very masculine with wood panelled walls depicting coates of arms of British towns. Scones are served at room temperature and although fresh and very CWA-like, a bit of heat in my scones may have bumped up the teapot score. The strawberry jam is average and the whipped cream is super light, looking as though it’s out of a whipping cream canister. Overall, this place is a classic, and a must for those interested in heritage and like to see proof that blokes do actually like to eat scones! Open 9am – 2pm, Monday to Friday.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small range of Twinning tea bags served in a classic large aluminium teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Only in Tassie are Devonshire Teas served in a menswear store.

Location: 76 Brisbane St, Launceston TAS 7250 Ph: 03 6331 3711 neilpitts.com.au

Reviewed in May, 2017


‘Scottsdale Art Gallery Cafe’

DT@Scottsdale Art Gallery Cafe#

Scottsdale has become more than just a service hub for surrounding farms. A pleasant pit stop halfway between Launceston and St Helens, with pretty Bridport on Bass Strait and vineyards to the north, mountain bike hub, Derby, just down the road, and a Rail Trail passing through town. Scottsdale Art Gallery is easy to find on the main drag and shares the space with a cafe. Essentially it is a cafe surrounded by paintings, sculptures, pottery and jewellery perfectly poised in a light bright space. I’m gobsmacked by the scones; fluffy and super creamy – there’s definitely a secret ingredient, as they taste incredible. The scones are accompanied with a tart homemade raspberry jam, which, to be honest can be doubled in quantity. It’s a pain to be only able to have a thin scrape of jam, but at least the scones are exceptionally tasty. What a bummer about the cream, it’s just way too light and flavourless. The gallery and café are open daily.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A good range, with a few interesting choices of loose-leaf teas served in an adequate sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Top scones in a chilled out gallery.

Location: 42 King St, Scottsdale TAS 7260 Ph: 03 6352 4388 scottsdaleartgallery.com.au


Reviewed in May, 2017


‘Springfield Tea Room’

dtspringfield-tearooms-springfield

Somewhere along the Tasman Highway in the countryside on the Launceston side of Springfield, is the Springfield Tea Room.  As I drive up the driveway, I don’t realise it at first, initially thinking that the ladies in the tea room are in costume, but this is the real deal, a true blue working Amish farm. My partner is instantly uncomfortable and I have to coax him out of the car. The tea room is too warm today as there’s no ventilation and a skylight adds to the warmth, which I suspect are the perfect conditions for chilly Tasmanian days. Luckily there are a few tables of people, creating a more welcoming atmosphere, as I feel awkward with the subdued Amish waitress sitting in the corner with her calculator. The room is set up for sewing classes with reams of fabric and sewing bits ‘n’ bobs lining the walls. There is also homemade stone ground bread, cakes, and jams and jellies for sale. This DT is probably the bargain of the century; a measly $5 buys two scones, a grand choice of homemade jams, thickly whipped cream and a range of loose-leaf teas that tops most cafes I’ve been to. The scones are served at room temperature and although not light and fluffy, tastes fresh enough. It’s a hard choice; the jams and jellies are all too good. I decide to try something different and go for the crab apple jelly, which is light and subtle. Open Monday to Saturday.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: An extensive range of interesting loose-leaf teas served in a teapot.

Price: $

Overall: An interesting experience.

Location: 1139 Ten Mile Track, Springfield TAS 7304 

Reviewed in December, 2016


‘The Cherry Shed Cafe’

dtthe-cherry-shed-cafe-latrobe2

If arriving or departing by ferry, The Cherry Shed is a mere 10-minute drive from Devonport along the Bass Highway. The huge shed that The Cherry Shed Cafe and Gift Shop is located in looks a tad out of place surrounded by suburbia and busy intersections. Perhaps it was, once-upon-a-time, embedded in a field of green? The giant cherry out the front (think the Big Banana, Prawn and Pineapple on the mainland) acts as a lure for visitors making the rounds of Tasmania’s berry and cherry farms, so I’m not sure if the shed was in fact a work beast. As per the pic above I order the half serve; a full serve of two scones is also available. The scone is a good size, not ridiculously huge nor is a one-bite-wonder, and is crispy skinned and lightly sprinkled with icing sugar. A choice of either cherry or raspberry jam is teamed superbly with lots of chilled and thick slightly sweet cream. Naturally I go with the cherry jam, which is made from local cherries and supposedly made on the premises. It’s tart and rich with fruit, and does The Cherry Shed proud. Wander through the gift shop and stock up on ‘cherry’ related products, and send the kids to play in the giant cherry. Fresh cherries are available from mid-December to February.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: Basic choices in a range of tea bags, and some specialty loose-leaf varieties served in a small teapot with a bicky on the side. I have the green cherry tea, but it is a bit weak.

Price: $$

Overall: A touristy diversion selling cherry infused goodies.

Location: 243 Gilbert St, Latrobe TAS 7307 Ph: 03 6426 2411 thecherryshed.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2016


‘The Painted Door Art Cafe’

dtthe-painted-door-art-cafe-derby

There are literally hordes of people in Derby this Saturday, and most of them are riding mountain bikes. For Derby this is a godsend, as the former tin mining town once on the brink of extinction, is now thriving due to the new mountain bike park on the edge of town. The town is making the most of this renaissance with local businesses getting in on the act. The local council has even decorated Main Street with bicycle art sculptures (if that’s what it’s called)! At the Painted Door Art Cafe, the art gallery section sells bracelets made from old bicycle chains and pendant necklaces using the links. Whether it’s clever recycling or merely creative, mountain bike diehards may be coerced into buying. The adjoining cafe is large, bright and airy, and has a lovely grassy garden, which is today littered with bikes and weary riders basking in the sunshine. The Devonshire Tea is served with two light and fluffy scones, and is prettily presented with a dash of syrup and a sprinkle of icing sugar. The average raspberry jam and super light cream that tastes as it’s come from a can (dairy whip?), are a bit of a let down considering they’ve made an effort with the scones. Closed on Tuesdays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A selection of Twinings tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Forget the tin mining history; it’s all about the mountain bike park.

Location: 62 Main St, Derby TAS 7264 Ph: 03 6354 2407

Reviewed in December, 2016


‘Two Oaks Cafe’

dttwo-oaks-cafe-somerset

The Two Oaks Tea Room sign grabs me as I hurtle along the Bass Highway, which is named after the waterway it hugs. However, when I arrive, I find it’s no tea room, but a cafe with a large extension that caters for events such as weddings and the like. The lack of tea room cosiness aside, the cafe does have a lovely garden and the Somerset Caravan Park that it fronts doesn’t interfere with the ambience. Bass Strait and the Australian mainland are on the other side of the highway, so not too far for a stroll to a beach. Choose from plain or date scones, which are served with rich raspberry jam and thick whipped cream that tastes more mock than fresh cream. I go with the plain scones. They are large and have certainly reached their microwavable limit erring on the chewy side. No doubt more raspberry jam would help mask this. Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A good range of T2 teas served in a teapot with an extra filled with hot water.

Price: $$

Overall: A convenient stop on the Bass Highway.

Location: Somerset Beachside Caravan Park, 15235 Bass Hwy, Somerset TAS 7322 
Ph: 03 6435 1431 somersetbeachside.com.au/p/twooakscafe

Reviewed in December, 2016


 

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