Want drama? Drive Tasmania

Want drama? Drive Tasmania
By admin

“I won’t kill you,” laughs Farmer Tim as I buckle my seatbelt, “it’s an easy drive”. There’s certain etiquette in the country and it goes something like this: do not lock your car doors, do not lock the house doors and if you buckle up when driving around a farm your country counterpart may think you are questioning their driving skills.

But after today’s dramatic journey, I’m not willing to take any chances as we drive across Curringa Farm. At first handshake I had a chance to check out Tim’s farming credentials and he passes, with dirt under the nails and all along his forearms. This is a proper working farm.

I could go explore the property but I opt for a farm tour the very next day instead. For now I am very happy to be ensconced in the safety of Sea Eagles Nest cottage, a rustic and romantic bolthole. The log book teems with the tales of loved-up travellers. Jonny and Florence of Hong Kong wrote: “Witnessed by hundreds of sheep, Jonny proposed here.” But my date for tonight is with a full moon as I cook steak from the stocked cottage fridge on the balcony barbeque.


Curringa Farm is the perfect tonic after  my day’s drive and the spa bath smack bang in the middle of the room is marked for my accelerator-weary ankles and steering strained shoulders.

It all started at the beachside suburb of Burnie, when my gung-ho attitude of “if it’s cold, it may as well snow”, was well and truly put to the test. I drove from a 16 degree Burnie to Cradle Mountain where charred bundles of forestry
wood were peppered with a white substance.

It took some kilometres for me to work out that the substance was snow and the revelation prompted a swift off road swerve to take photos out the wound-down window as if it was a novelty that may melt. I needn’t have worried.

As I drive it starts to rain, then hail, then sleet, which I think is snow until the real flakes start to fall. The sky melts into the weather and although its only midday the headlights are on high beam. I am here to see Cradle Mountain
but she isn’t willing to show herself; it may as well be her wedding day, covered as she is by a white veil of clouds.


It is fitting that a landscape shaped by Arctic forces is now covered in snow. The white noise of flake fall is broken only by my wheels spinning through slushy snow. I won’t blame the car for the next part – instead I shall credit the impulsive and untamed nature of Tasmania. The road was pulpy with snow and the car refused to accelerate or reverse without skidding clockwise across its surface.

My petrol gauge is nearly empty, the temperature is two degrees below zero outside and I have no phone reception. I am in dire straits.

While Tasmania is in many ways an untamed island it is defined by a rugged beauty and whether my tyres crunch sand or slip on snow, the view from the windshield is beautiful enough to slow the speedometer.

I get a first-hand taste of this wild beauty when I abandon my stricken car and flag down a passing local. Once the Tasmanian hears my tale of woe he winches me to the safety of a road that has been plowed and fills my tank with petrol that he has in a canister at the back of his 4WD. Such is the goodwill of Tasmanians, who display a helpfulness that harks back to the times of yesteryear.

Aside from the peril of driving through snow in a 2WD, the only other difficulties you are likely to encounter are locals so laid-back that they drive well below the speed limit or a GPS so zealously accurate that it leads you down an unsealed sheep track in aid of reaching your destination quicker.

But when I finally reach my destination,there’s no need for a GPS. Farmer Tim, my host, drives me down an unsealed road that leads to my cottage, some three kilometres from the main road. Tim regales me with tales of cityslickers who insist on locking up the car and the cottage at night. “It takes them awhile to adjust to farm life,” he says.

At 7:30am the next morning the sun bursts  through the white blinds giving the all white cottage a luminosity that wakes me gently. I hear a knock at the door, slip on the cheesecloth dressing gown and open it to find a home baked multigrain loaf wrapped in a tea towel. This warm bread completes a breakfast of farm fresh raspberry jam
and fresh laid eggs that I eat on the balcony.

To the right of the balcony is a snow-capped Mount Field fronted by green mountains that would be at home in the Swiss Alps. Straight ahead is a view of native bush land that is all Australian. To my left is an emerald knoll studded with sheep that feels ever so English.

Later on Tim’s wife Janet makes me scones hot from the oven, delicious despite my appetite crushing breakfast. The three sheepdogs are corralled into the back of Tim’s ute and we set off for the farm tour. We pass lurid green fields of poppy and onion and I learn that Tasmania grows half of the world’s legal opium poppy and that wallabies have been known to get high and hop around the crop in wobbly circles.

For now, it’s the sheep that are being circled, as Tim whistles and yells commands that make no sense human to human but seems to work wonders with the dogs. Once one sheep moves, the rest follow suit like a billowing wool rug.


At Curringa Farm, everyone plays a part as I help to count sheep, which sounds so much easier than it is. Once they get moving, they all look the same. One trick, I’m told, is to count them in two’s but I find this stressful
enough to wonder why anyone suggests counting sheep to get to sleep.

We hop out of the ute to see my first echidna, browner and furrier than I expect and positively adorable. Shame about those quills then. Thankfully this does not faze Farmer Tim, who cups its soft belly with both hands and scoops it up for me to inspect.

Shyly, the echidna tucks his claws and snout into his stomach so snugly that he shrinks in like a squeezed stress ball. The echidna’s only predator, beside the car, is the Tasmanian devil, whose ferocious hunger is not daunted by the threat of quills. Tim finds poo on the farm that he identifies as devil manure because, creepily, it contains a slither of bone.


One of the most frequent sights while driving through the state is road kill. Sadly, the corpses of Tasmanian devils, wallabies, wombats and echidnas litter the roads. Either there are some terrible drivers in Tasmania or there is an abundance of wildlife. After speaking to Tim, he tells me it’s the latter and I have to say, my faith in his driving skill increases.

I clamber back into the ute after my echidna encounter and go rural style, without a seatbelt. It seems the country has won me over.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

Latest News

  • Destinations
  • News

APT Launches 2025 Asia Adventures

APT has launched its Asia Adventures for 2025, including new luxury holidays in India, Sri Lanka and Japan. Five new tours lead guests to the highlights of India, including a seven-night cruise along the rarely travelled Lower Ganges aboard the Ganges Voyager. Further south, Sri Lanka’s greatest destinations are revealed on a new 15-day Land […]

  • Cruise
  • Luxury
  • News

Seabourn announces Western Kimberley Traditional Owners as Godparents of Seabourn Pursuit

Seabourn has named Western Kimberley Traditional Owners, the Wunambal Gaambera, as Godparents of the ultra-luxury purpose-built Seabourn Pursuit. It is the first cruise line to appoint Traditional Owners as godparents of a ship. Seabourn Pursuit embarks on its inaugural season in the Kimberley region this June. The naming ceremony will take place on Seabourn Pursuit’s […]

  • Luxury

Malolo Island Resort opens brand new Spa

Fiji’s Malolo Island has added another string to its bow – opening its $1.3 million day spa on Thursday, 18th April 2024. (Lead Image: matriarch Rosie Whitton with spa staff) Located at the edge of the resort’s luscious patch of tropical rainforest, the new “Leilani’s Spa” adds another level of elevated experiences to Malolo’s already […]