Take a drive 15mins NW of Launceston via the West Tamar Highway and you'll come across a turnoff to Grindelwald, where you'll find the Aspect Tamar Valley Resort with its Swiss village and beautiful landscaping. Formerly known as Grindelwald Resort, it has seen a few ownership changes and some development since its early days but thankfully it has retained its European charm.
The bridge to reception with fountains and sculptures
Modelled on the Grindelwald village in Switzerland's Bernese Alps, the resort is a haven away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It was 25 years ago when my husband and I first arrived at the resort to begin our honeymoon, staying in a Swiss chalet. Some wonderful memories were made and we always wanted to go back. Finally, we made it back for our anniversary and this time around chose a Lake Villa to stay in.
With both stays we had comfy beds, kitchenettes and all the necessities. Parking was available and we were surrounded by gorgeous views. The air is fresh (no pollution here) and the only thing that wakes you in the morning are the sounds of wildlife and those I don't mind.
Our 2-storey Swiss chalet
The lake villas surrounded by autumn splendour
The resort, set on over 150 acres, also has hotel rooms attached to the main building where reception resides. A spa, heated indoor pool, gym and health club are available here for all guests, regardless of the type of accommodation you choose.
The website states that WiFi is only available in the hotel rooms, however, we were able to pick the signal up in our villa. It was an added bonus for me that I wasn't expecting and I do like to keep up to date with my emails and social media.
Whether it's a hotel suite, chalet or villa you decide to stay in, you'll find the prices are very reasonable. Our villa was only $109 per night. Most resorts charge a lot more. Visit the website
to view the accommodation types in more detail and book direct.
There are many features and facilities to enjoy at the resort and, as well as being a great place for romantics, it is also very family-oriented. There's a giant bouncy cushion the kids will love as well as a wooden pirate ship to climb and play on, mini golf, a board games library, Wii and Xbox 360 hire. Tennis courts, barbecues, pedal cars and mountain bikes are available, as are pedal boats, paddle kayaks and canoes for you to cruise around on the lake. Just watch out for the resident ducks and swans that inhabit the surroundings.
A beautiful day for enjoying the lake
One of the prettiest parts of the resort is its Swiss village, complete with a clock tower, fountain, flower pots, shops and restaurant. Beautiful by day and even more so in the evening with the twinkling lights.
Swiss charm abounds
One of a number of fountains at the resort
The side wall of the Golf Shop is even pretty
Get a touch of retail therapy with art and craft shops, clothing from the boutique store that also sells jewellery, bags and shoes or purchase gourmet Tasmanian honey, lavender products, toys and souvenirs in the newsagency/gift shop. A gaming arcade has an air hockey table in it, amongst other electronic games.
Pop in for a pie or slice of cake at the Grindelwald Bakery, ice-cream at the Golf Shop, some fudge or waffles at the Chocolate Cafe and a meal at the Alpenrose Bistro & Bar. The latter had us for dinner a couple of nights. All the meals were flavoursome and cooked well. There's a range of beverages to wash all the food down and a warm ambience abounds. Views of Lake Serene can be had from one of the dining areas.
The Alpenrose Bistro & Bar - for great food & ambience
View of Lake Serene
Anniversary cocktail with dinner at Alpenrose
The Alpenrose is open 365 days a year, and for breakfast and lunch too. They serve up everything from pizza to pasta, curries to steak, lamb shanks, seafood and schnitzel. Monday to Thursday nights there are specials on, making it inviting for families, and the good thing is you don't have to be staying here to enjoy the food and the village. All members of the public are happily welcomed.
Prawns done in different ways & one of the best lasagnes I've had
The resort is in a perfect location alongside the Tamar River with plenty of attractions and sightseeing to be had. Wine and food lovers are spoilt for choice and there's many natural and historical areas to explore not too far away.
One thing I learnt on this trip was that Tasmania has no regular passenger trains. There are only a couple of tourist trains and that's it. For this Sydneysider, I thought this was a little strange but when you think about it the main cities are not that big nor is the state itself. Buses and coaches will get you around if you don't want to drive. Plenty of car hire options are available and the resort has teamed up with Raving Rentals car hire to provide exclusive rates for guests, although when I did the numbers I found it cheaper elsewhere at Launceston Airport.
There's so much to love, you won't want to leave
Whichever way you travel, the resort and the state's beauty will remain in your heart forever. Grindelwald, in particular, is one of those special places in Australia's Apple Isle and, if you've ever been to the village of the same name in Switzerland, you'll see Tasmania's version will take you back there.