A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published August 21st 2019
Just 10kms south of Devonport or 90kms north-west of Launceston and you'll be in the charming country town of Latrobe. It has all the usual suspects with shops, eateries and drinking dens, along with a number of interesting things to see and do.
Here are 8 reasons to put Latrobe into your next road trip –
1. Big Things
If you love photographing big things, then you're in luck as Latrobe has a couple to tick off your list.
The Big Platypus sits at 1 Bells Parade outside a cultural complex housing a museum, restaurant and craft shop. It's carved from wood by chisel and chainsaw and is quite impressive.
The wooden counterpart of the real deal in the adjacent river
You can further your encounter with the Platypus Experience inside the adjacent building. It's a display in the form of a forest glade with six ponds, a flowing water feature, comprehensive dioramas, sculptures, mural boards and screens.
The whole area is surrounded by parkland and the local river. It's a great place to have a picnic and you may even see a real live platypus feeding at the edge of the water.
The other big thing in Latrobe is the Big Cherries. Young children love them as they can climb up a few stairs and play in them. They're at the Cherry Shed below.
All things cherry can be found in this cafe and gift shop. There's cherry pancakes, cherry slices and pies to devour, together with savoury items for breakfast and lunch. Sauces, jams and cherry souvenirs are available in the shop that also has a tasting counter.
Apart from the deliciousness here, a tapestry of sorts in a backroom caught my eye. What's interesting about the below hanging is that it is created entirely using painted cherry seeds.
It's located in the same building as the Platypus Experience.
4. Huon Pine
Huon pine is found only in our Apple Isle and is the prince of Tasmanian timbers. It's used for everything where durability and ease of working is required. From furniture to machinery and decorative items, I had to take a piece home.
Good thing there was a gift shop full of interesting wooden items, crafted from the pine, just outside the above Axeman's Hall of Fame. AFL fans can get their team name on a piece of pine, children will love the wooden birds and animals, and items for the kitchen will attract cooks.
If a chocolate experience is what you're after, then House of Anvers is where you should head. It has a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating, a museum showcasing the history of chocolate with displays and cabinets of items from bygone years, a large chocolate sculpture, a chocolate factory where you can view workers making delicious truffles and pralines, and a gift shop with chocolate tastings and gelato.
Specialising in Belgian chocolates, this chocolate lovers' heaven is set in a Californian-style bungalow surrounded by gardens at 9025 Bass Highway. Beware though, if you stumble upon their secret recipes, you won't be allowed to leave. Well, I can live with that.
6. Historic Buildings
Gilbert Street is the main street and it's here you'll find many of the over 70 heritage-listed buildings of the town.
The local Court House (dating from 1883) at No.115 is one and it's also a folk museum with a collection of over 600 prints and photographs which chronicle the history of the town and its people.
At No.139 is Reliquaire, an eccentric toy and antique shop in a 19th Century mansion. You could spend hours browsing the rooms, over 20 of them, with everything from antique dolls to marionettes, stuffed toys, gadgets, hobbies, books, teddy bears, candles, clothing, jewellery and so much more. Look for the large toy soldiers out the front of the building.
If you're feeling peckish, try Cafe Zeta. It's housed in a beautiful old heritage-listed brick homestead at No.20. It's licensed and has a gift shop.
In Hamilton Street, Hamilton House is a glorious old building that used to be the bank and on Bells Parade there's Sherwood Hall (built by pioneer settler Thomas Johnson), a unique colonial timber house that has been restored and is now a museum.
Each of these and many more give a unique insight into the history of the town.
7. Henry Somerset Orchid Reserve
Walkers and garden enthusiasts are sure to enjoy the easy trail through Australia's only orchid reserve. It takes about half an hour and it's free. Some 43 species of orchids have been recorded here, half of which can only be found in Tasmania. Signs display photos and the names of the orchids.
Entrance to the walk is via the car park off Railton Road, just a few kilometres south of the town. Address for your GPS is 3001 Railton Road, Latrobe.
8. Henley-on-Mersey Regatta
If you happen to be in Latrobe on Australia Day, check out the annual regatta involving woodchopping, ferret racing, cherry spitting, sheaf tossing, gumboot throwing, egg throwing, archery, and a land boat race along a running track. It's a day the whole family can enjoy along Bells Parade with food and musical entertainment to boot.
Ferret racing is popular at this regatta - the first ferret out the end of the tube wins