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 June 24th 2019
Honey Australia is the beekeeping venture of Tristan and Rebecca Campbell, and The Beehive is one vehicle for selling their honey. It's a gorgeous retail shop in Exeter, 25kms north-west of Launceston on the West Tamar Hwy, with a honey and bee information centre.
It's not a place that was on our 'to do' list on a recent trip of Australia's island jewel but it stood out and grabbed our attention from the main road with its cute yellow and black VW beetle out front and the interesting glowing designs on the building.
It's a very pretty place inside and out, with a garden to boot. As we stepped inside, we were delighted with a well organised store and its contents. Cute bees in the form of soft toys and ornaments graced the shelves and corners, along with handmade gifts, books on honey, beauty products made from honey and beeswax, lots of jars of honey (of course) and honey alcohol (yes, there is such a thing). All things bee-themed, even the lights screamed beehive in their shape.
The shop is L-shaped and as we walked around past the sales counter, more walls of products were upon us, as was the honey tasting area. The couple produce over 15 distinctive honeys with flavours that range from hints of caramel and butterscotch to nutty and spicy types, dependent on the tree and blossoms from which the bees gather the nectar. We're not big honey eaters, but after tasting a few on offer, we decided on a jar of Eucalyptus honey from the nectar of a Blue Peppermint Gum. Very Aussie, with a slight caramel taste.
From one hive in the beginning to a few hundred hives now spread in northern Tasmania, following the flow of nectar and pollen, the Campbell's bees take from a variety of trees that include not only the aforementioned gum tree but also Leatherwood trees and Manuka tea trees, as well as Prickly Box and Blackberry shrubs. These all make for a great range of products that proudly reflect the honeybee and the Tasmanian environment.
After our little purchase of Tasmanian honey, we wandered outside to the garden area where flowers of various types and colours grow amongst sculptures of stone and metal. In this little town of just over 600 residents, we found it a sweet-scented haven.
You can meet the Campbell's at the award-winning Harvest Launceston farmer's market, where they have a stall, or you may be lucky enough to encounter them in The Beehive shop. Their passion for beekeeping shines through in their knowledge that will have you learning that there's more to bees than you thought.
Since our visit, they're now showcasing a wonderful new display beehive where you can watch the queen laying eggs, see a new baby emerge from a cell and experience the bees communicating through their waggle dance.
With the world's bee populations in danger of dying out, Honey Australia are also doing their bit to save them and their habitat. Together with other beekeepers, they have established a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to saving the Leatherwood rainforests (that the bees love), at risk from forestry and logging activity.
The Leatherwood tree maintains almost the entire honey industry in Tasmania. Commercial business aside, the bees also need honey to survive. They store it for their own use in winter when there are fewer flowers from which to gather food and when they are unable to forage.
Bees are also threatened by some of the same challenges to mankind – drought, global warming, environmental pollution and bacterial diseases. We need to protect these tiny creatures, not for our consumption of honey, but for food in general. Our survival and that of the planet depends on them. With bees perfectly adapted to pollinate, they help plants to grow, breed and produce food, thus keeping the cycle of life turning. From almonds to vanilla, apples and squashes, the vast majority of plants rely on pollination.
"To the bee a flower is the fountain of life and, to the flower, a bee is a messenger of love" – well said by Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet) 1923.
Address details and opening hours for The Beehive are below. Truly glad we stopped there. Make it a stop on your next visit to the area.