From March 11-13 A Festival Called Panama will descend on Lone Star Valley in Tasmania. The line up is enviable, not to mention there will be a cabaret, a clothes swap, pop-up bars, candlelit speakeasies and food stalls. Tasmania is much more than Australia’s vagina; it’s a wonderland waiting to be explored. So if you do make the trek down for Panama, why not take some extra time off and explore. If you’re not sure where to go, The Creases The Harpoons, Quivers and Rolls Bayce have some spots worth checking out.
Looking to extend your Tassie adventure after A Festival Called Panama? Four of the bands have some hot tips of things to do and see. Pastry is covered.
Tasmania has heaps of history, whether it’s Port Arthur or some of the original settlement buildings still standing. We went for a walk one morning and found this awesome old army barracks on a hill overlooking the water and the city. There was an old cannon there so obviously we had a little climb on it.
The best time we ever had was getting fish and chips on a wharf somewhere. Everywhere being around the water was pretty amazing. In Hobart they have fishing boats on the dock you can buy fish and chips right off the boat.
Sheffield is a small town known for its murals! But has so much more to offer. This town has everything a Tassie visitor could want. Quaint ye olde fudge shop, outdoor gear store, kooky second hand store run by a wiry old dude who moved rural and sells some serious records and memorabilia (for example second hand drizabones and John Farnham records).
On top of all this, in the 90s when the logging (mining?) industry collapsed in the local area someone had the genius idea of painting practically every building in the town with a cheesy photorealistic mural. It makes for some serious selfies.
Harpoons are all about pies and sausage rolls, and have a special affinity for Hobart, a town with some of the finest in all of Australia. Jackman and McCross bakery in Battery Point is on top of a hill and its also on top of the pie/sausy roll game. The MONA ferry rolls on the gleaming waters of the Derwent river, but also packs some magnificent rolls. The potential jewel in the pie shop crown of Hobart is the 24 hour bakery down town. It is truly a wonderous thing to be able to get a scallop pie at 4.30 am, or pm for that matter.
The Tarkine is the great wild North West Coast of Tasmania vaguely between the Arthur River in the north and the Pieman river in the south. There is also the awesomely named Savage River to lilo down or canoe up. It’s a perfect area for just finding a rugged riverside or coastal camp or pitching a tent in the lush temperate rainforest further inland. Granville Harbour and Trial Harbour are good coastal spots to see some black cockatoos, huge Roaring Forties waves and possibly even sight a whale.
On your way there or back check out the old mining town of Zeehan AKA ‘Silver City’ which in it’s early days rivaled Hobart and Launceston for population. It even had multiple opera houses. If you love the place, you might be interested to know that in 2015 it had the lowest real estate prices in Australia. Let’s all move there after Panama and re-open the opera houses?
Bruny Island is about 40 minutes drive south of Hobart, and another 20 minutes on board the car-laden Mirambeena ferry with some of the most kind and grumpy ferrymen you’ll ever meet. Upon arriving on the island it is all sheep, cheese, oysters, and lots of accommodation and camping options whether you head north or south. A lot of our Quivers album We’ll go riding on the hearse was written and even set on the island, as Sam’s family has a shack built by his granddad and a retired Norwegian fishermen in the 1950s.
The middle of the island is a thin stretch of isthmus land with a sweet lookout and often waddling penguins at dawn and dusk. Another little-known fact about Bruny is you can find albino wallabies and even possums! Take a torch on your walks late at night. Also Bruny is our first pick for late-night post-tequila swimming as there is often phosphorescence to light up the water. Another tip: if you head even further south there is a lighthouse you can book and stay in and live out your Round the Twist dreams!
I’ve spent a lot of time in Tassie, both touring and just hanging out… it’s a strange and beautiful place. Get a curried scallop pie from the Salamanca Markets. Sounds weird, tastes amazing. Even if you’re staying up North, it’s only a few hours drive to Hobart and this pie is absolutely worth the journey.
Drink all the whiskey. There’s a disproportionate amount of amazing distilleries all over this tiny island and you should go check them out. Sullivan’s Cove won World’s Best Single Malt a couple of years ago and deserved it, it’s unreal. Once you’ve done that drink all the wine.
Everyone’s probably suggested this already, but it begs repeating – you HAVE to go MONA and get your mind blown by their amazing collection of artwork. It’s incredible.
You can get your tickets to Panama from the festival’s website.