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Rostrevor Pickers CottageStroll around the historical Rostrevor farm which was once one of the largest orchards in the southern hemisphere and is now a family run fine wool and hereford cattle farm with many original buildings on site. This lovingly restored farm shed turned contemporary cottage is nestled in the shade of a centuries old oak tree, perfect for taking in the country quiet.
Tawny - A little luxury by the bay.Tawny is a new custom built Tiny House, whose name is inspired by the elusive Tawny Frogmouth who live in the area. With luxury bedding and facilities, an outdoor bath and stunning location overlooking Spring Bay, Tawny offers a tranquil, intimate space to relax and unwind from the everyday. A short drive to a choice of amazing beaches and short walks; Maria Island and local eateries. You can relax in the boat shed by day and in the evening, gaze at the stars by the warmth of the fire pit.
The Black Shack at West Shelley Beach in OrfordRoast a joint of meat on the hooded BBQ before dining on the expansive entertainment deck. Later, gaze at the stars from around the fire pit. Slide back the full-length windows to return to the open interior and a soak in the free-standing bath.
It’s all about the great outdoors in this laid-back seaside town, the starting point for Tasmania’s memory-spinning Great Eastern Drive road trip. Dividing Orford in two, the Prosser River runs into a sheltered bay, where fishing, boating, swimming, and diving are all favourite pastimes. Beyond Prosser Bay glimmers the car-free wildlife haven of Maria Island, a short ferry hop across the Mercury Passage.
North of the river, the white sands of Raspins Beach stretch for 9 kilometres, while a clifftop walk to the south links the pristine Shelly and Spring beaches, where you can swim, surf, and explore rockpools. Coastal, river, and forest walks abound. For a bird’s-eye view of Orford and the surrounding area, head up to the Three Thumbs lookout and picnic spot in the Wielangta Forest, from where you can hike to the hills’ three peaks. Orford’s mild weather creates perfect growing conditions for local makers of cheese, whisky, and delicate, cool-climate wines.
Orford’s gentle charms are fewer than 60 minutes by taxi, shuttle, bus, or rideshare from Hobart International Airport (HBA). A limited bus service runs between Hobart and Orford, but renting a car is the easiest way to get around. If you’re heading off the beaten track, be prepared for narrow, winding roads. Looking to bring your own vehicle or bike? Ferry services make day and night crossings to Devonport (three hours from Orford on Tasmania’s north coast) from Melbourne on the mainland. Pick up a Tasmap of the area’s many walking trails or rent a bike to explore its cycle-friendly routes. The 30-minute Maria Island Ferry leaves from Triabunna, a few kilometres north of town.
Warm, sunny summers and mild winters make Orford a year-round destination. Sheltered from the prevailing westerlies, the town is blessed with far less rainfall than the west coast, though expect sudden changes in the weather, particularly if you’re bushwalking. Off-season, you’ll find deserted beaches and empty roads. In summer, which can bring heatwaves, locals move into their shacks and the town’s small population triples; Easter can get busy, too. Around new year, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race culminates in the Taste of Tasmania, the capital’s week-long celebration of local food, arts, and entertainment. Spring, which can be breezy, brings wildflowers, while autumn turns vineyards from lush green to golden yellow. Winter, with its occasional frosts, is festival season and the best time for whale spotting.
Raspins Beach Conservation Area is home to pied oystercatchers, red-clapped and hooded plovers, and flocks of red-necked stints in summer. Thanks to the breeding pairs of vulnerable fairy terns that nest above the high-tide mark and can dive from heights of up to five metres, a sandspit in the middle of the conservation area has been designated an IBA (Important Bird Area).
North of the Prosser River bridge, an easy, flat bushland walk takes you along the river to the ruins of the Paradise Probation Station. Hand-hewn brick and stonework along the road, which once ran all the way to Hobart, is one of Orford’s glimpses into its history.
Among the east coast’s wealth of temperate dive sites, the Troy D is one of the most alluring. In the Mercury Passage’s crystal-clear waters, this 55-metre former container ship was scuttled in 2007 to create an artificial reef. Divers can access every compartment, including the engine room, preserving the ghostly feel of swimming through a wreck, complete with resident cuttlefish. Reef sharks, moray eels, and barracudas appear among the seagrass beds and forests of string kelp.