Once upon a time, Tasmania’s economy was backed almost exclusively by the logging and mining industries. But as time marched on, Tasmania has changed substantially. The small Australian island state has taken up the mantle of both a frequent retirement location, as well as a tourist hotspot.
With the logging and mining industries waning, Tasmania has turned to exporting delicious seafood, dairy products and yes, award-winning brews. For a state with a population of just over half a million, there are a surprising number of unique distilleries doing great work in Tasmania.
If you’ve never been to the island before, then you owe it to your taste buds to go at least once. Tasmania sits off the coast of Victoria towards the South of Australia and is easily accessible from the continent. If you’ve visited Tasmania in the past, then it’s guaranteed you missed a few worthy distillery trips.
It can seem overwhelming to try and plan to see everything on a vacation but don’t worry, because we’ve separated all the greatest Tasmanian distilleries into a convenient, 5-day tasmanian whisky trail, so you can get your fill of each Aussie whisky within a week-long vacation.
Take yourself on a self-guided Tasmania Whisky Tour
Day One: the Northwest
After you’re done soaking up the sun on those beautiful northern Tasmanian beaches, you’ll have a full list of distilleries within easy driving distance. No two northwestern Tasmanian distilleries are alike, so try to hit them all!
This distillery opened its doors just two short years ago, but its first product, a Contemporary Gin, has already been turning heads. It took home the gold medal at the Australian Gin Distillers Association awards in Sydney. Distillery tours are very affordable here and can be booked for one person, two people, or a whole group. But if you’re just stopping by for an hour, don’t miss their Blueberry Vodka.
This distillery has decades’ of experience crafting a fine single-malt whisky using water from the foothills of the Tasmanian highlands. Their whiskies are aged to perfection here, and they release brews on a strict schedule. Luckily, 2019 is a release year, so if you’re travelling to Tasmania soon, you might just hit the timing perfectly.
Another master of the single malt. Hellyers Road Distillery was built by some tenacious dairy farmers on the trail first forged by a courageous cartographer, Henry Hellyers. And their products certainly live up to this rich history. This distillery also has a delicious cafe overlooking the gorgeous Emu Valley, so stop here around lunchtime or whenever you’re ready for a bite to eat.
Mountain, Meadow, and Ocean gins are distilled here using copper pots and the pure water of the Tasmanian hinterlands. Southern Wild is smack-dab in the centre of Devonport, so you’ll get a great view of the city on your way there, as well as on your way out. And their signature gins sell out quickly, so if you have the chance, snag a three pack!
Day Two: the Northeast
There were simply too many excellent distilleries to leave the north of Tasmania for a single day. Sliding over to the east a bit, here are the five distilleries you should pay at least a short visit to on the second day of your taste-testing journey.
In the mood for some whisky education? Adams distillery is well-known for its friendly and knowledgeable employees, so come prepared to learn a thing or two. If you’re in the market for a wonderful souvenir, they make 20L wine casks on site.
The Corra Linn Distillery is home to a more citrus-y whisky, well-known for its body and spiced finish. The Corra Linn Distillery also sits atop a beautiful valley. It would be all too easy to spend the whole day here, sipping on their premium malts and enjoying the surrounding nature, but there are still two more distilleries in the northeast you won’t want to miss.
Stop here for whisky with a touch of ruggedness. These drinks are made in small batches and non-chill filtered. If you’re an animal lover, you’ll be pleased to know this distillery has a resident dog on-site for the petting.
Ironhouse is where you’ll get your fill of gin and tonic. This coastal distillery also makes a phenomenal stout and a collection of blended whiskies. If you’re feeling like a premium Adventure Beer, they’ll hook you up with that, as well.
The Launceston Distillery is a little piece of single malt history. Their adherence to traditional methods of whisky production makes this distillery a bastion of quality and consistency. This distillery is just one quick plane ride elsewhere, so place it last on the leg of your northeastern journey before you head off for central Tasmania.
Day Three: Central Tasmania
In central Tasmania, you’ll be able to take a few breaths. There are three must-see distilleries here before the next leg of your journey, so you’ll be able to spend a bit more time at each one, or squeeze in some other sightseeing activities if you want.
Come here to see the whole process in one place. Belgrove is one of the few distilleries in the world that does everything on site, from grain growing to barrel ageing. Belgrove is unique in its position as Australia’s original rye whisky and original white rye spirit. An afternoon spent here will satisfy even the pickiest whisky connoisseur.
And here we have Australia’s first premium highland single malt whisky. Really central Tasmania is where you need to be for all of Australia’s firsts of the whisky world. Nant frequently offers limited runs of special malts. This year it’s an American White Oak.
Another single malt treasure trove, no other distillery has quite the collection of liqueurs and vodkas. And don’t forget to check their calendar before you go, because there are always events going on!
Day Four: the South (Greater Hobart)
Buckle up, because the south is going to knock the wind out of you. Be prepared for a full day of non-stop, whisky-tasting action as you hit up as many of these 12 distilleries as you can.
7K specialises in modern spirits that are fresh, floral and fruity. A trip to 7K is worth it just to see the site. One glance and you’ll see that their spirits aren’t all that’s modern. Their distillery itself boasts some stunningly unique architecture.
Another distillery with an adorable dog on site. Deviant Distillery specialises in everything peaty and sweety. Their citrus products are home-grown, and their product lines routinely sell out within days of release. So don’t miss your chance to snag some of their delicious brews if the opportunity presents itself.
Whisky, moonshine -- this distillery has a unique twist on all of it. Think toffee, caramel, brown sugar and nutmeg. This is another distillery with a product in high demand, so don’t hesitate to snap up a bottle of something you enjoyed.
Heartwood creates a wide variety of brews thanks to their diverse roster of casks. You’ll find more than just a sherry cask at this distillery. They also use rum, port, Muscat and two types of tokay. They’ve quite a store of whisky, so you won’t go home empty-handed from Heartwood (though the brewers have been known to sneak away with the most phenomenal new makes for themselves).
You can’t go to Tasmania without seeing the Killara Distillery. One of the few distilleries owned and operated by a woman, Killara also donates a portion of some of their proceeds to charity, letting you feel good about buying your whisky. Everything here is made and bottled by hand for that extra bit of quality.
In 1992, Bill Lark and his family gave the Tasmanian malt whisky industry the jumpstart it needed to get going again. Lark recognised that Tasmania had all the necessary ingredients and climate for brewing exceptional whisky, and with that realization, Lark Distillery was born. For decades, this historic distillery has crafted some of Australia’s most delicious malt whiskies.
Nonesuch Distillery boasts a large selection of your classic gins, but they’ve also got some creative whiskies worth trying. Nonesuch is the home of hemp gin, a revolutionary new drink crafted Jenever-style from hemp seeds. You can’t leave Australia without giving it a try.
This boutique distillery deals exclusively in one of a kind run of hand-bottled whisky. Each brew is the result of years’ of experimentation, and no two batches are alike. There’s no replicating the malts you’ll find here, so enjoy the completely unique tasting experience.
This property is brimming with so much Tasmanian history, that you’d want to see it even if whisky wasn’t part of the equation. The distillery opened up on this historic landpoint to help preserve the history contained there. And of course the whisky’s not slouching, the award-winning Poltergeist Gin is truly remarkable.
Everything from summer gin cocktails to fortified wine. The whisky here ages anywhere from 9 to 18 years, and it is made will all-Tasmanian ingredients. Tasmanian water, known for its purity, makes the perfect canvas for Sullivan’s Cove to craft superb whiskies. And the Sullivan’s Cove Distillery itself is a sight to behold. If you didn’t have a dozen other places to go, you could easily lose your whole day here.
Day Five: the East Coast and Further Southern Tasmania
On the final leg of your journey, you’ll mark off the east coast and the last bit of the south. Tasmania’s unique resources and circumstances have made it the ideal place for whisky production and in the last few decades, the industry has really taken off. Even after these five days, you’ll probably have missed a few unique breweries, but that’s what’s most appealing about Tasmania. You can keep coming back, discovering more each time.
A distillery for vodka and gin. Come to this distillery for a taste of some exotic liqueurs, from coffee to limoncello. It’s a good palate switch up after days of mostly single malt whisky, and there’s no other distillery in Tasmania that’s going to bring you such original flavours.
Gin and single malt whisky aged by the ocean. Tasmanian rainwater is used in many distilleries, but Spring Bay is unique because they tint their collected rainwater with mist from the nearby sea, giving it a unique flavour.
This distillery makes gin atop Mount Arthur, where some of the world’s purest air can be breathed. And if you like what you taste, you can partner with them for charity sales where they will craft custom labels and help you use their premium gin to raise money for your cause.
The far south of Tasmania. The brews here are made with local botanical ingredients, creating a completely regional taste that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Built on a historic site, this distillery is a prime example of sustainability in the whisky business, proving that whisky production can work in harmony with the surrounding environment.
If you’ve been skimming over this itinerary looking for something that really stands out from the rest, here it is. Charles Oates is primarily an apple orchard, and it is from this orchard that Australia’s finest apple cider is crafted. And of course, there’s apple brandy, as well.
Trappers Hut is as much about the experience as it is about the whisky. With food pairing events, tastings, and cozy seats next to a roaring fire, you’ll definitely want to finish off your trip with this relaxing brewery. Sip on some of Tasmania’s finest drinks while enjoying the beautiful ocean view.
For more information on your favourite whiskies, visit Whisky Loot.