The Hobart

Tarraleah and the Search for The Fluffy Highland Cows

by Peta Hen
Tarraleah and the Search for The Fluffy Highland Cows

When I was thinking of a rejuvenating weekend getaway for our ten-year wedding anniversary recently, wandering through fields searching for fluffy, longhorned cows wasn’t what I had in mind. But as it turns out, that’s exactly what we needed. Nestled on a mountain top in Tassie’s central highlands is the tiny town of Tarraleah; the place that stole our hearts.  

First built in the 1930s by Tasmania’s Hydro Electric Commision as a township for their workforce, Tarraleah is nestled among native alpine forests, rolling fields, steep ravines and huge, steel pipelines. You would think such massive structural elements would detract from the immense beauty of the place, however they, in fact, added to it.

Hydroelectric pipelines

As the winding road out of Ouse climbed up the mountain, the strong scent of fresh eucalyptus and pine was the first taste of what was to come. My hubby and I were a little dubious of how to enter the tiny town at first as there are two turn offs you can take, but as soon as we caught sight of the huge steel pipelines, we knew we were on the right track. We followed them right up to our accommodation for the weekend, Tarraleah Lodge.

Full autumn splendour

On arrival, we were greeted by our host and personal breakfast chef, before being led into the decadent lodge lounge. We were immediately immersed in cosy 1920s decor, wall to wall whisky cabinets and misty mountain top views while sipping our complimentary champagne as we toured the lodge’s facilities.

Tarraleah Lodge and garden

We booked the King William suite for the weekend because, of course, private outdoor spa bath! I’m always a sucker for one whenever we go away. The large room shared the same boujee decor as the lounge and had its own with a private deck that overlooked the deep ravine beside the town. The weather was cold and gloomy and perfect for spending our first hours in Tarraleah hiding away in the comfort of the lodge.

Open air wooden hot tub

It was already dusk when we arrived, so we saved exploring the rest of the town for the next day – we only ventured out of the lodge that night for dinner to the Tarraleah pub, a short walk down the hill from the lodge to the main town village. The pub was warm with an amazing beer garden lined with geraniums and spider plants. The food was fantastic, as was the selection of Tasmanian wines and tap beers. They even had their own highland lager, named Fat Cow after the highland cows that had drawn me to Tarraleah in the first place.

Breakfast the next morning was prepared personally for us – poached eggs with all the trimmings and the best mini sausages I’ve ever tasted. All fuelled up, we headed out on our first mission for the day: explore the town. Our wedding anniversary is during Autumn, which turns out to be one of the best times to visit Tarraleah. The trees were in full golden splendor which contrasted beautifully against the bright, pastel-coloured cottages. These were once the homes of the Hydro Electric Commission workers which were repurposed to become part of the numerous accommodation options when Tarraleah was famously bought as a whole in 2005. We chatted with the groundsman who kindly shared with us directions to the various walking tracks, before we set off on our next and most important mission of the weekend: find the fluffy cows. After twenty minutes, we found the gentle, hairy giants lulling about behind the lake along the Quoll track. They paid no mind to us as we gawked and gushed over how cute and fluffy they were, living their best lives amongst the lush, green marshlands.

Breakfast in the Lodge

By the afternoon, the rain had well and truly settled in, however this only enhanced the incredible scenic views as we soaked in the lodge’s open air wooden hot tub which overlooked the valley below. What an end to an incredibly rejuvenating trip. After breakfast the next morning, we bid farewell to the incredible, tiny town, following the same steel pipelines down the mountain while planning our next escape back to Tarraleah: the tiny Tassie town with the fluffy highland cows.

Love this

Close
Cold Water Wake Up Call
It seems everywhere I turn someone is talking about or participating in cold water swimming right now.
A Short Geelong Getaway
Since the Spirit of Tasmania terminal moved from Melbourne to Geelong late last year, a visit to Geelong has been on the radar.
27 Hobart Friends Get Snipping For One Off Wine
The borders were declared shut in Tasmania on the 30th of March, 2020; the first stare to do so amid the COVID- 19 pandemic and hard lockdown of Hobart followed.
Danphe Nepalese and Indian Food + Peppermint Bay Bar and Bistro
Nepalese food is a comfort in our house. Having spent much time trekking and mountain climbing in Nepal as a younger man, Nepalese food is something I always love to go back to.
That’s DR Hannah Gadsby To You
From Smithton to Netflix and the Emmys stage, Tasmanian stand up comic Hannah Gadsby has forged an unlikely path. Following on from the massive success of her shows Nanette and Douglas, Hannah brings her new show Body of Work to Hobart this month.
PODCAST: Incat founder Robert Clifford on why electric boats are the future
Robert Clifford is the founder of Incat, a Hobart company building fast ferries for the world. Always looking to future opportunities, he has identified where Hobart sits in the next wave of transportation. For more of this interview listen to The Hobart Magazine podcast.
Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?
Tasmanian forests are special. They’re home to centuries-old trees, including the tallest flowering trees on the planet, and support unique native species. Yet not everyone agrees on how these forests should be managed.
Hobart Chefs: When The Obsession Becomes Real
Tasmania’s brand as a foodie haven is cemented. But within the local hospitality industry there are those who love to use local produce...and those who are next-level obsessed with it. We spoke to a bunch of Hobart chefs who are top of the game when it comes to fostering relationships with local farmers and growers.
Did You Know Australia’s First Female Doctor Was Hobartian?
Tasmania, despite its small size and population in comparison to the mainland, has produced more than its proportionally predicted percentage of significant figures and heroes of Australian history. 
Return Travellers Adding Pressure to Hobart Housing
For all of us 2020 was a year like no other, punctuated by rapid change and plenty of new challenges. For vulnerable people in Tasmania, including people facing homelessness, those on low incomes and those facing increasingly higher rents, it was very challenging. We are seeing a growing demand for homes in Tassie from international travellers returning home, people moving for work and others seeking the lifestyle that our Apple Isle has to offer.
Magazine
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
February 2024

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!