Unbelievably, it’s fifteen years since we took the plunge and moved to Tasmania. We loved it from the moment we got here and haven’t looked back. Here are eight things we’ve loved the best.
Gained a Sense of Space
We’ve got five acres. That sounded huge when we first got here, but now we realise it’s tiny. We’re surrounded by small acreage blocks, small farms, open paddocks and pockets of bush. It really is the idyll we came looking for.
Got to Know our Neighbours
If you move to small acreage like we did, your neighbours are further away. But you might find you know them better. When we lived in Brisbane, our friends were scattered across the city. Going to see them was a palaver.
Here, we can only just see our immediate neighbours houses, but we know pretty much everyone on our road. We don’t live in each other’s pockets, but we hang out with some. And we know way more people in our community.
Drunk Better Wine
We live in a wine region. Yay! Everywhere you look, there are north-facing slopes striped with vines. And it’s not just any old wine they’re producing, but some of Australia’s most premium drops. The area around Piper’s River produces sparkling wine which is now held to rival Champagne.
Started a Farm
After watching too many episodes of River Cottage, we bought some Wessex Saddleback pigs, and started a farm and food business, selling pork cuts, sausages and bacon in Launceston’s award winning farmers’ market. It was bonkers, and financially unadvisable, but we had a ball. Ten years after starting our farm, we closed it. This too is one of the Best Things We’ve Done.
Our adventures in the pork ‘underbelly’ of the gourmet farming world will be featured in my next book Saddleback Wife, due out at the end of 2021. Keep an eye on social media, or subscribe to my mailing list for news.
Ate Better Food
Becoming gourmet farmers went to our head and we found ourselves being more appreciative , and more picky, when we ate out. Tasmania has outstanding places to eat, from fine-dining restaurants to bistros and coffee shops. Most take the trouble to source their ingredients locally.
We’ve grown a lot of our own food in a vegetable garden. Oliver made delicious sausages, and now he bakes sourdough. We’ve done food-swaps for wine, salmon, lemons, berries, quinces. And we’ve been stallholders at farmers markets and events where we’ve eaten and shopped like kings and queens of the providore. Food is truly one of Tasmania’s riches.
My husband Oliver once fancied himself an alpaca-whisperer. He purchased two pregnant mares and soon the caramel coloured Charlie and Sophie were born. We woke up on cold winter mornings to see them covered in frost, watched them freshly shorn and gambolling around the paddocks, and fed them overshot broccoli from the garden.
Alpacas are the best and cheapest way to keep the grass in your paddocks mown, and they’re delightful, as long as you don’t annoy them. Because then, the spitting. Euw.
Wrote a Book!
Many people reinvent themselves when they come to Tasmania. I started a blog when we got here, and had material coming out of my ears. Eventually, that turned into a book about the first few years: Apple Island Wife – Slow Living in Tasmania – available in paperback and e-book from online booksellers.
Raised our Kids
We wanted to put down roots for raising a family. When we moved, we were about to have our second child. It was the best time, as we made instant friends through playgroup and then school. If we’d thought about it, we might not have moved so far away from family. Still, we’ve ended up living in a place we love, which is one of the rare places in the world where one can feel safe. Our kids love their island home. Now teenagers, they are coming to appreciate what we have here, in the face of the world’s many perils.
They used to say that when landing in Tasmania, you’d move your watches back by an hour and your attitudes by ten years. We think that’s a good thing. We’ve finally found the life we wanted, had incredible adventures and become part of a community with a lifestyle we love.
If you’re thinking of moving to Tasmania, it’s all here waiting for you, these and many other great things.
About Fiona Stocker
Fiona Stocker is an English writer now living in Australia. She is the author of Apple Island Wife, a book about country life in Tasmania. She offers Manuscript Assessment services for writers of short stories, memoir, fiction and nonfiction, and is enrolled in the MA in Writing and Literature at Deakin University. Find more at www.fionastocker.com and subscribe there for news of upcoming books.