I hosted a golf group from Singapore to Tasmania in December 2017 that was probably one of the most fun groups I have had the pleasure to escort. There was 6 couples and 4 single ladies who travel each year to a golfing destination. Usually, they stick to Asia, however this was the first time the group have visited Tasmania for golf.
Christina Tan was the group leader, and the brief was to combine great golf experiences with some local touring and enjoying the famous Tasmanian food & wine products. I did my best to get the combination right, and certainly the group were very satisfied with the Itinerary & experiences.
I met the group at Launceston Airport after an overnight flight from Singapore and some transit time in Melbourne and then we made the short transfer to Sebel Launceston which would be their base for the next few days. The next day we were off by private coach on the 1 ½ hour’s drive through the Tamar Valley to Barnbougle Links Resort. Barnbougle is an amazing golfing destination, located 80 kilometres north east of Launceston, just near the seaside fishing village of Bridport. There are two purpose-built links courses, the older Dunes course and the newer Lost Farm course. Both are constructed within and around the sand dunes of the Forrester River, and sit adjacent to Bass Strait.
Both courses have famous American designers, Tom Doak (Dunes) and Bill Coore (Lost Farm) and are designed on the lines of the famous British and Irish links courses. The Dunes is only 10 years old, but looks like it has been around for a hundred years. The Dunes course is Australian Golf Digest #1 Public Access course in Australia … Lost Farm is #2! The group played the Lost Farm course and its unique 20-hole layout. Each golf day the group had a different golf attire then and this day was “partners”. It was very colourful and lots of fun!
The next day was a non-golfing one where the group did a cruise along the Tamar River and went up into the reaches of the Tamar to Cataract Gorge. Following the cruise, the group did a visit to the Boags Brewery before spending a leisurely lunch at what is one of the best Wineries & Restaurant in Tasmania. The Josef Chromy Winery is a short drive south east of Launceston with a high-class restaurant with the accent on local produce paired with seasonal wines in a relaxed and up-scale environment.
The following day was a round of golf at beautiful Launceston Golf Club. Launceston Golf Club is the best private club in Northern Tasmania, and has been established for over 100 years. It is an enjoyable parkland course with lots of dog-legs and ponds to make the course as challenging as you require depending on which tees you use. It was another colourful event with the group dressed in the Singapore national colours of red & white! The group finished the day with a walking tour of Cataract Gorge and a ride on the longest chair lift in the Southern Hemisphere and then dinner at the Gorge restaurant was a great way to finish their short visit to Launceston.
An early start the next day had the group on the road and heading to Hobart via the historic stage coach town of Ross. I would recommend using Ross as a stop for the drive between Launceston & Hobart. It is like a step back in time to the colonial days of “landed gentry” and agriculture as the main source of wealth and employment. It has some beautiful churches ands visit to the cemeteries will show you the incredible history & age of the area.
An hour & a half later and we were entering Hobart city with the Salamanca Markets the major focus of the group (especially the ladies). Only held on a Saturday, our timing was spot on, and the group spent the afternoon exploring this unique Hobart marketplace. Once the group were checked in to the famous & luxurious Wrest Point Resort, it was dinner at Constitution Dock, before a visit to the Wrest Point Casino and then to bed in preparation for their last round of golf.
Tasmania Golf Club is a private club located around Barilla Bay, about 15 minutes’ drive from the city centre. It is a spectacular course surrounded on three sides by the waters of Barilla Bay, with magnificent views across to Sorrel, Coal Valley and back to Hobart. Tasmania Golf Club was regarded by the group as a memorable golfing experiences and we celebrated by heading back to the city for a very late Yum Char lunch and a couple of bottles of Coal Valley wine and local Cascade beer.
Some more time at the Wrest Point Casino that night brought the golf tour to an end the next day. I flew out with the group to Melbourne and said my goodbyes on what has been one of my most enjoyable golf hostings. I get to do it again later this year as the group have asked me to arrange a golf trip to Adelaide in late 2018. I am looking forward to meeting this lovely group again for another “great golfing experience”!