Trip Tips: Living the good life way, way Down Under

Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:41am EST
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By Matt Siegel

HOBART, Australia (Reuters) - There was a time, not all that long ago, when the remote island of Tasmania off Australia's southern coast was the most feared destination in the British Empire.

But that was before all the sparkling wine, artisanal cheese and rare breed pork.

Once a penal colony, Tasmania has transformed into a destination for both foodies and art aficionados, drawn in by a boutique gourmet scene obsessed with fresh, local produce and the cutting edge Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).

The capital, Hobart, has a small-town feel light years away from the beachside glamour of Sydney, 1,000 km (650 miles) to the north, its sandstone cottages huddling beneath the imposing figure of Mt. Wellington.

Chef Ross O'Meara arrived in 2008 after more than 20 years cooking in Europe and Asia, opening Bruny Island Food on a small farm with his wife.

On a bright Sunday morning, O'Meara stood hawking jars of creamy rillettes - a sort of pork pate - and rustic pork sausages from his stand at Hobart's weekly Farm Gate Market.

"It is not necessarily an easy life here, but what I consider a good life," he told Reuters.

For a crash course in gastronomy, Tasmania style, look no further than the Taste of Tasmania festival held from late December to early January.   Continued...

A visitor looks at an exhibit at the cutting edge Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) located on the outskirts of the capital city of Hobart December 31, 2014. REUTERS/Matt Siegel