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The colour purple

Explore the fragrant beauty of Tasmania’s lavender farms.

By Paul Robinson and Georgia Rickard
Published: 15 December, 2017

With its dramatic mountain ranges, clear waters and clean, sweeping beaches, Tasmania is well-known for its photogenic charms. Who knew it was also an ideal location for growing lavender? One man did – or so the story goes. English perfumer CK Denny allegedly arrived here with a packet of French lavender seeds in his back pocket in 1921. In Tasmania he discovered a climate, and soil conditions, similar to that of France’s famous lavender-growing region, Provence; by 1924, the island’s first lavender farm was thriving.

Today, Tasmania is home to the largest lavender fields in the Southern Hemisphere, drawing visitors from across the world with their beauty. It’s not hard to see why.

Tasmania's lavender farms

Bridestowe Lavender Estate

A 40-minute drive from Launceston, in the north-east corner of Tasmania, you’ll find the world’s largest privately owned fine lavender farm, Bridestowe Lavender Estate. The farm is quite breathtaking at any time of year – its fields cover a spectacular 105 hectares (260 acres), with Mount Arthur looming in the distance – but most visitors time their visit with lavender season. From December to February each year, the fields explode in brilliant colour as some 650,000 plants bloom with purple flowers; the rows of lavender stretch for almost 200 kilometres (120 miles). The farm uses its lavender to create everything from soap and hand cream to lavender-flavoured tea. After you’ve admired the view, try some of the farm’s vanilla and lavender-flavoured ice cream at the on-site cafe.

Port Arthur Lavender Farm

Closer to Hobart, you can explore Port Arthur Lavender Farm, where more than 16,000 plants are grown beside a picturesque lake in Long Bay. Set on 7.3 hectares (18 acres), the farm creates a range of lavender-infused and -inspired products, from soaps, skincare and bath salts to lavender honey, linen spray made from recycled lavender waste water and stationery created from lavender stems, all of which you can buy in the gift shop. In the cafe you’ll find a larder of lavender treats, including delicious lavender ice-cream. Speaking of which, if you have a sweet tooth, you should be sure to take some lavender fudge and chocolate away with you — for emergencies, of course.

The farm is also just five minutes from the World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site convict penal colony –  a must-see for any visitor to Tasmania. 

Lavender House

At Rowella, a 35-minute drive north from Launceston along the Tamar Valley Wine Route, you’ll discover the award-winning Lavender House, Tasmania’s only working perfumery. Here you can find a small field of lavender, used to create the pure essential oil used in the shop’s range of products, but the real attractions are indoors. Watch the manufacturing process through a giant observation window, or explore the wide range of perfume, natural remedies, aromatherapy and personal body care products created from pure Tasmanian lavender — the result of more than two decades’ painstaking research and development. The perfumery originally began as a hobby – owners Louis and Francis Mamo first sold their products at markets in the 1980s, eventually establishing the perfumery in 1991. 

What about Australia's native flowers?