Hellyers Road Distillery, Tasmania.
We have lived literally minutes from Hellyers Road Distillery since our travel plans went a bit a bit sideways. We found ourselves not in Vietnam, but in Tasmania. And it’s been just over a year now since we made the move.
During this year, we have mentioned visiting the Hellyers Road numerous times, but somehow we never seemed to have paid a visit.
We regularly hear good things about the place from friends and it’s been suggested an amazing amount of times, but we got boring.
Yep, ever since Ronin was born, we have pretty much given up buying and drinking alcohol. Not for any reason in particular, it just sort of happened.
So this lack of alcohol, kind of put visiting a distillery on the back burner a bit.
But we had some family visiting Tasmania and after suggesting a few local places to visit, the distillery was mentioned.
Obviously since you’re reading this blog (and loving it), the decision was made to visit Hellyers Road Distillery.
Hellyers Road Distillery History
Hellyers Road Distillery is fairly unique when it comes to whisky distilleries.
The distillery was formed by a conglomerate of North West Tasmanian dairy farmers (Betta Milk).
Why do dairy farmers open a distillery? Well, it was a great way to diversify their business. And because these dairy farmers knew the quality ingredients and pristine waters of Tasmania would produce amazing whiskies.
Even the name of the distillery is unique. The distillery derives its name from the road built by a man named Henry Hellyer.
Henry was an architect and surveyor who explored most of the North West of Tasmania for the Van Diemen’s Land Company.
Henry lived a rather hard life full of highs and lows. He was the first European to reach the summit of Cradle Mountain, as well as designing the famous Highfield House.
However, life was a tough and dangerous affair for Henry. Surviving and camping rough in the isolated wilderness of North West Tasmania. A few dangerous confrontations with the local Aboriginal people. And bouts of depression, which they believe ultimately led to his suicide.
His name does live on though, not only through the distillery, but with many places around Tasmania bearing his name in honour of his pioneering spirit.
The whisky walk
Walking into the curved hallway, the first thing that hits you, and it really does hit you, is the aroma in the air.
You literally walk into what feels like an invisible wall of whisky mist. One thing is for sure, it certainly lets you know you’ve just started a whisky tour.
The strange thing about the whisky aroma is that it never seems to go away. If you focus on something else, it fades into the background slightly, but its always there, lingering and powerful.
From the curved hallway you arrive in the display room. The walls are covered in interesting facts and images about whisky and the history of Hellyer Road.
This is where the tour guide explains the whisky distillery process and the ingredients used to create whisky. As well as the cream liqueurs and vodka also made by Hellyers Road.
I found this part of the tour the most interesting. Learning about the in and outs of the distilling processes.
Like how oak barrels formerly used in the American bourbon industry are shipped and used in the Tasmanian whisky industry. Or how former Pinot Noir barrels from France are used to created the Pinot Noir whisky.
There is so much more whisky knowledge shared during the walk. It’s a very interesting and informative for whisky novices and whisky connoisseurs alike.
The tour ends with you and a whisky in hand (single malt or peated) overlooking the distillery area. You can’t actually walk through the distillery area due to health and safety reasons, but from the balcony you get a good overview of all the machinery involved in the distillery process.
The tour guide explains what each piece of equipment does and how it’s used during the distillery process, and then the all important part begins. How to properly drink a whisky.
Apparently you don’t just mix your whisky with cola and knock them back as fast as you can like I did in my more youthful days. The process sounded a bit dubious to me, but I must admit, the taste and aroma dramatically improved using this method.
From here you can take a peak at one of Hellyers Roads storage areas and see the hundreds of barrels full of the different types of whiskies produced by Hellyers Road slowly ageing ready for someone to enjoy in years to come.
Bottle your own whisky
For an additional cost, people who take the whisky walk have the option at the end of the tour to pour and wax seal their very own bottle of whisky. A personally bottled whisky makes a nice souvenir to take home and enjoy.
The whisky tour goes for around 40 minutes and costs $19.50 per person. (Children may accompany adults. People under 16 years old are free)
Tours depart daily from 10.30am, 11.30am, 2.00pm and 3.00pm (closed public holidays)
Hellyers Road has an onsite licensed cafe which prepares a really broad selection of different dishes. These dishes range from soups, salads, gourmet burgers to tasting plates.
The cafe aims to promote local Tasmanian produce from around the region. This local produce can be seen in dishes as the smoked ocean trout, the slow cooked lamb shanks or rainbow trout.
We haven’t dined here as yet, so we are unable to give you our honest opinions. But we have heard good things about the food here and it regularly gets good reviews.
The visitors centre also has a shop for you to purchase a wide range of Hellyers Road products.