Silo Hotel

A stay in a silo hotel has been on Majella’s list for years and today it was time to tick it off. Storm Bay B&B to Launceston is about 270 km and we could drive it 3.5 to 4 hours but I expected it might take 6 hours or a bit more with stops for sightseeing and refreshments.

Breakfast at 8:00 am was an encore of yesterday. By 9:00 am we were packed and on the road. At Eaglehawk Neck we turned right to check out the sights at Tasman Arch and the Blowhole.

There was light rain as we arrived at Tasman Arch so we took our umbrellas for some protection. The viewpoint for the arch was just a short walk from the car. Just beyond the safety fence was a large deep hole in the sandstone and beyond that was the arch – a hole through to the ocean with a thick sandstone bridge above. Waves crashed through and water swirled in the hole which is being slowly enlarged.

A track went off to the left and it seemed it might go around the hole and over the arch. We followed it around to a lookout that offered a view over the cliffs and ocean beyond the arch. The weather was whipping up the sea so there was much to see as waves crashed against the rocks and sent plumes of foam into the air far below.

We must have passed over the arch as we followed the track further along the coast toward the Devil’s Kitchen but the bridge was wide enough and sufficiently well vegetated that we could not see where it must have dropped away on both sides. The Devil’s Kitchen is another narrow inlet with a collapsed roof and waves crashing in. The old car park close by has been closed off and we guessed that there must be some concern about eventual collapse into the hole.

On the way back to Eaglehawk Neck we stopped to see the blowhole and Fossil Bay. Fossil Bay faces the ocean and there was much crashing and splashing of waves against the rocky cliffs and shelves. Most impressive were the towers of spray that erupted as waves reflected from the cliffs met those coming in from the sea. The blowhole was comparatively calm though still frothing as water from the waves crashing outside came through a narrow tunnel into the opening.

Had the weather been warmer and drier we might have watched for longer but our endurance was limited. We headed back across Eaglehawk Neck and on to Dunalley and Sorrell before turning north toward Campania. Somewhere beyond Campania Majella began musing about coffee. She had expected we might make it to Oatlands for morning coffee but lunch time was fast approaching. We toughed it out.

David had recommended a bakery in Oatlands that had a display of Errol Flynn movie memorabilia. A quick search of Google had found TKO Bakery but as we drove though Oatlands looking for it I found on Google Maps that it was permanently closed. Instead we prowled the streets admiring the old stone buildings and stopped for lunch at a pancake and crepe shop. Majella had a pastie and I had a crepe with chilli con carne. We both had the coffees we had been craving.

Ross had also been recommended by David as worth a look. We drove off the highway and across the old stone bridge built by convicts in the 1830s. A sign led us to the site of the female factory but it was just the site with few remnants of the historical buildings. We stopped near the bridge for photos and walked up to the old church, now Uniting, on top of the nearby hill. On the way out of town we stopped at the Tasmanian Wool Centre. There were lots of things we might have bought if we had won a lottery but we enjoyed looking before driving on toward Launceston.

By then I had set our navigation to the Old Umbrella Shop where Majella was determined to buy an upgraded replacement for her collapsing umbrella. After a false start with an app to pay for metered parking (it wanted too much information and money) we found an unmetered 15 minute space near the shop. The top of line folding umbrella had been engineered in New Zealand for windy Wellington and would have been a nice match for our blue car but Majella thought $99 seemed too much for something she might lose. She opted for a mid-range umbrella with images of places she might like to travel to.

With that errand completed we headed off to check in at Peppers Silo Hotel. I discovered at reception that covered parking was closed because of the weekend running event but we were lucky enough to find a vacated spot in the hotel front parking lot. When we got to the 7th floor Majella was elated and relieved to find that our room was in one of the old silos rather than across the corridor in the equally pleasant but not so exotic rooms in the new part of the building.

Renovation of the silos has been done by inserting floors to make 9 levels and splitting each circular space into two semicircular rooms. That is similar to the arrangement in the pigeonnier that we rented while in Normandy in 2017. We have a large window looking across the Tamar to the city and Cataract Gorge. The room has excellent fittings and is spacious enough to include bed, chaise lounge, chair, and desk but still have ample free space. 

It is really very comfortable. Actually it is so comfortable that Majella was not inclined to leave, even for dinner. We went downstairs about 5:00 pm to see what the restaurant offered and booked a table for 6:00 pm. While waiting for that we enjoyed the last of the cheese and crackers we had bought yesterday with a glass of the Pinot Noir that was part of the deal.

For dinner we both enjoyed the pork chop with onion, beans, olives, and fennel purée. After a substantial lunch that was more than enough and we declined dessert before going back up to enjoy our view of Launceston city lights.