Tasmania steals the hearts of these Queensland tourists
A three-week Tassie holiday sparked a love affair with the small town of Mole Creek. Now local business owners, Joshua and Karen are not heading back.
While on a three-week Tasmanian holiday, Joshua and Karen Boothman fell in love with a tiny dot on the Tasmanian map, Mole Creek. Purchasing an old farmer’s cottage on the popular driving route to Cradle Mountain, they have since opened bustling Earthwater Café.
Joshua and Karen Boothman were feeling the heat in their home state of Queensland. Temps were soaring. They could sense the winds of change – their two children nearing adulthood and Joshua having spent years operating an IT database delivery business while Karen worked in hospitality. So, in 2015 they set off on a holiday to the cooler climes of Tasmania.
It was during this break that they booked into Mole Creek Caravan Park and fell in love with the place, a tiny township about an hour from Launceston, en route to Cradle Mountain and the Marakoopa and King Solomon Caves. It just so happened an old farm house with established gardens came onto the market just up the road from the caravan park. The Boothman’s swooped.
“We had the whole family with us in a campervan and as we came over the Gog Range, which scared us a little, and pulled into Mole Creek Caravan Park that was it,” smiles Karen. “Out of everywhere in Tasmania it just grabbed us. We then came back and found the cottage for sale, rented it out while our children finished school then made the move here.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Boothman’s transition to Tasmania. Just before they were about to renovate, a once-in-90-year flood came through, knocking down walls and destroying foundations of the cottage. Although a devastating time, the couple were able to re-build with flood mitigation in mind.
Today, Earthwater Café bustles with locals and passing travellers appreciative of the rustic, fresh style of food on offer. Outdoor seating is scattered through the gardens, the Sassafras Creek bubbles along nearby and views stretch out to Mount Roland.
“We always wanted to work together and from home – Earthwater allows us to do that,” explains Joshua. “I love gardening so have built the veggie patch while Karen takes the helm in the kitchen. Since we opened in late 2018, we’ve been flat out. We did move as a lifestyle choice, so we’re hoping we’ll have time to get out and explore more of Tasmania in time.”
The café operates six days a week during the summer months, open for breakfast and lunch from 8am to 5pm (closed Wednesday) as well as for dinners on Friday and Saturday evening, while opening 9am to 4pm, Friday to Sunday during the winter.
The Boothman’s have a mix of about half locals and half tourists, with plenty of regulars coming in for their home-grown menu, the likes of Cave Side porterhouse steak from the Deloraine Butcher and fresh eggs from the ‘Happy Chook Farm’ nearby where free ranging chickens are so spoiled they have their own caravans to reside in.
“The locals have been amazing and we are so grateful to the community for how they have welcomed us,” says Karen. “Especially during our first winter when the tourist trade dropped off, the locals kept us going. We’d put on the fire and make it cosy for them. There are many farms scattered around the region across Cave Side, Western Creek and we get locals from Sheffield half an hour away that come regularly. We opened of an evening mainly for this local trade who have been so good to us.”
Earthwater Café can seat up to 65 guests through the summer months and about half that number through winter when cool weather inhibits use of outdoor seating. They have a cast of seven casual employees, all of whom came to the café seeking work and two who are in their first working roles.
Now heading into their third year of living at Mole Creek, the couple could not be happier. They work to be as self sufficient as possible, with plans for extension of the garden where they are currently sourcing their own carrots, beetroots, salad greens, zucchini, parsley and more. All the café’s food waste is composted and then heads back into the garden from which it came.
“Into the future we aim to be even more sustainable and we’d like to have a little market garden with perhaps an honesty box in our barn. We currently can’t keep up with demand in the café, going through ten kilos of tomatoes every four days, so we’d love to expand in this area,” adds Karen.
The couple love their Tasmanian lives and are looking forward to the cool of winter and getting the fire roaring for their guests.
Find out more about Earthwater Cafe.Are you interested in making a move? Make it Tasmania.
For information on starting a business in Tasmania look through our stories or visit Business Tasmania.