Growing his passion
When Travis moved from Sydney in 2016, working remotely allowed him keep his job and start his vineyard
When Travis Klerck and his young family were visiting Tasmania, they fell in love with a vineyard overlooking Lake Barrington in north west Tasmania. After deciding to move a year later, rolling off the Spirit of Tasmania with plans to buy a house, that very vineyard popped up for sale.
Call it serendipitous. Or call it a family with a brand new vineyard and no home. When the vineyard came up for sale, they simply could not resist. Fortunately, Travis’ parents had moved to Tasmania two decades earlier and provided a base in Hobart for them to settle in during the early weeks.
With two young children in tow, the family moved from Sydney in 2016. Mother, Bree, quickly found work in Hobart and Travis was fortunate to continue full time in his role as National ICT Manager for Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA). Far from Bondi Beach, he was able to relocate to the Tasmanian headquarters in Mornington, southern Tasmania.
“I was really fortunate that SLSA asked if I’d like to continue my role via distance from our State Office here,” explains Travis. “Essentially I look after all the IT operations and support the team, just as I did from the Bondi office. I can also assist Surf Life Saving Tasmania on the ground here if they need help with events, training sessions and the like.”
“From an IT perspective, what I love about working at SLSA is there are so many different facets. For competition I may be working on new scanning technology for real time results at the finish line, with lifesaving there are apps now tracking assets such as jet rescue boats, then there is the community and education aspect of what we do. It’s always changing. And I can do it right here from my laptop at Lake Barrington.”
Travis had studied viticulture many years before, but couldn’t rely on this former knowledge alone. He and his retired father Derek, packed their school bags and headed off to TAFE (Clarence Campus) together for a year-long viticulture course in 2017.
“It was really a baptism of fire,” smiles Travis. “We had to learn on the job. The course was great in that it followed the natural seasonal transitions of the vineyard – so we’d learn about pruning when it was time to prune – and so forth. Being able to come here with my Dad and have big campfires and spend time together has been fantastic. With my parents having moved here years ago, most of my adulthood I haven’t spent much time with them. The kids love it too. They run around in nature and get grubby, it’s just what we imagined for them.”
Renamed Lake Barrington Estate, the family are busily working to renovate the former tasting room into a couple’s escape, complete with outdoor bath. West Kentish views spill down to Lake Barrington and up behind the vineyard, Mount Roland stands proud.
“We just saw so much potential here,” says Travis, “and it’s such a change from the pace and commuting of Sydney. When I stay at the vineyard it’s really, really quiet. At night there’s just one little light on the hill. One person’s home. That’s it.”
Established by the Taylor family in 1984, the vineyard is well known for its Alexandra Sparkling, made in the traditional French method by Frogmore Creek Winery and aged seven years. Travis is hoping to diversify over time with a wider range of wines and the accommodation element. He has since introduced Wild NV Brut, also made by Frogmore and will soon be releasing a Chardonnay made by Pooley Wines where father Derek helps in the cellar door part time. It’s the first Chardonnay that Lake Barrington has produced since 2003, which was an award-winning wine for the vineyard.
“Though we’re based in Hobart, having the vineyard has allowed us to meet so many people from the community. There’s a neighbour up the road who helped with the plumbing, another who runs cattle and helps us with his tractor, local kids come and help out with pruning and picking. There’s just a really great sense of togetherness here,” he adds.
As a family who have moved to Tasmania, Travis suggests that others do their research first to make sure they find the lifestyle they are seeking. “Knowing what kind of life you want to set up in terms of living close to the city or on a farm – I didn’t realise you can buy a beautiful farm in the Huon Valley and be just 25 minutes from Hobart. It’s important to consider what you want out of the place and what kind of life you want.”
Though Mount Field and Friendly Beaches remain popular hot spots for the family to escape to when not tending to the vines, Travis notes that the warm springs in Kimberly, not far from the vineyard, is a local secret he loves.
Are you interested in making a move? Make it Tasmania.
Find out more about Lake Barrington Vineyard.
For information on starting a business in Tasmania look through our stories or visit Business Tasmania.
Have you worked, or are you currently working remotely in Tasmania? We’d like to here from you. The Tasmanian Government is looking to make it easier for organisations to allow employees to work remotely in Tasmania. If you have previously worked, or are currently working remotely in Tasmania, we want to hear from you. Online forums will be held on 8 and 9 December 2020 for people who would be willing to share their insights into what may be their perceived or actual barriers to moving and working from Tasmania. The Tasmanian Government is keen to hear from people currently based outside Tasmania and understand their appetite for working from Tasmania. For more information and to register, click here.