There’s a time machine on the Bass Highway, halfway between Stanley and Burnie on Tasmania’s northwest coast, and it serves the lamington of my dreams.

“I just want to pop in here for a second,” said my travel companion as she pulled over, somewhat annoyingly delaying our next stop – lunch. From the outside, the white tin building had all the appeal of a farm shed but that simple facade was just a disguise.

The first thing you see on entering Sisters Creek Hall is an expansive op shop – one part ’70s vinyl and vintage Qantas cabin bags to four parts Victorian tea sets and glassware.

Again, this is another ruse. It distracted me for a little but only a little, because at the back of the building, I sensed, was where the real action was.

There was a hum, an energy, and it led me to the hall’s raison d’etre. Cakes. Okay cakes and pies. And ice cream. All homemade. And what’s that? Was I dreaming? No. Cakes were two dollars; pies were three.

If the prices are from another time, so is the decor. About 100 laboriously collected and framed sepia photographs line the walls (someone once came in wanting to know why their great grandparents were up there), and lace tablecloths float over tables scattered with sandwiches, cakes and pots of tea.

That this tearoom in the middle of nowhere could be so busy at 11.30am on a Tuesday made it feel like I’d stumbled across a secret society, one that clearly drew its members from all walks of life.

There were farm workers, business reps, retired couples and travellers like me, all lining up for a piece of the pie (or raspberry and coconut slice, or doughnut). Some were even taking a dozen home for later.

No one needs cake but that lamington in the cabinet just looked so damn tempting. Its edges were uneven and squidged, clearly rolled in chocolate and coconut by someone’s fair hands. I bought it to eat later – then broke off a corner just to see what it was like – dense golden sponge, soaked in sweet goo. Then I took a bite. Then another. I’ll stop at half, I said to myself, knowing lunch was 20 minutes away, but before I knew it the whole thing was gone.

Cuppa, Cake & Collectables: 17894 Bass Highway, Sisters Creek, Tasmania. Open seven days, 10am-4pm.


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This article originally appeared on Escape and was reproduced with permission