Aug
12
2013

There is plenty to enjoy in the world of food and fine dining in Tasmania. Not only are there are a number of fantastic restaurants and cafes, there are statewide full-on taste experiences with which foodies can delight their tastebuds.

The Agrarian Kitchen is one destination food-lovers should check out. It's based in Lachlan – approximately a 45 minute drive from Hobart. This wonderful location is a sustainable, farm-based cooking school.

You can wander through its vast all-organic vegetable garden, berry patch, herb garden and orchard – and you might even get a look at some pigs, chickens, alpine goats and geese!
Rodney Dunn leads the Kitchen's cooking classes and brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge, as former food editor of Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine and former apprentice to famous chef Tetsuya Wakuda.

The Kitchen offers a variety of classes, from a full-on 'Agrarian experience' to making macarons, cooking with truffles and an introduction to pastry – and that's just a small selection of what's on offer.

The Agrarian experience is a great example of how the Kitchen operates as well as its philosophy towards food and the art of eating. Students of the day hunt around in the garden for their fruits and veggies while local farmers and producers provide a number of other ingredients. Then as a group, the food is prepped and cooked – making great use of a wood-fired oven. At the end of the day lunch is served with some beautiful Tassie wines. 

The Kitchen also offers fun for the whole family, with "The Little Agrarian" available for kids. They get a whole sensory experience around the farm and gardens – including the fun of collecting chicken eggs and feeding piglets – and this helps them to appreciate food grown sustainably. Of course, they also get to spend some time in the kitchen cooking what they've found on the farm – a great day out.

Book well ahead.

Other schools you should check out are run by Sally Wise, the Red Feather at Hadspen near Launceston, Sylvia’s, the Companion Bakery at Oatlands using flour from the mill, Alps and Amici, and The Bottega Rotolo cooking classes held in Tasmania on a regular schedule.

Agrarian Kitchen and Rodney Dunn

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Aug
11
2013

It might surprise you that Tasmania isn't just one solitary island – it is actually surrounded by some other nearby spots of land in the sea too!

Flinders Island is one of mainland Tasmania's floating friends and has its own set of special features and drawcards which make it a fantastic place to explore. It was discovered in 1773 when Captain Cook's support ship came across it in fog. Early Europeans nearly drove fur seals to extinction from this island and its surrounding waters were treacherous, but these days it's a beautiful place to visit.

Some of its particularly striking sights include Mount Strzelecki (part of a national park) various rugged and untouched beaches and stark granite cliffs that the most adventurous and experienced of climbers can even try and climb on the famous Mount Killiecrankie.

There are hiking tracks encompassing a wander up Mount Strzelecki so if you'd like to give your legs a good challenge then these are definitely recommended. You'll also get to see some great views along the way, and once you make it to the top.

The nearby Furneaux Museum will also fill you in on Flinders' fascinating history with a number of historical Aboriginal items, information on the local bird life and artefacts harking back to other whaling and sealing days.

There are a few unique things to do on this island, such as exploring shipwreck sites nearby. Tasmania has seen more than its fair share of wrecks due to prevailing high winds and often rough seas. Over 1,000 vessels have experienced some sort of disaster in the area. On Flinders Island, divers can explore the Litherland and Sydney Cove shipwreck areas.

Flinders Island cove

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Aug
10
2013

Would you classify yourself as an adrenalin junkie, thrill seeker or adventurer? If you're any of these things, then you may well need to give jet boating in Tasmania a go.

Even if you're not usually one to step outside of your comfort zone, jet boating is the perfect opportunity as you can get up and close with nature and the water – without anything getting too crazy. All you need to worry about will be taming your windswept hair at the end of it!

It's true that Tasmania has some beautiful rivers – so what better way to see them than be in amongst them? While we don't recommend going for a mid-winter dip, a jet boating experience is definitely one of the activities which can help you to fully appreciate the island's gorgeous waterways.

You'll absolutely see some great scenery, you will definitely get a buzz from the cool water spraying against your face and some fun twists and turns!

High-speed trips run along the lovely Derwent River at New Norfolk, (the operator is due to resume operations soon). You can also find some jet boat rides around the Huon River, and even on King River which is on the edge of one of Tasmania's World Heritage areas and offers an authentic experience of Tasmania's rough and wild side.

You don't need much for your jet boating trip, but you may want to remember to wear lots of sunblock and perhaps some waterproof clothes – or at least wear some clothes that you don't mind getting wet! You'll definitely need to hold onto your hat on one of these jet boat experiences – so strap yourself in and get yourself ready for the ride of a lifetime.

Huon Jet  at Huonville

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Aug
09
2013

Not only is Tasmania famous for its stunning natural beauty, fine wine and dining and friendly locals – there's a whole lot of fascinating history and heritage behind the island state.

Open for group tours, history buffs visiting Tasmania are sure to be captivated by the 10,000 year old stone carvings which you'll find at the Tiagarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre. You can find this cultural gem up north at Devonport, on a local sacred site along the Mersey River. Devonport is only about an hour's drive from the city of Launceston, so it's easy to reach for an afternoon or day trip if you don't want to stay overnight – though it's totally worth it for all you'll get to see and learn.

Tiagarra is the Aboriginal word for 'keep' or 'keeping place' – an apt name for a museum which preserves and presents both the past and present of Aboriginal culture and heritage on the island. You'll get both an insight into contemporary culture and a true peek into the ancient past.

Take an enlightening guided tour and you'll note that the inside of Tiagarra's buildings hark back to the designs of traditional northwest Aboriginal homes – your first look at Aboriginal heritage as you walk inside. Then you'll be able to spend time wandering the various rooms, taking in the museum's some 2,000 artefacts and exhibits which will give you a real insight into the way the Aboriginals traditionally lived, once upon a time, in Tasmania.

Artwork such as large mural paintings are also on display – and for those who'd like a souvenir of their time in Tassie there's a great gift shop where you can buy arts and crafts made by the locals.

Learning about a place's traditions, heritage and history is a great way to explore and understand a new destination – so what better place to discover something new than at the Tiagarra Aboriginal Culture Centre?

Tiagarra Aboriginal Culture

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Aug
08
2013

The Tasmanian Trout Expo is truly a highlight on the calendar for Aussie fishing enthusiasts – of which there are many!

This fun festival is taking place in 2013 on September 21-22 at Brumby's Creek. This is a great fishing spot where you're definitely going to walk away with some tasty trout for dinner.

Most excitedly, there is a huge $10,000 prize on offer. The winner of this will be whoever manages to hook 'Travis the Tagged Trout.' You never know – you might have the magic fishing rod and be the one to land Travis and walk away from the weekend ten thousand dollars richer! There will also be a number of other fish tagged for other prizes – and remember, you've got to be in it to win it.

If you're hungry, give your rod a rest and head to some of the tantalising food stalls that will be around to satisfy your stomach's growls.

Make sure you get a look in at the Tasmanian Schools Trout Fishing Championships, where 20 schools will be competing for the noble title of the best trout fishing school in the state.
So get your fishing gear ready for another great weekend at Brumby's Creek.

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Aug
07
2013

Tasmania punches well above its weight in many ways – for such a small place, it's reached quite a number of mighty milestones and achievements.

One of the latest feathers in Tasmania's cap is that it was recently announced by Conde Nast Traveler  – a travel magazine – to be one of the world's friendliest cities – number two, in fact.

Hobart was beaten only by Florianopolis in Brazil, a city famous for its beaches, surfing and friendly vibe. Other friendly cities included Thimphu, Queenstown, Charleston, Margaret River, and Chiang Mai.

This adds to another of Hobart's recent achievements, as the city was also named one of Lonely Planet's best cities to visit in the world for 2013, officially ranked at number seven. It was only beaten by the cities of San Francisco, Amsterdam, Hyderabad, Derry, Beijing and Christchurch.

So what is it that visitors love about Hobart and Tassie? Of course, Tasmania's natural beauty is one of its most standout features. With such varied scenery all in one place, including beaches, mountains, valleys and an abundance of wildlife, there's such a range of things for visitors to see and do.

It's not all just nature, though. There are plenty of other things to do, including fine dining, wine tasting on some of the region's spectacular vineyards, and many cultural and historical pursuits. These include the famous Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) as well as many significant convict heritage sites such as Port Arthur and Maria Island.

One top of all this and perhaps most importantly, the people of Hobart and Tasmania are also often described as kind, welcoming and friendly – the cherry on top of your visit to this beautiful destination.

Hobart - 2nd friendliest city in the world - Conde Nast - Image Credit: Australia-dot-com

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Aug
06
2013

Those of the nautical persuasion would do well to get themselves to Hobart for the 2013 Tall Ships Hobart event.

Tall Ships runs from September 20-25, 2013 when a number of impressive local and international ships will sail into Hobart in commemoration of the Royal Australian Navy's 100th anniversary – so keep an eye on the seas as the vessels arrive at various times through the event's first day, culminating in a magical display of fireworks.

Besides the majestic sight of all these ships on the city's waterfront, there are also plenty of activities going on along the piers, and it's certainly fun for the whole family.

Get your fill of history with the many maritime displays and exhibitions on at Princes Wharf, and enjoy the various festivities such as pipe and marching bands, Navy cadets and concerts on throughout the event.

Of course, one of the highlights of the week is boarding the Tall Ships themselves – take a look around and get a taste of what life on board might have been like. School students will also get special tours enlightening them with history and some fascinating information behind these boats.

Hungry stomachs will also get special attention with Tasmanian food, wine and cider readily available around the exhibitions and events – so don't worry if you forget your lunch – indulge a little.

This event has a particularly long history, with other similar exhibitions held in 1988 and 1998 – all with the aim of celebrating Tassie's – and Australia's – strong sea-faring heritage. On the last day of the event, the ships will sail away for Sydney for the International Fleet Review, so be sure to secure a great spot where you can watch them drift off towards the horizon.

Tall Ship Event Banner - Image Credit: Australian Wooden Boat Festival

Tall Ship Europa - Image Credit: The Mercury

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Aug
05
2013

There's something about shopping that just makes you feel good. Whether it's a new dress, hat, necklace or even accessory for the home, but best yet a memory from your holiday – a new purchase can really give you a boost.

Luckily, shops are readily accessible, with the main shopping areas open from 09:00 until 17:00 or later in some cases, every day of the week. Of course you can purchase a new outfit or some flash accessories, but often it's the more special, locally-made items that appeal to visitors, with their unique traits and points of difference.

Tasmania is home to all that you think you may want and more, with specialty goods such as wooden crafts, wilderness photography and wool products particularly enticing as a memento.

Tasmanian wool has a reputation for being some of the finest in the world, so there's no shortage of products for you to invest in. Not that they’re all investments! Some are bargains too good to resist.

You'll also come across quality furniture, paintings, clothing, jewellery and artifacts amongst galleries, markets and arts and crafts shops.

Foodies will be happy to know that Tasmania also has a top reputation for its food and wine. The state is blessed with clean waters and rich soils, so you'll find an abundance of tasty and flavoursome oysters, scallops, cheese, crayfish and more.

Not only this, but Tasmania is home to its fair share of juicy fruits. Berries, apples, and other varieties are the perfect snack, to be complemented perhaps by Tasmanian chocolates, and leatherwood honey.

Then there are the arts and crafts of the state. A number of locals are talented artists, producing locally-made and hand-crafted souvenirs that will make your memories of your time in Tasmania all the more precious.

Galleries such as Henry Jones Design Gallery Hunter Street Precinct, Sullivans Cove

Salamanca Market one of the icon markets of Australia

Shoes - Image Credit: Heavenly Shoes and Accessories

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Aug
03
2013

The Tamar Valley is a beautiful part of Tasmania which lovers of the finer things in life won't want to miss. Close to the city of Launceston, it's a hot-spot for vineyards, tasty cuisine and gorgeous scenery – pretty much everything you'd want to enjoy on a holiday.

If you're interested in a spot of the area's history, the Tamar Valley was founded in 1806 and eventually became famous for its resources, including significant gold mining operations. These days, the Valley still hints back to these times with old buildings and streets harking back to colonial and convict times, as well the Georgian and Victorian eras – giving the area a finish unique in Australia.

With a population of approximately 100,000 people, it's bustling enough to be interesting but quiet enough that you have your own space.

It's also filled with plenty to see and do. One of the highlights includes the Batman Bridge – named after the founder of Melbourne, not the superhero – which crosses the Tamar River and is an awesome landmark.

Greens Beach is also a family favourite with lots to do in its surroundings, including golf, tennis, shops and more. Play with time in the sand and check out the beache’s big dunes.

If you're a wine connoisseur then you'll have to head out to some of the area's lavish vineyards.

The Grey Sands vineyard is just one of the Boutique names to explore. First planted in 1989 and it has a history of quality and high standards. If you'd like to experience a true Tasmanian wine tasting then head to any winery in the area, where there are many beautiful garden settings to wander through – so soak in the nature and the wine around you!

You ‘ll want to check out Tamar Valley Wine Route online to help you plan your target vineyards. IN fact, making Launceston a base you can easily make 3 days of exploration and enjoyment base on wine pursuits alone.

Tamar Valley Wine Route

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Aug
01
2013

Locomotive enthusiasts will delight at all the spectacular railway attractions Tasmania has to offer.

One in particular that people love to visit is the Don River Railway. Located in Devonport, a city in Tasmania's North West, there is a great range of things to see and do – and not just for those who love trains, but for anyone who is interested in a bit of history and the intricacies of restoration.

So what's there to do at the Don River Railway? First of all, there's an impressive display of steam and diesel engines, which show off the impressive history of Tasmania's rail networks.

There's also a museum on site which displays some awesome historical railway artifacts as well as a range of fascinating photographs. Make sure you also check out the site's workshop and site display where you can get even more of an insight into Tasmania's world of rail.

And the most fun part? You can even jump aboard one of the trains. The Don River Railway offers a half-hour scenic ride on a genuine, and genuinely cool, old vintage train. It travels along the Melrose line to Coles Beach and back, so you'll get to see some awesome and beautiful sights along the way.

Engines galore at Don River Railway - Image Credit: Don River Railway

1890's car, Don River Railway. John Coyle photo. Copyright held by John Coyle

Fascinating old restored carriage - Image Credit: Don River Railway

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