You may not know until you go,  but Hobart is actually one of Australia's most exciting cities. Just because it's on an island doesn't mean it doesn't pack a punch – because Hobart most certainly does.

Bringing together some of the country's most fascinating aspects of heritage, charm and natural beauty, Hobart has something to cater for all tastes. Whether it's the food, the arts, the outdoors, the culture or the wine, this is where amazing discoveries are made.

Hobart retains its early European charm, which was first established by the settlers who built lovely cottages and colonial mansions here. Many of these still remain today.

Buildings and warehouses established by the whalers and businessmen of days gone by at the city's docks now serve as trendy cafes, art studios and restaurants, which offer the best of Tasmania's many disciplines. The atmosphere here is sure to seduce you – what could be more romantic than taking a dockside stroll, soaking in all the fine food, art, music and wine while looking out at the boats dotting the harbour?

It all sounds too good to be true, but thankfully it isn't. All you need to do is make Hobart your next holiday destination and you'll see what all the fuss is about.

If you want to bring the kids, there's plenty for them to do too. Sailing and fishing can be fun for the whole family, as can the Salamanca Market, where the kids can help you find some unique treasures amongst some 300 stalls that are speckled along the old warehouse frontage.

For those wanting to explore the rest of Tasmania, Hobart serves as a great gateway. With great services, rental cars, tours and guides, it's easy to get anywhere from here – if you can face the idea of leaving, that is.

The romantic and encharting waterfront in Hobart

Salamanca Market - Image Credit: Hobart City-dot-com

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Tasmania is one of Australia's havens of the arts, teeming with local talent and drawing international artists from all around the world.

This September, all of this artistic finesse will be on display with the Junction Arts Festival, also known simply as 'Junction.' Taking place in the wonderful city of Launceston, it's a five-day multi-arts international festival.

Junction tends to focus on work that places audience at the centre of the experience. This is often a highlight for visitors as they're invited to interact with performances, outdoor installations and public and private spaces. Launceston is known for coming alive and coming into its own every time Junction rolls into town.

Leading local, national and international artists and projects taking part in Junction aim to challenge the traditional relationships between artist and audience. Contemporary art is presented in a welcoming environment that is designed for all ages and communities, with events free to the public.

This year some of Launceston's disused central spaces will light up with life as site-specific, engaging and participatory arts projects base themselves in these spots.

Australian and international audiences alike await the release of the full programme, which is to be announced on July 25 2013.

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MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, is one of Tasmania's greatest treasures. Full of antiquities, contemporary and modern art, it's a haven for those seeking inspiration.

If you're a lover of the arts, you won't be disappointed. There are always a number of fantastic exhibitions on show that often take the less traditional route and truly challenge the viewer or audience.

One of the most exciting exhibitions currently on display is The Red Queen, running until April 21, 2014. This exhibition is inspired by the Red Queen from Lewis Carroll's 'Through the Looking Glass,' and examines human nature and behaviour and how we come to grips with the world around us.

There's also the Beam in Thine Own Eye exhibition, which you'll have to hustle to see as it finishes up soon (on July 28) on Hobart’s waterfront. This is an extremely immersive installation and those with any history of photosensitive epilepsy are strongly advised not to enter, along with those with some other health issues. This exhibition addresses how we manufacture our view of reality and our beliefs.

Todd McMillan's Ten Years of Tears exhibition will be showing until September 16, showing a selection of his absurd and melancholic video-art work.

Those who love to see artists pushing the boundaries and challenging expectations will rejoice in the opportunity to spend some time at MONA and see all the exciting, innovative works that are taking place there.

And it's not just a museum. On site there is also a wine bar, brewery and cellar, so those looking for a fine drop of wine can also enjoy themselves here. You can indulge in a tasty meal at the restaurant and even hold a special event, such as a wedding, on MONA's beautiful grounds.

MONA The Red Queen Artwork

One of  the Red Queen exhibits 13070 Rev Kuba

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Are you a fan of sailing on the sea, casually cruising the oceans, relaxing and taking in all the facilities on board?

Well you may like to take the journey from Melbourne to Devonport, by ship! This is a unique, family-friendly experience which is sure to give you fantastic memories … it is also the only substantial ‘ship journey’ in Australia outside joining a cruise.

There are two options for sailing to Tassie – would you like to sail by day, or by night? Summer schedules have daytime crossings.

If you choose to sail by day, you'll get clear views, hopefully sunny skies, and access all around the ship with activities available to pass the time. If you'd like, you can arrange a cabin for a snooze or two.

If you sail by night, you'll get to sleep some of the journey away in your cabin. As you sail out of Melbourne you'll get the stunning view of city nights, and enjoy a nice dinner and drink at the bar and restaurant.

If you'd prefer, you can check out a movie at the ship's cinema or sit outside and watch the dark glistening ocean glide on by.

Activities for the kids are on offer so your children will always be busy and occupied. There are also a number of live musical acts who will jazz up your journey with their upbeat music.

Games arcades, playrooms, internet rooms, a gaming lounge, and more are just some of the other activities and facilities are available, so rest assured that you'll never have to spend a minute wondering what to do next – there's always an option! 

Once you get to Tasmania there is a plethora of attractions, sights, and things to do waiting for you. The tourism information section on the ship can get you up to speed on the many delights that Tasmania has to offer – you'll be absolutely spoilt for choice.

Spirit of Tasmania in Melbourne

Comfortable outside  twin cabin and bunk

The shipboard kids' spot

Deluxe cabins are very comfortable - this could be a cruise !

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If you're looking for action and an adrenalin rush on mountain bike tracks, then Tasmania's the ideal place to do it.

Because the state's diverse terrain makes it perfectly suited to biking, there are a number of purpose-built mountain bike parks where you can pedal cross country, downhill, free-ride, or dirt jump – whatever you like.

There are areas suitable for beginners and the experienced alike. There are even tracks where families can come together and bike in a more relaxed setting. 

Even more handily, mountain bike trails never far from our main centres, so you don't have to travel for hours just to get to a good spot.

The mountain biking community in Tasmania is strong, so wherever you go you're likely to experience friendly greetings from other riders.

For those wanting to take their mountain biking to the next level, a good place to start is Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park. This park is nearby Hobart, and is truly spectacular – it has to be as it has hosted the Australian Nationals. This park varies it up with technical downhill trails, dirt jumps and everything in between.

Are you looking for a more family friendly trail to hit the dirt on? Head to Mount Wellington outside of Hobart, and take a ride down the Pipeline Track. This isn't too challenging so if you're a beginner or have your young ones in tow, it's a fun and leisurely alternative to some of the tougher tracks.

In these cooler months, you'll need to watch the weather if you're heading out on a cycle. For those who love the adventure that wet cycling offers this might not be a problem, but carry layers so you can match the need to be warm.
If you're not prepared to get a little muddy, saving cycling for a clear day is probably the best option.

Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park - Image Credit: Glenorchy Gazette

Pipeline track Hobart - image credit: wildbiketours-dot-com

North South track Mt Wellington - Image Credit: Bicycle Network Australia

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Tasmania offers countless places to sit back and enjoy a relaxing beverage, and both the northern and southern areas of the state are known for their beer. There is even competition between the north and the south, with Tasmanians showing strong allegiance to their traditional ‘home’ breweries.

And with many award winning ales and lagers, you won't want to miss out on having a taste of Tasmania's finest drops.

If you want a historic angle on Tasmania's beer making, it's essential you check out the Cascade Brewery. This is located in South Hobart, and is famed for being Aussie's oldest continuously operating brewery. Established in 1824 by an ex-convict, these days it combines the traditional brewing skills of its past with pure mountain water, Tasmanian barley and hops into a wide range of beers.

When you arrive at the brewery, you'll notice its beautiful sandstone Georgian façade, located at the bottom of looming Mount Wellington.

This brewery produces soft drinks along with its beer, and you can get a peek into the process with a two-hour brewery tour. This tour will show you the beer-making process from malting and brewing to packaging. Best of all? At the end you'll get a free taste of what you've been looking at.

Cascade also has a fantastic Visitor Centre, which once served as the brewery manager's house. Now it is a restaurant and function centre, bar, as well a retail shop. There are beautiful windows looking out onto a garden which you can also take a walk through if you feel like getting outdoors.

In Hobart check out Moorilla Estate, which creates boutique beers following classic German traditions, as another side to their business.

Heading to Launceston? Stop at James Boag's Premium brewery, scenically placed on the banks of the Tamar River, with its Centre for Beer Lovers open for visitors. It's not to be missed!

Craft beer is establishing another layer to the Tasmanian brewery experience with reputations being established in this pursuit. Many of our hotels and bars are also waking up to this and stock or have on tap the alternative to mainstream brands. Look out for farm based Two Metre Tall Brewery on the Lyell Highway near Hamilton, the Iron House Brewery on Tasmania’s East Coast at Whitesands Estate, Seven Sheds Brewery Meadery and Hop Garden at Railton in the State’s north, amongst others.

Cascade Brewery - image credit: on-the-convict-trail blog

Two Metre Tall Brewery Logo

Harvesting the Barley, Upper Derwent Valley Two Metre Tall Craft Beer Brewery

Iron House Brewery - East Coast Tasmania

Iron House Beer Range

Seven Sheds Brewery range - they also brew mead on site,  which can be enjoyed in their restaurant

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Launceston is one of the highlights of Tasmania. Located in the north and in the proximity of the Tamar River, this destination makes for a great holiday.

It has a long history, as it is one of Australia's oldest cities, named after Launceston, Cornwall in Britain by free European settlers in 1806.

And if history is what you're after on your trip to Tasmania, history is what you will get. There are many buildings preserved in their elegant 1870s and 1880s condition and style so as you walk through the city's streets you get a true glimpse into the past.

Nearby historic towns such as Evandale and Longford are also fantastic examples of this area's past. Much of its architecture remains authentic to its roots, and according to locals the population still retains a 19th century community spirit and feel – while also embracing progress and modernity.

Lovers of the outdoors will be happy to know that Launceston is also revered for its natural beauty. Cataract Gorge is a beautiful and rugged set of cliffs, nooks and crannies for all to enjoy – and it's only a few minutes away from the city centre. This attraction is fun for the whole family, as well as experienced climbers and those who like a bit of an adrenalin rush from activities such as abseiling.

And for those seeking to taste some of what Launceston has to offer, there are of course the many vineyards making top quality drops. Not to forget going wider afield to explore the area’s lavender plantations, strawberry farms, orchards and many other tasty goodies, you'll never be short of a bite in this town.

The city’s Saturday ‘Harvest Launceston Farmers’ Market’ was recently 2013 winner – Outstanding Farmers’ Market category in the ABC delicious magazine Produce Awards. Not bad from a field where there were over 3000 entrants. So in the heart of the town you can experience Australia’s best market!

You'll also rest easy every night, with plentiful accommodation in the city catering for everyone – from backpackers to luxury lodgings.

With all this and more, Launceston is the perfect spot for your next holiday.

Cataract Gorge Basin promo strip - Image Credit: Launceston-cataractgorge-dot-com-au

Produce Awards Logo 2013 - Image Credit: ABC Delicious Magazine

Market Produce shot - image credit: ABC Delicious Magazine 2013

Classic architecture and atmosphere - Image Credit: Monissa Whitely Blog (has perhaps the best collection of photos of the city and public buildings we know of)

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Tasmania has long been a getaway for keen golfers, with the island providing a number of stunning scenic courses suitable for both first-timers and seasoned players.

Golf in Tasmania holds particular significance in the state, because it's home to Australia's oldest golf course – the Scottish inspired Ratho Links – at Bothwell. This golf course was founded in 1822, and is incredibly well-preserved.

Sheep graze and keep the playing area short, fenced out from the square greens. Those who play on these grounds today will note that it is a pretty authentic 1800’s experience, before course maintenance was mechanised, year-round watering began, and before 250-metre drives.

If you're interested in finding out more about golf history in Tasmania, then you can head to the Australasian Golf Museum. With its detail into Australia's golfing history, extensive collection of clubs, photos, paintings and documents, if you're a true lover of golf this museum is not to be missed.

Ratho isn't the only course likely to tickle your fancy in Tasmania – there are over 80 to choose from, many open to the public.

One of the advantages of the game in this state is that the views are simply spectacular. You're treated to river and ocean views, vast beaches, deep valleys and cliff tops – there is always something to catch your eye.

Barnbougle Dunes is Australia's best public course, created in the Scottish style and overlooking Bass Strait – a wild and rugged coastline serving as a beautiful backdrop to your game.

Once you're finished with a day's worth of banging the clubs, head into your nearest township to choose from a selection of fine restaurants, cafes and pubs. Tasmania is also known for its gourmet dining – but that's another article.

The First Hole at Ratho - Image Credit: AusGolf

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Nature lovers and thrill seekers alike, if you're heading down to Tasmania for a holiday, here's one of the state's 'must do' forest experiences.

Enjoy the Tahune AirWalk near Geeveston in the south of Tasmania. Take a stroll amongst the canopy of these natural giants in their natural setting. This multi-award winning attraction finished in a cantilever, set high over the confluence of the Huon and Picton rivers.

Aside from the main, breathtaking attraction, there are number of mountain biking trails, the eagle hang glider, and a fully licenced  food and wine cafe – there's enough here for you to experience a full day's worth of fun for the whole family.

Regardless of whether you're looking for a peaceful time walking through Tasmania's spectacular natural beauty, or after something more action-packed, there are a number of forest trails that can satisfy any desire.

If you’re in the market for a guided tour of the forest, there are guides available to take you through the canopy airwalk. This attraction is suitable for all ages and abilities, and also accommodates wheelchair access.

The Airwalk is open 09:00 to 17:00 from November through to March; and 10:00 to 16:00 from May through till October.

Tahune Airwalk - Image Credit: Tahune Airwalk

Tahune - Image Credit: Travelpod user Biker

Tahune Treewalk - Image Credit: Smugglers Rest

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Tasmania has a reputation for being a beautiful haven for some spectacular natural sights, landscapes and of course, wildlife.

There are many different ways which you can experience this – by car, foot, helicopter, or boat – and if you're a bonafide biker, you may well like to take your motorbike to Tasmania's roads and see the state from behind your handlebars.

You'll never be bored with the view of the amazingly varied road and scenery providing a unique on-road experience. With plenty of winds, twists, turns and hills, wherever you head in Tasmania your biking journey will be a thrilling one.

There are a few key points to note, though. While there are some unsealed areas and roads, most of where you'll be headed will be nicely sealed up. If travelling at early morning and dusk, though, you'll be wise to keep your eyes peeled as this is when wildlife is most active on country roads.

As well as this, the weather in Tas is extremely variable, so come prepared for warm and rainproof gear. Pay attention to local weather conditions and warnings including frost, ice and snow.

Motorbike enthusiasts must check out the Richardson's Harley Davidson Museum and Cafe. Its history dates back to 1980, and it has an impressive collection of rare bikes for you to marvel over.

If you need to hire your own bike, head to Tasmanian Motorcycle Hires or Moto Adventure Tasmania.

Some places you most definitely should check out when you hit the road include areas near the World Heritage zone, with Cradle Mountain, Mole Creek Karst National Park, the edges of Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and South West Wilderness area, and more.

Tasmania is one of those rare locations where any road you take will lead you somewhere beautiful, so take advantage of this. Small stages, lots of variety and quiet roads complete the motorcycle touring picture.

Customer Lounge at Richardson's Harley Davidson, Launceston

In full riding gear for touring - Image Credit: 365 Tasmania

Harley Davidson Gear

Wide open and uncrowded roads - Image Credit: 365Tasmania blog

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