Jul
11
2013

Stanley is a lovely, and little-known, town on the north-west coast of Tasmania, and an area sometimes referred to as the gateway to Edge of the World.

Stanley's best-known feature is its volcanic plug, known as "The Nut."  It stands at 143 metres above sea level, and was discovered by Bass and Flinders in 1798. It's now a popular tourist attraction for those who seek to climb it and experience the beautiful 360 degree views.

If you're not keen to walk up to the top of this impressive natural phenomenon, then you can take a relaxing and leisurely chairlift ride to the top.

If big and out-of-this-world views are your thing, then you might want to head fifteen minutes down the road to experience the Rocky Cape National Park, also known as Tangdimmaa.

This is a site with great significance to Aboriginal people, who once made their homes in the sea caves along the coastline. This is one impressive area to walk around, so soak up the area's history and culture with walks ranging from under an hour, to six hours.

You'll soon figure out that little Stanley punches well above its weight, offering an impressive range of wildlife as well as its spectacular views. Penguins, seals and sea birds are just some of the creatures you might be able to spot, whether you head out on your own safari or hop on one of the local wildlife tours.

There's plenty more to see and do in Stanley, including a number of other walks and natural sights, activities like fishing and surfing, and looking out for some of Aussie's native animals – so give yourself some time in this wonderful region. Stanley really is one of those hidden gems of Australia.

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Jul
10
2013

Every year, Australia has a unique poetry and performance contest, called the Australian Poetry Slam. This modern trend is taking the world by storm, with performances held regularly all over the globe and a growing number of competitions.

The gist of it is that individuals get the chance to stand up and perform their piece of poetry live – whether it is through singing, speaking, whispering, or even screaming!

All contestants get a microphone, a live audience and two minutes to show off what they've got to the judges with their original works.

Heats are now being held all across Australia, including Tasmania. The Southern Heat will be held in Hobart on July 19, then Devonport on July 26, and Launceston on August 3. The state final will be held on September 14 in Launceston.

The date for the final is yet to be announced, but it will involve all the state and territory winners coming together in a high energy, high intensity grand final Slam.

Winners in the past have been awarded an ultimate writer's tour of Asia, heading to Beijing, Chengdu and Suzhou, as well as Bali to participate in panels, workshops and performances.

The competition is heating up, so get prepared and even if you don't want to perform yourself, head along as an audience member to the heats for an unforgettable night.

Australian Poetry Slam - Tasmania

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Jul
09
2013

There's nothing more dreamy and relaxing than heading to a spa and having yourself pampered in complete and utter bliss.

It's not often we get to treat ourselves to this extent, so if you're looking to take that well-earned holiday why not go all out and really look after yourself?

Whether you think one day is enough, or you'd like a longer rejuvenating stay, Tasmania has plenty of idyllic spa locations for you to enjoy.

If you're looking for a stunning mountain setting, you can head to the Waldheim Alpine Spa at the Cradle Mountain Lodge. Surrounded by rainforest, you'll get beautiful views from your spa suite while you receive your face or body treatment.

If organics are your thing, Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa Retreat located near Hobart in Margate's Bush is worth a visit. Here you can receive organic anti-ageing treatments, aromatherapy, stone massage and even more. You can stay for a short, one hour stint or for multiple days.

The Hidden Cove Day Spa Retreat is great for a one day treatment, located in Tinderbox, Southern Tasmania. Overlooking the calm Derwent River, you'll enjoy feelings of tranquillity and relaxation.

Take advantage of the Swedish massage, trigger point therapy, spa manicure and pedicures, and the number of other face and body treatments on offer.

For those staying near Launceston, Cinergee is a great day stop for you. Located in a heritage listed 1880s terrace house, you couldn't find a more classic destination for your spa experience. Soak in feelings of wellbeing and indulgence as you truly let yourself go during luxurious treatments.

Whether it's a massage, facial or pamper pack that you're after, there's something for everybody to indulge in and enjoy.

There's nothing more important than your health and general sense of happiness and wellbeing, so take the time to treat yourself to a relaxing holiday like this. Whether alone, with friends or as a couple, spending time at a relaxing spa is an experience your mind and body will thank you for.

Superb Spa facility at Waldheim Alpine Spa at the Cradle Mountain Lodge - Image Credit via Best Spa Hotels Australia

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Jul
08
2013

Tasmania has a long and interesting history, including stories of convict sites that were set up as prisoners arrived to the state in its early days.

In July 2010, 11 Australian convict sites were added onto the UNESCO World Heritage List, five of which are in Tasmania. These are the sites at Port Arthur, the Cascades Female Factory, Darlington Probation Station, Woolmers Estates and the Brickendon Estates.

These sites offer a comprehensive look into Australia's convict history, with many people coming to the island – especially from the United Kingdom – to follow the convict trail and track back to some of their ancestors.

The Darlington Probation Station located on Maria Island functioned as a convict station first, and then evolved into the business of probation. The convict station operated between 1825 and 1832, with the probation statement operating from 1842, closing in 1850.

This was an ideal location for these purposes as it was away from the free population and had a lot of natural resources for the convicts to labour on. As well as this, its island location made prisoner escapes difficult. At its peak, the number of convicts totalled 492.

Prisoners were divided into three separate classes, determining their working conditions, type of labour, food and sleep. If a prisoner's behaviour was good, they could rise through the classes and end up having better living arrangements and more privileges. Routine and regime was strictly enforced and any disorderly convicts could be sent into solitary confinement.

If this kind of intriguing history takes your fancy, head to Maria Island and have a wander. There are still 14 convict buildings on the island, some in a state of ruin which are fascinating to explore. Most buildings have been left true to the era, so be prepared to feel a bit spooked as though you've stepped right into the past.

Accommodation options on the island use heritage buildings - Image Credit: Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife

Great walking on the island - Image Credit: Marisisland-dot-com

Millers Cottage Maria Island - Image Credit: Marisisland-dot-com

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Jul
07
2013

Only a two minute drive from Launceston is the Cataract Gorge Reserve, also known as 'The Gorge,' a wondrous natural formation that provides more than its fair share of adventure.

One of the Gorge's major appeals is that it's rare for such wilderness to be so close to a city. Usually you have to trek a little further to find your own piece of rugged paradise but not in this case, where abseiling, climbing, walks and hang gliding are only a few minutes away.

Of course, if you're keen on relaxing then there are options available to you. The Gorge's First Basin has a cafe, swimming pool and an open area where kids and families can run around and play. If you like picnic lunches or coffee dates with a view, then you can hang out at this chilled out scenic spot.

Now if you want the full range of entertainment then head to the north. Cliff Grounds hosts a beautiful garden with a kiosk, restaurant, pool, and lawns with a sheltered rotunda. As well as this there's a footbridge and chairlift across the river, as well as wildlife like wallabies and peacocks wandering the area.

If you head upstream, you'll find the old Duck Reach Power Station, which is now an Interpretation Centre. In the late 1800s this power station was lighting the city.

But back to the adventurous bits. If you're an adrenalin junkie, head for the skies and experience a controlled hang glide over an 18 metre cliff face to your landing space!

There's no shortage of fun – and even a bit of healthy fear – at the Cataract Gorge.

The chairlift across the Gorge

Cataract Gorge - the swing bridge and swimming pool clearly visible

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Jul
06
2013

Narawntapu National Park is one of Tasmania's real gems. Full of tree, plant and wildlife, it's a feast for the senses.

The landscape consists of marshes, heathlands and vast, grassy plains. The Park spans for 4,349 hectares and because of its variety of landscapes, it so plays host to a diverse set of birds and creatures. Ducks, waders, honeyeaters, sea birds, and even black cockatoos and green rosellas are just some of what's out there.

In terms of animals, you're bound to spot something – maybe a kangaroo, wallaby, pademelon or wombat – and they're usually very friendly.

One of the best ways of exploring this environment is on foot. There's really nothing like strolling through beautiful surrounds, listening to bird calls and keeping an eye out for any curious animals.

The trails you can head out on range from under two hours, to the more strenuous walks which can take six to eight hours return, with the Coastal Traverse taking seven to nine hours one way.

If you're keen to stay on site so that you can experience the beauty of the Park for more than just one day, camping facilities are available at Springlawn, the horse yards, Bakers Point and Koybaa. Most of the sites have basic amenities such as tables and toilets and some sites will have designated fire places.

Our pick for the gentlest walk at Narawntapu would be the Bird Hide Walk, which is an easy half hour return trip that will take you from the Springlawn Visitor Centre to the Paperbark Swamp, and over a board walk to the lagoon bird hide where you can observe some of the local feathered friends.

For a more challenging trek, head on the Point Vision Track which will take you to the highest parts of the range, reaching heights of nearly 400 metres. Breathe in the surrounds and remember to pack your camera so you'll always have a token to remind you of this area's beauty.
A National Parks Pass is required to use any of the area’s facilities and leisure spots.

The varied landscapes of the park

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Jul
05
2013

Tasmania is an absolute haven for some of Australia's most wonderful wildlife. Animal lovers will be delighted at the amount of opportunities there are to get up close and personal with some of the world's most fascinating – sometimes cuddly, sometimes not – creatures.

You must have heard of the Tasmanian devil. Well, true to its name this animal is only found in Tas, and is likely most famous from its representation in the Looney Tunes television show. The carnivorous animal is stocky, muscular, furry and loud, known for its ferocious bites, its speed and endurance.

It might sound a bit scary, but this unique creature is a must-see for true animal enthusiasts. There are a number of tours that can provide you with the Tasmanian Devil experience.

Head to Devils@Cradle – a conservation facility which looks after some little Devils – as well as the Easter and Spotted tail Quoll, right near the beautiful World Heritage site, Cradle Mountain National Park.

Visitors can be taken on a tour to get a close-up view of the animals, and learn more about their lives, as well as threats to the species.

A 'Dinner with the Devil' experience on Kings Run, South of Marrawah, offers visitors the opportunity to see a Devil feeding on a carcass in the natural environment – something that diehard Tassie fans are bound to find fascinating. It will be a truly new and different experience because the Devils make interesting – and sometimes startling – sounds and display some unique behaviour while they feed.

Not only that, but you'll also be able to spot wallabies, bandicoots and quolls, and be treated to the beautiful scenery of the area.

So head to Tassie to check out the Tasmanian Devil and rest of the wildlife that this island has to offer.

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Jul
04
2013

Any foodies out there looking to experience a unique slice of Tasmanian culture should definitely make a stop in Hobart and take part in a Gourmania Food Tour to enjoy local passions and the budding food scene!

Established in 2011 by pastry chef Mar McNeill, Gourmania offers two tours around Hobart that each expose you to a variety of different eating and drinking establishments.

You will get to try a range of Tasmanian wines and food, including fresh fish, meats, cheese, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

The four-hour City Tour focuses on indulging various tastes, giving you the chance to sample from the wide range of stores throughout Hobart and Salamanca Place.

Among the ten venues you'll have the opportunity to visit is the famous Jackman & McRoss patisserie – with cabinets full of delectable pies, tarts, pastries and more!

Or if you're after an easy afternoon experience, the Tea to Tapas tour will show you through some of the best restaurants and bars in the area.

Try some of Hobart's best coffee at the espresso bar Yellow Bernard, or nibble on local Tasmanian produce like the Pigeon Hole artisanal bread and satisfy your thirst with some regional wines.

The City Tour costs $120 per person and the Tea to Tapas tour costs $95. Both costs are all-inclusive, and booking is essential.

Delectable treats from the best outlets in Hobart - Image Credit Gourmania Tours Facebook

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Jul
03
2013

The island of Tasmania is a truly beautiful place to capture wildlife, wilderness and history with your camera lens.

The 'nature state' is home to enchanting natural wonders such as the ancient Tarkine forest, spanning thousands of hectares of land.

You can also discover what natural structures and wildlife lie in the dark at the Hastings Caves, a 90-minute drive south of Hobart, or climb up the steep descent of Mount Wellington to snap glorious panoramic views of Tasmania from the summit.

Here are some of our favourite photography hotspots in Tasmania – whether it is ‘old-style’, instagram or facebook.
Ensure you tag #discovertasmanaia and #tasmania and follow @discovertasmania (IG) or seek out http://facebook.com/DiscoverTasmania or http://plus.discovertasmania.com.au. We’d love to see any photo you take of Tasmania shared with us.

Freycinet National Park

Freycinet, on the island's mild east coast, is the perfect picture of beauty, with white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters.

You can also pick up more stunning views on the various walks available, including the Wineglass Bay Lookout, Wineglass Bay/Hazards Beach circuit, Cape Tourville and the popular, three-day Freycinet Peninsula Circuit.

Cradle Mountain and Lake Dove

One of Tasmania’s most recognisable sights. Moody, intriguingly shrouded in cloud, yet when on around 35 days per year when it is clear and a blue sky day or portion of a day reveals its true beauty, it is one of Australia’s most loved pictures.

Cascade Brewery

Australia's oldest continuously operating brewery, the Cascade Brewery in south Hobart, is one historic building you really have to capture on your lens.

The brewery was established in the 1820s, and is nestled in the foothills of Mount Wellington.

You can get a taste of fine Tasmanian beer and soft drinks in a tour, or take a stroll around three acres of heritage 'Woodstock' gardens, capturing snapshot memories of the old building with Mount Wellington looming in the background.

World Heritage Convict sites

Tasmania is a place of great significance in Australia's history, with five of the eleven convict sites announced in the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2010, located on the island.

These include the famous Port Arthur and the Coal Mines Historic Site, Darlington Probation Station, Cascades Female Factory, Woolmers Estate and Brickendon Estate.

Capture a piece of history in your visit to Tasmania, with old chapels, dining rooms, dormitories and ruins to explore.

The Hazards and Wineglass Bay

Stunning Freycinet Peninsula

Cascades Female Factory Historic Site

Cascade Brewery and Gardens

Cradle Mountain Wilderness

Port Arthur

Brickendon Interior

Old Gardens Brickendon

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Jul
02
2013

Tasmania is a haven for those who love sweet treats, so there are plenty of foodie destinations for lovers of sugary, chocolatey, delicious delights!

Every year, Tasmania holds a Chocolate Winterfest at Latrobe, situated a ten minute drive from Devonport, and it is on 5 July 2013.

However this isn't the only chance to enjoy Tasmania's tantalising treats.

If you've got an insatiable craving for sugar, why not head to the House of Anvers? Also located in Labtrobe, this is one tasty destination. A Californian style bungalow house dating back to 1931 with a beautiful backdrop of trees and gardens, its interior reveals a behind-the-scenes look at chocolate making.

Watch staff moulding and enrobing chocolates, truffles, fudge, praline, and a host of other delicious goodies – and best of all, you'll get to have a taste!

There's also a Chocolate Museum that outlines the history of the tasty food, from the Aztec Indians to today.

After you have a look around and sample a few different flavours, relax and unwind at the coffee shop which of course will brew you one of the most delicious hot cocoa drinks you are likely to ever taste! Pair it with a chocolate dessert and you're sure to have satisfied your sweet tooth for at least another day.

Cadbury Chocolate also has a visitor centre open to the public. Head along to the Claremont factory and you'll get to see the famous chocolates being moulded, and you might even be treated to a taste of the raw materials. You'll be sure to leave with a new insight into how chocolate is made on a mass scale.

If you're near the southern township of Cygnet, be sure to visit Cygneture Chocolates. Its handcrafted and award winning chocolates are not to be missed.

Chocolate Fest Latrobe

Anvers Chocolate Visitors Centre - Image Credit: Travelerfolio.com

cygneture choclate - Image Credit Cygneture Chocolate Blog

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