Jan
23
2013

Stock up on sunscreen, plan your picnic lunches and gather a group of friends to celebrate Australia Day on Saturday January 26!

It's the chance for everyone to "celebrate what's great" about our country, reflect on achievements made and how we can continue to build a better future for Australia.

Tasmania will be buzzing with activity on Australia Day, with a number of fantastic parties, picnics and festivals taking place across the island.

Here are a few of our favourites that you can check out this weekend!

A Day on the Beach

Kingston Beach will host a classic Aussie celebration of fun by the sea, with entertainment and activities for the whole family to enjoy.

The venue is located just outside of Hobart, with sailing, swimming, sports, displays, sandcastle competitions and live music on offer.

There will also be two Big Aussie BBQs, so you can treat yourself to a good ol' sausage sizzle!

Twilight on the Duck Australia Day Festival

This unique festival, 'Twilight on the Duck', is sure to get inject some fun and friendly competition into the day with a lineup of brilliant activities to take part in.

Alongside the festival staples of live music, delicious food and entertainment, there will also be a spectacular twilight show and annual activities such as the Duck Cast fishing competition, Duck Pedal cycling challenge and the Duck Dash foot race.

This family-friendly event will be held on the banks of Duck River in the northern Tasmanian town of Smithton.

Australia Day Beach Party

The beach is a common venue favourite to celebrate Australia's national day, with Devonport's Bluff & Surf Club putting on lots of family entertainment to mark the special occasion.

There will be free kids activities, exciting Zorb balls, a photo booth, skate park and more activities on for the family.

A special ceremony will also take place at the surf club between 15:00 to 16:00, welcoming new citizens and awarding some of the city's special townspeople.

Australia Day Logo

Kingston Beach Australia Day 2012 - a big beach party

Schweppes Sandcastle Competition, Kingston - Are You Going To Enter?

Twilight On The Duck Festivities - Ulverstone

Devonport Bluff

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Jan
22
2013

Visitors to Tasmania will soon be able to experience a luxury stay like no other, with the Avalon City Retreat – an "omnipod in the sky" – placed atop a nine-story office building on January 21.

The environmentally-friendly luxury retreat is located in Hobart's city centre, offering spectacular views over St David's Park and out to the waterfront.

Designed by award-winning property developer and project manager Brett Torossi, the Avalon City Retreat is a two bedroom, two bathroom portable accommodation that comes complete with a fantastic gourmet kitchen equipped with stylish Scholtes appliances and two king size custom-made beds.

Adding to the city retreat's appeal is a rooftop deck complete with a barbecue and outdoor bath, and a beautiful huon pine table that can seat up to ten guests.

The sky-high accommodation was prefabricated in Launceston, transported south to Electrona (south of Hobart) for its fit-out with luxury items and then finally finally placed on top of 152 Macquarie Street.

Those looking to spend their Easter holidays in Tasmania may want to experience the Avalon City Retreat for themselves, with the luxury pod open for guests on Thursday March 28. First bookings have already been received.

The glass-front retreat can sleep up to four people and costs $880 per night.

Nestled in the heart of Hobart, the retreat is in close proximity to many of the city's attractions.

On Saturdays take a short walk to popular Salamanca Market, operating from 8:30 to 15:00, to pick up some coffee and fresh croissants for breakfast and wander around the stalls offering organic vegetables, crafts, clothing and more! With Hobart a true ’10 Minute City’ (10 minutes to anywhere) and being nominated Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2013, there is plenty to explore any day or night.

Perched high on top of 152 Macquarie Street

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Jan
21
2013

Cool off this summer and head to sea for an adventure filled with scenic views and majestic wildlife with Wineglass Bay Cruises.

Enjoy an experience of the bay like no other, capturing views of southern right, humpback and orca whales, seals, dolphins, albatross, white bellied sea eagles and other marine life as you cruise the area.

You'll want to bring your camera along as orcas are spotted in the waters in the summer months from January to March.

Resident pooch Rastus may also be present for the ride, helping guests to spot whales and dolphins!

The Wineglass Bay Cruise departs from 09:00 (January to March) with children aged four to 14 $85, adults $130 and infants free of charge.

Don't forget to also taste some of Tasmania's delicious seafood and fine produce after your journey, with freshly shucked Freycinet Marine Farm oysters, tasty Ashgrove Farm cheeses and Spring Vale wines on offer.

Stop in at The Edge Restaurant for a selection of mouth-watering meals including seafood with squid ink pasta, mushroom gnocchi, beer braised pork shoulder and the classic fish and chips.

Finish your culinary experience with a spot of dessert, with options including apple and tea tree blossom panna cotta, chocolate and grand marnier semifreddo and deconstructed cafe latte.

It’s all in for an East Coast experience.

Dolphins are a common sight - Photo Credit: Premier Travel FB

Wineglass Bay Cruises vessel charging homeward bound

Rastus the Cruise Dog - has a canny eye for all creatures in the water

Wineglass Bay Cruises vessel at anchor in Wineglass Bay

Playful seal photo credit: Jessica Buckley FB

Dolphins leaping for joy - Image Credit: Jodi Negri FB

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Jan
20
2013

If you've had to put your plans to visit Tasmania on hold, then wait no longer! Locations on the island are now open including our National Parks and the Tasman Peninsula so you can get ready to discover the beauty of Tasmania again.

It's back to business as usual for the attractions and tours on the island after the devastating bushfires that affected parts of the state over a week ago, leading thousands of visitors back to Tasmania.

"It is important for people with plans to visit Tasmania, or still holidaying here to know that we are open for business," said Tourism Tasmania's chief executive officer John Fitzgerald.

"While locations surrounding the Arthur Highway and Tasman Peninsula have encountered fire damage, it must be emphasised that the southern area around Port Arthur Historic Site has not been affected by the fires."

Mr Fitzgerald added that the National Parks along the East Coast and in the Derwent Valley were closed for safety reasons, but are now reopened for visitors.

Popular tourist spots such as the iconic Port Arthur Historic Site, Freycinet National Park, Bicheno and Mt Field National Park all luckily escaped fire damage.

Visitors are encouraged to keep their plans to make a trip to the island and if you're considering a Tasmanian holiday, don't delay!

See for yourself what the natural state has to offer in a fantastic summer trip, exploring ancient rainforests, spotting dolphins and whales on a Tasman Island Cruise or tucking into some fresh seafood in Hobart.

The Port Arthur Historic Site's full range of tours, harbour cruises and activities are back to normal operations, so why not head out on the recently launched Paranormal Investigation Experience?

This is an adults only, late night tour that provides visitors with a chilling experience, exploring some of Australia's most haunted buildings on this unique ghost hunt!

The Paranormal Investigation Experience won the award for New Tourism Development at the Tasmanian Tourism Awards 2012.

Best yet, for February airlines and the Spirit have put on great fares. Even it is a short break, we’d be pleased to see you.

The 'we are open' advertisement Tasman Peninsula, Mt Field and the East Coast

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Jan
19
2013

If you've got a keen skateboarder in your household, then you'll probably want to let them know that there are some free skateboarding workshops and events happening in Tasmania this summer!

Every week the island cranks out a number of fantastic skateboarding events in the north, south and north-west hubs of Tasmania, with Skateboarding Australia (SbA) working closely with local interests to collaborate on regular skateboarding activity.

The main focus within these skate hubs is the StreetWise clinics which are led by skateboarders in the local 'scenes', dedicated to getting beginners into skateboarding and helping to develop the skills of those who are already riding.

Competitions and games are also incorporated into activities, with events such as the technical flat ground elimination game, S.K.A.T.E, and Best Trick contests.

Budding skate videographers also get the chance to demonstrate their talents, with aspiring lensmasters given paid gigs to capture the action at the hubs.

Throughout January and February workshops and events will be held in a number of locations including Hadspen Skatepark, Launceston Skatepark, Gravelly Beach Skatepark, Devonport Skatepark, Burnie Skatepark, Lauderdale Skatepark and Abbotsfield Skatepark.

Skate activities will typically take place on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 12:00 – you can check out more details at the SbA website.

Typical Tasmanian Skate Park getting some action

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Jan
18
2013

Take a break from the searing Aussie heat and delve deep into refreshing waters with Underwater Adventures Tasmania.

Embark on a truly wonderful journey with the team at Underwater Adventures, exploring the Tinderbox and Ninepin Point Marine Reserves, the kelp forests located off Bruny Island and the enchanting Betsey Island ships graveyard.

You'll also encounter a number of other underwater wonders including the critically endangered spotted handfish, only found in the Derwent estuary, the Tasmanian numbfish – which will deliver a mild shock if handled! – and weedy sea dragons and seahorses.

The surprising thing is that underwater marvels on a snorkelling expedition are available just 20 minutes from wharfside in downtown Hobart. Nowhere else in Australia can you be in a Marine Reserve so close to a city. All equipment is supplied.

Beginners can get amongst the fun at Underwater Adventures by taking part in the SDI Open Water Diver course!

This internationally recognised qualification will allow you to dive 18 metres, take part in dive trips in Australia and overseas, buy scuba gear and obtain air fills, and extend your diving skills in other education courses.

In your ‘learn to dive’ course with Underwater Adventures you'll have use of all scuba equipment, personalised equipment and continuing education counselling, a pair of zip-sided dive boots and neoprene gloves to keep, two shore dives and two boat dives and initial scuba skill development in a heated pool to help with learning and comfort.

Underwater Adventures will also give you their guarantee that you'll "develop the skills and confidence you want and have paid for" – so don't delay your plans, take the plunge into the waters of Tasmania!

Ready to see the underwater life near Hobart

Diving in the South East

Dive Master Course

Underwater Life

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Jan
17
2013

Planning a family trip to Tasmania? Then you might want to pencil in the city of Launceston in your itinerary, after a study by Suncorp Bank voted the "sleepy" historic town as the most family friendly city in Australia.

Cities were ranked against ten key criteria including crime rates, unemployment levels, access to health services, schools, child care, disposable income, house prices, volunteer work and broadband in the home.

It is also a great place for your family to settle if you've considered a move to the natural state with Suncorp Bank executive manager Craig Fenwick stating that regional cities were upstaging crowded and stressful urban jungles when it came to being 'family-friendly'.

Brendan Vince, formerly of Hobart, told The Mercury that he used to "bag it out" [Launceston] but now he loves the place after moving there from Tasmania's capital eight years ago.

"It is a great place for kids, everything is so close and housing is much cheaper than Hobart," Mr Vince said via The Mercury on January 16.

Launceston is well-known for being the home to many historic buildings and attractions such as the Cataract Gorge, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and being the gateway to the popular Tamar Valley Wine Route.

Tasmania's city of Burnie was also revealed to be the nation's healthiest, while Launceston had the least crowded schools.

Following Launceston in the top five family friendly cities were Canberra, Toowoomba, Albury/Wodonga and in fifth equal Adelaide and Perth.

Cataract Gorge and its open air swimming pools - fun for all the family

Views from a Launceston Suburb

A Center City Launceston Mall

Launceston's Rich Georgian Period Streetscapes

Charles Street residential area near Hotel Charles in Launceston

Launceston's River Walk

More superb city buildings

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Jan
16
2013

Would you love some manuka honey? Then you've got to make a stop at The Honey Farm in Chudleigh where their special treats will have you buzzing with joy!

The Honey Farm is just under an hour's drive from the northern Tasmanian town of Launceston, nestled under the Great Western Tiers mountain range.

Containing the widest range of honey available on the island, you'll have the opportunity to treat your tastebuds to over 50 tingling different honeys such as Tasmanian Leatherwood and the "indulgent gourmet delights" of the rich Honey Chocolate Paste.

You'll also get a close up look at how the busy bees get on with their work, with the glass exhibition hive allowing visitors to watch a queen bee lay her eggs in the honeycomb and worker bees transform nectar into the tasty 'liquid gold'.

There is also free entry to The Honey Farm museum, with audio visual and static displays to share with visitors the mystery of the bee.

There's so many goodies to try and take home from The Honey Farm store, with your usual manuka honey liquids and pastes on offer, but also a few other special treats!

Try the handmade nougat containing Tasmanian honey, fruit and nuts, available in delicious flavours that include pistachio, cappuccino and ginger.

You can also take home a number of other special gifts including candy, honey jars and bears, glazes, skin products, candles, furniture polish and more!

The Honey Farm is open Sunday to Friday during the summer months (October to March) from 09:00 to 17:00.

The Honey Farm at Chudleigh

Exploring the shop at the Honey Farm - image credit: babix

Spot the bees and the sign for delicious honey icecream - image credit: blogger pancakechia flickr

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Jan
15
2013

Hobart will be hosting a lineup of some of Australia's favourite entertainers with help from a few international friends at MONA's Bushfire Fundraising Concert on Monday January 21.

Aussie legends The Hoodoo Gurus will be joined by artists such as The Break, Kate Miller-Heidke, Evan Dando & Spencer P Jones, storyteller Neil Gaiman and more at the Princes Wharf 1 (PW1) from 18:00 until late, with all concert profits going to the Australian Red Cross Tasmanian Bushfires 2013 Appeal.

The Mercury reported that David Faulkner of the Hoodoo Gurus was "more than happy" to support the fundraiser after witnessing the devastation of the bushfires on TV.

"We all watched the news with horror as the Tasmanian bushfire emergency rapidly worsened," he said in the 15th’s ‘The Mercury’.

"Being surrounded by my loved ones only brought home to me more the terrible losses that so many other Australian families were facing at what should be a joyful time of year."

The event will be hosted by MONA and MONA FOMA staff with artists performing for free and all food and bar profits being donated toward the Red Cross.

Tickets are on sale for $33 (booking fees waived) – through MONA’s booking site.

Buy Tickets for MONA Bushfire Appeal Concert in Hobart 21Jan2013

Link to Ticket Purchase Site for the Tasmanian Bush Fire Appeal Concert

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Jan
14
2013

Take a journey to a spectacular eco retreat nestled among the mountains of North West Tasmania, where you can sit back and unwind with Mountain Valley Wilderness Holidays.

The eco retreat-wildlife habitat houses six cosy log cabins on a private nature reserve, providing the perfect getaway spot from the daily stresses of the fast-paced city life.

Mountain Valley is a "sanctuary for wildlife" with many animals including wallabies, brushtail possums, platypus and the native Tasmanian devil calling the reserve home.

You can also expect to spot lots of other wildlife during your stay such as sugar gliders, wombats, echidnas and quolls.

For those hungry for adventure, exploring the cave system in the Mountain Valley Private Nature Reserve may just be the tour that's right up your alley.

The Glow Worm Grotto trip will have you standing in awe of these cave creatures as they light up the eerie darkness.

If you feel brave enough to venture further into the cave, you can jump on board an extended tour to learn about the karst formations and the cave creatures.

You will make a visit to the Mostyn Hardy Cave, known for its range of cave fauna, and housing Tasmanian cave spiders, glow worms and cave crickets.

Stretch your legs with a fantastic hike, where you can explore the Leven Canyon, Black Bluff Mountain and Winterbrook Falls.

The Penguin/Cradle walk is a five-day journey that will have you travelling through the Dial Range, Gunns Plains, Leven Canyon, Loongana, over the Black Bluff Mountain range and through to Tasmania's iconic Cradle Mountain.

The Winterbrook Falls hike is an approximately  four to five hour return walk through temperate rainforest, passing mature stands of Blackwood, King Billy pine, Myrtles and Eucalyptus along the trail.

You'll also be able to spot the remains of a piners settlement on your journey, containing an intact saw pit where King Billy was sawn.

Make sure to have your camera on you to capture amazing views of the falls and rock escarpment from the lookout point, with the falls dropping 200m off the mountainside.

Signage at the entrance to the retreat

The nearby river to explore

Curious Quoll on the steps - critter time

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