Oct
23
2012

The TasPride Festival was launched for another year recently with a magnificent rainbow cake baked to mark the occasion, with festival curator Marcus Barker and entertainer Miz Ima Starr present.

Festival goers are encouraged to "throw off the final shackles of winter, skip over the first two months of spring, land into November and get things heating up for the summer ahead" at the TasPride Festival running from November 16 to 24.

This year's event marks a special occasion, as TasPride celebrates 20 years of being the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer community in Tasmania.

The TasPride Festival program this year has a mixture of free and ticketed events in various Tasmanian locations including Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.

A 20th birthday cruise on the Derwent will officially kick off the festival, and will be hosted by Irish performance artist Panti with a DJ also on board to provide entertainment.

Throughout the week there will be several shows and activities on show including dance parties, films viewings, burlesque performances, a Mt Charles walk, food events, seminar talks, quiz nights and so much more in this packed program!

If you fancy yourself as a great baker, then you will probably want to test your skills in The Great Cake Bake-Off on November 24. Take inspiration from the rainbow cake at the launch and make your most creative cake which will be viewed by guest judges Nerada and Justin McRoss.

The final show will go down on November 24 with the 20th Birthday Closing Party, with attendees encouraged to come in their finest tuxedos, shimmering dresses and "glitteriest" pumps.

Closing celebrations will be held at The Grand Poobah, described as "the shabby sheik meets rockin' party venue, with entertainment from The Frocks, fANTasia and the Flamingo Dancers.

TasPride Program Screenshot

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Oct
22
2012

When the world’s most trusted travel publisher ranks Hobart in their Top 10 Cities, you know it’s for a very good reason. Nestled at the foot of the majestic Mount Wellington on the banks of the Derwent River this eclectic haven lays claim to a ruthless history, burgeoning cultural scene and award-winning food and wine, all encompassed in the most seductive of scenery.

Lonely Planet have declared that now is the time to visit Hobart before the rest of the world catches on. Hobart has been ranked seventh in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities for 2013, described as “a historic city reinventing itself”, shaking off its “sleepy reputation”.

Lonely Planet spokesman Chris Zeiher said Hobart wouldn’t have had a second glance from judges if it hadn’t been for MONA.

“Tony Wheeler, our founder, actually championed Hobart’s inclusion in this year’s Best in Travel because of MONA,” he said.

It’s understood he likened MONA to the Guggenheim in Spain. Mr Zeiher said the listing by Lonely Planet was something for Hobart residents to be extremely proud of.

Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2013 Book Cover

Here are ten good reasons to visit the allure of this boutique city:

1. The MONA effect

Lose yourself at MONA – from ancient Egyptian mummies to some of the world’s most infamous and thought-provoking contemporary art – it’s hedonistic, random and a must-see for any visitor. There’s also restaurants, a winery, brewery and luxury accommodation on-site.

Number 1 Reason: MONA - Tasmania and Hobart's Unique Museum of Old and New Art / Photo Credit: Tourism Tasmania and MONA

2. Gourmet indulgence & the foodie scene

Explore Hobart’s blossoming food scene at edgy and popular restaurants like Garagistes and Ethos. Sample handcrafted single malt whisky at Lark Distillery, take a journey of indulgent discovery with Gourmania Food Tours, enjoy fresh oysters at Barilla Bay and much more.

Number 2 Reason:

3. Free bikes for art lovers

Borrow a Dutch designed ARTbike from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) and spend the day immersed in the city’s arts precincts and galleries. Visit smARTmap for suggested routes and admire Hobart’s beautiful Georgian architecture as you pedal.

Number 3  Reason:

4. Elegant wines & boutique brews

Discover charming vineyards and cellar doors dotted along the Southern Wine Route – sample premium cool-climate wines and savour a leisurely lunch at a vineyard restaurant. Tour famous Cascade Brewery and try local craft beers like Two Metre Tall and Moo Brew.

Number 4  Reason:

5. Summer festivals & events

Hobart turns it on over summer with the Taste Festival and iconic Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race – one huge waterfront celebration, the eclectic MONA FOMA music festival featuring local and international performances, the Wooden Boat Festival, the biennial Ten Days on the Island festival and more.

Number 5 Reason:

6. Vibrant markets

Visit colourful Salamanca Market on Saturdays for art, produce and craft focused around local materials and unique ideas. There are also buskers performing anything from the blues to folk or jazz. For more organic produce, call into the popular Farm Gate Market on Sundays.

Number 6  Reason:

7. Intriguing convict history

Explore Australia’s fascinating convict history at World Heritage-listed Port Arthur (90 minutes drive from Hobart) or at the World Heritage-listed Cascades Female Factory. Join a historic walk of the city or an old pub tour for insight into its once rollicking underbelly.

Number 7 Reason:

8. Sparkling waterfront & Salamanca Place

Take in the charms of this maritime city and enjoy fish and chips alongside a variety of boats and fishermen unloading their catch. Discover historic Salamanca – the 19th-century sandstone warehouses now serve as dockside bars and restaurants and boutique stores and galleries.

Number 8 Reason:

9. Cruise the Derwent River

Get a different perspective on this magical harbour city – cruise to Peppermint Bay, to MONA or join a kayaking tour. An award-winning eco cruise is also a must do – see seals, migrating whales, dolphins and sea birds just a short drive from Hobart.

Number 9 Reason:

10. Majestic Mount Wellington

Head to the top of Mount Wellington, one of Tasmania’s highest and most famous peaks, and admire the breathtaking views of Hobart and beyond. Then, take a guided, exhilarating bike ride down the mountain or explore the numerous walking tracks and mountain bike trails.

Number 10 Reason:

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Oct
21
2012

Recently in the news, Tasmanian devils Itchy, Scratchy and Genghis escaped from Peel Zoo, Perth after a tree fell and took down a fence in their enclosure on October 18.

You won't have to worry about missing out on seeing Tassie devils if you head to a special park in Tasmania, dedicated to these native marsupials.

The Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park is located 75 minutes southeast of Hobart and has been conserving wildlife for almost 35 years.

One famous Tassie devil you might have seen is the Looney Tunes Taz, known for his short temper and ferocious manner, but you can come face to face with his real life brothers and sisters at the conservation park – "the world's original and best Tasmanian devil visitor centre".

You will get to witness the devils feeding – about six times a day! – in their natural habitat, true to their devilish form, tearing at strips of meat.

There are also other wildlife to check out at the conservation park with Tasmania's "Kings of the Wind", where you can see the famous dive of the falcon in the island's only free-flight presentation.

Visit friendly wallabies, hand-feed kangaroos, meet cute spotted quolls – cousins of the Tassie devils – and take a walk to visit rare hawks, eagles and the affable resident parrots at play.

The Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park is open from 09:00 to 17:00 (later in summer) everyday – so make sure to visit for a great wildlife experience!

** Update on the escaped Devils 21 October … Evening: Scratchy has been found!

The Sign At The Entrance To The Park

Map and Logo

Playful Devil at the Park

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Oct
20
2012

Registrations are open for Tasmania's cycling event the Launceston Pro-Ex, which offers recreational cyclists and groups the chance to "live like a pro" and ride with some of the world's best professional cyclists!

The week long cycling experience will travel through the landscapes of Tasmania from November 25 to December 2 in a weekly all inclusive package.

The package includes seven nights accommodation (twin share), all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), refreshments on daily rides, airport transfers to Launceston airport and a rider pro pack (jersey, backpack, socks, cap and more) among other great inclusions.

The race is open to cyclers of all abilities and is a great opportunity for participants to live and breathe the life of a pro cycler.

The official Launceston Pro-Ex mentors for 2012 have been announced with Nathan Haas, Campbell 'Flakey' Flakemore and Nathan Earle taking up the challenge as well as Tasmania's very own Wesley Sulzberger.

Haas is a member of the Garmin-Sharp UCI World Professional Cycling Team and was the winner for the 2011 Herald Sun Tour. He originally begun his career as a mountain biker, representing Australia in two world championships.

Launceston-born Sulzberger is part of the Orica-GreenEDGE UCI World Professional Cycling Team and won a silver medal in 2007 at the Under 23 World Road Race Championships.

Earle is part of the Genesys Wealth Advisers Cycling Team and has recovered from surgery on a broken ankle to join the Pro-Ex this year as a mentor.

Earle's Genesys Wealth Advisers Cycling teammate 'Flakey' is also a mentor for this year's event, and took bronze in this year's Under 23 Time Trial National Championships. Flakey has returned from Europe after racing as a representative of the Under 23 Australian Cycling Team.

So get to training and have your bike gear ready for November 25 at 2012's Launceston Pro-Ex.

Launceston Pro Ex OGF 2012 Course Map

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Oct
18
2012

Taste your way through East Tamar, sampling the finest fresh produce that the Tasmanian region has to offer!

Sample award winning wine, delicious berries, tasty soft cheeses and apple cider, eggs and other fresh foods from four different local companies including Hillwood Berry Farm, Leaning Church Vineyard, Yondover Farm House Cheese and Miller's Orchards Farm Market.

The Tuckerbox Trail is a new venture for East Tamar, launching at the Leaning Church Vineyard on October 30 at 11:00.

Leaning Church Vineyard owner Sarah Hirst told Launceston’s ‘The Examiner’ that she became frustrated with people "unable to supply products" and farms, cellars and food outlets being closed.

"So it was my passion to pull something together in the East Tamar, where people would know there would be regular opening hours, guaranteed an interactive 'meet the producer' experience, and be able to taste and purchase the product if they wanted to," Mrs Hirst said, reported by The Examiner on October 16.

You can choose to take a guided tour of the four different food experiences or explore the offerings in your own self-guided tour.

This Tasmanian foodie experience is a great weekend trip for the whole family, and is perfect for the upcoming summer holidays.

You can start your culinary adventure at Hillwood Berry Farm to pick your own strawberries, blackberries, loganberries and other varieties in your trip, where you can visit the resident farm which include the pigs Truffles and Stubbies and Cocky the Cockatoo.

Head to the Leaning Church Vineyard to taste their six premium "cool-climate" wines, with the 2010 riesling described as "the eighth deadly sin! Sexy, spicy and sensually sweet. The pink diamond of sweet wines!".

If you love your cheeses, then you will absolutely love Yondover Farm House Cheese! Devour award winning cheeses that include the creamy, smooth Fresh Chevre, crumbly Mt Arthur and Goat Milk Feta.

Don't forget to also visit the Miller's Orchard Farm Market for some fresh, local produce that includes seasonal fruits and vegetables, and pastured meats and eggs.

The TuckerBox Trail brochure breakout :: A5 sized summary of the product

Yondover Cheese Farm

Leaning Church and distant vines

Hillwood Berry Farm (from their site)

Leaning Church Vineyard grounds - Image Credit: Deb Sulzberger

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Oct
17
2012

Enjoy a luxury three-day getaway with a guided food, wine and walking tour on ‘The Bruny Island Long Weekend’.

With this new product starting in November 2012, you can escape the stresses of everyday life on this indulgent tour which immerses participants in Tasmania's natural beauty with magnificent coastal day walks, stunning landscape scenery and close encounters with the island's abundant wildlife.

The first day will see you make your way to Bruny Island in style on the Peppermint Bay 2 catamaran. Take a beautiful coastal walk to Cape Queen Elizabeth, where you will later pull your own catch of oysters from the crystal waters of Great Bay!

Your day will also consist of a visit to the Bruny Island Cheese Company to sample the local produce and later recline to a king size bed at your luxury tent on a secluded 100 acre property.

Lace up your best walking shoes on day two for a visit to the Cape Bruny lighthouse, a walk to East Cloudy Head for views of the rugged south coast and a visit to the vines at Australia's southernmost vineyard. Gather round the fire and keep an eye out for nocturnal wildlife as the guides prepare your meal for the evening.

The final day of your adventure gives you the option of taking a morning rainforest walk, where you can snap some great pictures and also spot some local wildlife. Finish your last day on a high viewing seals, dolphins and whales on Rob Pennicott's award winning wilderness and wildlife adventure cruise and capturing spectacular views of the region on a seaplane back to the Hobart waterfront.

So get into holiday mode with a short break in Tasmania for an experience to remember on The Bruny Island Long Weekend.

with an experienced guide - the bruny island long weekend

Excellent food & wine - the bruny island long weekend

luxurious tent overnight - the bruny island long weekend

vistas to inspire and relax you - the bruny island long weekend

the right mixture of solitude and space - the bruny island long weekend

bush to walk in - the bruny island long weekend

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Oct
16
2012

Treat your children with a trip to a Tasmanian park in celebration of the Teddy Bear's Picnic!

Taking place on Wednesday October 24, the Teddy Bear's Picnic is a lovely way to celebrate National Children's Week which runs from October 20 to 28.

Pack up your picnic blanket, some tasty snacks, refreshing drinks and of course your child's favourite teddy bear for a beautiful spring day outdoors.

Join Playgroup Tasmania in a variety of locations which include Hobart Botanical Gardens, Launceston City Park and Burnie Park for the free event.

There's a number of fun activities for children to enjoy including a jumping castle and face painting.

The Teddy Bear's Picnic events at Hobart Botanical Gardens and Burnie Park will run from 10:00 to 12:00, with the Launceston City Park picnic running from 10:00 to 13:00.

This is one of many ways you can celebrate National Children's Week, an annual event that is celebrated in Australia in the fourth week of October. A permanent theme – A Caring World Shares – was adopted in 1996, as a reflection of Children's Week aims.

The idea of Children's Week is to celebrate a child's right to enjoy childhood, and highlights a time for children to display their talents and skills.

So take part in the National Children's Week celebrations by heading out to the Teddy Bear's Picnic!

The Teddy Bear's Picnic

The picnic at The Royal Hobart Botanical Gardens - Image Credit: RHBG

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Oct
15
2012

A planned redevelopment for the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) will mean that visitors will be able to enjoy expanded public and education programs, travelling exhibitions and new spaces to showcase more of TMAG's collection.

The first stage of the redevelopment will bring various education programs for all ages, 12 brand new exhibitions and improved facilities and access to the Australia's "most significant collection" of Colonial buildings.

TMAG is open seven days a week from 10:00 to 17:00, closing temporarily for redevelopment on November 11 2012 at 17:00 and will be reopened again in early 2013.

TMAG director Bill Bleathman says: "We need to take this time to install new facilities and exhibitions for visitors to enjoy, while also ensuring we take the best care of our heritage buildings and the treasures in our collection."

The museum and art gallery has been at the centre of Hobart's waterfronts since 1863, housing collections of history, art and science that hold an "unique place" in Australia's cultural landscape.

TMAG's last major expansion took place in the sixties and is only able to showcase a small proportion of its collections as it has outgrown its current spaces and facilities.

The redevelopment will allow TMAG to have more than twice the current display space, with a dedicated facility for travelling exhibitions which will allow for international exhibitions to be hosted.

There is still plenty of time to visit and enjoy TMAG's exhibitions before closure, with the National Portrait Gallery's touring exhibition, Elegance in Exile, showing until November 4 and the artworks from the 2012 City of Hobart Art Prize on show until TMAG closes for redevelopment works.

The last day of opening for 2012 falls on Remembrance Day, with visitors having the opportunity to explore the Medals and Money permanent gallery and reflect on the efforts and bravery of military heroes.

artist's impression for finished renovations

The historic Bond Store - the basement is used as a function area

Renovations at the museum

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Oct
14
2012

Yachts will get ready to set sail on December 27 for The Good Guys Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race, where many skippers and their crews will battle it out to come in on top.

The annual Tasmanian yachting event begins at Beauty Point on the Tamar River, stretching across 285 nautical miles to finish around two days later at Hobart's historic Battery Point.

The race along Tasmania's eastern coastline has had a few changes this year with a new naming rights sponsor – electrical retailer The Good Guys – and adjustments to the rules, allowing the overall winners of the race to be eligible to collect all placings for the handicap categories entered.

In last year's race, Masquerade was placed as the overall winner but was unable to claim trophies for other categories, but the revision of the rules for 2012 will allow winners to have multiple trophies.

"We believe the most successful yacht in the race, on corrected time, should receive due recognition not only as overall winner but for her divisional win or wins, be they AMS, IRC or PHS," DSS Commodore Ron Bugg said in a press release from August 29.

Keen yachties can register interest now on the Launceston to Hobart (L2H) website, to receive the upcoming race information package and also receive an update when entries open.

L2H site

Out through the River Mouth at Launceston

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Oct
13
2012

Make a trip to Tasmania's oldest convict settlement, the Sarah Island Historic Site, for an eerie encounter this October.

Located on the rugged west coast in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Sarah Island was considered by Lt Governor Sorell as a "place of banishment and security for the worst description of convicts".

This earned the island the reputation as one of the most severe of the penal settlements setup during the history of transportation.

If you're looking for activities to take part in for Halloween, then a visit to Sarah Island is a trip you must do!

The island lies in a remote area of Macquarie Harbour, covering six hectares of land. The Macquarie Harbour was said to be the most secure of sites, where any convict that tried to escape Sarah Island would have to fight their way through the dense rainforests before making their way across the harbour.

It was said that 112 convicts escaped the island, with 62 perishing and nine murdered by fellow convicts. The remaining escapees were eventually recaptured.

You can visit Sarah Island on the cruise boats which operate on Macquarie Harbour, visit the lower reaches of the Gordon River and often take the narrow entrance to the harbour known as Hells Gates.

Ruins to look over on the Island

Getting off at Sarah Island - Image Credit Scott Sporleder

Kelly Gerrity worked as a crew member before moving to Hobart - Image Credit Scott Sporleder

Sarah Island Map locating it in vast Macquarie Harbour

The amazing waters of the Gordon River

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