Sep
11
2012

Wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike, keep the dates of October 13 and 14 free in your diaries for the Southern Tasmanian White Wine Weekend.

After the success of the Tasmanian Red Wine Weekend in May, Wine South Tasmania will bring another spectacular event for those who prefer beverages of the white variety.

Winemakers from Southern Tasmania will gather together to bring the best of their vineyards with a variety of chardonnays, sparklings, sauvignon blancs, rose, dessert wines and pinot gris.

This special wine weekend will run from 12:00 midday to 17:00 both days, with entry only $25 to try all wines, where you'll also receive a complete tasting booklet, crystal Plumm glass, pen and entry to lucky door prize.

The event will also be held at the IXL atrium in the luxury Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart, which won a Traveler's Choice award for 2012 from TripAdvisor.

After an afternoon of sampling fine wines, you can head out for a bite at the IXL Long Bar, well regarded as Hobart's "meeting place".

Choose delicious small platters such as pickled chorizo with caramelised apple, Wagyu Bresaola with mustard mayonnaise or Rabbit rillettes & sour dough to whet your appetite.

White  Wine Weekend header  piece

East Coast Vineyard  Tasmania

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Sep
10
2012

If you've got a taste for adventure and the unknown, head to Hastings Caves in Tasmania for an enthralling experience set in the dark!

Tasmania's Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs are only a 90 minute drive south of Hobart, so get your bags packed and ready for an exciting day out. 

Weave your way through chambers of flowstone, stalactites, stalagmites, columns, shawls and other wonders, where you'll also be able to visit Newdegate Cave – Australia's largest cave open for tourists.

You can explore Newdegate's highly decorated cavern in a 45-minute tour conducted by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, discover the spacious, well-lit passages containing dolomite (a pearly white and pinkish crystal), but don't forget to bring a jumper because the underground temperature is usually around a standard nine degrees celsius.

The caves were said to have formed around 40 million years ago, and were undiscovered until 1917 when an entrance was found by timber workers.

You can purchase your tickets for the cave tour from the caves visitor centre with entry for adults $24 and for children $12 (ages five to 17, under five are free).

The entry fee includes admission to the caves, complimentary pool entry and access to walks, electric barbecues and facilities.

If you need to warm up after your journey to the caves, ensure you make your way to the Thermal Springs Pool, it is a constant 28C degrees year round, surrounded by forest and ferns and equipped with barbecues, showers and toilets.

A highlight that you have to check out during your time at Hastings Caves is the Hot Springs Track. This will take you to the merging of two streams, where you can dip your hand in the water to feel the warm current of one stream meet with the cold current of the other.

This is an ideal trip for the whole family, for a day of adventure in the caves and relaxation in the warm thermal springs; surprisingly too – it is an ideal wet weather outing. Provided there is not a raging storm, the caves are dry and swimming in raindrops adds a whole other perspective to the enjoyment of the springs.

HastingsThermal Pool - relaxing after the Caves or on their own. Image Credit: Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife

The intrigue of Hastings Caves. Image Credit: Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife

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Sep
09
2012

Does winter still have it's cold, exhausting grip on you? Step into spring and treat yourself to a pamper getaway in Tasmania.

You can escape the stress and hustle and bustle of the city, by seeking the comforts of the nature state, with its secluded valleys and unspoiled environment.

Make your way to the beautiful Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa Retreat, just south of Hobart, for a relaxing weekend to remember.

Bring your partner along to indulge in the three night Ayurvedic Retreat!

You'll be treated to various calming and relaxing activities such as the Ayurvedic Bundle Massage, Marma Point Facial, Chakra Healing Experience and Ayurvedic Shirodhara.

Healthy meals and snacks will also be served to your cottage during your stay, where you can take part in daily classes which include yoga, Tai Chi, breathing techniques and belly dance fitness.

Reap other benefits in your time at Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa Retreat, where you have free use of the infra ray sauna, a spa bath in your accommodation provided with bath salts, eco-friendly bamboo bathrobes and free herbal tea in your room.

Take some of your experience home, by purchasing locally made, organic products to re-live your relaxing getaway.

At the other end of the state, soak up the atmosphere and facilities whilst staying at the Waldheim Alpine Spa – Cradle Mountain Lodge.

Enjoy the area, take walks, explore waterfalls and streams – design your own retreat from the everyday.

Don’t want to stay over? Easy. There are numerous day spas to also ease aches and pains, and to reclaim inner peace.

Part of the complex of buildings at Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa Retreat

One of the spa machines at Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa

Soak after your spa in supreme comfort then walk 12 feet to bed at  Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa

Accommodation at Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa

Stoned at Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa (not really)

Waldheim Spa set overlooking the wilderness at Cradle Mountain

The wonderful outlook overlooking the wilderness at Cradle Mountain

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Sep
08
2012

Wine and dine for a good cause this October with Alcorso Foundation's annual fundraising dinner at MONA.

The Alcorso Foundation contributes to "community and social connectivity in Tasmania", bringing people together to push initiatives that create "cultural, economic and environmental value for the community".

This event celebrates the foundation's philanthropic activities that encourage positive change, innovation and sustainability across the state.

A special guest will be joining the dinner, with celebrity chef Danny Russo preparing an Italian culinary menu for guests to delight in, complemented with some of Tasmania's finest wines.

The evening will begin with a glass of sparkling wine aboard Peppermint Bay II where you'll take in the spectacular views of the Derwent River, on the way to MONA.

An auction will take place, with works from Mairi Ward, Robyn McKinnon, David Keeling, Lola Greeno, Linda Van Niekerk and Di Allison put up for sale.

You'll also be treated to a performance from talented singer Maria Lurighi, who has performed with the likes of Alan Browne, Gary Costello, Barry Duggan, Marcie Howard and Dave Steele.

Bookings are essential for the event, with the previous year's dinner selling out weeks ahead!

Tickets are $200 per person, so reserve your tickets now by calling MONA on (03) 6277 9900.

Extract Screen shot from web site

Last Year's dinner place settings

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Sep
07
2012

Return to the days of old, with stories of dragons, knights and jousting at the Burnie-Wynyard Medieval Festival.

This is a fantastic event for the whole family to attend, taking place from Friday September 14 to Sunday September 16, from 10:00 in the morning to 17:00 in the afternoon over the three-day weekend.

The Burnie-Wynyard Medieval Festival is Tasmania's home grown, first open combat swordsmanship and jousting competition presented by The Order of The Dragon's Realm Inc.

Enjoy the brilliant family-friendly activities and entertainment which include open medieval combat single and melee class, jousting, show rides, snake and birds of prey displays, face painting, highland and belly dancing, and other fun games to test your skills!

The entry fee is $2 for children and $5 for adults – there will also be food and drinks available at the festival.

If you're feeling more than a little bit peckish, a dining suggestion is Bruce's?

Located on the Old Bass Highway in Wynyard – just across the road from beautiful beach views – you can dig into some good tucker!

Head in for breakfast to feast on The Big Brekkie or Big Mumma Pancakes, or pop in for lunch to chomp on Bruce's Homemade Beef Burgers. Then, back to the festival.

Medieval Festival Crest

Composite poster and kidspot for the festival

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Sep
06
2012

If you fancy yourself as a gardening fanatic, then spring is the prime time of the year to make a visit to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens!

Located within the Queens Domain in Hobart, the gardens are only a short walk from the Hobart CBD, providing an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city for a colourful and lively garden paradise.

Now that the winter chill has receded, many flower beds have started to spring to life, where you can embark on a guided tour to learn about the history behind the gardens and the collection of flowers and plants held from the knowledgeable guides.

If you're feeling a bit peckish, you can retire to the Gardens Restaurant for a spot of lunch. Dine on your meal from the new deck, which offers spectacular views of the gardens and the Derwent River. You'll get to eat some of the region's top fresh produce and sample local Tasmanian wines.

Many events are on for the spring season with the Friends of the Gardens Plant Sale taking place on September 22, where herbs, tomatoes and other plants are sold to raise money for the Botanical Gardens.

Vegetable and gardening workshops will also be active during the months of September and October – so be sure to head to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and get digging in!

Entrance Sign RTBG - Image Credit: Flickr User neeravbhatt

Beautiful Tulips at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens - Image Credit: c'est Christine blog

RTBG sweeping view - Image Credit: c'est Christine Blog

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Sep
05
2012

The Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival is a highlight Tasmanian event that captures the arts and culture of the area with fun activities, informative and interesting landmark tours and talented local entertainment.

This year marks the centenary of the North Lyell Mine Disaster, where 42 local men lost their lives when a fire trapped many workers underground on October 12, 1912.

The Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival is paying tribute to the disaster by "encompassing the anniversary within the festival program" offering activities that recognises the rich cultural heritage of the area, but also pays acknowledges the present and future of the community.

The three-day festival, taking place from October 12-14, aims to "generate awareness of the value of the arts and culture" in regional communities.

There is a myriad of activities to check out and take part in over the three-day weekend, ranging from mine site tours to music performances – there's bound to be something to suit the whole family! Accommodation is filling fast, so plan now.

Head to the West Coast Community Services HUB on your arrival to the event, to register as a festival attendee and get informed on the weekend's events. Participants get a free entry in the spectacular Festival Prize!

Here are some highlight events for you to visit at the Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival.

North Lyell Mine Disaster Commemorative Service – Friday October 12

The community of Queenstown invites guests to join them as they commemorate the 100th anniversary of the North Lyell disaster. The service will be a time to pay tribute to the lost miners and acknowledge the legacy that remains.

Mt Lyell Underground Mine Tours – Friday 12, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October

Visit the heart of Mt Lyell mine and experience Australia's "only tour of a working underground mine". This is bound to be one of the highlights of the festival, giving you a deep insight into the mining world many of us have never seen or experienced.

You can view more activities from the weekend program on the website.

Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival Prgramme header

Newspapers being read in the main street of Queenstown -  Image Credit:  Tasmanian Philatelic Society / Ross Ewington article research

Site of the disaster with people gathered waiting for news Image Credit: Tasmanian Philatelic Society / Ross Ewington article research

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Sep
04
2012

Want to work while you travel? Then why not head to Tasmania. You will find a world of discovery on your journey from the clear-water coastlines to mountain trekking in the state's centre and beyond.

Australia has reciprocal Working Holiday Maker (WHM) arrangements with a number of countries around the world, including the UK, US, Canada, Netherlands and Republic of Ireland as well as many others.

This means there will always a strong chance that you will qualify for the program, so long as you meet all the corresponding visa requirements. To do this you will need to be between 18 and 30 years of age without any dependent children and visiting Australia for a holiday. It is also important that you can prove you have sufficient funds to pay for a return airfare and cover expenses during your stay.

When your paperwork is complete and you do make it to Australia – or better still, Tasmania – you will be required to perform tasks described as 'incidental work' on your travels throughout the country.

Luckily for backpackers, this term is usually interpreted fairly broadly, which means there are a variety of employment options to choose from to help you enjoy your stay legally.

It can mean anything from casual labour to bookkeeping on a busy orchard and doing the rounds at a local cafe. You will just need to prove that you are up for a challenge and where required have the appropriate skills.

Once you have your visa ready and tickets booked, it is time to start organising the fun stuff like action-packed holidays, climbing adventures, helicopter tours, wine exploration and the best places to surf around the island state.

In fact, there are so many things to see and do in Tasmania we are sure that you will want to come back and visit again. Many do. A taste is hardly enough.

Free from study and your usual life - Image Source: Utas Faculty of Education

Hobart at Dusk Image source: CradleMountain-dot-net

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Sep
03
2012

Tasmanians are a welcoming people who love nothing more than to sit down and have a chat, explore new ideas and learn more about different cultures.

And it is this reputation for openness that is one of the reasons why so many same-sex couples enjoy travelling in the island state.

Leading the way in progressive politics in Australia since the 1990s, Tasmania and its people are dedicated to celebrating our differences and building on the ties that bring us together.

With this in mind, you can expect to find a long list of boutique accommodation sites and attractions that are sensitive to travellers.

Most of these gay friendly destinations are clearly labelled within our DiscoverTasmania listings, but if you happen to stumble across a venue that you think should be listed but isn't please let us know.

But like so many travellers, your main reasons for visiting the island state will probably have less to do with politics and more in common with a near universal desire to reconnect with nature.

Tasmania is one of the few places in Australia where you can experience four distinct seasons, which makes it a great place to travel during spring, autumn, summer and winter.

It also means that there are different activities on during the year that you can choose from, including cool climate wine tasting, spring flower and garden festivals, surfing holidays in summer and bush walking throughout the cooler months. It goes without saying that dining experiences and the produce created my some of the nation’s most talented chefs will add a whole other dimension to a Tasmanian stay.

History buffs will want to make a beeline for the historical sites in and around Hobart, while you are in the region a stop off at the local Salamanca market or MONA will make your visit (PDF) all the more memorable.

Remember to book ahead of time so that you get your pick of exciting venues and make the most of your stay in Tasmania.

Ormiston House on Tasmania's West Coast at Strahan is Gay Friendly Accommodation - Image Credit: Rainbow Travel-dot-net

Tulips near Wynyard Image Credit - FlightCentre Ltd

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Sep
02
2012

There's no better time than the season of spring to make your way to Tasmania – with the spectacular Tiger Trail Festival taking place from September 21 – 23.

The festival was inspired by the film ‘The Hunter‘, starring Hollywood heavyweights Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill, who set out into the Tasmanian wilderness on the hunt for the last Tasmanian tiger.

The Tasmanian tiger is the highlight of the event, where the trail celebrates and commemorates the animal which is thought to be extinct. The mysterious tiger was last found near Maydena and died in 1936 at Hobart Zoo.

Head to one of Tasmania's most loved national parks in the Mount Field region, where fantastic events will take place in Bushy Park, Glenora, Westerway, Fentonbury, Maydena, Ellendale and Plenty to explore the legend of the elusive Tasmanian tiger.

Get amongst the culture by sampling some of the divine local produce, where you can visit Kinvarra Estate Wines to taste their finest selection of wines or drop in for a cider at the Two Metre Tall Company farm bar.

A must-attend event for the whole family, the kids can get involved in the fun too! Visit the country markets at Westerway for a great range of local specialties, encourage the kids to join the Tassie Tiger hunt and enjoy a roast lunch at the Giants' Table and Cottages in Maydena and take part in alpaca wool spinning and feeding at Maydena Country Cabins.

If you haven't had the opportunity to watch the film The Hunter, catch a screening at The National Park Hotel, where you'll get a free lunch sausage sizzle!

You'll also be able to retrace the steps of The Hunter actor Willem Dafoe, where you can head out to the Buttongrass Plains where the movie was filmed – you may also be inspired to get in on the hunt for the Tasmanian Tiger too!

Check out details of the festival and the festival’s facebook page which is completely chock full of activities and advice.

Tiger Trail Branding Logo

Tyenna River at Westerway

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