Sep
01
2012

Your friends might prefer to drink beer and wine, but thanks to a new range of boutique drops there is now a growing number of Australians who identify as something akin to cider connoisseurs.

Cider is most commonly made from fermented apple juice, which often acts as a based before other fruits such as peach, strawberry and even lime are added for extra flavour.

While the alcohol content in cider varies depending on brand you may be drinking, it is not uncommon to hear of cider's that have an alcohol volume between two to eight per cent.

When it comes to the flavour of ciders, you can expect to find everything from sweet to dry blends, but what you end up drinking is really a matter of personal preference.

On the mainland, cider appreciation has grown in popularity to the point where it is not uncommon to find a number of speciality drinks on sale in the hippest venues.

But in Tasmania, this love of one of the world's most refreshing beverages dates back to the 1830s when Huon Cider made from Sturmmer Pippin apples was common in the region.

Southern Tasmania is by far one of the best places to grow speciality cider apples, and there are a variety of orchids in the area that cater to the country's increasing interest in what is sometimes referred to as fruit wine.

The cider making process is often likened to the techniques and procedures used to make high-quality wine. The fruit is juiced, stored and later double fermented so that it will retain its trademark bubbles despite being bottled.

Depending on the type of cider, you should be able to taste the fruit and skins used to make your drink.

You can easily organise to go on tours of local cideries on your next trip to southern Tasmania.

Tasmanian Huon Cider

Part of the Dickens Cider Range

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Aug
31
2012

If you've always wanted to visit Tasmania, why not witness the rich beauty and history by taking a road trip?

An intimate drive around the island is the perfect way to discover the delights and beautiful scenery on offer.

Gather a group of friends or family and rent a van to explore the vast nature and wilderness and historic sites that are huge landmarks in Australia's history.

If you love delving into the past and learning about the history of Australia, then drive to Port Arthur.

Recently receiving a boost with several of its collection of sites being given a World Heritage listing, the Port Arthur historic site is one of the country's most visited heritage attractions, being the best preserved convict site in Australia.

It played a huge part in the settlement of the country, where it was key in the colonial system of convict discipline. You'll witness the buildings that are still stand including the infamous Separate Prison, Trentham Cottage, the Commandant's House and the ruins of the guard tower, the barracks and the Church.

If the eerie side of Port Arthur interests you, head on the Historic Ghost Tour for the spine-tingling after dark experience.

Port Arthur historic site is said to be one of Australia's most haunted, with almost two centuries of documented reports of paranormal activity.

The lantern-lit tour is filled with stories and bizarre happenings during Port Arthur's history and is definitely not for the faint-hearted – everything about the site changes once the sun sets.

If ghosts and the dark side aren't really your thing, then you can explore the beautiful grounds and gardens – including the Commandant's Garden originally planted in the 1850s.

View the fresh spring flowers and vegetable gardens, as well as the orchard at Trentham Cottage. Gardening buffs will delight in the native Tasmanian species that encompass the site and the 20th century blooms on offer.

Entrance to the pathway leading through the colonial garden to the Church

Port Arthur Guard Tower

Port Arthur viewed from the harbour  Photo credit: Peter Luxton from Tourism Tasmania's image library

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Aug
30
2012

Whether you are a novice in the kitchen, connoisseur of all things gourmet or a seasoned professional, you will find a cooking class that suits your tastes and interests at the Red Feather Inn.

This September there are a number of exciting courses available to budding culinary enthusiasts, including The Bakery Series – Artisan Bread Making (September 15) and the Food Styling and Photography class (September 29).

Breadmakers and food artists are encouraged to take part in these intensive classes and take their passion to exciting new levels.

An insight into the mysterious alchemy that happens in a bakers kitchen will inform part of The Bakery Series, and you will get to learn how to make some of your favourite house breads, including ciabatta, pagnotta and focaccia. There will also be the opportunity to indulge in something a little sweeter when you make dough for sugar-topped scrolls at home after the class.

For those who are keen to develop their eye for food styling, you won't want to miss the Food Styling and Photography class. Along with having Tanya White, the Red Feather's Inn house chef, on hand to answer all of your questions, you will also learn what it takes to reproduce the experience of eating a restaurant dish within the pages of a glossy magazine.

While prices vary depending on the course you take and accommodation rates, you can expect to pay between $245 and $395 for the baking course. For the food photography package this figure jumps to $345 per person and $495 per person twin share if you choose to stay the night.

Costs associated with attendance go towards free airport transfers, lunch and cool climate Tasmanian wine, plus breakfast is included in all accommodation packages.

Cooking at the Red Feather Inn - Image Credit: 101Must-Do's (NZ)

Red Feather Inn Accommodation - Image Credit: NeeditNow

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Aug
29
2012

You might have already booked your ultimate spring vacation, but for those who are still pondering what to do as the weather heats up it is time to start planning your next seaside escape.

Days of indoors at galleries and wine tours – can be kept for winter … aficionados of course are welcome all year round – but in their place should white sandy beaches, lazy afternoons and skinny dipping in the quiet lagoons in warmer weather.

In Tasmania, you will find a number of awe inspiring locations to take you away from the daily grind and a little bit closer to paradise.

The most popular destination for this kind of activity would have to be jaw-droppingly beautiful retreats that are strung the island state's east coast.

From Hobart to the Bay of Fires and Maria Island, you won't want for places to go to unwind when you travel through the region. (The chances are also fairly high that you will be booking a return visit before the trip is out!)

While there are tours you can go on, it is best to spread your journey out over seven days of pure discovery.

Build a personal adventure beginning with a flight into Hobart airport, pick up a hire car for the week. From the airport drive through Cambridge and explore Richmond; unintentionally you are on one of the wine routes and the Coal River Valley will tempt you on the way. Immerse yourself in history, then swing back onto the road to Orford – a small town whicho happens to specialise in mouth-watering pizzas and great coffee – before slipping through to Triabunna, you should be in time for an afternoon cruise to Maria Island.

Stay Orford or Triabunna

Day two should be spent hitting the town of Swansea – seeking out Kate's Berry farm and the Bark Mill – there are also more wineries which will thrust themselves at you and perhaps the enjoyment of a wildlife park to allow you to change your pace. There’s a Blow Hole and the walk along the beach prior to staying overnight in Bicheno. Dusk brings an opportunity of penguin spotting as there is a rookery near the town.

Stay Bicheno

Day three might best be described as a busy one, so rise early. You’ve heard of Coles Bay and Freycinet … it will not disappoint. You’ll be choosing from ATV’ing, walking, gazing or even kayaking. There is also a cruise should you wish to leave the arm muscles free from endeavour. Wineglass Bay by any means is unforgettable, and in whale season you will see them out to sea from the lighthouse lookout.
The remainder of the day is the journey through to St Helens and the Bay of Fires.

Stay in the St Helens area. There are hill tops, retreats, gardens and beach locations. Bay of Fires has produced some of Tasmania’s most engaging photographs – red stained rock, white sand and blissfully blue water – you’ll want to capture your own Instagr.ams and shots for facebook to capture the memory and to share. It is a place to contemplate. It’s easy to see why this area from the Chain of Lagoons up, is a popular holiday camping mecca.

You can change any part of this trip to suit your interests and there is always the option to stay an extra night if you stumble across your own version of paradise. A seven day itinerary will expand every option and allow more leisurely exploration. On a holiday, you don’t want go, go, go.

Coal River Valley Vineyard - Image Credit: WineTasmania & Bishops Vineyard

Richmond Tasmania - Image Credit: Anstey Barton B&B

Beautiful Spring Beach near Orford - Image Credit: Flickr User Kevin~GE30

Triabunna is the base for sea based excursions into Oyster Bay and Maria Island

Wineglass Bay - Image Credit: Saffire Lodge

Blowhole north of Bicheno -  Image Credit: Dianah Mieglich

Binalonga Bay near St Helens - Image Credit: Travels for You

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Aug
28
2012

Tasmania’s Midlands Highway is for many people – and certainly ‘commuting locals’ – often a two and a half hour journey between Hobart and Launceston; with perhaps a coffee break in Campbell Town.

For a business journey that is fine. But the ‘highway’ is so much more!

The Heritage Highway draws its present charm from a distinctly functional past; of farming and toil, of early transport and stage coaches … where each township meant a change of horses, a refreshment stop or an overnight. How easy the journey is now.

And that is a clue to touring The Heritage Highway. It is jam-packed with history, the opportunity to delve down, and in that mode is worthy of a most enjoyable and rewarding multi-day journey.

Best yet there is an APP which is downloadable for iPhone/iPad and also for Android phones and tablets.

This comprehensive guide to your journey lists where to stay, what is on, and what is near. Yes, being GEO aware it will uncover for you all the things you didn’t know. Add in ATM’s, recreation facilities and suggested stops, this is an invaluable aid to the brochure raid you may have done before setting out on your trip. On an ever changing rotation there are offers (coupons) imbedded in the application too. All this is FREE.

Dismiss going fast. Slow down and explore history and heritage. A rural and colonial past, convicts and cruelty, grand homesteads and gardens; Nowadays a tapestry of enjoyment, which is for slow consumption.

Want to see videos of the towns along the Heritage Highway? Check them out here for Avoca, Campbell Town, Ross, Northern Midlands Heritage Trail, Oatlands and Longford.

Screen shot of the Heritage Highway Smartphone-Tablet App

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Aug
27
2012

With more and more people holding weddings in the island state, you may be wondering what you are going to do after the main event is over.

For those who live locally this won't be a problem, with your expert knowledge of the best places to eat or grab a coffee already ingrained after years of exploring.

However, interstate visitors may find it a little tricker to find their feet given the rich variety of places and activities to choose from during the spring.

So for those who are making their way across the Bass Strait and are in need of a quick how-to guide, you can find the answers to all of your questions either by reading on or taking a quick look at the rest of the Discover Tasmania site.

Hobart is more than just the state's capital – it is also the cultural centre of the island and a great place to see the latest shows and exhibitions.

For a weekend of history, music, markets and discovery you will want to spend time getting to know the harbour foreshore, MONA and its exciting ‘Theatre of The World’ exhibition, and world famous Salamanca Place.

It is also a great place to slip into a hip pocket bar after a gourmet dinner with friends before dancing the night away.

Cradle Mountain is the it destination for anyone in need of some quality R&R. From luxury spas to five star restaurants and wine venues, you will be to sit back and let the tension melt away as you soak in the magical scenery while also getting a hot rock massage.

For those who like wine there is nothing like a quick stopover in Launceston and then day trip to the Tamar Valley. Let the experts' help you choose the ideal wine for all your favourite meals as you go on a tour of the state's best vineyards.

MONA - the logo in Lights

Theatre of The World Exhibition @ MONA

The Ferry arriving at its MONA berth - Image Credit Flickr User FoxHollow

Salamanca Place

Comfortable Guest Lounge and Fireplace Cradle Mountain Lodge

Cradle Mountain Lodge Chalets

Spa Treatments at Cradle Mountain Lodge

Cradle Mountain Chateau

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Aug
26
2012

With spring just around the corner, it might be time to give your living space a face-lift – and whether you're planning to expand your garden or redecorate your home, you'll find plenty of gems worth exploring at the Penguin Market.

This charming and bustling destination is the largest undercover market in the island state, and you'll find plenty of appealing goods here, from antique furniture to products to help you make the most of the great outdoors.

There are Tasmanian timbers on offer if you're the DIY type, and a well-equipped plant nursery if you're keen to give your green thumb a warm-up after a winter of rest.

If you prefer the great indoors to the great outdoors, you might be more interested in the range of antique furniture on offer – there are always new undiscovered treasures to back and the offerings change weekly, so you'll want to keep coming back for more!

If you need a break from all the market excitement, you'll find there's a great range of food available right at the market – and if you're lucky enough to visit on a sunny spring day, you might be tempted by the ice cream bar!

The Penguin Market is located on the corner of Arnold and King Edward Streets in the community of Penguin, and is held every Sunday from 09:00 until 15:30.

If you are visiting Tasmania, set aside time on your itinerary.

Browsing the Penguin Market - Image Credit: Think-Tasmania

Refreshments at the Penguin Indoor Market

Coming into Penguin

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Aug
25
2012

Spring is just around the corner and holidaymakers everywhere are eyeing putting their winter woollies away to make way for their summer plans.

With this in mind, you might want to start organising the ideal weekend getaway for the warmer weather.

And one of the best places to unwind is the famous Gordon River, located on Tasmania's west coast.

In the 70s and 80s there was a movement to dam the river, however, these plans were overturned and in their place is the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. This area forms part of the Wilderness World Heritage Area, which is known for its rugged terrain and post-card perfect scenery.

From deep valleys to hurtling waterways and spectacular natural rapids, you will find something for everyone.

There are also loads of things for the whole family to do, including river cruises, comfortable day trips on the wilderness railway and small aeroplane flights to remember. (If you want to feel like a real adventurer, you won't want to miss out on the scenic flights deep into the Gordon River and Sir John Falls.)

Wilderness Cruises Vessel

The wilderness and waters of the Gordon River Cruise

The serenity and endless reflections on the Gorden River Cruise

Treat Yourself to The Captain's Upper Deck

Western Wilderness Railway along the King River

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Aug
24
2012

For those who are already members of Tasmania's trendy bar and restaurant scene, it will come as little surprise to learn that one of the city's most popular has been named one of the best dining spots in the country.

Located on Murray Street in a one-time mechanic’s garage, Garagistes has quickly become a popular among locals and in-the-know visitors since first opening its doors to the public.

But now it seems that ‘Internationals and Mainlanders’ are also coming to appreciate its mix of quirky interiors, fine wines and the best in fresh, locally produced food.

Although officially a wine bar sporting top drops from around the world, it is the establishment's emphasis on tasty, high-quality eating options that helped the bar takeout first place in The Australian's Hot 50 Restaurants list for Tasmania.

The menu also features a number of organic wines and foodstuffs that appeal to diners who care as much about the environment as they do about what's on their plate.

Luke Burgess, chef and part owner at Garagistes, said the gong was a good reminder to everyone in the industry that what they did on a day-to-day basis made a difference.

"It's a nice feeling to be included with a lot of other people from around the country whose work we respect and admire," he told The Mercury.

While making it to the top of The Australian's list was an honour, it is not the first time the team at Garagistes have been acknowledged for their hard work.

The restaurant regularly appears in eating guides for the state and also made an appearance in popular travel magazine Gourmet Traveller earlier this year.

Garagistes can be found at 103 Murray Street Hobart and contact details and prices are available from their website.
Note: They do not take reservations.

Garagistes Dining Interior with Shared Tables

The site before conversion

Superb Garagistes Tapas Sized Meals - Image Credit: Fika & Kuidaore Blog

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Aug
23
2012

You may know of the many dairy goods and products that have made King Island in Tasmania famous throughout Australia.

However, you might not be as familiar with the many great diving spots that are located off the shore of this island paradise which are quickly gaining popularity among travellers from around the world.

There are more than 70 diving havens and shipwrecks in all along the King Island coastline that cater to individuals of all ability levels.

Surfers will also find a few breaks that might take their fancy whilst there, including the well-known Red Hut Point and Porky Beach.

For those who like animals, you might want to go on one of the regular platypus tours or perhaps catch sight of a penguin or two.

Bird watching is another popular activity that is open to visitors of the island and there are 78 species to look out for.

There are also good fishing spots off the shores of Phoques Bay and Martha Lavinia, as well as many other sites.

Anyone who prefers dry land will be able to perhaps leave their partner to catch waves and head off on a rejuvenating bushwalk.

King Island Cheese

It is easy to find waterfront views in King Island

Tasmania-King-Island-Australia-Currie-Harbour

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