Aug
10
2012

Sports enthusiasts across the country will no doubt have been delighted to see Australia’s Tom Slingsby win Australia’s first individual gold medal in the Men’s Laser Class. Yachting has gone on to be a major winning sport in this year’s Olympics.

And while we might not be quite in the same league as this particular athlete, it is fair to say that sailing will increase in popularity among people who might not have had a strong interest in the sport due to this victory.

So with this in mind, it might be a good idea to learn more about the different opportunities to go sailing locally and hone your sporting ambitions.

Tasmania is often described as a temperate paradise for sailors and with the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race helping to promote our waters to international audiences, it is little wonder that so many visitors to the island state are keen to take part in the many events that are dedicated to this sport.

Among events that take place in Tasmania include the biennial Australian Wooden Boat Festival which will next be held in February 2013, the Royal Hobart Regatta and the well-known Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

However, you will also find a variety of smaller events that dot the state’s yachting calendar and are open to sailors with a range of ability levels and experience on the water.

For those who are visiting Tasmania from the mainland, the traditional route will see you travelling along the sunny east coast. However, if you are feeling adventurous yachts are  available for charter or hire to take you to any point on Tasmania’s amazing coast.

If you are making your way from Melbourne, you will need to step up to the challenge of the Bass Strait, which is widely considered to be one of the toughest stretches of water to navigate in the world.

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Aug
08
2012

Snow-capped mountain tops, sweeping plains, steep cliffs and rolling hills combine to make Tasmania a great place to reconnect with nature on wide-open roads.

And while the Richardsons Harley Davidson Museum and Cafe in Westbury – located on Highway 54 between Launceston and Deloraine – is a must-see destination for any motorcycle enthusiast, you can also find a number of other great places to visit and small towns to discover on your tour of the island state.

For seasoned professionals, you might not need to join a tour group to know the best places to see or journey through on your motorcycle. However, it is always a good idea to check for tours or motorcycle events before heading off on your next trip.

Anyone visiting from interstate or overseas will benefit from the many motorcycle specialist stores that have the latest models on offer to hire such as Moto Adventure Tasmania – which is located in Hobart – and Tasmania Motorcycle Hire in Evandale.

All of the state’s A and B roads are sealed – which means that there is less chance of injury or accident due to poor road conditions.

To protect native animals, it is advisable to take extra care during early morning or dusk. This is because most wildlife will be active on country roads at these times.

Weather is also another issue to consider given that you can see quite dramatic changes in conditions without much warning. With this in mind, it is best to come prepared for all-season riding and regularly check local forecasts.

Depending on the time of year, you may also find that some roads are more prone to frost, ice or at times snow, which means it is always a good idea to make later starts when you are planning your journey.

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Aug
04
2012

If you’re looking for a great place to beat the winter chill, a bit of live theatre might be just the ticket – and until August 18, Hobart’s Playhouse Theatre is set to play host to one of Noel Coward’s best-loved productions.

Waiting In The Wings, which was first performed more than 50 years ago, is the surprisingly heartwarming story of a troupe of retired actresses who live in a charity home – and when the latest resident arrives, decades-long rivalries and friendships are brought to the surface.

The production, which was first brought to international attention thanks to strong performances from legendary actresses Lauren Bacall and Rosemary Harris, is packed with spirited one-liners and plenty of toe-tapping musical numbers – making it the perfect entertainment to brighten up a cold winter evening.

You can buy tickets for Waiting In The Wings online from Centertainment – all tickets for Wednesday night performances are only $22.

Performances will take place from Wednesday to Saturday at 20:00 local time, and there will also be a 14:00 matinee performance on Saturday August 11.

Concession and group booking tickets are also available – please contact Centertainment to find out more details.

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Aug
02
2012

Whether you want to climb rugged mountains, discover the underground world of caves or travel across sweeping green plains, it is hard not to marvel at natural beauty of Tasmania’s Great Western Tiers.

However, there is also much more to this part of the world and a journey through the region isn’t complete without getting to know the locals, learning about the area’s rich colonial history or trying your hand at arts and crafts.

With this in mind, you might want to get out your map and start planning a once in a lifetime travel experience.

The first stop on this two-day journey which ends in a wilderness drive is Carrick, a small town bursting in history located just west of Launceston.  After this, it is onto Hadspen – which is home to one of the state’s best-known heritage homes in the form of Entally House – before stopping in Westbury.

With the history leg of the tour out of the way, it is now time to travel to the heart of the island state’s craft movement in Deloraine.  During November, the town comes alive with the Tasmanian Craft Fair, but it is a constant source of inspiration for artists who regularly pass through to source materials and speak with fellow enthusiasts. Spread over five locations it is one of Australia’s largest.

For those who like the best, it is hard to travel through this region without stopping in to visit the locals or pay tribute to its fantastic scenery which is why the second part of this journey is all about reconnecting with nature.

No more than a stone’s throw from Deloraine is the world-famous Mole Creek Karst National Park – which is home to more than 300 caves and sinkholes. There are two caves open to the public on a daily basis, but to make the most of this experience it is best to go on the Marakoopa and King Solomons Cave tours.

You now have two choices. Winding through to Cradle Mountain for an alpine experience, or heading toward the coast with a climb over the saddle and descent into Paradise leading you to Sheffield and down through Barrington/Lower Barrington to Devonport.

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Jul
31
2012

Travelling along Tasmania’s east coast is truly a feast for the eyes, with spectacular seascapes, granite masses and white sandy beaches lining the horizon.

There is, however, more to the area than its stunning scenery. A rich variety of cool-climate wines, fruit and seafood help to make this part of Tasmania a truly gourmet experience.
So, to help you get started on your next east coast escape, you might want to take drop into the following must-see destinations.

The drive from Hobart to Triabunna is an easy stage over a ridge and through the seaside playground of Orford (popular with locals) – and to get to famous Maria Island – is followed by a short ferry ride. Once you are on the island, it is time to explore pristine views and its free roaming animals, the remnants of earlier settlements – Darlington – now recognised by UNESCO as significant and part of Tasmania’s World Heritage Convict Sites, and the wide choice of coastal walks within the Maria Island National Park. A walk to higher ground will reward you with superb vistas.

If Maria Island was not on your list, then a quick lunch break should be had in Swansea, a great place to try local berries and wines along with the region’s seafood. The view over Great Oyster Bay and the tip of Maria Island is a delight to the eye.

While you are in the area, you will not want to miss Freycinet Peninsula, a turn off the main road between Swansea and Bicheno. Driving to Coles Bay will in turn lead you to Wineglass Bay, which is often described as a photographer’s dream. The white crescent of sand is unmistakable. You can view from above at the lookout or take more time to walk down onto the sandy beach itself; awarded one of the ten best beaches in the world a couple of years back.  This is not a crowded place – the sweep of the bay could be yours alone.

After this, it is time to head back to the main road and make your way to the fishing towns of Bicheno and St Helens.

If you are in Bicheno at dusk, you will want to make a beeline for their regular penguin tours or maybe catch a glimpse of a Tasmanian devil at the local wildlife park, while St Helens is famous for its deep sea fishing and nearby Binalong Bay.

Next on the to-do list is the pastel-coloured Bay of Fires – an iconic sight that is bound to take your breath away. It is also a great place to go snorkelling or scuba diving, however, in the winter it might be nice to soak in the view from the shore before heading back to see Binalong Bay with its rust stained rocks and beautiful settings..

Strike inland  and seek out cheeses at Pyengana and finish your East Coast experience by visiting the Pub in the Paddock and St. Columba Falls.
There are three ways over to Launceston. One takes you to join the Midland Highway just short of Campbell Town, another sweeps you through the Fingal Valley and out  north of Campbell Town; the last, including the cheese trail mentioned, will swing you into Derby and Scottsdale up through the North East. A further deviation onto B82 will have you take a northerly route past Bridport and onto the mouth of the Tamar at Georgetown.

So much to see and so many choices to make.

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Jul
30
2012

Its colourful history means that you can’t get to know the real Tasmania without a tour to learn more about the state’s convict past.

Of the 11 convict sites that have been officially recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, five are located in Tasmania.

From Richmond to Eaglehawk and the Port Arthur Historic site, the island state is dotted with reminders of the colourful characters who came to call Tasmania home.

Our four-day tour of the state’s main convict sites begins with Richmond, which is home to the first military garrison town and the Richmond goal.

This can be followed by a drive through the Coal River Valley and a tasting session that  samples some of the best cold climate wineries in the country. However, it is impossible to enjoy good wine without also eating gourmet cheeses. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to turn your wine tasting session into a delicious lunch date with friends. The Wine Centre in Richmond or Wicked Cheese on the way there are two suggestions.

After a quick drink and nibbles it is time to continue our drive to the Port Arthur Historic Site. This part of the tour can also include a visit to nearby Point Puer Boys’ Prison and Coal Mines Historic Site – two locations that are must see destinations for history buffs. There is also a ghost tour of an evening for those who aren’t afraid of shadows and the real history of the place.

With close proximity to the city (less than an hour and half) means that it is easy to catch a glimpse of some of Hobart’s main attractions, and those of the wider area, including Tasman National Park.

As if to point out the cruelty of the conditions these men and women endured, the natural beauty of this area makes it hard to believe that otherwise rough individuals could coexist with white sandy bays and beaches, rolling hills, temperate forests and sweeping plains.

The other part of our convict heritage is on show at Ross with another impressive convict built bridge and the remains of the Ross Female Factory, and nearby near Longford,  Woolmers and  Brickendon – farming outposts which used ‘normal for the time’ convict labour.

There is one other, but that entails a trip to the East Coast and an island journey – Darlington on Maria Island.

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Jul
29
2012

History buffs know a good museum when they see one, which might be one of the reasons why the Furneaux Museum has so many visitors walking through its doors.

Showcasing the history of the Furneaux Group of Islands, you will have plenty of things to look at and discover on your next tour.

Among some of the major attractions is an anchor from the Sydney Cove, which was salvaged from Preservation Island in 1797, as well as relics from a number of shipwrecks that took place on and around the islands.

Aboriginal artefacts from the region help to shed light on the islands dark past, with an exquisite collection of handmade shell necklaces offering an insight into the craftsmanship of local indigenous communities.

On display in the Aboriginal Room, which happens to be one of seven separately housed exhibitions within the museum, the artefacts are also a sad reminder about the traditions that were lost upon European settlement.

Combining a trip to the museum with a tour of the Wybaleena Chapel and Cemetery is a great way to learn about the past, while also catching a glimpse of the idyllic beaches that await discovery.

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Jul
28
2012

Hobart’s thriving arts and culture scene have made it the envy of many other cities around the country.

And with a mix of old and new, it is easy to see why so many of the city’s residents and visitors dedicate their free time to getting to know Hobart’s every nook and cranny.

From morning trips to the Salamanca markets to historical tours of the island state’s convict past and fine dining experiences of an evening, it can sometimes feel as if there is an endless list of things to do in this harbourside metropolis.

But despite its rich history and commitment to the arts, many people are still unaware of the fact that Hobart is also the state’s entertainment capital.

For the latest plays and productions, you can’t go past the Theatre Royal, which first opened its doors to the public in 1837. With regular performances from some of the country’s best performers, it is a true cultural icon in the region and one of the most hotly anticipated productions of the year, The Flood, will be on stage at the theatre this August.

For those who are keen to go bar-hopping after a performance, it is best to head to Salamanca Place where your choice of designer pubs will be waiting to greet you.  You can also grab a bite to eat while you are in the area and try some of the region’s best locally sourced produce.

Another must-visit cultural destination is the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), which has regular jazz performances each weekend, as well as cutting edge exhibitions.  A 15-minute drive from the city’s north, it is easy to stop by and explore your artistic side at what has been described as a world-leading museum.

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Jul
27
2012

Hobart Comedy Festival is back again this year and celebrating its tenth anniversary with a long list of standout performers.

Described as “up close and personal as well as quite a bit gala” by producer Craig Wellingtion, it is clear before the curtains are drawn that this year’s festival is going to be big.

From Tommy Dean to Jeff Dean and Simon Palomares, you won’t lack for people to see at this three-month rolling festival.

Other headlining acts include Dave O’Neill, whose regular appearances on ABC music show Spicks and Specks helped introduce him to households across the country.

While special guests Charlie Pickering and Fiona O’Loughlin will be on hand for The Bloodstone Big Finale, it seems that the who’s who of home-grown talent are getting ready to wow local audiences and try out some new material.

Damien Callinan, the beloved legend of UK comedy, is back in the island state by popular demand with a fast-paced show that is sure to have you in stitches and contemplating life from a slightly different perspective.

And for those who feel inspired to take to the stage themselves, there is also the option to contact organisers about the possibility of appearing in next year’s show. After all, sometimes all it takes is seeing your idol on stage to make you want to leave the day job behind and cut your teeth on a local production.

Shows are scheduled for August 10, 11 and 23, as well as Saturday September 1 – and it seems that the town is set to come alive with a string of lively, tongue-in-cheek performances from some of the international comedy circuits best known acts.

You may have already bought tickets for this once a year comedy feast, but if not there is still time to order your advance sales now.

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Jul
26
2012

Sitting on board the May Queen, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had suddenly stepped back in time.

With its handcrafted wooden masts, sweeping sails and made-for-industry slick frame, it is all too easy to imagine yourself rolling up your sleeves and heading off for a day on the sea.

Built on the banks of the Huon River, the May Queen is something of a Tasmanian institution, and speaks to a bygone era when the state’s coastal towns were still dependent on these magnificent vessels for basic supplies.

Internationally recognised as an authentic example of leading sea-craft technology in the 1880s, it is clear to most visitors that climbing aboard this ship is a unique experience.

It is also Australia’s oldest sail trading vessel, which makes it something of a rarity in a country defined by its seafaring past.

Spending most of its time at Constitution Dock, the best time to visit the May Queen is during the summer months when volunteers will gladly share their own knowledge of the region’s maritime history with keen listeners.

Another reason to visit jump on board the May Queen is that it is one of the few free activities in the city – which is welcome relief to any parents worried about holding onto any loose change that is currently lining their hip pocket.

After your personal tour, you can have fun soaking in the sun and enjoying the view of the city from the water.

With this in mind, you might want to add a trip down memory lane to your list of activities to do on your next Tasmania adventure.

Just remember to try and arrive early in the morning, so that you can beat the crowds and still leave time for more sightseeing in the city’s maritime museum and harbourside historic quarter.

May Queen sternAboard the May Queen

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