Tasmania is famous for its wild seas, pristine beaches and fresh mountain air, but it is rare to combine three of its best features in one place.

Yet those who have laid eyes on the far North Coast of the island will be all too aware of the truth in this statement.

From the snow capped mountain peaks of Cradle Mountain through to the rocky cliff tops and sweeping ocean views that have come to define the coastal town of Marrawah, you won't be short of natural wonders in this part of the world.

Whether you are in the region for a week or just a few days, you will still have time to breathe in the natural beauty of the area and reconnect with nature.

Also, there are a number of wilderness adventures on offer that cater to people of all ages and ability levels – which means that you won't have any excuse not to enjoy yourself on your next trip to the far North West of Tasmania.

And if you split the journey into easy-to-manage day trips, you will have the flexibility to stay in each location for as much or as little time as you like.

If you wish to explore holiday specials in the area – go to

My Tassie Break in the North West

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With the July school holidays just around the corner, it is time for parents to start planning fun activities for kids and teens.

The Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) is running a number of holiday courses that are designed to engage, educate and encourage young people of all ages to take part in the arts.

They are also suitable for a range of ability levels, which means that beginners through to advanced students can take part in these exciting programs.

If your little one is still in primary school or between the ages of nine and 12 and has a flair for the creative arts, you will want to make a beeline for this year's Acting for Film and TV course.

Run by industry professionals, this course builds confidence by teaching kids about different acting techniques that are suitable for both stage and television productions.

Family and friends will also have the chance to see their kids perform live at the end of the three-day program – which kicks off on July 2-4. Classes run from 9:00 to 16:00.

Digital animation courses for kids between the ages of 12 to 17 is also on offer this July, with instructors helping kids make their very own short-films using the latest software – Maya, After Effects CS5 and Flash.

Students will also get to take home a copy of their work – which is sure to be the next Pixar offering – to keep as an example of what they can do with the help of expert guidance.

For those who are a little older and looking for something slightly more challenging, the Real Filmmaking Workshop is the perfect solution to rainy days.

This is the premier AFTRS program for young filmmakers and ideal for teens who want to make their own film after just five days of intensive training.

Visit the AFTRS website for information on prices and availability.

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The weather may be cooling down, but it seems that the opposite is happening when it comes to the island state's rich art and culture scene.

Some of Tasmania's best artists and curators have been busy putting together the final details for next month's Arts On Fire exhibition.

The three-day festival of creativity features a number of well-known performers from the North West of the state who specialise in everything from music to the latest in cutting-edge fashions.

Those with an eye for photography will have the opportunity to indulge their favourite artistic pursuit, with a number of works on show during the festival.

The chance to rub shoulders with established and emerging artists is something that few who are hoping to crack into this industry would want to give up.

Names to look out for at Arts On Fire this year include self confessed art addict and water colourist Evelyn Antonysen, as well as painter Bill Flowers and award-winning Devonport-based artist Andrea Weeks.

However, you can also catch a glimpse of the works of a number of specialist craftsmen and women who live in the local area and use the natural beauty of the region as inspiration for their works.

Arts On Fire kicks opens its doors to the public on June 9 – 12 2012, with the support of the Northwest arts community.

Exhibits will be on show on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 16:00 and finish early on the Monday at 15:00.

It will be held at the Penguin Community Learning Centre, Primary School on Ironcliffe Road, Penguin – and is suitable for visitors of all ages.

Admission is $5 per adult and there is ample parking in the nearby streets and laneways for people travelling to the site by car.

Arts on Fire - Collage of Artists' Work

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If you are heading to the MONA any weekend, you might want to make time to see one of the many Jazz performers who will be performing.

Jazz at MONA is a new regular event that features the best in local and international musicians who are ready to wow audiences. It is also the perfect way to cap off a relaxing weekend away or to start the coming week on a high note.

And while the performances can vary in taste and style, resident MOFO curator Brian Ritchie and musician/jammer is hoping that people of all ages and musical backgrounds will be inspired to learn more about the rich history of Jazz after attending one of its jamming sessions.

Performances will be held outdoors on the lawn stage – it is easily found opposite the main Ether Building … or as locals say, just past the rabbits toward the pavillions. Kids take note.

Inclement weather changes the seating and stage plan a little in that the show is moved to The Void – an intimate setting with a reputation for ‘beyond stellar’ acoustics.

However, the atmosphere around a stormy afternoon (and a nice glass of something of your choosing) can on occasion provide the perfect backdrop to a moody piece that is sure to stir your emotions.

Weekend Jazz at MONA

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For many people a Tasmanian vacation is about relaxing on the beach, drink in hand, watching the waves roll in. For others, a holiday to the island state is about getting out there and experiencing the beauty of nature. For those of you in the latter category, then why not try one of Tasmania’s many incredible mountain biking trails.

With a range of courses suitable for people of all skill levels, mountain biking is a great way to experience the extraordinary beauty of the countryside.

Bring your own bike, or rent one from a variety of knowledgeable experts, and from there the choice of destination is yours.

Just 15 minutes outside Hobart lies the Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park. A project of noted course designer Glen Jacobs, this trail offers everything from white-knuckle downhill speed runs to rocky mountainous terrain and freestyle dirt jumps.  

The Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park has been described by Jacobs as a particularly exciting project – in fact, he asserts that there's nothing else quite like it in all of Australia!

Mountain biking isn’t just for the daredevils. It’s also one of the best ways to take in the extraordinary natural scenery of Tasmania. Enjoy the experience of a lifetime and explore iconic destinations like Maria Island National Park.

The journey begins with a half-hour ferry ride, during which you might find yourself lucky enough to encounter aquatic wildlife such as dolphins, seals and albatross.

Once on the island, mountain biking is the perfect way to explore. With no vehicles on the island, it’s a safe but exhilarating experience for the whole family.

If it’s an incredible view you’re after, consider Mt Wellington. Located behind the city of Hobart, this downhill descent trail offers something for everyone, including a stop off at Australia’s oldest operating brewery. Talk about an Aussie experience!

Trail riding Mt Wellington North South Track - Image Credit: True North Mark

North South Track Descent

North South Cyclists

Rider on Clapper Bridge

Glenorchy Bike Park

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Tasmania is known as the Island of Inspiration, and if inspiration is what you seek, then look no further than the upcoming Festival of Voices, kicking off in Hobart in July. 

Now in its eighth year, the festival is looking to go bigger then ever, extending to an unprecedented ten days of singing performance and workshops. Scheduled performers include contemporary folk singer Moira Smiley, gospel singer Eric Dozier and celebrated Canadian conductor Lydia Adams.

There will also be a range of choir groups performing, all in various beautiful venues nestled amongst the unique scenery of Tasmania.

If you want to get involved, there will be plenty to interest non-professional musicians as well, with workshops running throughout the event for singers of all ages.

Whether you're looking for a master-class experience, or just the opportunity to meet other talented performers, this festival has a program for you.

The Festival of Voices is the only annual choir festival in Australia, and last year attracted over 10,000 people, so start planning your Tasmanian getaway today to avoid disappointment.

The event runs for ten days from July 6th to the 15th. For more info and ticket sales, visit

Mass crowd in Salamanca for the Bonfire

Sing School juniors

Enthusiastic group singing

Bonfire night in Salamanca during the festival

Sing School 2 and for all ages

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The best in Tasmanian ingenuity and culinary expertise is on show again this year for the Savour Tasmania festival.

Since its inception in 2009, the food tasting event has continued to grow in esteem and is now recognised as one of the best eating experiences in Australia.

More than just a gastronomic delight, it is also a unique chance to take in the artesian talent of so many up and coming, as well as already established chefs.

And with a mix of world-class produce and designer craftsmanship, you and your tastebuds will want to savour every last morsel of this ten-day eating extravaganza.

Another great aspect of the festival is that it is held in three of our most populous cities including Hobart, Launceston and Burnie – which means that people all over the state will get a taste of the action.

(For those who live in Hobart, you may have already seen of the exhibitions being held at Princes Wharf, with the show starting on May 23 and ending on May 27.)

However, there is still time to plan your food itinerary for tasting sessions in both Launceston (June 1-2) and Burnie (June 8-9). You can go online to make your bookings or buy last minute tickets at the door.

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Wine makers from across Tasmania are preparing to descend on the waterfront in Hobart for the Tasmanian Red Wine Weekend.

For two whole days, you will be able to taste and smell your way through a heady blend of flavours and house specialities.

On the list of things to try this year are prize winning vintages and mouth-watering reds that will be sure to put a smile on your face.

So whether you are in the mood for a boutique rose, sparkling red or something a little stronger, you will be sure to find the perfect drop at the upcoming festival.

Ready to help you brush up on your wine knowledge are a number of guest speakers and professionals who will be on hand to answer any questions.

It is also a great opportunity to mix with the whose who of the Tasmanian wine industry.

Tasmanian Red Wine Weekend – Savour Tasmania 2012 is on at Princes Wharf Shed No 1, Castray Esplanade, Hobart – and casual dress is a must for this relaxed atmosphere.

It is open from 11:00 to 17:00 on Saturday May 26 and Sunday May 27 and visitors can buy tickets at the door for $25 or online for $20.

Tasmanian Red Wine Weekend 2011 - a chance to talk with the makers

Masthead for savour tasmania 2012

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The 2012 Queen's Birthday long weekend is just around the corner, which for most people means holiday break preparations are well underway.

And while many will already have some idea of what they will be doing – bonfire nights, eating marshmallows or catching up with friends – others may be looking for inspiration.

With this in mind, it could be time to get out your map and start looking at the many great weekend destinations on offer in Tasmania.

Just a short drive outside of Hobart will take you into the heart of the internationally renowned Huon Valley.

While those who live near the historic mining city of Queenstown or nearby Zeehan will no doubt want to make a beeline for Cradle Mountain.

There are also a number of small villages with their own unique arts and crafts that are situated between the major city centres that might also feature on your to-do list.

For example, the restored mining town of Corinna at the southernmost point of the Tarkine is a great family destination that can also help to break up a long car ride. It is also a rustic destination in its own right.

If you cross the Pieman River – which is still on your way to Cradle Mountain – you can also try your hand at kayaking.

For those who may not be so keen on water sports in winter there is always the option of going on a brisk walk through our temperate rainforests.

The sight and sounds of nature will quickly help you to forget about your day-to-day life and reconnect with nature.

However, just make sure to plan ahead because bookings tend to increase in peak holiday periods and it may be hard to find a place to stay if you leave things to the last minute.

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Despite spending a lot of time on the road travelling between destinations, there is still something special about stumbling upon a hidden gem.

Whether it is a tiny cafe that happens to make its own selection of gourmet jams and marmalades, an adventure park that is just opening and as such doesn't yet have any queues or high prices, or a small town that seems to hark back to another era, it is hard to beat the feeling of discovering something afresh.

With this in mind, it is little wonder that so many visitors and Huon Valley locals make the pilgrimage to the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin.

Sitting alongside the Huon River the centre is the only place in Australia where you can learn about the craft of wooden boat building.

Students learn how to build their own boats "from lofting to launch" using a mix of both traditional and modern techniques, as well as how to create their own full-sized, carvel planked, sea-going cruising vessel or dinghy.

Along with courses in the region’s speciality timbers such as the world-famous Huon Pine, King Billy Pine, Celery Top and Tasmanian Blue Gum, visitors to the centre are also encouraged to take part in one of its many guided tours.

Those who are considering making a trip to Huon Valley during May will be able to catch a rare glimpse of one of the centre's best works – a Scandinavian-influenced 23 foot trailer-sailer.

The hull exterior is soon to be completed and you can watch as the craftsmen work round the clock to add the finishing touches to this eco-friendly boat.

Peggy and Georgina are two other boats that are also under construction and waiting to be touched and praised by visitors. Made from locally sourced Huon Pine they are sure to make you want to take up woodworking.

During winter the centre will be open on weekdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 16:30 and bookings are essential.

Wooden Boat Centre tutor showing techniques for planking

Old Huon Pine Motor Launch

Vessel constructed for famed chef and Tasmanian ambassador-at-large Tetsuya

At anchor alongside the Woden Boat Centre - image credit: Huon View Blog

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