May
08
2012

If you are planning on spending a weekend in Tasmania, you may want to make a beeline for some of the region's vineyards.

Tasmanian cool-climate wines are something of a feature on the gourmet travellers' tour of the island state, with more and more people coming to appreciate the depth of flavour that can be found in an award winning Shiraz or local artisan drop.

Among some of the more popular visitor destinations are the northern vineyards in Tamar Valley and Pipers River.

Journey down the East Coast for another region with regional characteristics and you will also find a number of equally high-quality wineries just outside of Hobart, such as those in the Huon Valley and Channel, or the Coal River Valley.

Smaller breweries and distilleries can also be found, including the famous Lark Distillery (now starting to attract attention with North American distribution!), where you are sure to find a fantastic whisky behind the bar. Stop a while for a cheeseboard bread and condiments, a coffee or just to relax.

To make the most of your wine tour, you will want to plan ahead and try to organise group or private tours of the different vineyards – which nearly always come with the added benefit of free tastings.

If you wish to do your own individual thing, cellar doors at most establishments will welcome you to explore their range.

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May
07
2012

If you are on holidays the last thing you want to do is let the rain get you down or cancel a trip due to inclement weather.

The weather is starting to cool down and weekly weather updates will tell you that the chances of seasonal showers are on the rise**.

With this in mind, it might be a good idea to consider some of the great indoor activities on offer in Tasmania.

If you are travelling around the north west of the island and have a passion for cars then it is hard to look past the Wonders of Wynyard exhibition.

Featuring the country's largest collection of restored veteran Ford vehicles, which have all been restored by dedicated locals, this is a great place to spend the afternoon as you journey to your next visitor hotspot.

You can also purchase a range of top quality gifts including toys, maps and souvenirs that are suited to people of all ages.

And while a visit to the centre may not bring you any closer to finding an answer to the age old question about whether Ford is in fact better than Holden, your tour guide will help you brush up on all the facts and figures you will need to present a winning argument.

Guided tours are available for groups of 15 or more via the Wynyard Visitor Centre, but you will need to make a booking beforehand in order to secure a time that suits you.

Tasmania's Wonder of Wynyard sits right alongside the Wynyard Visitor Centre just off Jackson St and is equipped with wheelchair entry.

The centre is also a great place to gain additional information about Wynyard as well as the many festivals and events that take place place in the region.

Ford Falcon XK  Vehicle and Francis Ransley - Image Credit Coastal TimesWOW - Historic Ford Model N

(** Note: Hobart is the second driest capital in Australia, because of the rain shadow caused by nearby Mt Wellington. Weather changes roll in from the West, with the Western Wilderness attracting the highest rainfall in the State (rain forest); the north of the State is effected by its proximity to Bass Strait. The East Coast has the mildest weather patterns. The Tasman Peninsula being near where the Tasman Sea meets another has changes brought upon it by the Southern Ocean.
If it is inclement somewhere, somewhere else will be fine and untroubled. All weather systems pass quickly. One of the fascinating skyward aspects which visitors especially notice is the movement of clouds here – rapid and ever-changing).

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May
06
2012

Eaglehawk Neck is one of the hidden treasures of Tasmania's coastline, with some of the best surf in the country.

The small town is a great base to explore from and is ideally suited to surfers in search of great swells, as well as weary travellers wanting a place to unwind and relax surrounded by nature.

With a variety of reef and beach breaks on offer, it is easy to see why this particular stretch of coastline is popular among surfers whether on body boards, short boards and long boards.

This means that you can easily travel with a group of friends without anyone having to miss out.

It is best to trust your own judgement before determining where the ideal place to catch a wave is. Conditions can be variable and rips and exposed reef or rocks may act as a potential hazard. Surfing with a mate or in groups is recommended.

Most surfers know to wear an appropriate wetsuit as the water temperature can range between a high of 17 degrees at the beginning of winter and then a low of 12 degrees in September.

The best time of year to visit Eaglehawk Neck if you are looking to catch clean, glassy waves is from March to September.

If you can’t surf, the local Dive Centre will help kit out travellers with all the necessary equipment, with a reputation for some of the best diving in Tasmania.

And whether you would like to spend your vacation learning how to dive with the help of an experienced instructor, or go on your own adventure there is always something great to see.

In fact giant underwater kelp forests, Weedy Seadragons and Fur Seals are just part of the Eaglehawk Neck experience.

Surfing near the Tessellated Pavement - image credit  rent-a-home

Mays point near Eaglehawk Neck -  Image credit: The Sufing Atlas

In amongst it at Eagelhawk Neck - Image credit: The Collective

Shipsterns Bluff - some of the largest waves in Australia (not for amateurs)

Doing a line Eaglehawk Neck - Image credit: Surf Tasmania

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May
05
2012

With more and more people flocking to their local town markets on the weekend, it is not surprising that the range of things you can pick up at these community stalls is quickly growing in quality.

From bespoke furniture to handmade vintage dresses, you can usually find something unique that seems to have your name written on it.

But when it comes to handmade goods and the ultimate in Nanna chic it is hard to go past Tasmania's own Made with Love Market Bazaar.

If you want to try before you buy, the market’s facebook site and blog are a great starting place and will give you a feel for the types of items you may find on display.

For those who have yet to find their own mum a treat for Mother's Day, you can drop into the markets the next time they are open (Saturday May 12) where you are bound to find a range of goodies she is sure to love.

Visitors to the island state may not be as familiar with the types of items that are sold at the market, but along with handmade postcards, jams, candles and jewellery you can also find great clothes, records and the best in baby items.

Foodies will no doubt want to make a beeline for the stalls selling the latest in vegan goods and cupcakes.

While parents can relax knowing that there will be suitable entertainment for the kids including live music that the whole family can enjoy.

Made with Love Market Bazaar is held on the second Saturday of the month from 9.00 to 13.00 at Jackson St, Wynyard.

Its mix of contemporary, vintage and homemade stalls are the perfect place to find the ideal gift or simply wile the hours away browsing.

Made With Love Market FB Header

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May
04
2012

If you are a keen adventurer then chances are your ideal holiday or weekend away will involve spending time in the great outdoors.

Hiking through the wilderness, climbing mountain peaks and jetting across the ocean are all fun activities that are sure to get your heart pumping.

But after spending your day pushing your body to its absolute limits, you will want to let those muscles relax and indulge in some well deserved R&R.

With this in mind, you might want to pack your bags and take the time to visit Hastings Caves in Tasmania.

Its warm thermal spring pools are the perfect antidote to tired or worn out muscles – which are a regular occurrence among visiting bushwalkers.

An outdoor setting only adds to the relaxing nature of the experience and is sure to have you wanting to return.

The addition of change rooms help to ensure privacy at all times, while nearby hot showers will make it easier to step out of the pools when it eventually comes time to leave.

There are also BBQ facilities so this can be an all-day excursion to other attractions in the area.

Hastings Caves' thermal pools are open from 10.30am to 3.30pm and cave tours leave regularly from the cave entrance.

Hastings Caves - Image Credit Tasmania's Far South

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May
03
2012

A trip to the Huon River is always going to be a journey to remember, with its combination of breathtaking scenery and fun family activities.

Set in the heart of the Southern Forests and just outside of Geeveston, the site is easy to access yet still leaves you with the feeling that you are worlds away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Along the banks of this famous river is the Tahune AirWalk – a favourite amongst visitors and locals alike.

Set above the forest canopy at 45 metres high, the 'high wire' walk overlooks the Hartz Mountains and has a birds-eye view of nearby old growth forests.

Depending on the time of year, you can also see a range of different plants in bloom or local wildlife while others may find that they simply enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with being so high above ground.

If you are travelling to the Huon River from Hobart, you should leave at least two and a half hours to arrive at your destination.

Ticket prices begin at $12.50 for children and $25 for adults, but there is also the option of family and concession passes.

Tahune AirWalk Swinging Cantilever

Visitor Centre Tahune

Tahune Forest Reserve

Soaring view in the treetops

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May
02
2012

Foodies are known for their love of all things gourmet, but along with fine wines and vintage cheese it seems that seafood is now a regular fixture on the diners menu.

And what better way to indulge in a delicious meal than at what is set to be the island state's number one degustation event of the calendar year.

It is also a chance for some of the country's top cooks including celebrity chef Kylie Kwong and Michelin-starred Philippe Leban to get together and talk about their love of food, eating well and, most importantly, preserving marine life.

"With seafood, it is now well known that the number of fish in our seas has declined enormously and it’s important that as chefs, we prioritise food that is sustainably sourced and supports local communities," The Source Restaurant Head Chef Leban stated.

Leban also said that one of the most important aspects of making truly exquisite food was sourcing the best ingredients, which means learning more about how they are grown and caught.

The Nowhere Else on Earth Dinner will take place on Friday, May 25 at MONA and showcase the best in local, sustainable seafood. You can contact the venue for more information on ticket prices and availability. 

Nowhere Else on Earth Dinner

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May
01
2012

Locals call it the "turning of the fagus" and the tradition of watching the Fagus trees leaves change colour during autumn continues to inspire and enchant visitors to the island state.

As the weather starts to cool down it is not unusual to see changes in the natural environment, but it is unusual to catch a glimpse of the dusty reds and burnt oranges to brilliant gold that come to line the Tasmanian landscape.

This is because the spectacular event can only be seen in Tasmania and is truly a once in a lifetime experience for many visitors to the region.

If you want to take part in this local tradition then you will need to plan ahead and make sure that you can access a visitor pass to either Mount Field National Park or Cradle Mountain National Park well ahead of time.

The best time of year to visit these nature reserves for people wanting to participate in the  event is during the autumn months of April and early May, however, you might still be able to catch some colour in the later part of May depending on the weather. This year, colours peaked two weeks ago, but there is still much to see, and photographers are busy capturing this year’s event.

You might also like to make the most of your visit by looking into different activities that are on offer during this time or in the more mountainous regions of Tasmania.

Cradle Mountain is well known for its fantastic range of bushwalks which can be tailored to anyone from beginners to seasoned professionals, as well as horse riding packages and other outdoor adventure activities.

Mount Field National Park continues to be a popular destination for campers or people who are looking to take time out and reconnect with nature.

It is also home to the famous Russell Falls and Lake Dobson – best yet it is just over an hour’s drive from Hobart. The autumn colours in the Derwent Valley on the way there are especially attractive; settlers brought in many trees from the northern hemisphere so the showing of poplars is something you cannot ignore.

Beautiful tarn and fagus near Lake Dobson Mt Field National Park - Image Credit: Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife

Leaves of Deciduous Beech or Fagus

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Apr
30
2012

Theatre lovers planning a trip to Launceston later this month will want to get their hands on tickets to the Newstead College's production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

More than just an Elizabethan classic, A Midsummer Night's Dream is the type of play that seems to be as relevant to modern audiences as those of the years gone by despite the passage of time.

Helping tell the complex story of love, betrayal, war and dreams that takes place in the play is a set straight out of the 1960s.

By drawing on the bohemian counter culture and politics of this decade, the play's production team have managed to draw parallels between the hopes and desires of characters such as the couples Hermia and Lysander and Helene and Demetruis with modern theatregoers.

It also acts as the perfect backdrop for the mystical happenings of the play's magical woodlands and scheming plans of the king and queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania.

This contemporary adaptation of one of Shakespeare's best known plays will take place at the Earl Arts Centre in Launceston from 31 May to 1 June.

Entry for adults is $22, concessions $17 and children from the ages of eight to 15 can enter for just $13.

Newstead College Shakespeare performance

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Apr
29
2012

If you're planning to take your mum out in Hobart for a Mother's Day brunch or lunch, why not drop by the Museum of Old and New Art (more commonly referred to as MONA) for a live jazz performance afterward?

Jazz at MONA – an initiative organised by MOFO curator Brian Ritchie – takes place every Sunday on the lawn stage just opposite the Ether Building and features performances from local and national musicians.

The weekly shows take place from 1pm to 4pm and could be the perfect way to relax and unwind in the afternoon after a big brunch.

You might want to combine your afternoon of jazz with a visit to MONA's Cellar Door. Wine tours are also held between Wednesdays and Mondays at 3:30pm for $15 per person – you can book your place in advance by visiting the MONA website.

Alternatively, you can skip the tour and instead indulge in a one-hour wine tasting experience – these are held every day of the week except Tuesday from 9:30am until 5:00pm. Tasting experience admission costs $10 per person – and this fee is refunded to you if you make a purchase.

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