Apr
19
2012

While Tasmania is known right across the country and around the world for its fabulous fresh produce and gourmet delicacies, did you know that the island state also is home to some of Australia's most beautiful flowers?

The Hobart Horticultural Society regularly celebrates Tasmania's gardeners, hosting four flower shows each year to encourage friendly competition and co-operation to strengthen the state's floral production industries.

If you happen to be visiting Hobart next month, you might be lucky enough to see one such show in action, featuring the best of Tasmania's autumn blooms.

The annual Chrysanthemum & Floral Art Show will be hosted at Hobart City Hall on Macquarie Street from May 4 to 6 and is a brilliant opportunity to get to know some of the key players in Tasmania's flower growing communities and learn more about the latest gardening trends.

It is free to both attend and display at the event, and guests can expect to see local fruits and vegetables, pot plants and a range of autumn flowers on show, including some of the world's finest chrysanthemums – just in time for Mother's Day.

Budding gardeners who are keen to test out their green thumb can even stop by the onsite plant stall, while others may prefer to sip a morning or afternoon tea and linger over the displays.

Floral art is another key highlight of the exhibition, and there will be plenty of pieces to view over the three-day spectacle.

The largest onstage display is titled From Sea & Shore, but there will also be special exhibits dedicated to Bonsai and Ikebana art. A special section of the display area has been reserved for floral art prepared by local children – you'll be amazed at their creativity!

You said flowers - we got flowers

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Apr
18
2012

Whether you are an avid quilter or crafter, or you are just starting to explore your creative side, the upcoming Craft & Quilt Fair in Launceston is a great place to get inspired.

One of Australia's most popular craft events is set to take place at the Launceston Silverdome from April 27 to 29 and is packed with exhibitions, demonstrations, classes and workshops that are sure to get your creative juices flowing.

Among the spectacular displays hosted at this year's event is the Tasmanian Quilting Guild's Island Threads exhibition, as well as displays of wearable artwork created with the theme 'Circus Berserkus' in mind.

Visitors will also be able to take in a selection of finalist entries from a nation-wide sewing challenge to create a quilt inspired by the phrase "what the world needs now".

The event is frequently referred to as Australia's favourite craft fair with good reason – plenty of prizes to be won and an intriguing showcase of some of the nation's finest handicrafts.

If you are a craft lover, you won't want to miss the opportunity to purchase supplies from some of Australia's top specialty retailers, who will bring the latest and greatest fabrics, crafting tools, embellished papers and even unique buttons to Tasmania.

And of course, there are plenty of door prizes to win simply by visiting the Craft & Quilt Fair, including a new Pfaff sewing machine and a range of other crafting accessories.

logo header for LST Craft and Quilting Fair

Strip ONE Experiencing the Craft and Quilting Fair

Strip TWO Experiencing the Craft and Quilting Fair

Strip THREE Experiencing the Craft and Quilting Fair

Strip FOUR Experiencing the Craft and Quilting Fair

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Apr
17
2012

Tasmania is famed for its fresh produce and gourmet foods – and if you are planning a visit in June, you won't want to miss one of the island state's premier culinary festivals.

Tastings at the Top, held in the tranquil wilderness setting of Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, will take place from Saturday June 23 until Monday June 25 and is a great opportunity to get acquainted with some of Tasmania's finest gourmet offerings.

Jointly hosted by Bruny Island Cheese Company owner Nick Haddow and wine expert Peter Bourne, the event is the perfect attraction for locals and gourmet food-lovers travelling from further afield.

Now in its 18th year, the festival is a foodies' paradise, featuring cooking demonstrations, wine and cheese tastings, fresh produce markets and degustation dinners. Unsurprisingly, it is frequently ranked among the nation's best food and wine experiences and is a brilliant opportunity to explore the region.

If you want to make a weekend out of your Tastings at the Top experience, Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is offering three-night accommodation packages for the festival – and during your stay, you can also indulge in a relaxing treatment at the lodge's Waldheim Day Spa.

An impressive line up of wines to taste and enjoy

Tastings-at-the-Top

Fine food, great surroundings, comfort, a chance to unwind and be tempted to the best

Lounge, warmth, high levels of comfort and enjoyment

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Apr
16
2012

Tasmania has a rich tradition of agriculture and its farm-fresh produce and gourmet foods are enjoyed right across Australia and around the world.

If you're looking for a great close-up glimpse of modern-day agriculture on the island state, you won't want to miss Agfest, Tasmania's premier agricultural event.

Agfest attracts more than 80,000 annual visitors and is an excellent way to learn more about farm life.

This year, more than 700 exhibitors are taking part in the three-day event, which kicks off on Thursday May 3 and is set to run until Saturday May 5. Among the attractions you'll be able to see during your visit are displays of agricultural equipment and machinery, clothing and home ware, food and livestock.

You'll also have the opportunity to look back on traditional farming methods used in Tasmania in years gone by. Working blacksmiths will be onsite, and you'll also get the opportunity to view historic agricultural equipment, including vintage machines from the timber and wool industries, as well as tractors and steam engines.

This annual family-friendly event is set to take place at the Quercus Rural Youth Park on Oaks Road in Carrick.

Gates are open between 08:00 and 17:00 daily and admission for adults is $13.00. Entry for children between the ages of five and 15 costs $3.00 – and is free for children under the age of five.

Part of last year's Agfest from the air

Doing the rows and rows of displays at Agfest

Lenticular Clouds adacjent to Agfest Carrick in 2011 as reported by The Telegraph UK

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Apr
15
2012

There are just under two weeks left to experience Come To Tasmania the Wonderland – and if you haven't yet been to see this exceptional exhibit, you'll want to add it to your itinerary.

Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts in Hobart plays host to a fascinating and eclectic collection of 20th century travel posters designed to encourage visitors from all over the world to visit Tasmania.

During the first half of the 1900s in particular, travel posters were used widely to promote the island state's many attractions.

Stemming from research carried out by Dr Marian Walker, who is studying the evolution of Tasmania's tourism image between the early 19th to mid-20th centuries, the exhibition showcases some of the most popular themes in Tasmania's tourism history.

The posters on display depict Tasmania's incredible natural beauty – one dubs the island state as "The Switzerland of the South" – as well as its climate, fertility and Englishness. All these are popular themes that recur in tourism and immigration literature dating from the 20th century.

Printed lithographically in limited runs, the posters are today considered to be rare collectibles, featuring art from the likes of James Northfield, John Eldershaw, Harry Kelly and Max Angus.

Come To Tasmania the Wonderland will run until April 23.

The wonderful posters from another time including the 'Come to Tasmania The Wonderland'

Charming enticements to holiday in Tasmania

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Apr
14
2012

When it comes to exceptional food and drink, Tasmania stands in a class of its own – and a visit to Launceston is a brilliant opportunity to stock up on some of the island state's finest delicacies.

You'll find that Launceston is packed with independent shops stocking some of Tasmania's most popular food items – whether you are after honey, chocolate or fresh fruit and vegetables, you'll find something for everyone here.

Chocaholics won't want to miss a stop at Cocobean Chocolate on George Street, which is open from 09:00 to 17:00 on Monday to Friday and 09:30 until 14:00 on Saturday.

Gourmet chocolates are made right on the premises of this family-owned business using the finest-quality ingredients, with an emphasis on local and environmentally sustainable ingredients.

During your visit, you might want to sample a delectable Chocolate Taste Plate, complete with mini chocolate cake, chocolate coco pod, chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream and even a shortbread cookie dipped in dark chocolate.

Honey Tasmania, located in Launceston's Quadrant Mall, is another foodie destination well worth exploring. Owned and managed by Rebecca and Tristan Campbell, Honey Tasmania is a brilliant place to find a selection of natural Tasmanian honey from producers located all over the island.

Whether you're after a sweet snack, the perfect souvenir of your time in Launceston or simply want to learn more about the health benefits of honey, you'll find plenty to enjoy here.

Beyond food items, you'll also find Honey Tasmania is well-stocked with a great range of honey-themed books, gifts and even beauty products.

If you fancy a bit of fresh fruit for an afternoon pick-me-up or simply want to browse some of the city's finest fresh produce, a visit to Chung Gon Greengrocers is not to be missed.

A trip here feels a bit like stepping back in time – this charming fruit and vegetable shop has been in business since the late 19th century and is considered to be something of a local legend. This is also an excellent place to stock up on home-made preserves, which will remind you of your time in Launceston long after your visit.

Ninth Island Vineyard, Rosevears - Credit Andrei Jewell

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Apr
13
2012

Francophiles and foodies are sure to delight in the news that the biennial From ‘France to Freycinet Festival’ is back for 2012 – and better than ever!

From May 4 to 13, locals and visitors are invited to celebrate the region's rich French heritage. This year's festival will centre primarily around the charming beachside hamlet of Swansea, which is an excellent base if you plan to spend a few days exploring the Freycinet coast.

Events get underway on Friday May 4 with the festival launch at The Village, Triabunna – as well as two performances of the children's puppet show ‘A Joey for Josephine’ at the Triabunna School Hall.

During the weekend of May 5 and 6, you can expect to be entertained with a lantern parade, live bands, dancing and village markets. AND Free Parks entry to Maria Island on Saturday, May 5th. There will be extra ferries and cruises too – more details on those soon but in the meantime do plan a trip to the Island to explore!

On Wednesday May 9, foodies and book lovers might want to stop by the Piermont Restaurant for a $60 Literary Lunch with Jean-Francois Vernay. This sumptuous display of French Tasmanian Culture will also feature poet Christiane Conesa Bostock and a wine tasting offered by Gala Wine Estates.

The weekend of May 11 to 13 is also packed with plenty of activities for the whole family. Additional performances of A Joey for Josephine are scheduled to take place at Swansea Town Hall, while the Barkmill Tavern will host a French dinner and evening of musical entertainment on Friday night.

Saturday will see jazz performances at Milton Vineyard, before the action moves to Jubilee Beach for a lantern parade and BBQ, which will be followed by live bands at 'La Vie en Rose Nightclub' at Swansea Town Hall.

Finally, events wrap up on Sunday with a Mother's Day breakfast on Franklin Street, markets at Jubilee Beach and a festival finale at the Barkmill Tavern.

Sign up to the Festival’s facebook page to hear the latest news as it develops.

France to Freycinet Festival masthead and logo

Coles Bay Pier (with event bunting) and the unmistakable Hazards in the background

Schouten House at Swansea - they sponsored the festival web site

Great Oyster Bay viewed from Swansea - Tasmania's East Coast - Image Credit Geoffrey Lea/Tourism Tasmania

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Apr
12
2012

If you are keen to experience some of Tasmania's fascinating heritage during your visit, you won't want to miss Open Doors 2012.

This year's free event is set to take place on May 5 and 6, and focuses on the theme of Innovation and Invention.

Since the program – which is now in its fifth year – began, a total of 47 doors have been opened to the public. This year, ten featured sites have been chosen by Heritage Tasmania for their display of great innovation – either as an example of modern-day technical achievement or as historic sites that have since found new uses.

The venues selected for Open Doors 2012 include the Nyrstar Hobart Zinc Works, Markree House Museum and Garden, the Heritage Education and Skill Centre in Oatlands, the restored 1830s property at Shene in Pontville and the State Cinema on Elizabeth Street in North Hobart.

You can also make bookings for tours of the Tasmania Fire Museum, the Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre, the Waddamana Power Station Museum, St David's Cathedral and Derwent Park House, which dates back to the 1820s and 1870s.

Open Doors is a Tasmania Heritage Festival and while the events are free, it is wise to make your booking well in advance, as places on many tours are limited.

Further details can be found from Heritage Tasmania or by contacting the venues directly.

Beautiful buildings at historic Shene

Centre for Heritage at Oatlands 1 Collection

Interior of stables at Shene

Empathetic stone troughs at the Centre for Heritage at Oatlands 2 Collection

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Apr
11
2012

If you are keen to learn more about Tasmania's rich Aboriginal heritage, Mersey Bluff in Devonport is a destination you will want to include on your itinerary.

Located on the Mersey River, this site is a traditional Aboriginal sacred ground – and is an excellent place to learn more about the past and present-day culture and art of Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

Devonport can easily be reached by ferry from the mainland – it is the port for the Spirit of Tasmania. Alternatively, it is an hour's drive from Launceston or approximately 30 minutes by car from Burnie.

Start your visit by dropping into the Tiagarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Museum. Buildings at this fascinating facility have been crafted to look like traditional Tasmanian Aboriginal dwellings – and inside, you'll find an extensive collection of exhibits.

More than 2,000 Tasmanian Aboriginal artefacts are housed in the museum – giving you a close-up glimpse of what life was like for the original inhabitants of the island state's north-west coast.

Tiagarra, which means 'keeping place' or 'keep', is home to a number of well-preserved Aboriginal rock carvings – in fact, the centre was first established in the 1970s to protect these historic treasures. You can view a number of these from walking tracks that lead from the centre – guided tours can be arranged if you'd like an insider's perspective.

It is also an excellent place to view murals painted by one of Tasmania's best-loved artists, Max Angus, who is most famous for his watercolour landscapes depicting the natural beauty of the island state.

For a souvenir of your time at Tiagarra, you can browse from an extensive range of locally-made Aboriginal arts and crafts in the gift shop at the end of your visit.

Tiagarra front entrance in Devonport

Stone work Tiagarra Museum

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Apr
10
2012

Tasmania is a golfers' paradise – and if you love to take to the links, you won't want to miss a trip to Bothwell.

While there are more than 80 golf courses dotted across the island state, Bothwell stands apart due to its rich golfing heritage that spans nearly two centuries.

This historic destination is home to Ratho, the oldest golf club in the southern hemisphere, and whether you're new to golf or have plenty of experience under your belt, you'll find it's among the best places to play in the world.

First established in 1822 by the Scottish-born Reid family, the Ratho Golf Links at Bothwell claims to be the oldest remaining golf course in the world outside of Scotland and is a well-preserved example of one of the earliest courses.

You'll feel as though you are stepping back in time when you take to the links here – history buffs will appreciate the experience of playing in "early golf" style before the advent of year-round watering and the mechanisation of course maintenance.

Ratho is open year-round and course conditions can vary with the seasons, making this a unique golf experience for players of all abilities – you can even visit at different times of year for a completely different golfing experience.

Elsewhere in Bothwell, you can learn more about the area's rich golfing history at the Australasian Golf Museum.

Exhibitions highlight Bothwell's important role in popularising the game of golf in the southern hemisphere – right up to being one of Australia's most popular participation sports today.

You'll also be able to learn more about some of the world-class champion golfers that have hailed from Tasmania over the years, including the Pearce Brothers, Elvie Whitesides, Len Nettleford and Lucy Arthur.

Bothwell Links sign Image Credit  : Gary Moore

bothwell - 1st hole ratho australia's oldest golf course / image credit ausgolf

Bothwell Golf Museum

Exhibit in the Golf Museum - tees and more

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