Motor enthusiasts will be gearing up for the HeartKids Car Show in Relbia early next month, in a great example of the huge variety of events held in Tasmania over summer.

Over 500 show cars will be on display – most from the island itself and around 50 coming from interstate – for what promises to be a fantastic day out for locals and visitors keen to check out the action for the first time.

With muscle cars, vintage cars, hot-rods and classics all making an appearance there is something to see for everyone, no matter what type of engine gets you revved up.

You can get involved by bringing your own car along, setting up a stall and selling some home-made crafts, or just chatting about all things auto with fellow fans.

All the money raised from the event will stay in Tasmania to help local families with a child battling heart disease.

The HeartKids Car Show takes place February 5, so if you are a car lover then put it in your diary and make sure to stop by at Relbia on your travels.

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Australia Day will be celebrated next Thursday (January 26) and in Tasmania preparations have begun for some wonderful events right across the state.

Early risers should appreciate the variety of functions scheduled for the morning, with locals and guests able to come together at a number of different venues for a delicious meal and the chance to enjoy some great entertainment.

The Australia Day Breakfast hosted by the Waratah-Wynyard Council is an invitation for the community to come along and celebrate the birth of the nation as we know it.

It will take place in Richard Gutteridge Gardens, with the Wynyard Lions Club serving scrumptious bacon and egg rolls. Guests can also tuck in to billy tea and damper with traditional Aussie spreads.

Kids will be entertained by face painting and a variety of games, while adults can join the tug-of-war challenge after their hearty meals.

At the Bellerive Boardwalk there is also a fantastic breakfast event taking place with a craft tent for the kids, along with the raising of the flag and singing of the National Anthem later on.

australia day logo

Australia Day ceremonies at wynyard held at the Richard Gutteridge Gardens

Australia Day citizenship ceremony 2011

Australia Day and adjacent Bellerive Beach

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The amazing wilderness estate of a mysterious American has gone on the market in beautiful Tasmania, with bidding expected to be driven by conservationists and tourism operators among others.

Worth an estimated $10 million or more, the 18,000 hectare estate covers land in the Central Highlands and the south-west and includes Circular Marsh at Bronte Park where Martin Polin, who died in 2007, built an underground bunker.

It has been reported that Polin moved to Tasmania during the Cold War to escape nuclear threat – and the former Utah lawyer was known for his strong belief in conservation.

LJ Hooker commercial property agent Heather Mason told The ABC this week (January 19) that the massive land release represents a momentous occasion and includes some extremely rare holdings of native forest, grazing areas, lake frontage property, tourism opportunities and more.

"The size of the portfolio itself is a unique offering and certainly the properties, some of them have some interesting stories and history behind them," Mason said.

"There are extensive land parcels located in the remote Tasmanian wilderness, renowned for its diversity of flora and fauna."

There are few more diverse and breathtaking parts of the world than the Tasmanian wilderness and nature lovers will likely follow closely the future of this vast estate.

The late Martin Pollin's vast estate - image credit- ABC

The late Martin Pollin's vast estate - image credit- The Mercury Hobart

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Hobartians are only just coming to terms with the success and spectacle that is this year’s MONA FOMA festival – now in its fourth year. With two more full days still to run, the lineup, the artestry is out of all proportion; no wonder this boutique festival is capturing the attention of artists and visitors from all over Australia and the world.

Last night’s line up included Dresden Dolls – where the audience was blown away by the powerhouse that is Amanda and Brian. The theatrics, the songs – originals and covers – Beastie Boys, Grinderman, and two others had everyone mesmerized. Amanda Palmer, who has the opportunity to play all over the world gushed “We love Tasmania, and how good is MONA FOMA – this is THE festival that we like most in the world.” High praise indeed and acknowledging once again the enormous success of Festival Director Brian Ritchie (ex Violet Femmes, New York), now living in Tasmania.

In yesterday’s line up performers were as diverse as Juliana Barwick, Senyawa (from Indonesia), Toshimaru Nakamara, Kellie O’Dempsey, and Prince Rama – the wizardy of melded Broooklyn beat and Hare Krishna psychedalia.

Dresden Dolls in full flight - Image credit: Veronica Foale

Amanda Palmer from Dresden Dolls doing it as only she can - Image credit: Veronica Foale

Kellie O'Dempsey artwork

Veronica Foale’s blog and review has more coverage.

Wedenesday’s highlight and sell-out performers were ‘Girl Talk’ and Kate Burton took some great shots of one hell of a show.

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Young Tasmanian cyclist Will Clarke has won the second stage of the 2012 Tour Down Under in what experts are hailing as one of the great solo rides in the event's history.

The 148 kilometre stage began earlier this week (January 17) in Lobethal, South Australia, with Clarke doing his home state proud by daring to launch an early breakaway then holding off the peloton all the way to Stirling in West Australia.

Individual efforts such as Clarke's are rare in a sport where teamwork and safety in numbers can be critical, but the 26-year-old defied expectations having been without a contract for the top tier race just one month earlier.

He only made the UniSA team after an impressive fifth placing at the Australian road race championships earlier in January.

Clarke leads the Mountains and Sprint classifications of the prestigious event, but perhaps just as importantly he now appears likely to attract interest from pro tour teams in the near future.

Former Team UniSA rider Patrick Jonker told ABC radio: "This will be considered one of the greatest rides in Tour Down Under history."

Team manager Dave Sanders described the win as physically, mentally and emotionally amazing, while Clarke himself was delighted to have fought back from a tough year in 2011.

"It's going to give me a confidence boost," Clarke said.

After just 1.1 kilometres Clarke and BMC rider Martin Kohler escaped the peloton and – after the Swiss collected time bonuses and dropped back to the field – the Tasmanian negotiated the final 80 kilometres alone and under pressure from a highly-credentialed pack of chasers.

In a proud day for Tasmanian cycling Clarke has put the island state well and truly on the map with this remarkable feat. Audiences from around the world will now be watching on eagerly as Clarke attempts to win the overall race.

Tour Down Under 2012 Stage 1

Tour Down Under 2012 Stage 3

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Tasmania has always been an outdoor enthusiast's paradise, but as the facilities and service continues to improve over time it has become an even greater destination for travellers looking to briefly escape their everyday lives.

Whether you are interested in pitching your tent in a breathtaking national park, staying at an organised campsite or caravan park, or holidaying in style in a self-contained cabin there is a destination waiting for you on our picturesque island state.

About 40 per cent of Tasmania is protected as national park and forest reserve land – and more than 50 caravan parks are available to holiday makers.

With pristine coastlines, rugged mountains, beautiful forests and a variety of breathtaking scenery throughout the island, this is some of the most idyllic camping you can find anywhere in the world.

If you prefer to caravan your way around the wonderful state then you will not be disappointed, as the uncrowded and well-connected roads allow you to explore a huge variety of spectacular landscapes within a compact region.

This is an amazing opportunity to 'get away from it all' for as little or long a period as you feel like.

Motorhomes in Tasmania Image Credit The Mercury Tasmania

Stanley Cabins - Image Credit - Affordable Beach Breaks

Beach Retreat Tourist Park Cabins

Quamby Corner Golden Valley Tasmania

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If sitting on the grass, chatting with friends, enjoying the sunshine and listening to smooth tunes sounds like your idea of a perfect afternoon, then look no further than Summer Music in Tolosa Park this January and February.

The eclectic Tasmanian festival is made up of a series of free events in Glenorchy's beautiful main park and one of the state's best outdoor venues – Tolosa Park Soundshell – where you can picnic and revel in the vibrant atmosphere created by some magnificent live music.

Four shows will cover a range of musical genres from jazz and brass to classical and country – and best of all it is completely free

Kicking off Sunday January 29 with Jazz in the Park, this wonderful afternoon features everything from traditional to contemporary styles including polished acts such as the Blue Channel Jazz Ensemble, David Squires and Friends, The Mia Palencia Band and the Jazz Executives.

One of Australia's best concert brass bands – the 40 piece Glenorchy City Concert Brass – will entertain the crowd with a sensational two-hour lunchtime performance on Sunday February 5, delivering an inspirational repertoire of movie tunes, pop and some classics of the genre.

Saturday February 18 the park comes alive for a great evening called Symphony under the Stars. This is a time to chill out on your picnic rug and mix with family and friends, or meet new people to the background of the fantastic Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

The program closes with a good old-fashioned hoedown on February 26, with guests encouraged to tap their feet and celebrate some fine country music performed by a collection of quality local bands.

Summer Music in Tolosa Park is an event not to be missed, so pick your date and join the action as part of your visit to the thriving island state.

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A wonderful exhibition of new paintings by a great Australian artist opens at Sidespace Gallery at the Salamanca Arts Gallery this Thursday (January 19), offering visitors to Hobart the chance to enjoy a slice of local culture before heading off on a hiking adventure or scenic drive across Tasmania.

This Flaming Heart will run for 13 days and show the recent works of Naomi Howard, inspired by her recent journey to Italy.

It promises to be a high-quality display well worth the time to see, especially given the free admission at one of the island state's best venues for the arts.

Naomi Howard was born in Sydney in 1945 but having lived, worked and created amazing art all around Australia she moved permanently to Tasmania more than two decades ago.

Inspired by the region's chill southern forests and rich timbers, the professional cabinetmaker and recycled wood enthusiast fell in love with Tasmania and has based her artistic career here ever since.

The exhibition is open from 09:00 to 5:00 daily until January 31 and is well worth looking at if you find yourself in Hobart during this period.

Naomi Howards last exhibition

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Tasmania is emerging as one of the must-see destinations of 2012 as travellers begin to make holiday plans for the next 12 months, according to one travel advice team.

Research undertaken by guidebook producers Mr and Mrs Smith indicates that the island state might be hot on travellers' radars, with jetsetters drawn to factors such as its pristine wilderness, emerging cultural scene and above all the feeling that this spectacular region remains somewhat of an 'under-the-radar' paradise.

Other international hotspots to make the experts' list of the top six places to go this year included Sri Lankan beaches, the offshore islands of Fiji and home of this year's Olympic Games London.

Mr and Mrs Smith explained that given the uncertainty surrounding the global economy many discerning holidaymakers are looking for more 'bang for their buck' to ensure the leave from work and the overall expense of the trip is worthwhile.

"It's not about luxe for less, as such, more about seeking quality value-adds at all price points and spending smarter," the publication asserts.

In the growing boutique hotel market Mr and Mrs Smith suggest that Saffire in Tasmania's Freycinet Peninsula is a luxury accommodation to consider, with its "unsurpassed service from the get-go".

If you are considering a visit to beautiful Tasmania it might be worth looking into the variety of options available for either an outdoor adventure or relaxing resort stay.

On its website Mr and Mrs Smith lists the east coast as its favourite Tasmanian destination, highlighted by an untapped coastline, secluded bays and amazing opportunities for swimming, fishing, walking and indulging in fine local food.

"The cool climate lends itself to stellar wines, while pollution-free waterways and farmlands offer up world-class seafood, meat and dairy goods, making for the ultimate gourmet getaway," the travel guru states.

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If you drive as far south as possible in Tasmania you will reach the tiny seaside settlement of Cockle Creek, an ideal destination for the holiday maker looking to escape city life for a few days.

Situated at the edge of Southwest National Park it offers a number of fantastic walking options, each with its own scenic highlights.

At Recherche Bay you can stroll around the foreshore and among the quiet coves, before stopping to see the whale sculpture and reading about the region's whaling history at the informative sign.

From there you might wish to continue to the Fishers Point Navigation Light and Pilot Station Ruins – two of the town's most rewarding landmarks – and spend a relaxed afternoon enjoying the tranquillity of this beautiful corner of the world.

Travellers who love nothing more than to gaze across stunning landscape and coastlines from a high perch will be impressed by perfect views of Maatsuyker Island and the Southern Ocean found along the South East Cape walk.

This is a clearly-marked track suitable for all ages and levels of fitness and is just one of the many great bushwalks you can take in this area.

Cockle Creek is also home to fascinating Aboriginal sites, abandoned tramways, gravestones and ruins, while camping and fishing trips are a pleasant way to pass your time.

A visit to the southern tip of Tasmania is not complete without stopping by at this quaint town and exploring the nearby national park that is a World Heritage listed wilderness area.

You can reach Cockle Creek by driving two hours from the capital Hobart via Geeveston, making it a rewarding full daytrip for those with limited time on their itinerary.

Coves and Bays Near Cockle Creek

Cockle Creek Peace

Cockle Creek and the South Coast Walk

Bridge Across Cockle Creek

Whale Statue at Cockle Creek

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