Nov
30
2011
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Just over an hour's drive north-east of Hobart, the scenic port town of Triabunna nestles among undulating hills and inviting beaches.

There are few more picturesque locations in the island state, with Eucalypt forest perched alongside a spectacular coastline.

You can visit the sheltered waters of Prosser Bay for a wonderful day of fishing or sailing.

The majestic kelp forests and coral reefs of nearby Maria Island are ideal for a scuba diving trip, while the island itself is also a haven for cycling, bushwalking and wildlife spotting.

Triabunna town is a great destination for the relaxed holidaymaker. With a range of excellent accommodation, shops, galleries and tearooms lining the quaint streets you can idle away the day in total relaxation and feel a million miles from home.

In the region's coastal reserves there are picturesque walks such as the Pelican Walk which begins by the marina and the Wielangta Forest and Old Convict Road walks in Orford.

With a population of just over 700 people, Triabunna offers friendly hospitality along with exquisite local cuisine including succulent scallops, mussels and fresh abalone.

Tasmania's east coast is renowned for its settled weather conditions year-round and the average maximum summer temperature in Triabunna is a mild 22.5 degrees Celsius – perfect for a comfortable journey.

Former garrison buildings at Triabunna. Image Credit: Explore Australia

Triabunna Port with fishing fleet. Image Credit: Peter Wilkins

Kayaks lined up on beach with Maria Island in the distance Image Credit: Australian Army

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Nov
29
2011
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Zeehan was once Tasmania's third-largest town and a social hub for the entire west coast, but these days it is a quaint destination offering fascinating glimpses into its historic past.

North of Queenstown, Zeehan it is one of many interesting Tasmanian towns worth exploring for any visitor to the island state with time to spare.

Its rich mining history can be investigated intimately, as you put yourself in the shoes of an early settler and embark on a walk through the beautiful old streets.

At the West Coast Pioneers Memorial Museum there is a comprehensive display of photographs, machinery and mining memorabilia.

You will come across the restored Gaiety Theatre – a state of the art building when it was constructed in 1898 and now holding a capacity of 1,000 people. It once played host to Australia's first opera star Dame Nellie Melba.

For those more inclined toward outdoors activities, Lake Pieman is a superb place to try your hand at trout fishing, while crayfish abound in nearby Granville Harbour.

With fabulous view from the top of Mount Zeehan, this is an ideal location to stop by at for a day or two as part of your island journey.

A view of Zeehan township

Old steam locomotive at Zeehan, West Coast Pioneers Memorial Museum in this former mining hub. Image credit:Ken Hawkey

West Coast Pioneers Memorial Museum of this former mining hub

The quite wonderfully restored Gaiety Theatre image credit: Ali Rolls

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Nov
28
2011
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Cricket fans across Australia are likely to be finalising their preparations for a trip to Tasmania next week, with the national side set to take on cross-Tasman rivals New Zealand in the Second Test Match of the Vodafone series.

With the first Test being played in Brisbane this week, the second and final game from December 9 to 13 at picturesque Bellerive (newly named for sponsor Blundstone) Oval will decide the series outcome.

It promises to be an exciting event in a hugely important summer for the Australian cricket team, as a new captain, coach and selection panel aim to impress on home soil and begin the climb back up the world rankings.

The Oval in Hobart traditionally provides some of the best cricket matches of the season – excellent batting conditions and a small ground ensure plenty of entertainment for the crowd.

It's hard to beat the atmosphere of the first morning of a Test match and if the sun is out spectators will be treated to a relaxed and enjoyable day out, as well as a closer view of the action than found anywhere else in the country.

Former Australian captain and Tasmanian cricket fans' favourite son Ricky Ponting may well be playing at his home ground for the final time, meaning the match record attendance for the ground of 12,254 is in jeopardy.

New Zealand has openly stated its belief that the Aussies are more vulnerable than ever and it will be interesting see if they can take their fighting words onto the field.

Just this week Kiwi pace bowler Doug Bracewell declared his side had the "mongrel" to rattle its more fancied opposition.

"There's definitely no fear of Australia at all," Bracewell said.

The Tasmanian sports calendar continues to grow stronger every year with event organisers, international teams and star athletes from around the world viewing the island state as a desirable destination to compete and spend time.

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Nov
27
2011
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The Australian summer cricket schedule has undergone a dramatic overhaul this season with the development of the brand new KFC Twenty-20 Big Bash League involving eight teams from around the country.

And the changes have swept their way to the island state too as the traditional Tasmanian Tigers swap name, outfits and a few players for the game's shortest format.

Known as the Hobart Hurricanes, the franchise combines local stars Ricky Ponting, Tim Paine and Ben Hilfenhaus with a few imports such as Pakistan's Rana Naved and Englishman Owais Shah.

In its first home match of the tournament the Hurricanes will take on the Sydney Sixers at picturesque Bellerive Oval on December 21.

The small ground, which opened in 1914, is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful places to watch cricket in the world.

Even if you're not a fan of either side or a regular cricket follower, an evening watching the action at what promises to be a packed house could be the ideal change of pace after a day walking, shopping or swimming at the beach.

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Nov
26
2011
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No trip to Tasmania's south-east coast is complete without stopping by at Hobart, but how does one spend a typical afternoon or evening in the capital?

Perhaps the most popular pastime is to shop, socialise and be serenaded down at Salamanca Place, a favourite hangout for locals in Sullivans Cove.

All types of people converge on this picturesque square to enjoy the Saturday market atmosphere, look for arts and crafts and treat themselves to some delicious food.

It is also home to Hobart's funkiest music scene drawing in the very best local talent to entertain visitors.

Salamanca itself is lined with a long row of Georgian sandstone warehouses that were built in the 1830s. They once stored grain, wool and imported goods but these days you can wander under the stone arches searching for jewellery, fashion or the best coffee shop to idle away the afternoon.

Every Saturday the area comes to life for the Salamanca Market, a smorgasbord of handmade wooden toys, knitted sweaters, half-a-century old china plates, fresh fruit and vegetables and much more.

If you prefer to watch the hustle and bustle from the comfort of a park bench while reading the weekend newspaper, a beautiful lawn lies just across the road with shady trees by day and twinkling lights in the evening.

On Friday nights from 17:30 to 19:30 the Salamanca Arts Centre Courtyard becomes a music lover's paradise as the band plays gypsy, jazz and swing to get your toes tapping.

Nestled behind Salamanca Place is Salamanca Square the number one destination for people to flock to meet family and friends, sit by the fountain and listen to a nearby guitarist or flute player.

There are always plenty of things to do in Hobart and this is certainly one activity you won't want to miss out on.

Salamanca Market - Hobart

Wideangle view of Salamanca

Salamanca Stall

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Nov
25
2011
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If you're yet to plan your New Year's Eve it might be worth considering a holiday to Tasmania and in particular the exciting celebrations in Launceston to say goodbye to 2011 in style.

Skies over the island state's second-largest city will light up in dazzling colours when the Launceston Festival Committee presents New Year on the Royal, a feast of fireworks, entertainment, food, drinks and more.

Local families, groups of friends and visitors to the area will come together to enjoy a spectacular line-up of activities and music at Royal Park suitable for all ages.

Beginning at 17:30 with bands on the main stage, food stalls and a BYO picnic area, the evening builds toward the first fireworks at 21:30 for families and young children, while on the stroke of midnight another brilliant display will be launched off the Tamar River.

Tickets are available from the Launceston Travel and Information Centre or at the gats on the night, but more importantly you might need to book your accommodation in advance.

Tasmania is a wonderful place to be at this time of year with moderate weather conditions, a vibrant atmosphere and plenty of things to see and do throughout the island.

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Nov
24
2011
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The sleepy settlement of Taranna, just north of the famous Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula, is a quaint Tasmanian town that is well worth the visit.

While it might not carry the reputation of the island state's more celebrated cities, national parks and mountains, a trip to Taranna is the ideal way to experience local culture and friendly hospitality.

And visitors to the beautiful seaside location may enjoy taking the time to visit its two major highlights – the Tasmanian Devil Park and the Federation Chocolate Factory.

At the park you can watch playful Tasmanian devils running around together or quarrelling at feeding time.

In fact, there is no better place in the world to see such a large group of these unique creatures interacting.

A fabulous breeding programme and dedicated staff ensure lots of little imps can be found roaming the park and these baby devils represent the future of the entire species.

The park is 100 per cent dedicated to wildlife protection and rescue, meaning your visit contributes to the conservation of a variety of precious animals.

Although the devils are undoubtedly the park's prime attraction, don't miss out on the spectacular and mesmerising sea eagle show.

For something completely different, an afternoon at the chocolate factory is an absolute must for all sweet tooths.

As you watch the fine handmade chocolates being produced right in front you, it is virtually impossible not to be tempted by these delicate creations.

Unusual flavours such as apple and licorice mean that no visit is complete without trying something a little bit different.

Whilst there you can also stop by at the excellent Federation Heritage Museum to take in its rich convict history and splendid display of saw-milling and blacksmithing artifacts.

Don't forget to bring all-weather clothing to Taranna – the peninsula is affected by winds from Frederick Henry Bay throughout the year.

Sunset at Taranna

Devil at Tasmanian Devil Park Taranna

Federations Chocolates Range

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Nov
23
2011
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December is a wonderful time to visit beautiful Tasmania and for those holidaying over the Christmas period this year there is plenty on offer to make the island feel like your home away from home.

Seasonal festivities begin early with the Carols by Candlelight celebration in Devonport on December 11.

The emergency wet weather date is Tuesday December 13, but hopefully conditions will remain clear on the Sunday for people to enjoy the wonderful sounds and atmosphere the event promises to provide.

As the sun goes down on Mersey Bluff Precinct thousands of candles will spectacularly light up the sky.

Guests will then be able to join in the singing of Christmas classics or simply sit back, relax and enjoy the performance of traditional carols by talented local soloists, bands and the community choir.

Carols by Candlelight is presented by Soroptimist International Devonport and the Lions Club, who help to put together this magical evening for both locals and interstate visitors.

Devonport itself is well worth including on your Tasmanian Christmas holiday itinerary, with its pristine curving beach The Bluff, great surfing conditions, Aboriginal rock carvings and more to entice you.

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Nov
22
2011
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The aptly named Beauty Point is a quaint town by the Tamar River in Tasmania's north-east.

It is a wonderful destination for discovering local vineyards, coming face to face with unique and interesting wildlife, and learning more about the region's maritime history.

Just a few minutes' drive from Beaconsfield, Beauty Point was originally established as the Tamar's first deep water port and serviced the gold mine located at its larger neighbour.

At the end of the gold rush the town became an important apple exporting centre.

These days it is a convenient place to launch exciting journeys around this picturesque and culturally intriguing corner of the island state.

Among Beauty Point's finest attractions are Platypus House and Seahorse World, which both offer great insight into two fascinating creatures.

There is no better place in the world to get up close and personal with such treasured animal life.

At Seahorse World you will take a fun and educational tour through the aquarium, which is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of these curious gifts from nature.

Platypus House is the only place to see these strange egg-laying mammals indoors and visitors are guaranteed to be rewarded for their attendance.

Beauty Point is also known for hosting the Australian Maritime College, which develops certified crew for the worldwide International Luxury Yacht and Merchant Marine fleets and many other maritime courses.

The town also acts as a departure point for the annual Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race – also known as L2H. It is also the arrival point after they cross the finishing line at Low Head of the annual Melbourne to Launceston – M2L race.

In 2011 the starter's gun will go off December 27 and anyone in the area at this time should get down to the port to enjoy the spectacular start.

From Beauty Point you have the option to visit the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre, take a day walk in Narawntapu National Park or Notley Fern Gorge, join a penguin tour or cruise serenely down the Tamar River.

Location of Beauty Point - Image Credit: Kateland Manor Estate

weedy seadragon at seahorse world

Seahorses at Seahorse World Beauty Point

Platypus at Platypus World - Image Credit: HillGurney Blog

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Nov
21
2011
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From early next month Traversing Antarctica: The Australian Experience will offer visitors to Tasmania the unique opportunity to take a journey of discovery into Antarctica's past, present and future.

Marking the 100th anniversary of the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by Douglas Mawson, the landmark expedition is brought to life with a fascinating combination of science and history.

Visitors will have access to original documents, objects, interactive touch screen displays and a collection of spectacular images.

This exciting sensory experience will give visitors the chance to discover the sights, sounds and smells of life in Antarctica – a corner of the world so rarely seen.

Traversing Antarctica has been developed by the National Archives of Australia in partnership with the Australian Antarctic Division and Western Australian Museum.

It can be viewed at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery from December 2, 2011 to February 26, 2012 between 10:00 and 17:00 every day except Christmas day, Good Friday and ANZAC Day.

If you are planning a short holiday to the island state during this time, why not dedicate a few hours of your time to appreciate this special display?

Even on a busy hiking and outdoor adventure trip, this could be the ideal way to spend a rainy afternoon indoors.

Picture of Mawson's hut Image Credit : World ExpeditionsRaising the flag - Mawson's journey to the ice - notice vessel to upper right

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