Whether you’re an adventurous mountain hiker or laidback city explorer, you will benefit from treating yourself to some much-deserved R&R at a Tasmanian day spa.

In cities such as Hobart and Launceston you can be pampered at one of the elegant salons, which are located right in the heart of town but capable of taking you a world away. With hourly, half-day or full-day treatments available, there is an option to suit any budget.

Expert massage and beauty therapists will have you feeling rejuvenated and calm – exactly what you want on an escape from work.

This is the ideal way to either kick-start your Tasmanian exploration or wind down at the end of an exhilarating journey.

You can also buy some fantastic organic products that are often locally made.

For those who plan to escape to the island state’s stunning wilderness areas, there are also exquisite spas located near the top of rugged peaks and down in peaceful valleys.

These hidden retreats offer massages, meditation sessions and beauty treatments using ingredients sourced from the area.

Few destinations in Australia can provide such wonderful facilities in truly remarkable and diverse landscapes.

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On Tasmania’s west coast, the sublime Gordon River provides a highlight of the region’s picturesque landscape.

The wild Collingwood and Franklin rivers intersect mountainous rainforest wilderness before merging to create the Gordon River, which flows 193 km from Lake Richmond at the island’s centre before emptying into the vast Macquarie Harbour.

Dominating the heart of the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park in a World Heritage Area, it runs through imposing valleys and is surrounded by a diverse and rugged terrain. Much of the rainforest that surrounds the river remains relatively untouched.

It is split into the Upper Gordon River and Lower Gordon River catchment areas – once believed to be separated by impassable gorges known as the Gordon Splits.

As is the case with many of Tasmania’s rivers, the water is fresh and drinkable – even though it appears murky brown due to the absorption of tannin from the catchment area’s button grass.

This serene body of water can be explored in a number of different ways. Visitors have the choice between taking a relaxing cruise from Strahan, a scenic flight over the region, or an exciting whitewater rafting expedition.

If you choose to view the river and its surrounding wilderness from a plane, an unforgettable experience awaits – you will be looking down on the spectacular Sir John Falls and 1,000-year-old myrtle and Huon pine trees.

For the adventurous traveller, rafting the rapids of the river’s more aggressive stretches will be one of your most enjoyable activities in the island state.

However you decide to explore this unique destination, there will be countless opportunities for keen photographers to capture brilliant nature images, while casual visitors are bound to fall in love with the calming atmosphere as they journey by boat through a world-renowned landscape.

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With an ideal temperate climate and four distinct seasons in which to flourish, Tasmanian gardens are some of the oldest and most scenic in Australia.

Visitors to the island state marvel at the diversity and beauty of both the natural and created public gardens, which thrive due to the clean air, rich soil and mild climate that are hallmarks of the nation’s most southern region.

You will find grounds and parks abounding in roses, fields of colourful tulips and areas dedicated entirely to the maintenance of unique plant life.

The national parks and forest reserves provide glimpses of many rare species that have survived for millions of years, including the trim leaf orchid – recently rediscovered after it was presumed extinct.

Garden experts in Tasmania are always willing to offer some helpful advice, while the latest Blooming Tasmania guide shows you where and when to find the best gardens.

If you like the idea of surrounding yourself with magical gardens and becoming completely immersed in the fresh scents and relaxing atmosphere of nature, why not stay overnight in one of the quaint cottages that open their doors to guests.

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If you’re a wine connoisseur or are simply keen to enjoy a delicious drop or two on your next holiday, you can’t go wrong with a visit to one of the gorgeous Tasmanian wineries that have built a reputation on quality produce and friendly hosts.

One fine example is Goaty Hill Wines in the Tamar Valley – an award-winning producer of magnificent rieslings, chardonnays and pinot noirs.

The winery’s partners are close friends who moved to the island state from Victoria to join the thriving industry and operate in the pristine cool climate.

Your hosts are sure to welcome you enthusiastically and your visit will include plenty of interesting stories about what it takes to create that perfect vintage.

The daughter of co-owners Natasha and Tony is Gracie Neuwohof – a contestant in the 2011 edition of Junior MasterChef, a sure sign that culinary ability well and truly runs in the family.

A journey into the Tamar Valley will provide you with breathtaking views and a peaceful atmosphere that is ideal for relaxing, wine-tasting and forgetting about city life for a while.

Book ahead to guarantee yourself a place on one of Goaty Hill Wines’ great tours – a chance to see the entire estate and marvel at the vineyards where the whole process begins.

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Tasmania will host the Adventure Racing (AR) World Championships 2011 and the sixth edition of XPD – an international expedition adventure race that brings competitors from Australia and around the world together for a truly remarkable event.

Between October 31 and November 11, teams of four representing a host of countries will trek, mountain bike and kayak over a punishing 700 km course in their quest to achieve victory in this renowned race.

Through both day and night the adventurers will push themselves to their physical limits in displays of phenomenal endurance and perseverance.

The expedition offers visitors to the island state an amazing opportunity to view high-class competition of an extreme variety – all set to the magnificent backdrop of Tasmania’s diverse wilderness.

Enchanting temperate forests, rugged mountain peaks, pristine rivers and picturesque coastlines make this region the ideal setting for an event of this kind – it doesn’t get much more exciting than adventure racing in Tasmania.

The state’s most western city Burnie will host the start and finish of the race, with competitors able to enjoy its beautiful beaches and famous cheese in their downtime.

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Surfing in Tasmania can be an unforgettable experience, with some of Australia’s finest waves to be found across many parts of the spectacular coastline.

While great conditions are obviously the major drawcard for any serious surfer, there are a number of other advantages to bringing your board down to the island state or hiring one and testing your skills for the first time.

One of the major benefits is that you will always find a great ride somewhere. The diversity of Tasmania’s landscape is also reflected in its waters, so if you are prepared to travel between various points of the island you never have to miss out.

Even though the sand is often pure white and the turquoise water is a pleasure to swim in, Tasmanian beaches provide the rare treat of never being crowded. You will truly feel like you’ve found an exotic surf haven away from the hustle and bustle of big city life.

Park and Clifton beaches near Hobart are two favourite spots for locals and visitors alike, while the east coast stretch from Orford to Bicheno will always throw up some nice waves somewhere.

To the south, try out Bruny Island’s Cloudy Bay – it faces the Southern Ocean and is known for its big breaks.

Shipstern Bluff on the south-eastern coast is regarded as the home of Australia’s heaviest wave – a must-surf for the really adventurous traveller.

You can also find a quality swell at South Cape Bay – as long as you’re prepared to make the seven-km bushwalk carrying your board through the World Heritage Area to reach this highly-rewarding destination.

Bass Strait creates consistent waves along the north coast, with highlights including Tam O’Shanter north-east of Launceston and Mersey Mouth at Devonport.

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The historic site of Port Arthur is one of Australia’s most intriguing convict sites, offering visitors the chance to explore and become lost in the atmosphere of a fascinating time in the nation’s past.

Situated on the Tasman Peninsula, the buildings, ruins and restored period homes are scattered throughout this remarkably intact destination.

Having been established in 1830, the prison operated until 1877 and housed about 12,500 convicts. For many, their time there was shocking and walking around the site can be a provocative and haunting experience.

To truly get the most out of your journey, you need plenty of time to take it all in – an entry card is valid for two consecutive days.

This pass includes a guided walking tour, souvenir book, harbour cruise, interactive experiences in the visitor centre and access to 30 interesting buildings, ruins and restored homes.

You will gain an in-depth understanding of what it was like for the convicts, soldiers, civilians and family members who lived at the penal settlement.

A cruise to the Isle of the Dead and guided tour around the island burial ground will provide a great insight into the harshness of the period.

It is also possible to venture over to Point Puer Boys Prison – the first reformatory in the British Empire built exclusively for juvenile male convicts. The prison was renowned for the strict discipline and punishments meted out by those in charge.

Boys built structures among the bush – a landscape relatively unchanged since the 19th century.

Australian history lovers or those keen to learn more will enjoy a tour of Tasmania, with the island state home to many sites worth researching, discovering and exploring. If you hire a car it will be easy to create your own adventure in whatever time you have available.

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Freycinet National Park is one of the genuine highlights of any visit to Tasmania – celebrated for its dramatic and diverse scenery.

Located on the mid-east coast, this rugged peninsula is a stunning combination of pink granite mountains, eucalypt forests and white sandy beaches and dunes.

The park’s most famous image is that of Wineglass Bay – so called for the shape it forms around the clear turquoise waters, however during Tasmania’s whaling heyday in a sad historic fact, also for the colour of the water as whales were processed during the late 1800’s. Ideal for swimming, kayaking and scuba diving, it is considered by many to be one of the world’s best coastal destinations.

Soaring above the rest of the Hazard Range is the glorious Mt Freycinet at 620 metres. You can explore the region on one of the beautiful day hikes – starting with the relaxed 20-minute Cape Tourville walk – while for the more adventurous visitor there is climbing and abseiling.

Fascinating wildlife abounds throughout the park, with bird-lovers having the chance to spot white-bellied sea eagles, large Australasian gannets, eastern spinebills, yellow-throated or crescent honeyeaters and yellow-tailed black cockatoos.

You can base your Freycinet National Park adventure at a variety of basic powered or unpowered campsites, or head to some of the great accommodation nearby at Coles Bay village, Swansea or Bicheno.

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Tasmanian towns are some of the most quaint and delightful you can find in the whole of Australia.

A fine example of one of these charming locations is Deloraine – a place bursting with history and a friendly atmosphere.

Deloraine is a rural highlight set in the foothills of the Great Western Tiers mountain range in the state’s north.

It is classified by the National Trust and a walk through its beautiful streets will reveal a number of carefully-restored Georgian and Victorian buildings. Along the way you will discover Bonney’s Inn, Baptist Tabernacle and the old bridge, while antique shopping and bushwalking are also on the agenda for any tour of this riverside village.

In November the local population of 2,000 grows to around 30,000 when Australia’s biggest working craft fair comes to town over four days of exhibitions, local crafts and food and wine.

At 41 Degrees South Salmon Farm and Ginseng Farm, visitors can take part in a self-guided tour of the diverse vegetation that includes wetland and woodland areas. Here you might sneak a glimpse of a platypus as you learn about ginseng view the fish farm.

Deloraine main street sculptures © by Anna

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If you have an interest in learning more about traditional agricultural and pastoral practices in Australia, the Flinders Island Show represents a great chance to discover Tasmania’s fascinating rural heritage.

You will be able to get a close look at sheep, cattle and wool displays, as local competitors vie for the best-of-show awards.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy a wonderful range of exciting events, such as equestrian and wood chopping – two all-time favourites for the whole family.

Fresh and locally-produced goods will be available in the home industries area and trade hall – a day at the show is incomplete if you don’t walk away with a selection of the best items on offer.

With evening entertainment and children’s activities – including a merry-go-round, jumping castle and a variety of games – this is an ideal way to spend an afternoon.

Tasmanian shows are some of the best in the country and during spring and summer there are always a number to choose from as you take a tour around the state.

This year the annual event takes place on October 14.

Flinders Island is the main island of the Furneaux group – a collection of 52 islands stretching across Bass Strait between Tasmania and mainland Australia.

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