Oct
02
2011
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Scuba diving in Tasmania will leave you in awe of the exquisite natural wonders thriving underwater.

The region offers some of the finest temperate diving in the world, with a diverse oceanic wilderness that – like so many of the adventures to be found in the island state – is easily accessible to visitors.

A spectacular coastline and clear, cool waters make Tasmania a truly magical diving destination that is renowned throughout the world.

In summer the visibility is at least 12 metres – providing ample scope to view some amazing and unique marine animals and plants – while in winter it extends to a remarkable 40 metres or more.

Whether you’re an experienced diver or an enthusiastic beginner, caves, sponge gardens and giant kelp forests are awaiting you along the 5,400 kilometres of pristine coastline.

Courses are available in all major locations, along with guided charters, equipment hire and total packages for those wanting to dedicate their holiday to this exhilarating pursuit.

Exploring the Bay of Fires is an ideal start for the novice diver, guaranteeing to open your eyes to impressive kelp forests and rare species of fish such as the weedy sea dragon. You will also find yourself visiting some of the fascinating shipwrecks off Flinders Island – an unforgettable experience you will struggle to find elsewhere.

At Tinderbox in the south, snorkelers and first-time divers can follow designated underwater trails, while on the Tasman Peninsula there are brilliant caves and canyons at Waterfall Bay.

For more experienced divers prepared for greater depth and strong currents, the Hippolyte Rock site is home to a colony of Australian fur seals.

One of the highlights of diving in Tasmania is the Troy D – an artificial reef with a 55-metre former Hopper Barge found off the north-west tip of Maria Island.

Tasmania’s Dive Trail lists the best sites along the east coast between Flinders Island and Bruny Island.

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Oct
01
2011
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Tasmanian festivals are always a highlight of the spring calendar and this year is no exception.

In just over a fortnight, the annual North East Rivers Festival returns – and once again promises to provide visitors and participants with a unique cultural experience.

Recognising and celebrating the importance of rivers to the Dorset region, it has been bringing riverbank communities together since 2007 and aims to encourage creativity and adventurous spirit in safe, fair-play environment.

One of the highlights of the event is the Derby River Derby, which takes place on Saturday October 22 and once again promises to provide a chaotic and exciting finish in this popular raft race.

This year the festival is launching two new events – the Derby Bike Challenge and the Bridport 10 Fun Run.

An art exhibition, vineyard concert, Men’s Shed market, golf challenge and fishing competition complete a fantastic itinerary and – best of all – it is free to spectators.

There will also be a wide variety of stalls, food outlets, music and entertainment throughout.

Opening night and a school fair takes place on Friday October 14, with the festival coming to a close on Sunday October 23.

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Sep
30
2011
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Hollywood actor Willem Dafoe arrived in Tasmania on Wednesday (September 28) and heaped praise on the island state’s beautiful wilderness ahead of the local premiere of his film The Hunter.

A crowd of about 200 waited outside the State Cinema in North Hobart for Dafoe to arrive, with the Spiderman star talking to fans, signing autographs and discussing the “wonderful time” he had during production of the movie in Tasmania.

“Once we got out filming in the wild it was thrilling for me, because it’s not a landscape I know and where we were was quite pristine – very beautiful,” Dafoe told The Mercury.

“People were very supportive and I think the film shows some very beautiful landscape – and people will really want to visit.”

The Hunter was shot in various parts of the state last year, including Hobart’s rugged Mount Wellington and the Central Plateau.

With a successful release at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, it has since secured sales in a host of countries such as the US and the UK.

If the film continues to reach a wide global audience, it has the potential to draw further attention to the spectacular and diverse Tasmanian landscape.

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Sep
29
2011
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If you are looking for a great combination of history, art and culture in the heart of Hobart, a Saturday at Salamanca Place is a great day out.

Many visitors hail a trip to Salamanca Market as the highlight of their Tasmanian holiday – and it’s not hard to see why.

On the weekend, Salamanca – one of the city’s most famous landmarks – is home to a bustling market, where you can visit more than 300 stalls offering arts, crafts and handiwork. Foodies will also enjoy the variety of fresh and gourmet produce from local vendors.

Set in a picturesque part of the city, the market is nestled among historic Georgian sandstone buildings and you’ll be able to watch the yachts and fishing boats moored in the scenic waterfront during a pause to enjoy a drink or delicious snack.

When you are finished at the market – which is open every Saturday without fail from 8:30 until 15:00 local time, regardless of the weather – you will also find plenty of fascinating attractions to explore nearby.

Salamanca Place is widely considered to be Tasmania’s cultural hub – it is just a short stroll from here to the beautiful St David’s Park and the historic cottages at Battery Point.

You will also find yourself within easy reach of some of the city’s best galleries and museums, as well as a wide selection of enticing restaurants, bars and cafes.

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Sep
28
2011
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Many movies have been filmed in Tasmania but none is drawing the attention and anticipation of audiences like The Hunter filmed here last year. Its director and stars have praised Tasmania as an evocative location. The movie premieres tonight in Hobart with Willem Dafoe in attendance.

The star of the movie has been quoted as saying ‘it is a magical place to film, it is so far away from everything and has special charm’. On ABC TripleJ Willem admitted to being a fan of Tassie, its people and especially its food.

Sam Neill described a comparison between NZ – his home turf – and Tasmania (a comparison made by many), saying ‘that it was Australia, a sort of idealised version of Australia, like Australia should be’ in clips released by the film’s producers, Madman Films.

Director Daniel Nettheim said ‘At various points, I could turn 360 degrees and be amazed at what we could shoot here … it’s got it all!’. Many holiday visitors express the same wonder; especially if armed with a camera.

The movie had its World Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival two weeks ago, with high praise and many international distributors and audiences there fascinated at the landscapes portrayed in the film. The late great ABC helicopter pilot Gary Ticehurst again achieved great art (as he has done with countless Sydney to Hobart Yacht Races), in facilitating the aerial shots, which are a feature of the movie.

There is a competition to win 20 double tickets to Australian Movie Theatres when the movie opens for screening on 6 October.
Entry can be made until 3 October here.

The Hunter. Photo by Matt Nettheim

The Hunter. Photo by Matt Nettheim.

THe HUNTER Movie Poster

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Sep
28
2011
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Walking and trekking in Tasmania offers bushwalkers an amazing opportunity to experience some of the world's most breathtaking views and diverse landscapes.

Exploring the island state by foot is special for many reasons, such as the fact one-third of it is protected in National Parks and World Heritage Areas. This ancient landscape is also a gateway to the unique plant and wildlife that await you in the wilderness.

In Tasmania you can find treks for all fitness and experience levels. Whether you seek an intense challenge or a relaxed stroll breathing in the crisp air, more than 60 short walks will be at your doorstep and ready to lead you through rainforests, over mountain peaks and along exquisite sea cliffs.

These popular trails are scattered across the land and are usually accessible via main roads, so there is no excuse not to put your walking shoes on and begin the journey.

The Great Walks of Tasmania are a group of seven incredible and diverse routes in unique and beautiful settings. These iconic journeys take multiple days to complete and can only be undertaken with the help of a guide, but the experience is immensely rewarding.

Beginning in Launceston, the Bay of Fires walk takes four days and offers visitors a chance to see coastal forest in it's glory at moderate difficulty, while the Walls of Jerusalem Experience is an introductory bushwalk exploring Tasmania's only true alpine National Park.

Many of these undiscovered jewels can only be witnessed by foot, providing visitors with a truly authentic nature experience.

For the more independent traveller, the Overland Track takes you on a six-day scenic adventure from Cradle Mountain to the deep Lake St Clair.

Rivalling some of the famous hiking paths in New Zealand, Europe, Asia and the Americas, Tasmania's offerings come with the added benefit of such close proximity to each other – if you have the time, why not discover more than one?

A collage of Walking Tracks in Tasmania - these are Guided Walks

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Sep
27
2011
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A wonderful season of Tasmanian theatre continues next month, with the highlight bound to be the production of the hilariously entertaining A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and featuring an all-star Tasmanian cast, the play is a witty, bawdy, fast-paced adventure based on the farcical attempts of an ancient Roman slave to gain freedom.

Pseudolus will lie, cheat, bargain and do whatever else it takes to help his young master woo the girl next door.

The result is a feast of sheer silliness and joyous songs. From the opening number – Comedy Tonight – this fantastic musical will have you simultaneously laughing and tapping along.

Appearing at Hobart's Theatre Royal from October 11 to 15 and again from October 18 to 22, this is a show not to be missed.

The New York Times calls it "the funniest, bawdiest and most enchanting Broadway musical ever". In 1962 the musical's original Broadway run won several Tony awards. It has seen many successful revivals and was also made into a fine film.

Adult tickets range from $59 to $69, with children and concession tickets costing $52.

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Sep
26
2011
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Tasmanian natural beauty is some of the most unique and spectacular you could possibly find on your travels – a reputation built on the establishment of its world heritage areas under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

These sites cover an area of 1.38 million hectares – about 20 per cent of the whole island state – a truly remarkable indication of the extent and diversity of the region’s beauty.

Breathing in some of the cleanest air you will ever experience and being relaxed by the tranquil atmosphere and pace of life, Tasmania offers the chance to take in unrivalled visual delights.

The Southwest, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers, Walls of Jerusalem, Mole Creek Karst and Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair national parks form the planet’s last great temperate wilderness and are some of the best World Heritage Areas in Tasmania.

Stunning landscapes and habitats are waiting to be discovered in the state’s 17 accessible national parks. While park passes are required to visit these areas, the money raised contributes directly to the parks’ protection and management.

Also included among the heritage region is the eastern end of Macquarie Harbour on the west coast and the Central Plateau Conservation Area. Macquarie Island joined the list in 1997 and receives visits from a number of Antarctic expedition companies on their journeys south.

One of the best aspects of a journey through Tasmania’s amazing array of wonders is the ease of travel. Whether it is a short walk or cycle, boat ride, light plane, helicopter or easy daytrip in a hire car, most experiences are less than an hour from your lodgings and you will be impressed by how convenient these attractions are made for visitors.

From experienced nature photographers to casual holidaymakers, it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by magical wilderness the magical wilderness that Tasmania provides.

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Sep
25
2011
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If you plan on being near the north-west coast of Tasmania early next month, why not take the time to stop by at the Woodcraft Annual Exhibition and Sale.

Held at the Ulverstone Rowing Club on Saturday October 8 and Sunday October 9, this great event showcases the quality skills of north-west Tasmanian woodworkers – with all items made exclusively by these talented locals.

The weekend also includes lives demonstrations of woodcraft, as well as the annual competition between members of the North West Woodworkers Guild.

There is plenty to look forward to for visitors, with a door prize and raffle offering the chance to enjoy a fun day out and head home with a bonus gift.

If you feel inspired by some of the impressive works on display, you can even purchase all the wood and accessories required to create something new and creative for your home or to give to a friend.

Tasmanian markets are some of the most diverse and interesting you can find in Australia. During spring and summer you can even hop from town to town on an exciting tour of the island state.

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Sep
24
2011
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For a unique taste of southern Tasmania, The Red Velvet Lounge in Cygnet is a must-see on any culinary tour of the island state.

The daytime menu changes with the seasons and offers a specials blackboard that adapts to the fresh local produce that is available that morning.

In the evenings the tantalising list of meals reflects the wonderful bounty of produce sourced from the Huon and Channel areas.

The resident chef has been delighting guests for eight years and was nationally recognised in 2007 by being awarded the inaugural Vogue entertaining award for outstanding use of regional produce by a chef.

With meat, fruit and vegetables all gathered from respected Tasmanian artisan producers, dining here really is the best way to get a taste of the best the region has to offer. It is also famous for dishing up the best burger on the island.

The Red Velvet Lounge is fully licensed and open from 09:00 to 17:00 seven days per week, while on weekends you can also make a reservation for dinner from 18:00.

Along with main meals, the selection of house made jams, preserves and sourdoughs makes a visit to the old-fashioned restaurant a chance to enjoy some of the best food in Tasmania.

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