Sep
23
2011
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King Island is a truly unique destination located off the north-western tip of Tasmania – a magical combination of long empty beaches, offshore reefs, jagged coastlines, lighthouses and more than 70 fascinating shipwreck sites.

It is a paradise that awaits any visitor keen to explore a unique stretch of Australian coastline.

Situated at the heart of the ever-present westerlies in Bass Straight – known as the Roaring Forties – the island is famous for its production of fine cheeses, fresh lobsters, beef and bottled rainwater.

Around 1,000 people live on the island and take immense pride in their history, independence and resourcefulness – everything they need and want is right there.

King Island Dairy is one of Australia’s most famous cheese producers – creating high-quality French-style camembert, brie and blue cheeses, as well as traditional cheddars.

The secret behind these superb hand-made cheeses and rich cream – along with succulent local beef – is the lush grass of the flat farmlands.

When you walk around King Island you become lost in the peaceful nature of the clean, fresh air and diverse landscape and wildlife. You may sight wallabies, platypuses, peacocks, orange-bellied parrots and much more.

12 kilometres offshore sits Reid Rocks – home to a major breeding colony of Australian fur seals.

Lavinia Nature Reserve in the north-east, with its heath, dunes and stunning beaches home to a highly-renowned wetland bird habitat and an ancient calcified forest.

Even during a short stay on King Island, you are bound to discover that its diverse natural beauty is difficult to match.

Adventurous history-lovers will be thrilled to explore the island’s most significant sites on the Shipwreck Trail. You can also visit the scene of Australia’s worst maritime disaster from 1845 – when the Cataraqui grounded – at Cape Wickham lighthouse, the tallest of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

You can fly to King Island directly from Devonport or Burnie in Tasmania, or from mainland Australia.

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Sep
22
2011
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As Australia’s most mountainous state, rock climbing in Tasmania is ideal for adventure enthusiasts looking for a wide range of potential locations and diverse landscapes.

Whether you’re a seasoned climber or a novice with a thirst for the outdoors, there will be a cliff face to suit your ability and confidence.

For those seeking a challenge at the more difficult end of the scale, the island state’s coastal stacks and fluted cliffs offer you a chance to test your skills on glorious high peaks with dramatic views.

With so many wonderful isolated areas that are perfect for exploring, you will be able to climb free of crowds and enjoy the unique experience in a peaceful atmosphere.

The two dolerite stacks – the Totem Pole and the Candlestick – rise up to 60 metres above the Southern Ocean and form part of the Tasman National Park. Here you can truly test yourself against nature, with some spectacular visual rewards to go along with your adrenalin rush.

More casual climbers should consider walking the Overland Track, where you can scale Mount Ossa – the highest peak at 1,617 metres – of the famous jagged profile of Cradle Mountain. To the south you can attempt the Frenchmans Cap at 1,446 metres.

It is important to remember that in Tasmania the weather can be unpredictable, so adhering to safety regulations and checking with the local ranger is paramount.

There are a number of adventure companies throughout the state which can take you out for an unforgettable day of sightseeing and climbing. You could also organise a group booking to take a daytrip with friends or family – a great idea for birthdays or buck’s parties.

Clambering up the side of some of the country’s most impressive mountains is something you will talk about for years to come.

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Sep
21
2011
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There is surely no better way to meet friendly, down-to-earth Australians whilst enjoying a magical landscape and way of life than to take part in a farm stay in Tasmania.

Many wonderful local families are willing to open their homes to people who are interested in learning more about rural activities and experiencing a completely different way of life to what they might be used to.

Your time can be spent as one of the family – living in the home, waking up early in the mornings to get involved in the day’s work and sharing meals.

Alternatively, some hosts offer self-catering luxury accommodation for visitors seeking a country adventure with a little bit of style.

Wherever you decide to go, the one certainty is that a unique experience awaits you. These stays offer a rare chance to gain an in-depth understanding of the island and its people – something you’ll be unlikely to ever forget.

You may find yourself helping a farmer milk a cow, rounding up some sheep, feeding a deer herd, or picking grapes in the Tamar Valley or east coast.

City-livers will love getting up close to the source of some of Australia’s finest fresh produce and – better yet – giving it a taste test.

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Sep
20
2011
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Cataract Gorge Reserve is one of Tasmania’s most popular attractions – and for very good reasons.

Just a two-minute drive from central Launceston, it provides rare natural beauty so close to the city.

From town you can also take a short but impressive walk along the banks of the Tamar River in the gorge. Following a pathway that was originally built in the 1890s, you will enjoy incredible views from the cliff face.

The Kings Bridge – which crosses the gorge for a truly breathtaking experience – was floated into place in 1867.

There is so much more to the area than the river alone, with a wide range of scenic wonders making the reserve an ideal daytrip.

On the south side of the river, the First Basin is home to a cafe, swimming pool and open spaces to relax whilst surrounded by bushland.

Over to the shady north side, Cliff Grounds is a Victorian garden filled with ferns and exotic plants.

With peacocks and wallabies dwelling among the thick bush, this is quite possibly the most attractive urban reserve Australia has to offer.

With a total span of 457 metres, the chairlift that crosses the gorge is the longest of its variety in the world.

Upstream you will discover the historic Duck Reach Power Station, which is now an Interpretation Centre. Originally commissioned by the Launceston City Council in 1893, it was the largest hydro-electric scheme of its day and by 1895 was lighting the city.

If you’re the adventurous kind, Cataract Gorge Reserve gives you a wonderful opportunity to explore, climb up to great lookouts, abseil and clamber over rocks and streams. And by discovering this beautiful region on foot, you will not have to pay anything to visit a remarkable destination.

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Sep
19
2011
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Whether you consider yourself a beer connoisseur or just someone who enjoys a fine ale now and then, a tour of Tasmania’s world-class breweries and distilleries will be a rewarding journey.

Travel across the island state for a fantastic chance to witness stunning landscapes and picturesque towns, learn about the operations that go into producing and bottling your favourite brews and, of course, some all-important taste testing.

Tasmanian ales and lagers are internationally recognised and have received countless awards, so why not discover some of the secrets behind their flavours and quality while you’re there?

In Hobart, you can take a guided tour of the historic Cascade Brewery – which is situated at the foot of the magnificent Mount Wellington and features a sandstone Georgian facade.

As Australia’s oldest continuously operating brewery and just five minutes drive from Hobart’s CBD, you will appreciate the opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of the building and be educated on all aspects of the beer-making process – from malting to brewing and packaging.

Moorilla Estate, to the north of Hobart, is the home of boutique beers based on classic German traditions of pure water, no preservatives and the best hops. The area itself has plenty to offer, with a world-class restaurant, the country’s largest private museum, a cool-climate vineyard and cellar door and views of the Derwent River.

In Launceston you have the choice between the James Boags Discovery Tour – a 60-minute exclusive insight into the key elements of the brewing process and a tasting of four award-winning beers – or the Boags Beer Lovers Tour, which is 90 minutes of more comprehensive information and a sample of fine Tasmanian cheeses.

If the biggest drawcard is the beer, then try the Amber Ticket for 40 minutes of pure indulgence as you taste the entire range of James Boags’ offerings.

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Sep
18
2011
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If you’re seeking the perfect relaxing escape from everyday life, consider the luxurious end of Tasmanian accommodation.

The island state is dotted with exquisite resorts and lodges that tend to be small, intimate and attentive to your every need.

Whether you crave an unspoiled coastline or the peaceful sounds of the mountain wilderness, a wonderful holiday awaits you.

You can choose between a private cabin either within or on the edge of a beautiful national park or one of the stylish eco-lodges nestled in the landscape overlooking the sea.

Wherever you decide to stay, a unique Tasmanian experience will be on offer. Some hosts are strongly committed to the environment and have incorporated their passion and principles into a simple yet aesthetically-pleasing lodging.

Others have spared no expense to create a sense of luxury and elegance – you might even find yourself lying back in a large spa suite and gazing into the thick forest outside the window.

From well-known accommodation brands such as Voyages and Peppers Retreats and Resorts to excellent local options such as Pure Tasmania and Innkeepers, the hardest part will be selecting only one.

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Sep
17
2011
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The summit of Mount Wellington provides one of the most spectacular lookouts not only in Tasmania, but the whole of Australia.

Rising gloriously 1,270 metres above the Derwent River and the harbour of Hobart, it provides visitors with a truly magical wilderness experience just 20 minutes drive from the city.

From Hobart, the mountain’s most distinctive feature is its cliff of dolerite columns – labelled the organ pipes – a stunning backdrop to an intriguing city.

A drive to the peak will take you through temperate rainforest, sub-alpine flora and jagged rock formations, until you reach the panoramic viewpoints that will take your breath away.

Alternatively you can explore via one of the bushwalking trails – catered to suit all levels of experience – and picnic and barbecue facilities allow your family or group of friends to enjoy a perfect day out.

For the more adventurous traveller there is a chance to try trail biking or abseiling, while in true Australian fashion you can descend the mountain on bicycle with a refreshing stopover at the historic Cascade Brewery.

While there are no entry fees, opening or closing times for Wellington Park, the pinnacle shelter is only available to the public from 08:00 to 20:00 during summer months and 8:00 to 16:30 during winter months.

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Sep
16
2011
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In three weeks, Tasmanian audiences will be treated to some incredible cultural performances by talented local students in the Youth Entertainment Spectacular (YES).

Presented by Do It With Pizazz Productions, YES is an opportunity for performers between the age of five and 18 to showcase their musical and theatrical skills.

Cast members will gather from all over Tasmania, highlighting the immense ability that abounds in the island state.

The show will combine a varied musical program from Broadway songs to modern hits and everything in between, along with some fantastic dancing and visual displays.

A highly professional production team will ensure this exceptional event has something to offer everyone.

Three shows will play at the Devonport Entertainment and Convention Centre (DECC) between October 7 and 8. The DECC is a magnificent venue set in two federation buildings and is north-west Tasmania’s premier performing arts centre. It also offers superb views of the Mersey River – home to the passenger and vehicle ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2.

Contact the venue if you would like more information about what promises to be a thoroughly entertaining evening.

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Sep
15
2011
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Tasmania’s glorious wine regions are now more accessible than ever to visitors who like to plan their adventures either in advance or on the move, with the recent launch of a comprehensive culinary travel mobile application.The free iPhone app – created by online wine and food travel guide VisitVineyards.com – is designed to assist travellers discover regional wonders around Australia.

It will be particularly beneficial for tourists and small business operators in remote areas of Tasmania, where mild summers and long autumn days allow for quality winemaking that equals some of Europe’s most celebrated regions.

For the first time, people will be able to locate thousands of vineyards and cellar doors, fresh produce sellers, markets, restaurants and accommodation whilst on the move.

The initiative is the brainchild of the online guide’s founder Robyn Lewis, who also runs a farm and vineyard in southern Tasmania with her husband. It is a magnificent coup for the island state, highlighting the type of innovation that can significantly boost the tourism industry.

Lewis says she is well aware of the challenges facing smaller tourism operators and hopes this development will prove to be highly useful for both sides of the industry.

“This app meets the demand by travellers, who are interested in culinary experiences, to be able to directly access great eateries, wineries and accommodation on the go, and connect with the people behind the products,” she told APN News & Media on Tuesday (September 13).

The app provides people with “directions and maps where they are located and the best options literally in their own vicinity”, Lewis explains.

Operators can also join the service for free, so even the smallest and most boutique producers can be found.

Tasmanian wine routes can be covered by car or guided tours, including areas such as the Tamar Valley north of Launceston and the Derwent, Coal River and Huon Valleys around Hobart.

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Sep
14
2011
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One of the best aspects of a holiday in Tasmania is the ease and convenience by which you can take a fantastic variety of daytrips from the island’s cities and towns.

While Hobart, Launceston and Devonport are interesting tourist destinations in their own right, visitors often point to the fact that so many worthwhile places or attractions are just a short drive away.

A perfect example of this is Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs, which is situated about 90 minutes south of Hobart.

After about 40 million years of existence the dolomite caves were discovered by timber workers in 1917 and now offer people the chance to view spectacular stalactites, stalagmites and the more unusual helictites.

Parks and wildlife guides run 45-minute tours of the large cavern beginning at 10:00 daily from September through to April.

The thermal springs pool lies just five minutes from the cave entrance. Here you can take a relaxing swim in the 28 degrees Celsius water while looking up at the surrounding forest.

To enjoy everything this majestic setting has to offer – including a guided tour, entry to the springs and access to the large picnic, barbecue and walking area – purchase The Hastings Experience ticket, which is $24 for adults, $19.20 for concessions and $12 for children.

Hastings Cave © by daecon

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