Oct
05
2013

Tasmania is a state surrounded by water, so it's only natural that it's a great place to go kayaking. There's over 5,400km of coastline to see!

If think that you'd like to explore Tassie in this fashion, here are some of the best spots for paddling out into the water.

Hobart

Kayak on a twilight tour of Hobart's water with an experienced guide to see some of the loveliest waterway spots in the city. You'll even get some hot fish and chips to enjoy right there in your kayak! This is a great activity for couples especially.

If you're keen to venture out without a guide, take your sea kayak out to Hobart's harbour and splash around.

Strahan

Macquarie Harbour in Strahan is a great place to go paddling. There's plenty to do and see in the waters of this fishing town. Head to the King River and find some beautiful and wild natural wonders on your way.

Freycinet National Park

To the east coast of Tasmania, Freycinet National Park is a must-paddle destination. As you glide through the water you'll be greeted with sights of majestic, pink granite mountains and the Hazard Range looming overhead.

Make sure your blade your way to Wineglass Bay, a glistening, sandy white beach with gorgeous clear waters. See what kind of sea creatures you can spot from your kayak!

There are multi-day tours around this area that can give you a comprehensive kayaking experience around the park.

Launceston

Around and about Launceston there are some great kayaking spots. For the experienced, you can even hit the wild waters of the North Esk River, with its rapids and waves – you might want to white water raft down this one instead!

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Oct
04
2013

Flinders Island is a spe­cial part of Tas­ma­nia, being the largest of a group of islands found off Tas­ma­nia’s north east­ern point.

Here are four of the most enjoy­able and unique aspects of a stay on Flinders Island.

Stroll expan­sive beach­es

One of the advan­tages of Flinders Island is that you can walk for miles with­out being inter­rupt­ed by anoth­er human being. It’s great for those seek­ing a tran­quil atmos­phere, away from all the noise and chaos of city life. Beach­es are strewn with gran­ite boul­ders.

Bird watch­ers love head­ing here for this rea­son. There are over 200 species to be found, from wrens to the famed alba­tross! You can also spot wal­la­bies and wom­bats scut­tling around in the scrub.

Head out hik­ing

Flinders Island has some impres­sive­ly high peaks. Strz­elec­ki Nation­al Park is home to the epony­mous moun­tain, stretch­ing 2,400 feet into the sky. Head into the Nation­al Park for plen­ty of hikes and trails to keep you occu­pied. Get your fill of fit­ness at the same time!

Win­ing and din­ing

Despite being a quiet and remote island, you can still get your dose of civil­i­sa­tion, when you want to return from your escape from the pres­sures of life.

Main cen­tres like Whitemark, Lady Bar­ron and Kil­liecrankie have deli­cious meals and maybe a bev­er­age or two. When it’s time to get ‘down and local’ you will find the locals friend­ly and inclu­sive.

Soak up his­to­ry

Flinders Island has a rich his­to­ry and some­times even a rough one. Euro­pean set­tlers hunt­ed seals to near extinc­tion and the island’s rough, rocky out­crops sunk a num­ber of ships.
Many Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple from Tas­ma­nia were also sadly relo­cat­ed to Wybalen­na against their wish­es but were even­tu­al­ly returned.

There are also many traces of how rural life and soci­ety oper­at­ed dur­ing sig­nif­i­cant his­toric peri­ods such as World War Two.

Flinders Island Port - image credit: Michael Buck Flinders Island Travel Instagram

Stunning Lake Rowe Flinders Island with Mt Strzeslecki in the background - Image Credit aussimbs

Beautiful and Secluded beaches Flinders Island An Island of contrasts Flinders Island has a beautiful coast and a rugged hinterland

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Oct
03
2013

Tas­ma­nia is home to some truly delec­table wine, and the Tamar Val­ley, close to Launce­s­ton is one of the best regions to explore your cri­tique.

Hit the road in a rental car and head to a num­ber of bou­tique, cool cli­mate winer­ies in the region. Wan­der through the vine­yards and even enjoy a relax­ing meal in an out­door restau­rant. Chat with the grow­ers and mak­ers about how they cre­ate such deli­cious­ness.

There’s plen­ty of scenery to enjoy as you make your way around this region. Stop off at the Tamar Island Wet­lands and stroll along the board­walk to get a look at some local flora and fauna.

As well as this, in addi­tion to all the vine­yards lin­ing the Tamar River, you can also find plen­ty of art gal­leries to browse.

Head­ing towards the North West, you will find the Narawan­ta­pu Nation­al Park and get up close and per­son­al with cute Aussie crit­ters, before head­ing on to Port Sorell and Haw­ley Beach where a sweet glass or two of temp­ta­tion is sure to do the trick.

When you’re in the region, be sure to check out Delo­raine. Not only will you find some great spots and award win­ning bak­eries – did we say scal­lop pies? You’ll revel in the quaint charm of this Geor­gian and Victorian-style town.

Taste some honey at the Honey Farm and Stephens Honey and pur­chase a wheel of tra­di­tion­al cheese at the Ash­grove Cheese Fac­to­ry.

If you want even more tastes to com­ple­ment your wine selec­tions then Christ­mas Hills Rasp­ber­ry Farm is a great place to visit in sea­son (late Octo­ber – late Feb­ru­ary) for some fresh berries and cream if you’re in the mood to be indul­gent!

On the other side of the Tamar head­ing East there is a Tamar tast­ing trail of wine and farm gates called The Tucker­box Trail.

Hire a car and drive around this flavour­some area of Tas­ma­nia your­self, or jump on one of the many tours that can lead you to all the best spots in the region.

Jansz visitor centre - image credit: Saucy Onion Blog

The Tuckerbox Trail

Map of the Tamar Valley Wine Trail

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Oct
02
2013

Once you're in Tasmania, there's a lot of exploring for you to do. How you get around will all depend on how you got to Tasmania in the first place.

If you arrive by ferry from another part of Australia, you can travel with your own car, which will give you plenty of options for exploring the vast state.

Remember, Tasmania is about 68,000 square kilometres large, so while it might seem like just a little island, it's actually a whole vast landscape of its own.

While there is plenty of transport available to get from place to place, if you want to get off the beaten track and have some of your own adventures, then you will need to have your own car.

For those flying into Tas, don't worry. You can hire a car and there are various vehicle providers at the airports. That means you can chuck your baggage in the back, grab a map and get going.

If you're from a country like the US that drives on the right-hand side of the road, remember that in Australia we drive on the left! Brush up on the local road rules before you set off and maybe get a GPS system included in your package as well.

Even if you're behind rented wheels or bring your own car, you can still enjoy guided tours on days that you can't drive – for instance if you want to have a few glasses of wine while on a vineyard tour!

But there's nothing like jumping into your own vehicle, packing some snacks and some great music, and cruising round the countryside yourself.

Check out all the beaches, cliffs, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and parks plus visit as many of the small towns dotted throughout the state as you can – it’s often there that the true character of Tasmania is revealed. Jump aboard one of the many coach tours, ferries, ships and boats when you'd like someone else to take the wheel.

Touring with your own car - coming to Tasmania by Spirit of Tasmania

Touring Tasmania by  Car - stopping to see the scenery when you like - Image Credit: NRMA

Rental Cars - Image Credit: RentforLess

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Oct
01
2013

Do you love getting underground, exploring the underworld of the earth and having a unique adventure?

If so, then it's likely that Mole Creek Karst Natural Park is somewhere that you'd do well to explore.

The park was established in 1996 to protect the area's fascinating cave systems, which are truly incredible. In particular, the Marakoopa and King Solomons Caves are especially famous and these are the two publicly accessible caves for all to enjoy.

Overall, however, there are actually over 300 known caves and sinkholes in the region. Gorges, large underground streams and springs are also present. It's like a whole other world of its own.

What you'll find

First of all, there are many creatures lurking the caves! For example, Marakoopa Cave, meaning Handsome cave, has the largest glow-worm display you'll find in Australia.

Other species you should keep your eyes peeled for include harvestmen, the ancient mountain shrimp and – gulp – the Tasmanian cave spider! These have very long legs which help them to move around and find their way in the pitch black of the caves.

In addition to the glow worms in Marakoopa Cave, there are two underground streams, large caverns, rim pools, shawl and flowstone features.

There are two tours available in this cave. One takes you to the glow worms and underground rivers, where you'll visit the lower chamber filled with beautiful crystals and reflective pools of stalactites.

Take a few moments to listen to the pristine, ethereal sounds of the cave – this can be a beautiful experience.

Another tour will take you to the 'Great Cathedral' cavern, which is as spectacular as its name suggests. There is also a section named the 'gardens' which is packed full of colour and gorgeous formations. This tour involves a stairwell up to the Great Cathedral so requires a moderate level of fitness.

Then there is the mighty King Solomons Cave. If you want to see an underground area completely packed and adorned with shawls, stalagmites and stalactites then let this stunning cave be your destination.

History of the caves

The history of these cave systems seems to almost have a mystical feel. The limestone material of the caves began forming in the Ordovician Period, which was 400-500 million years ago! That when when Tasmania was part of Gondwana, a supercontinent made up of Australia, South America, Antarctica, India and more.

At this point, it was close to the equator and was under a warm and shallow sea. Limestone was deposited as coral reefs and the accumulation of microscopic marine organisms. A lot to take in, right?

Fast forward and eventually Australia began to break away from Antarctica. At some points in the last 30 million years, meltwater from glaciers and snowfields began to form some caves. Now they are somewhere that everybody can enjoy and are a significant reminder of our earth's fascinating geological history.

Getting there

Mole Creek Karst National Park is found in the central north of Tasmania. That's about a 40 minute drive from Deloraine. The two main caves are about a 15 minute drive apart, with the turn offs and entrances well sign posted.

If you are entering the area without a tour group then you will need to obtain a park pass. Remember, there are no camping facilities here so you will need to arrange other accommodation nearby if you plan staying the night. Mole Creek and Sheffield, two nearby towns, have petrol stations, accommodation and other facilities.

Now all that's left for you to do is enjoy your underground adventure.

Mole Creek Caves

Marakoopa Cave at Mole Creek

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Sep
30
2013

If you've got a strong head and heart for heights, then you may want to give Eagle Hang Gliding a go.

It's a good excuse to travel to the beautiful south of Tasmania, where you will get to see the Tahune Forest and many other stunning nearby sights.

Sign up for an Eagle Hang Gliding tour and you'll get two shots at a 400 metre flight above the forest. This makes for a truly unique, thrilling white-knuckle experience.

Not only will you see the forest as great birds flying above do, you'll also get awe-inspiring views of the Huon River.

It's lucky that you get two flights included with this, considering how much you will love your first go, not giving you a second would be cruel!

For your own safety and peace of mind, the hang gliding equipment is secured by cable, so you don't have to worry about operating any equipment or flying off into the distance.

So tick a hang gliding experience off your bucket list and head up into the air, for a view of Tasmania like none other. 

The experience is also open to anyone as those with special acccess needs can be transported to the top by ATV – a truly liberating time as recently experienced by ‘Have Wheelchair Will Travel’.

Soaring downward at The Eagle Hang Gliding Experience at Tahune Air Walk

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Sep
29
2013

There's nothing like a good camping trip to put things back into perspective. It's always nice to take a break from the hustle and bustle of a busy life and get back in touch with nature.

Narawntapu National Park in Tasmania is a great place to do this. People craving peace and tranquillity head to this gorgeous park that has a variety of scenery, including beaches, farms, islands, wetlands, dunes, lagoons and more! Take your time staying in the area to explore all of nature's wonderful offerings.

The park's nickname happens to be the 'Serengeti of Tasmania', giving you an idea of its beauty and diversity, not to mention plentiful wildlife.

Go camping and you're likely to come across kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and perhaps even a cheeky Tasmanian devil. Head out quietly at around dusk for a good chance of seeing this creatures wandering through the grasslands.

Most are used to humans being around, so you may be surprised at how friendly they are – just remember not to feed them as it can make them ill.

Bird life is also prolific in the area due to the variety of vegetation and little interference from people. Look up into the trees and you'll see an array of species including robins, wrens, fantails, wedge-tailed eagles, white-bellied sea eagles and more.

Camping is permitted at the horse yards, Springlawn, Koybaa and Bakers Point. Self-register at the Springlawn Visitor Centre. Springlawn is the site with the most facilities, such as septic toilets, a shower block, powered sites and electric barbeques.

Other camp grounds will have hybrid toilets and a dining area. Now you know you have plenty of places to stay while exploring the surrounding area!

A beautiful wombat puts his best foot forward - Image Credit: IG user @treeism from The Great Tassie Instagram Journey

Image Credit: IG user @miaglastonbury from The Great Tassie Instagram Journey

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Sep
28
2013

Do you love llamas? Are you known around town as a bit of an alpaca fancier? Or perhaps you're just a friend to all of nature's cuddly creatures?

If so, then head to Burnie, Tasmania, for a two day regional agricultural show. Not only will there be a large display of all things agrarian in an industrial hall, there will also be plenty of rural show events which are always a family favourite.

Feast upon some fresh local produce – we hear the cheese is great – and view some of the area's animals, including the beloved alpacas.

There will also be home arts, a sideshow alley, plenty of other food and drink to snack on (candy floss, anyone?) and even rides which will have the kids occupied all day.

The show is taking place on 4-5 October, 2013 so be sure to clear your calendars now and get the family together for two fun-filled and fascinating days.

Burnie itself is a unique location to visit as Tasmania's most westerly city. There are plenty of shops and cafes that you can enjoy during your stay, as well as great galleries and exhibitions.

An impressive natural spectacle as well, there are gorgeous beaches and plenty of green parks and gardens for a stroll – so book a break to Burnie!

The universal excitement of the show fairground

Newspaper extract for the Burnie Show from 1 October 1914

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Sep
27
2013

Tasmania is bursting with artistic talent and the close-knit community supports this wholeheartedly. See for yourself – you're bound to be impressed by what you find and maybe you'll even discover a new favourite artist. 

You can get a taste of all this for yourself at the 2013 TasART festival, a standout feature of the Tasmania's event calendar. Held in the Northwest of the state, the festival is run by the Burnie Coastal Art Group and continues to grow in popularity.

The Burnie Coastal Art Group is a long-established collective of artistic Tasmanians and was formed in 1952. From the group's small beginnings, this not-for-profit organisation is now a lively part of Tasmania's community. Many individuals and businesses donate money and time to its cause, as it's such a treasured part of Tassie's society.

Overall, the goal of the TasART is to encourage artistic pursuits in the community, and painting is a particular focus. It's not hard to see where Tasmanians get their inspiration from, considering the natural beauty to be found in every direction.

As well as this, the festival provides a space where emerging artists can present their work, receive feedback and constructive criticism while also developing connections and ties with fellow artists.

It's a great opportunity for newer artists to learn from established talents and discover a standard of work that they can aim towards.

Many artists also work away from this festival having been rewarded and recognised, which further encourages artists to pursue their talents.

Head to the Burnie Arts and Function Centre until 19 October to see the exhibition in person yourself and marvel at the art and talent emerging from Tasmania.

Table Cape Pastoral - Richard Klekociuk Donation Painting

JW_SIG_NAVTIP July 2013 Richard Klekociuk

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Sep
26
2013

Tasmania has a fascinating and sometimes scandalous history – the kind that lends itself to whispers of hauntings, ghouls and ghostly occurrences.

Due to Tasmania's extensive heritage and convict past, there are plenty of spooky spots around the state, so if you're game why not head out on a ghost tour? These are readily available in many locations and are a truly unique experience.

Get your nerves together, grab a warm hat and jacket, and head out on one of these unforgettable adventures.

Penitentiary Chapel Ghost Tour

In Hobart, check out the ghost tour of the old Penitentiary Chapel and Criminal Courts. This is an extremely old building, which has been in operation since 1831. There was an adjacent Prisoners Barracks, so convicts would come to visit.

There are tunnels, gallows and an undoubtedly eerie atmosphere, so of course there are many tales of murders, executions and hauntings throughout. Head there for a night ghost tour and you'll leave with your spine tingling.

More of Hobart

If you want to see more of the spookier side of Hobart, then head out on a tour with Ghost Tours of Hobart and Battery Point.

Here, your guide will lead you along the path of some of Tasmania's most scandalous characters. The tour begins at Salamanca Square, and video cameras are encouraged as you may even capture some creepy happenings on screen!

Launceston hauntings

Not to be outdone, Launceston also has elements of a ghoulish past that come to light when all else is dark.

Head out at night on a Launceston City Ghost Tour for 90 minutes, where you will be taken to some haunted buildings – ghostly shapes are said to frequent in them! Hear scary stories from the past and soak up the spine-tingling atmosphere.

The paranormal at Port Arthur

Port Arthur has an extremely eerie atmosphere in the daytime, let alone once night falls. Your walk will be lit by ambient lanterns as you explore this World Heritage site.

An old convict settlement, there is plenty of history to get the hair on your neck crawling and keep you awake at night.

Your guide will tell you some of the most scary and inexplicable stories on offer from the long past of the settlement. Head through dark ruins and hallways and hear about what has happened within the walls.

The tour lasts for 90 minutes and is suitable for most people – but don't bring any young kids with you. And watch your back.

The history of Oatlands

Fielding's Tours can talk you on a walk through Oatlands, a town in Tasmania's Midlands with its own vault of historical hauntings.

Be led by candlelight as your guide discusses with you the intrigue of some of the town's former residents. Visit the old jail, courthouse, church and more for a window into the past.

In the dark at Richmond

Richmond is also touted for hauntings and the after-dark antics of some of its former residents.

Allegedly haunted areas include the graveyard, clock tower, bridge, the local jail and a cottage – and that's just a small selection of many other haunting hot spots.

So summon the courage to head out in the dark and learn about the more spine-tingling tales of Tasmania.

You'll learn a lot and have some extremely memorable experiences while you're at it. Not only that, but you'll have an amazing repertoire or scary stories to share with your friends when you get together around a fire on one dark, stormy night.

Hobart Penitentiary Tours - perhaps the glowing eyes are not ... doesn't matter

Stones corridors and places to discover

Port Arthur Ghost Tours

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