The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart has been identified as one of the island state's best undiscovered gems by the Sydney Morning Herald's Winsor Dobbin.

MONA – a $175 million facility in the heart of the Tasmanian capital city – has extended its opening exhibition so visitors can see the attraction which stunned the museum’s first 200,000 visitors.

That exhibit – Monaism – has been designed to be a permanent fixture at the facility, with pieces added to and removed from the collection over time.

Other upcoming exhibitions at MONA include ‘Experimenta Utopia Now’ – which will run from August 5 until October 3 and feature works from new media artists from Australia and around the world – as well as an exhibition of works from Belgian artist Wim Delvoye that is set to take place between December 10 and March 27 next year.

Visitors to Hobart will find that there are a number of different ways to get to MONA – although with limited parking, you may be better off considering your options when it comes to public transportation.

You can travel by ferry to MONA from the Brooke St pier, or you can hire a bike to make your way to the museum, or instead choose to travel by bus or taxi.

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Seven Network’s Weekend Sunrise (national TV show) will be filming their weekend weather in and around the Tasmania’s North West Coast this weekend.

This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the North-West region of Tasmania and what it has to offer visitors. The show goes to air between 7am and 9am on Saturday 23 July, and 7am and 10am on Sunday 24 July. There will be live weather crosses every half-hour to presenter James Tobin, who will showcase some of the region’s visitor experiences and sample a range of different activities.

Current Itinerary:
Saturday 23 July
– Live weather crosses from Burnie Makers Centre
– Burnie Makers Centre will be open to the public from 7am
– James will interview some of the “makers”
– Afternoon will be at Warrawee Forest Reserve with Landcare Tours hosting a segment on platypus spotting

Sunday 24 July
– Latrobe – Australian Axeman’s Hall Of Fame Market; there is a fly fishing expo on this weekend also
– Pre-recorded platypus segment will be shown

Weekend Sunrise logo

Weekend Sunrise on Channel 7

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Two children have had a book published that records their experience living on remote Maatsuyker Island, ten kilometres off Tasmania's southern coast.

Jonah and Evie Wiltshire were seven and four years old when they went with their parents to be volunteer Parks and Wildlife Service caretakers and Bureau of Meteorology weather observers on the island.

The Lighthouse Kids of Maatsuyker Island was written with the help of their mother Sheryl Hamilton while they were living there from February to May 2010.

All of the drawings and models in the book were created by the children while they were living there discovering the "magic of Maat".

They were the first children in over ten years to live on the island, which is the site of Australia's most southerly lighthouse.

Conditions on Maatsuyker are frequently extreme as it is exposed to the constant buffeting of the Roaring Forties winds coming off the southern ocean.

The two young authors are now off to Adelaide next month as they have been nominated for the Children's Book Council Awards.

The Lighthouse Kids of Maatsuyker Island is published by 40 Degrees South and some of the sale proceeds will be donated to the Friends of Maatsuyker Island.

book cover - The Lighthouse Kids of Maatsuyker

Cover of Book - credit 40 Degrees South Publishers

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Tasmania’s Three Capes Walk, highly anticipated as one of Australia’s best overland walks, has got the go-ahead after the project was threatened by government budget cuts.

The setting for the walking track will be the Tasman Peninsula region, which is only a 90-minute drive from Hobart.

It offers incredible scenery to hikers as well Australia’s most challenging surfing beach at Shipstern Bluff.

The Tasmanian government has announced it will contribute $12.8 million to the Three Capes walk project.

Parks minister Brain Wrightman said the establishment of the walking track would boost Tasmania’s reputation as an international bushwalking destination.

Around 10,000 people per year are expected to walk the track once it is completed in approximately two years’ time, with an average of 60 walkers to begin a journey on the track each day.
The overnight walk, which has been in the works since 2005, is designed to get people to spend longer periods of time enjoying all the peninsula has to offer.

Other popular attractions on the Tasman Peninsula include the Port Arthur Historic Site and the Tasman Island Cruise.

There are also plenty of short day walks to enjoy while you wait for the Three Capes walk to be finished.

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A leading international nature writer and butterfly expert has fulfilled a dream by visiting Tasmania.

Dr Robert Michael Pyle is a conservation biologist who says he has wanted to visit Tasmania as long as he has known it existed.

“It will be a wonderful place to study insects. The butterflies there, like others in parts of the US, have adapted to rainfall and a quite stressful climate,” he told the Mercury.

He said Tasmania’s 50 to 60 butterfly species are very interesting and also mentioned the several species of butterflies that are now extinct in the island state, including the spectacular Xerces Blue.

The Yale-trained ecologist from Colorado recently delivered a free talk at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, which Writer’s Centre director Chris Gallagher described as a “special opportunity”.

“His work will have a natural synergy for Tasmanians, many of whom also speak and write passionately on environmental concerns,” Mr Gallagher said.

The visiting butterfly tracker said the world’s 17,500 butterfly species are important indicators of the state of our environment.

“They are conspicuous and because they are particularly dependant on plants and landscapes they give us a good clues about the diversity of the planet,” he said.

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Launceston’s attractive civic square will again play host to the successful Junction Arts Festival, which is also known as the JAF, this August.

The city centre will become a multi arts venue that emphasises audience participation and engages with the local community. The idea is for artists and audiences to playfully interact with the landscape of the city.

There will be theatre, music, dance, film, installations and visual arts presentations by local, national and international artists. Most of the installations and performances will be free to the public.

Back by popular demand, The Junc Room will again feature in civic square, hosting a line up of hot young bands in styles from surf pop, to mariachi, to blues and big band.
There will also be a selection of cabaret, circus and variety performances, all in the big top circus tent in the square.

This is open day and night and is also a great place to enjoy amazing local food and wine, coffee and hot chocolate.

Other works will appear in public spaces around the CBD, including street corners, buses, shop windows, rooftops, cars and city parks.

A line up of international guests is expected and the public participatory events are sure to make this event a memorable one.

The JAF is a great reason to visit Launceston, which is Australia’s third-oldest city, boasting many beautiful old buildings along with a relaxed and safe atmosphere.

A trip into the nearby Tamar Valley will only enhance your Tasmanian holiday, with its relaxed scenery and over 20 cellar doors open for wine tastings. It is also renowned for its delicious, fresh local produce.

During your stay, you won’t want to miss catching up with some of Tasmania’s incredible wildlife. See a Tasmanian devil, wallaby, wombat, or echidna in nearby national parks and forest reserves.

This year’s Junction Arts Festival is on in Launceston from Wednesday August 24 through to Sunday August 28 2011.

Junctions Arts

Performance, display, workshops and artscape

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This highly-anticipated exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) celebrates the world of books and reading and is set to open on July 23.

Longtime Hobart resident Brigita Ozolins exhibits regularly in Tasmania and Australia, as well as in Latvia, where her parents originated. She is also a lecturer at the University of Tasmania’s School of Art.

This solo commission for TMAG reflects ongoing themes in her work about the links between language, knowledge, history, bureaucracy and identity.

The former librarian at the state library draws on her interests in books, words and the library, as well as her belief that although language is beautiful and complex it, cannot mirror reality.

Art Gallery 4 will be transformed into a cosy den of rugs, comfortable furniture and soft reading lamps, while the room is lined with thousands of books. A mysterious red code will appear on the walls.

All very appealing for booklovers but the exhibition doesn’t end there. An immersive, interactive environment will be created as you watch and listen to people reading excerpts from their favourite books.

Visitors can also contribute to the art installation themselves by uploading their own recorded readings on the exhibition website.

This exhibition is part of a year-long series of contemporary art experiences entitled Star/Dust. The project has been developed by three Tasmanian artists and is presented with the support of the Detached Cultural Organisation.

Also look out for Brigita Ozolins other current project about cultural displacement, based on her mother’s journey to Australia from Latvia through a series of displaced persons camps at the end of the second world war.

TMAG is a combined museum, art gallery and herbarium in Hobart that has become Tasmania’s leading natural, cultural and heritage organisation.

The Reading Room will run at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery until October 16 2011.

reading at TMAG

The joy of reading

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A major adventure multi-sport event is to return to Tasmania later this year, leading Formula One driver Mark Webber has confirmed.

After a three-year hiatus the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge is set to attract adventure racing enthusiasts from around the world to join the Australian driver.

Mr Webber established the five-day event to combine his enthusiasm for Tasmania and the sport of adventure racing.

“After a three-year break I am thrilled the challenge is heading back to Tasmania and that it’s back on the calendar for the next three years,” he commented.

It will take competitors across some of Tasmania’s most stunning locations and include the disciplines of kayaking, trekking, trail running, climbing and mountain biking.

The course will pass through the Freycinet National Park; wild Bruny Island; the deep forests of the Hartz Mountains; the cliffs, blowholes and caves of the Tasman Peninsula; and the rolling Hobart mountains.

Some of Australia’s biggest international sporting stars have participated in past events, such as tennis champ Pat Rafter, cricketer Steve Waugh, and Olympic medallists Cathy Freeman, James Tomkins and Michael Klim.
Mr Webber wants to see an even bigger field of international stars competing this year.

The 2011 Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge will be held from December 7th to 11th, with Webber jetting into the state directly from the final round of the Formula One series in Brazil.

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The upcoming presentation by the Salamanca Arts Centre of The Strand Line: A Tale of Two Sisters promises to be a richly rewarding addition to Hobart’s winter arts scene.

The new exhibition was born out of two sisters’ childhood memories of rambling along the shore of St Vincant’s Gulf on holidays with their grandparents in the shanty town of Port Clinton.

The flotsam and jetsom of the strand line is the inspiration for South Australian artists Deborah and Louise Fulton but the result is a collection of highly-crafted and meticulously-finished objects.

The sisters credit time spent watching their grandfather in his carpentry workshop as the basis of their artistic endeavours.

In this latest work, their maritime-themed creations actually incorporate bits and pieces gathered from the high water mark. Visitors can experience the exhibition from July 22 to 24.

The Salamanca Arts Centre on Hobart’s historic waterfront is housed in what were once seven old sandstone warehouses.

These were once home to a very different, though perhaps no less vibrant, community of convicts, sailors, factory workers and smugglers.

The Salamanca Place precinct now buzzes with restaurants, galleries, craft shops and offices. It is a great place to spend an evening and on Saturdays hosts the popular Salamanca Market.

Explore the laneways and enjoy a stroll in Salamanca Square, which enclosed by shops, cafes, and restaurants, with lawns and a fountain as the centrepiece where children can play.

This area is now the city’s cultural heart, nurturing what has become a world-famous contemporary arts scene.

A not-for-profit body was set up in 1976 to promote and manage the variety of performing and visual arts spaces of the centre and it now hosts more than 70 arts organisations and individual artists.

This latest exhibition looks to be another great reason to spend some time at this international arts venue during your winter break in Tasmania.

stones on the shore

Shore stones and maritime scatter

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UNESCO has designated eleven of Australia’s convict sites with World Heritage listings and a popular way to see as much of the state’s fascinating history as possible is to take a convict tour.

The Convict History of Tasmania tours have been developed by Hobart-based company Premier Travel and include accommodation in quality heritage properties.

There are two options, a seven-night journey and a four-night tour, with both covering all five of Tasmania’s world heritage listed convict sites.

A dedicated history tour guide takes the longer tour from Hobart and offers participants an experience of Tasmania’s highlights as well as the convict history.

This takes in the Female Factory, the Port Arthur Historic Site and the Coal Mines on the Tasman Peninsula, the beautiful wildlife haven of Maria Island and the Darlington Probation Centre.

It also includes visits to Lake St Clair, the Sarah Island Penal Site, a cruise on the Gordon River, a visit to the west coast rainforest town of Strahan and finally the historic homesteads of Brickendon and Woolmers near Launceston.
The shorter trip focuses just on the five World Heritage Listed convict sites.

The tour price also includes breakfast, lunch, some or all dinners, comfortable transport, airport transfers, national park passes and entry to all attractions, as well as the services of the history tour manager.

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