Sep
25
2013

Beautiful Tasmania is known for its lively musical scene and this upcoming October is certainly no exception, with one extremely special event taking place.

Get ready for Australia's coast to coast tour of 'In the Mood', a retro swinging, singing, dancing and Big Band Orchestra extravaganza of hits. You can catch it here in Tasmania, when it takes place at the Wrest Point Entertainment Centre, Sandy Bay, in Hobart on October 6.

This show, featuring singers and dancers from New York, is celebrating its 20th season. Their last tour in 2011 was a massive success, even selling out its first run of 32 shows. That means you should mark your calendar and get your ticket as soon as possible, to avoid the disappointment of missing out this time around.

In the Mood was born from the magic and mysterious era of the 1940s, when the world was at the height of electrifying swing music and a new culture of boogying down.

In the Mood brings this back to life with romantic ballads contrasted with upbeat jives, dazzling costume and stage decorations along with the incredibly stirring music. Frank Sinatra, Glen Miller, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey are just some of the artists whose hits are represented.

Alex Sanchez has choreographed this show, bringing it his own golden touch and extensive repertoire of experience. Previously he has choreographed ten musicals for Broadway so you just know that this one is going to be special.

Do you want to head back in time to the 1940s, perhaps as if you were watching Sinatra in the flesh? Then head to In the Mood and you'll have a front row seat into the past.

In The Mood - Touring

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Sep
24
2013

Tasmania's east coast is home to some spectacular scenery, ocean views, wildlife, fun and adventurous activities and more.

Don't miss out the east coast during your trip to Tasmania, as there are many delights waiting to be discovered and memories of a lifetime to be created – regardless of whether you head there by yourself or with the whole family.

You just can't miss Maria Island as a part of your east coast experience. The gateway to the island, Triabunna, is only a short drive away from Hobart so it's very accessible.

Think about how it will feel to head out to an isolated location where you will be surrounded by natural beauty. Surround yourself with quiet and feel as though you've been transported back in time. Pick up camping gear and you can make that step-back complete.

Get away from it all on Maria Island

Let yourself truly disconnect from your worries on an island with no shops or cars – simply peace, quiet and the beauty of nature. You can reach the island easily by boat or charter a plane to drop you off.

Once you are there, you can explore the historic ruins, beaches, walks and mountains; the view from the top of Bishop and Clark rivals any vantage point in Australia. Remember, there are no shops on this island so will you need to bring all the food and equipment that you need with you.

History in action at Darlington

Maria Island is home to the decommissioned Darlington settlement and penitentiary. Buildings include the stone Commissariat Store, where you can find all the information you need for your journey.

Maria Island can be visited as a day trip, but you can camp on the island if you'd like to stay longer. You can sleep in basic accommodation in the old Penitentiary – an adventure in itself!

There are bunk beds with mattresses, chairs and tables and firewood, as well as toilet facilities. However there is no electricity – but you will be able to pay a dollar for hot showers! If you're interested in camping you will need to book your spot in advance, as they can fill quickly.

You can also find free camping sites if you walk around 3 or 4 hours out to French's Farm and Encampment Cove.

Get out and explore

Take a wander through the ruins of Darlington and soak up the eerie atmosphere of a convict past. There are also a number of industrial buildings from the late 1800s that offer even more insight to the island’s past.

Riding a bike is also a fantastic and quick way to get around.

Not only will you find the island's convict history fascinating to explore, the natural sights are unrivalled.

Hills and cliffs covered in tussocks are home to a number of native species. Pademelons, released tasmanian devils also make their home here. Because the island was so isolated as a convict settlement, it is now the perfect place for a bird and animal refuge.

You may also come across forester kangaroos, cape barren geese, Tasmanian native hens and Bennett’s wallabies, just to name a selection.

Sea creatures are also abundant in the area, with whales and seals just some of what you might be lucky enough to spot. Head out on a snorkeling or diving adventure and who knows what you will come across?

Is this enough to convince you to head to Maria Island? There is all this to do and more, so don't leave it off your east coast itinerary. You won't forget looking out into the ocean stretching way out into the horizon – and maybe spotting a whale or two in the distance.

The outlook from the top of Bishop and Clark Maria Island

Painted Cliffs - Image Credit: Explore Australia

Commissariat Store with Bishop and Clerk Mountain in the background on stunning Maria Island.

On The Maria Island Walk - viewing the drop from the cliffs

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Sep
21
2013

Do you dream of travelling somewhere new, somewhere beautiful, remote, peaceful and relaxing? King Island might be the holiday location of your dreams.

This paradise is a beautiful island located in the Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania. It's known for its gorgeous sandy beaches, fresh produce from its rich soil and pristine seas, and friendly locals. Visit this location and its tranquillity will have you wanting to extend your stay, or come back quickly. 

Around 1,000 people live on this island, so it's a close, tight-knit community. They are resourceful, independent and love to share their heritage with visitors. Many of them have close ties to the history of the island, whether it's through families of fishermen and divers, the land, or a link to one of its lighthouses.

One of the island's unique features is that it is in the path of the Roaring Forties. This is a constant flow of westerly winds circling through some Southern areas of the world. This makes for a fascinating history as this wind has caused many ships in the past to sink on their journey or cascade into the island's rocky coast.

Get up close and personal with wrecked ships

One of the best things you can do during your stay on King Island is check out the shipwrecks and lighthouses.

There is a shipwreck trail noting sites of significant wrecks, and there are signs around the island pointing them out and explaining some of the stories and background behind them.

Australia's worst maritime disaster actually took place in this area in 1845 when the ship Cataraqui grounded, on its way from Liverpool. It was packed with cargo and 367 passengers.

When it reached the Bass Strait and neared King Island, bad weather caused the ship to lose its navigation and it struck rocks on King Island. It began to break up in the sea and many people were swept away. Only nine people survived – eight crew and one passenger, who were rescued by D. Howie who was hunting on the island. Fragments of the wreck remain, and there are items removed from the wreck by divers at the King Island Museum.

Now, Cape Wickham lighthouse allows boats and ship to travel safely – it's the tallest lighthouse in the Southern hemisphere.

A tasty experience

King Island Dairy will be a highlight of your holiday. It's one of the country's most famous cheese producers, making high quality camembert, blue cheese, brie, cheddars, clotted cream and yogurt.  Ingredients come fresh from the island's 7,500 dairy cows. Visit and try some of the products while getting a glimpse behind the scenes.

There are several places that you can eat, drink and stay at on King Island, such as Currie's motel and pub, bed and breakfasts and more. No matter where you stay you will be in comfort and the friendly locals will look after you.

Go walkabout and get back in touch with nature

King Island has a plethora of fantastic walks. Head out amongst hillsides by the sea covered in tussocks, or wander the Lavinia Nature Reserve.

You're also likely to spot a variety of creatures on your outings. King Island is home to seals, fairy penguins, platypuses, parrots, sea eagles, pheasants – and if you're lucky you may even see an albatross.

It's easy to get to King Island, just fly from mainland Australia, or Launceston or Burnie from mainland Tas. Book a trip and you'll be yearning to come back time and time again.

Currie Lighthouse King Island - image credit: Ruth Forest

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Sep
18
2013

Halloween might still be just over a month away, but that doesn't mean you need to wait to prepare for the festivities.

Throughout the month of October you will find a few spine-tingling events to get you all ready for the night of Halloween. Here are some of your upcoming spooky options.

The Hollow in Hobart

If you like theatre and love scary stories, then head to the Playhouse Theatre in Tasmania from October 25-November 9.

The performances of The Hollow, directed by Roger Chevalier, are perfectly timed to get you riled up for Halloween.

Step into the world of this Agatha Christie work and if you haven't seen it before, try to solve the murder mystery yourself along the way.

Musical mischief

On Halloween night itself, October 31, head to the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Hobart for a performance by the Tasmania Symphony Orchestra.

Performing a 'Trick or Treat' show, there will be plenty of ghoulish musical numbers such as Danse Macabre, the March of the Trolls and music from the Vampire. This is fun for the whole family and will set the scene for the eerie night ahead.

The Halloween Ball

The city of Launceston is hosting an RSPCA Halloween Ball and it's sure to be a spooky spectacle.

This event is set to take place at the beautiful Tamar Valley Resort, so you know that the night will be well spent.

Keep in mind this is an adult's event. Activities of the night include live entertainment and music, cocktail style food and desserts, a photo booth, plenty of drinks on hand and of course a costume competition – so dress up as your favourite monster, witch or ghoul!

Tickets to the event include entry, bus transfers from Launceston to the resort and all the entertainment that awaits you inside, so they are great value. You can even get on-site accommodation if you wish.

Make sure you reserve Saturday October 26 for this fun-filled event, and start to get your costume sorted!

Launceston Halloween Charity Gala Ball RSPCA Fundraiser

Trick and Treat TSO

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Sep
17
2013

If you like to spin a bike's wheels then head to Hobart in late September for the 2013 Caterpillar Underground Mining Tour of Tasmania

While the name for the event might seem strange, make no mistake that this is one tough cycling challenge! It is part of Australia's Subaru National Road Series which happens across Australia, and is a men's only event. The women's equivalent event was held earlier in the year.

In this challenge, there are nine stages spread over seven days, beginning with a 17km time trial up Mt Wellington. This day also plays host to a colourful 5km long parade of the many cyclists taking part.

In the following days the race takes cyclists through of the most beautiful countryside in the world, providing the perfect contrast for the gruelling exertion cyclists face. Participants will finish up the challenge in Devonport – 543km later.

Weather can be unpredictable, so this competition is always full of excitement and one to watch for the ever-changing conditions and circumstances.

Many cyclists of formidable reputations cycle this event and many of its participants continue to become major players on the world stage.

Don't miss this unique event and head along to cheer on some of your favourite cyclists.

from Tour of Tasmania 2012  Genesys Wealth Advisers climb Mt Wellington

Racing in the Tour of Tasmania

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Sep
16
2013

Hobart is a melting pot of all the good stuff – city life paired with astonishingly beautiful views, adventurous activities balanced out by cultural and artistic pursuits, and a fascinating history.

This is exemplified by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, which can be found in Dunn Place and is easily accessible by bus, car, foot and taxi. It’s right alongside the core of our city hub.

There is a myriad of things for you to explore and knowledge for you to gain once you get there.

The museum is always alive with events and exhibitions. Currently, highlights for visitors include Tasmanian artist Philip Wolfhagen's exhibition Illumination, which features 50 works from both public and private collections. This art focuses on landscape painting.

Another highlight is the Legacy 90th Anniversary Display. This exhibition runs until November 12, and showcases a number of artefacts and memorabilia from Legacy Australia, which was an organisation set up to help war widows post-WWI.

Another not-to-be-missed exhibition is Critical Operations. This will run until December 31. It aims to challenge viewers as it reflects the challenging nature of art and design in contemporary Australia. It focuses in particular on the environment, the body and identity and features a wide range of artists both celebrating, and critiquing today's culture.

Progress and Politics is another fascinating exhibition, which delves into how Tasmanian artists have explored the politics of race, gender and the environment through their bodies of work. Geoff Parr, Ricky Maynard, Raymond Arnold, Phill Mason and Kevin Perkins are some of the visual artists included in this exhibition.

Whether you're a native of Tasmanian or a visitor to the island, you'll get a true taste of Tasmania's diverse flavour by visiting the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Don't forget that September 29 is Family Day at the museum, held on the last Sunday of each month. Bring the kids along to engage in activities and hands-on displays, as well as live entertainment. A fun day for the whole family!

Interior of the Musuem

Families making the most of Family Days at TMAG

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Sep
15
2013

Do you love wandering through blossoming gardens as spring arrives, taking in the joys of new life, rejuvenation and natural beauty?

If so, keep October 12 free and travel with friends and family to Wynyard on the north west coast for the Bloomin' Tulips Festival! This town truly shines in spring as tulips begin to flower all around.

Keen to get out and about? There's certainly plenty to do. A 'Tulips @ Twilight' evening offers local arts, crafts, music and maybe even a tasty drink or two.

Not only this, but there will be a dazzling fireworks display over the Inglis River to get you excited about the summer season on its way. Other tulip themed community events will also be happening all around town.

If you're up for the challenge, you can even enter the Tulip Tossing Championship – maybe you'll be named this year's victor!

Of course, any good festival needs to have quality food and drink and this one is no exception. Plenty of fresh, local produce will be on offer so be sure to have a taste. The seafood in particular is fantastic in this region.

When you visit, not only will you get to see the beautiful, blushing tulips in bloom, you'll also get to take in the stunning sea views. Head out on some leisurely strolls along beautiful beaches. The nearby Fossil Bluff is packed with fascinating fossils embedded in the area. The kids in particular will love fossicking around here to see what treasures they can find.

Like the rest of Tasmania, there's also an abundance of intriguing wildlife, so watch out for an array of gorgeous birds!

There are plenty of facilities in the town, such as shops and eateries, so your stay will definitely be a pleasant one. Maybe you'll even leave with a few tulips of your own!

The tulip farm and lighthouse

Rows and rows of tulips to enjoy

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Sep
12
2013

September is a great month for music and the arts in Tasmania.

There is no shortage of events to attend and things to see and hear. Here are some of the events going on in Tassie this month that will help you to get your musical fix.

Jiving jazz

Each Sunday at MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, you can get your fix of toe-tapping jazz.
Every week between 1pm and 4pm on a Sunday afternoon, you can catch Jazz at MONA, featuring both local and national musicians.

If the sun is shining you can catch the performances on the lawn stage opposite the Ether Building, but if the weather is a little dubious then The Void will play host.

An angelic orchestra

In a show of local talent, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Chorus tour is heading to Swansea. The performance will take place on September 22 and will feature choruses from operative composers such as Verdi, Wagner and Benjamin Britten. There will also be waltzes from Lecocq and Gounod.

Compositions from Beethoven and Eric Whitacre will make up part of the performance too – so you're in for a complete treat of a musical experience.

A night at the ballet

Do you love the romance and the grace of a beautiful ballet performance? Then you'll want to be in Launceston on September 25, when the Imperial Russian Ballet Company performs 'A Festival of Russian Ballet.'

The ballet is made up of three acts.

In the first, you will be dazzled by the nimble ballerinas dancing the Nutcracker with Tchaikovsky's gorgeous score providing the night's auditory delight.

In act two, the ballet dancers will bring to life Bolero, a dramatic and treasured ballet score composed by Maurice Ravel.  

Act three is aptly named the 'highlights' section and brings together features from many classical ballets including Carmen, Giselle, Can Can Surprise and more.

Beautiful shoreline walks at Swansea - Image Credit: Visit Swansea

Imperial Russian Ballet Company

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Sep
11
2013

Tasmania is set to celebrate the medieval spirit this month – so don't miss out!

The Burnie-Wynyard Medieval Festival is taking place September 21-22 and is an especially unique and fun event.

Harking back to early days, you'll get to see knights locked in a jousting battle on horseback as well as sword fighting contests! If you've ever dreamed of going back to the olden days and living like the Knights of the Round Table then this is your best chance. Hosted by 'The Sovereign Military Order of the Knights Templar Tasmania Inc' this event is authentic as it gets.

Not only will you get to experience exciting contests, the belly and highland dances will also be a feast for your eyes. Live snake displays are sure to fascinate and maybe even frighten you, as will the skill of the archers who make hitting the bullseye seem easy.

This Medieval Festival is for all ages, so bring your kids and they can take pony rides or get their faces painted, and maybe even take part in some miniature-medieval activities. There's also plenty of food and drink available on-site.

To top it all off, festival goers are welcome to dress up in medieval costumes so get creative and make the experience fully interactive. Bring the whole family and see how much fun becoming medieval can be.

Medieval Festival Burnie/Wynyard 2013

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Sep
09
2013

What better way to see more of Tasmania than through some of its spectacular walks? If you love to get amongst nature, then a good long walk is one of the most enjoyable ways of getting to know some of Tassie's most beautiful areas.

While there are scores of fantastic hikes to be had on this island, here are some of the top, multi-day picks for the seasoned walker. 

The Walls of Jerusalem

This amazing trail is recommended for experienced hikers only and not for beginners. Weather conditions can be harsh at any time of year, so only head out on this walk if you know what you're doing and have the right equipment – including a tent.

If you're qualified, however, the rewards of this walk can be immense. Set amongst beautiful highlands you will see all sorts of scenery ranging from forests, alpine vegetation, lakes, mountain peaks and more.

No matter what the season, you can experience snow, rain, sun, sleet and wind here – often with a complete four seasons within a day – so come prepared. Plan your journey, choose your tracks and decide how long you'll be walking for.

According to Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania, you'll need navigational skills and equipment, warm clothes, plenty of energy-rich food, reliable walking boots and hydration. In addition you'll need a map, tent, trowel and fuel stove.

As the environment is extremely fragile, you must be very careful of your impact upon it and not leave anything behind or damage it in any way.

Experienced hikers can have a great time in this most majestic of landscapes, so grab a couple of your most reliable walking buddies and head out into the wilderness.

The Overland Track

The Overland is known as Australia's iconic bushwalk. It runs for 65km and can be tackled in around six days.

If you decide to walk this trail, you'll get to experience the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park as well as part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Through this track you can witness a variety of beautiful scenery, including forests, meadows, mountains and waterfalls.

It's also a great place to plan your own, unique adventure, as there are many sidewalks you can take to make your trip longer or more diverse.

You'll definitely need to be prepared for this track. Even though there are huts and campsites dotted throughout the walk, you still need to make sure you bring a tent, in case hut space is full or if you run into any problems. Bring all the right navigation tools, food, cooking equipment and clothing for all-weather conditions and you should be set!

Always remember to keep your food and rubbish well stored so that it doesn't attract any hungry wildlife.

The South Coast Track

This is another remote track for the well-experienced. Taking you through the Southwest National Park, you'll see some beautiful, rugged coastal scenery. However, you'll also be far from help so make sure you've had adequate Tasmanian experience and have plenty of equipment.

Make sure you bring all the essentials with you, such as a tent, raincoat, sleeping bag, fuel stove, warm clothes, sunhat, water, food and a map of the area, as this track can take six to eight days to complete. 

This walk can be challenging due to changes in altitude, difficult track conditions, and its remoteness. Be sure to stick to the path for your own safety, as well as to help conserve the environment. Always be aware of the local wildlife, especially on beaches where rare birds are often nesting.

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