When someone says “Summer Holidays” maybe Tasmania isn’t the first place that springs to mind. I will tell you why it should be. I speak from experience, as a born and bred Taswegian who has lived in Queensland for almost ten years. I have seen some awesome places overseas and in my humble opinion (or maybe I am biased) tantalising Tassie has that ‘awesome’ quality about it. Tassie has always been a well-kept secret. This secret is starting to catch on. Remember the ad campaign shouting that the “ever changing, always amazing” Gold Coast was the place to be? Those in the know reckon that Tassie fits this description to a tee. The Tasmanian climate is affectionately referred to as four seasons in one day. Locals chortle that if you don’t like the weather then come back in twenty minutes. This is usually spot on. When variety is the spice of life, how marvellous to visit a place where you don’t know what treat the weather will deliver next? Don’t expect to lie on the beach with a guaranteed 29 degrees for a week but DO expect to discover much more than that. If you catch the blissful sight of sun shimmering off the cool waters of a Tasmanian beach, you will have had a glimpse into paradise. Even if it is cool, the views will make you forget about the lack of heat. There are plenty of beaches to choose from too. Beaches are not overcrowded and the many marvellous coastal areas of Tassie offer up a hands down winner in the spectacular scenery stakes. It is, quite simply, an unspoilt and pristine paradise.
View from Sandy Toes Shack, White Beach, Tasmania. Photo by Amanda Wood.
Check out Wineglass Bay, Boat Harbour, Bicheno and the Tasman Peninsula (above), just to name a few. Many award-winning photographers either hark from Tasmania or have taken some of their best shots there. There is a reason for this. Another plus to planning a trip to the southern-most state is that it usually only takes a few hours, at most, to travel from one breathtaking spot to another. It is a caravaner’s dream but equally magical if bed and breakfast spots are your thing. Or get off the roads altogether and explore on foot, as there are so many wonderful bushwalking tracks to be found all over the State. If you are into bushwalking a great start would be to spend a night or two on Maria Island, off Tasmania’s picturesque East Coast. One of several walks on the island is a four-hour round-trip from the historic Darlington settlement up the towering twin dolerite peaks of Bishop and Clerk. The views from the top of Bishop and Clerk are fantastically breathtaking and on a clear day you will be rewarded with the most magnificent views of the coastline. It is a place that will delight and touch your soul. If you love history, then you won’t be disappointed either. Port Arthur and her stories from convict days, and more devastatingly recent days, provide for a fascinating and moving place to visit. My tip would be to plan an overnight stay on the Tasman Peninsula. That way you could explore the historic site by day, as well as some of the other magnificent scenery on offer down that way. Then head back to the site after dark for one of the ever popular and spine tingling ghost tours.
Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasman Peninsula, Photos by Esther Colavecchio
Even if the summer weather turns sour, throw on a jumper and treat yourself to a special experience with a glass of whatever you fancy in front of a roaring fire. Tasmanians love a tipple or two. There is plenty to choose from during a visit to the Apple Isle. There are award winning boutique breweries, distilleries and wineries to tempt any taste buds. Many local breweries and wineries offer tasting tours. This is a great way to meet a few locals and enjoy the uniquely Tasmanian produce. This leads perfectly into another big-ticket item which stamps its authority on Tasmanian tourism over the summer months. The Taste of Tasmania Festival, held on the Hobart Waterfront every year in late December to early January, is a Hobart institution and must-do event. Usually run for a week at around the same time as the Sydney to Hobart yacht race is held, this is a festival that is worth the trip to Tasmania all on its own. The food, wine, beer and fun on offer during this famous festival are legendary. The whole waterfront and Salamanca Market area takes on a carnival atmosphere, especially on New Year’s Eve, as there are rides, activities for kids, markets, street performers and more.
Elizabeth St Pier, Hobart Waterfront, Photo by Esther Colavecchio
I could go on to describe why you need to see Richmond, MONA, Battery Point, Cradle Mountain, Strahan, Launceston and the Tamar Valley. There are more tantalising Tasmanian treats for you to discover but rather than taking my word for it, do yourself a favour and find out for yourself. It is more than worthy of a place on top of any decent ‘bucket list’.
Words by Esther Colavecchio