Tasmania: blending heritage and beauty
There are many ways to explore and experience Tasmania’s treasures. We chose to fly into Hobart, pick up a hire car and spend a little time in the city, and then venture south for a few days’ R&R.
The city is a short drive from Hobart Airport. As you sweep around the final bend on the freeway into town, the glorious river, mountain and bridge come into view – it’s like a smaller version of Sydney but clearer, cleaner and far more picturesque. The day we arrived there was snow on Mount Wellington and the city was bathed in sunshine.
To begin our holiday we headed to Battery Point where we admired the Georgian cottages and wandered around Arthur’s Circus where some of the oldest dwellings in Tasmania are located. Back to Retro Café on Salamanca Place for a latte, then off to the historic township of Richmond, less than 30 minutes from town.
The Richmond Bridge is the oldest bridge in Australia (built by convicts in 1823) and one of the prettiest. Have a walk around the streets and don’t forget to visit the Richmond Gaol, galleries and the Lolly Shop for some old fashioned sweets.
Next day it was time to pack up the car and head south to the Huon Valley. On the way, we dropped into the Wooden Boat Centre. Here they teach traditional wooden boat-building skills with the smell of Huon pine heavy in the air. It’s a great experience and an idyllic setting by the Huon River at Franklin.
Even further south at Geeveston you’ll find the Tahune AirWalk and Visitor Centre. This is a treetop walk with amazing views to the Hartz Mountains, the Picton and Huon Rivers and the mighty southern forests.
We had the 40-million-year-old dolomite Hastings Caves on our agenda next – an extraordinary experience and well worth a visit. Hastings is also famous for its thermal springs (28 degrees year round). There are cave tours every hour from 10am to 4pm.
After lunch, we called into Grandvewe Cheesery, which is the only organic sheep cheese maker in Australia. You can witness sheep being milked, cheese being created and then get to sample from seven varieties.
Back in Hobart we booked into the Henry Jones Art Hotel. This is a five-star hotel that showcases Tasmania’s finest artists. It started life as the IXL jam factory but has been transformed into a 50-suite, harbourside luxury hotel.
A few other places of interest include the Cascade Brewery, the Female Factory Historic Site, Morilla Estate winery, the Tasmanian Museum, Cadbury Chocolate factory, Barilla Bay Oysters, the Wrest Point Casino and you must do a river cruise around the Derwent.
Some websites to check out: www.mantraresorts.com.au; www.woodenboatcentre.com.au; www.tahuneairwalk.com.au; www.peppermintbay.com.au; www.grandview.au.com; www.thehenryjones.com and www.discovertasmania.com.
FLY TO TASMANIA
Book your flight to Melbourne via Flight Centre Taylor Square, 8255 9988, or Darlinghurst, 9331 0993, or visit www.flightcentre.com.au.