The Apple Isle – The Best of Tasmania
In 2015, Tasmania made Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Destinations in the world. With stunning natural landscapes and an ideal climate for producing some of the country’s best food and wine, it’s no wonder the world is catching on to our island state.
Tasmania’s cultural evolution has exploded in recent decades. A surprising contender due to its size and location, the Apple Isle is fast becoming the cultural epicentre of Australia.
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart – founded in 2001 by Tasmanian millionaire David Walsh – has led the charge. MONA hosts two major festivals each year, MONA FOMA in summer and Dark MOFO in winter, combining art, food, music, light, and film. But it doesn’t stop there. Tasmania’s proud cultural heritage has been preserved, and offers a fascinating journey of discovery right across the state – from Launceston’s Queen Victoria Museum, to smaller museums and boutique art galleries found along the northern coastal towns of Devonport and Burnie.
For a slice of everyday culture, head along to Hobart’s Salamanca Markets held every Saturday, featuring fresh produce, locally made wares, food stalls and talented musicians. The capital’s Waterfront district is also a must-see. Stroll through the working fishing harbour at Victoria Dock, or grab fish and chips at Constitution Dock.
WHERE TO EAT
Thanks to its cool climate, Tasmania is home to some of the finest produce in the country, so there is no shortage of fantastic restaurants serving up gourmet fare daily. For progressive dining with a Tasmanian flair, head to Ethos Eat Drink, set in the former stables of The Old Hobart Hotel, where you can savour a six-course dining experience with wines matched by the restaurant’s sommelier.
WHISKEY & WINE
You won’t go far in Tasmania without stumbling on a winery. Pinot noir and chardonnay are two of the most predominant grapes grown throughout the region. For some of the best wine trails, head across the mountains to the Tamar Valley, near Launceston. The Jansz Tasmania winery in Pipers Brook is devoted to the sparkling varieties, offering tastings paired with local cheeses. Over the other side of the valley, be sure to visit Tamar Ridge winery, which sits on the western bank of picturesque Tamar River, and try the pinot noir at Goaty Hill.
Perhaps lesser known is the clout of Tasmanian whiskies – with some of Australia’s finest on offer. Sample the goods at Lark Cellar Door and Whisky Bar in Hobart, or take a tour of the distillery in Coal River Valley to learn about the history of Tasmanian whisky production.
Of course, Tasmania’s natural beauty is one of the main reasons the state’s tourism industry has flourished. From Cradle Mountain National Park in the state’s centre, to the endless beaches of the North West Coast, Tasmania is home to a diverse range of plants and wildlife.
Autumn sees the flowering of many of Tasmania’s delicate native orchids while the Southern Right whale and the Humpback whale are regularly spotted during their winter migration. Keep an eye out for baby Tasmanian devils, Eastern quolls, spotted-tailed quolls and platypus arriving in spring.
Nature-lovers will never be short of a thrill, with countless parks and trails to explore, including iconic Wineglass Bay in the East, and the challenging South Coast Track. The historic town of Stanleyin the north is also a hot spot for golfing enthusiasts to tee off amid coastal views and the remains of a dormant volcano.