Tasmania is world famous for its pure air, clean water, and crisp climate. And if you landed here without context, to our ‘lush crisp landscape battered by chilly seas’, pulled up to an imposing 19th century Coaching Inn, and were handed a single malt whisky, we’d forgive you for drawing parallels to Scotland.
After-all, you need a very stable, cool climate to brew the perfect malt whisky (not even modern climate controlled warehouses are as good as brewing in the perfect natural climate), and some of the purest air and water in the world.
Which is why Scottish Whisky has become so famous.
While both superb locations for making whisky, the difference of Scotland and Tasmania is that the distilling of spirits was outlawed here from 1838 to 1991. Though since the law was overturned Tasmania has experienced a craft malt Whisky revival, and the artisanal Whisky movement has earned the reputation of ‘Scotland Down Under’.
150 years was a long time for Tasmanians to wait between drinks, but the State’s pure ingredients and passionate distillers have more than made up for it since.
And that 19th century Coaching Inn? It exists! It sits at 26 Main St Kempton. 40 minutes from Hobart, the Coaching Inn is now a cellar door, with a distillery you can tour in the convict brick stables.read more
Australia has a long history of sheep farming, and within 50 years of their arrival in 1788, sheep had become the main source of income for Australian industry.
29 sheep arrived in Australia with the British First Fleet. 230 years later, wool markets around the world are dominated by Australian exports, and our country has more than 27 million sheep; raised largely for wool over meat.
Humble farming has defined Australia for centuries, and sheep are considered the iconic Aussie flock; farmers continue to work sheep stations throughout the country to feed and clothe the nation.
A true-blue producing nation, there are now 85,681 farms across Australia, and many sheep properties invite you to stay; to swap those white sneakers for gumboots and experience country life in a real and authentic way.
One such property is Rathmore, an hour from Hobart in Tasmania’s Central Highlands; a historic sheep property settled in 1828, which is unique in offering a choice of accommodation.
Choose to stay in the beautiful sandstone homestead with the land owners, with grand bedrooms and period furniture, or in the historic shearers’ quarters, recently revived to offer a country experience that is rustic chic.read more
Restricted to Tasmania during the pandemic, Mike and I have made an effort to explore our home state. Though being ‘confined’ to such a naturally beautiful island with a number of world famous wilderness destinations free of crowds and chaos is far from limiting!
Our experience in the Huon Valley was the perfect balance of wild exploration, while still being able to relax in luxury after days full of dramatic adventure; a balance made possible by checking into the ultra modern Cygnet Retreat.
Nestled in Southern Tasmania just a short drive from Hobart, Cygnet is now known as the place to escape the fast-paced stresses of our modern day to day.read more
Growing up in Hobart, I have many fond memories of heading to our family shack along the coast of Southern Tasmania. It had been years since I had returned to this southernmost part of Australia and I was eager to share the area with my American husband.
Basing ourselves in Dover, this region is defined by a culture of holiday homes; you won’t find high-rise cookie-cutter hotels here; it’s authentic living in seaside towns, from cosy waterfront studios, to beach-side bungalows, and locally owned villas in forested surrounds.
Surrounded by wilderness and relaxation, we were fortunate to stay at what must be Dover’s most unique and stunning property, a turn of the 20th century farmhouse that has been very much renovated into a luxury holiday home.
Known as the Peninsula Experience, this unique and secluded property actually boasts two separate houses which includes The Cape House and The Boat House. This is our experience at The Cape House.read more
The Huon Valley has long been a popular day trip option from Hobart. After-all, just a 30 minute drive south of the city and you’ll be at the source of some of the finest food and freshest ingredients in the country.
Apple growers, craft cider makers, boutique winemakers, salmon producers, and other homegrown produce means even many locals make the drive just for lunch.
But this is a region defined by more than just its food excellence, and if you’re visiting the State, the traditional day trip from Hobart won’t even come close to doing the region justice.
Because on top of the apple cider, salmon sushi, and mouthwatering apple pie (trust me, you’ll order two servings), the Huon Valley also serves up incredible natural beauty, and a huge range of adventure. And they serve it to you on a platter!
The Huon Valley is full of beaches, caves, thermal springs, and is the gateway to the southern forests and World Heritage Wilderness Walks. You can explore by jet boat, hang glider, foot, or car, and if you’re hungry inbetween, fuel up on produce from local roadside stalls.
The Huon Valley is not a day trip destination. It’s worthy of far more time. We recommend at least four to five days for exploring the region.read more
In 1798, European explorers Bass and Flinders sailed along the northern coast of Van Dieman’s Land, known today as Tasmania. They took a colonial sloop and proved that it was indeed an island, separated from mainland Australia by a strait (today called the Bass Strait).
Rowing up the Tamar River to where Launceston is today, their exploration laid the groundwork for some of the first European settlements in the country, and in 1806 Launceston became a township.
It’s easy to first think of Hobart or Sydney when seeking out colonial heritage in Australia, though Launceston has a rich and vibrant heritage, and one of the finest early cityscapes in the country.
Defined by Georgian buildings and Victorian gardens, Australia’s third oldest city is today a shining example of adaptive reuse; with fashion boutiques, bars, banks, and high-tech offices sitting inside colonial churches, town halls, and towers.
And as far as historic hotels? The Leisure Inn Penny Royal is a boutique, family-friendly apartment hotel, set in an 1840’s corn mill.read more
In recent years, rumors have begun to spread about the existence of a wildlife rich island off the coast of South Australia, in the Southern Ocean / Great Australian Bite.
A natural, rugged island where native animals like kangaroos, sea lions, koalas, and penguins roam freely, through an interior of sand dunes, bush-land, and pink lakes; one surrounded with impeccably clear waters where you can swim with wild dolphins, while feasting on mouth-watering food and wine at the end of the day.
Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island, and while it feels like you’re a million miles from the rest of the world, the SeaLink Kangaroo Island ferry takes only 45 minutes from the mainland.
Australia’s very own Galapagos, this is one of the world’s greatest nature based destinations, and this year is the perfect time to visit!read more
Australian figures from the recent pandemic are looking much more positive, and as the country starts making its way out of lock-down, smaller workplaces are returning to work, and state wide restrictions are starting to lift.
But while the country is opening up to domestic tourism, and family businesses can open up shop, international tourism is far further off, and larger Australian industries like casino resorts are still under lock-down.
Casino tourism had recently become travel’s largest sector, with casinos like Crown Melbourne attracting more tourists per year than the likes of the Sydney Opera House!
Supporters of the online gaming industry speculate that the pandemic will be the final blow to traditional gaming; one of the serious implications of the coronavirus at Australia Casinos is the cultural shift towards online gambling.
So with this significant source of revenue and employment suddenly out, the question then becomes: will casino tourism in Australia recover?read more
Did you know that South Australia is home to the nation’s oldest surviving German settlement? Set in the Adelaide Hills, Hahndorf is what you get when early German migrants travel to Australia on a Zebra!
Yes, you read that correctly! Though the migrants fleeing religious prosecution in 1839 didn’t saddle up on the black and white kind, rather a ship named Zebra which was captained by Dirk Meinerts Hahn.
The slice of heaven in the Adelaide Hills where the passengers and crew would eventually settle would end up being named after the Captain. Today, visitors to Hahndorf experience a traditional European village blended with Aussie spirit.
Set along leafy Main Street in the heart of town are three unique properties by The Haus Group. We stayed at the award-winning The Studios by Haus this past autumn (boutique self-contained apartments), and were totally charmed by this historic yet contemporary Australian town.read more
When we embarked on our ‘Road Trip for Good‘ at the beginning of March, the purpose was to visit bushfire affected parts of the country, and do our bit to support struggling local economies.
The start of 2020 saw unprecedented bushfires rip through Australia; millions of people were affected, but the devastation wasn’t just limited to property, wildlife, and land. It also decimated local economies across the country, as travelers cancelled their plans.
Summer is peak season for tourism in Australia, and many small businesses rely on the visitor economy. Even if the fire didn’t reach their doors, the sudden drought of tourism was a heart aching pill to swallow.
Our gratitude can’t be expressed deeply enough for the outpouring of love, donations, and support which flooded in from around the world, and from around the country. But the bushfire recovery is far from over, especially for those who have lost their income.
By mid March a pandemic swept in, and we were forced to rush home. But as Australia went into lockdown and we cut our trip short, the residents of bushfire affected Australia had a clear message:
‘Please don’t forget about us’.read more