Tasmania: Visit Australia in Miniature

Tasmania

Few if any of us would turn down the opportunity to take a vacation to Australia. It is one of those destinations that makes it onto practically every travel bucket list. But some of us might add the proviso – if someone else is paying and I can take a month off work.

The frustrating thing about Australia is it is so far away, you really want to see as much of it as possible. But it is so vast, that can add serious dollars to your travel costs such that you end up spending more time on planes than exploring.

For example, the flight from Perth to Brisbane takes more than four hours and can cost the thick end of $400. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place that had all the charms and features of Australia, but condensed on a smaller island that you could drive across in two to three hours?

Step forward, Tasmania, this is your moment to shine.

Devilish wildlife

Australia is famous for its unique wildlife, especially the kangaroos and wallabies, that are literally all over the place once you leave the big cites. Well, Tassie has all of these plus its famous Tasmanian Devils. Spend some time in the bush in the evening or early morning, and you’ll hear them and maybe catch a glimpse.

But your best chance to see one up close is to visit one of the several sanctuaries across Tasmania. They all do a great job conserving these and other wildlife, so be sure to lend your support by paying a visit and spending a few Aussie bucks there.

A vibrant capital

Aww, but Tas doesn’t have any big cities like Melbourne or Sydney, you might say. That’s true, but Hobart was voted Top City in Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, even beating the likes of Sydney hands down.

The judges at Travel + Leisure praised the city’s world-class culture, as well as the amazing choice of places to enjoy top quality food and drink. Here’s a word to the wise, it is also a good deal less expensive than Sydney, Melbourne or Perth. As for the night life – just read on.

Casino nights in historic surroundings

Australians gamble more than any other nation, and almost twice as much per person per year as the second placed Republic of Ireland. Around half of the gambling that takes place is on slot games – or pokies as they are known in Australia. Like the rest of the world, Australia has adopted real money casinos online, and their popularity skyrocketed in 2021 for obvious reasons with a 50 percent increase in users in the space of 12 months.

But while Australian online casinos have continued to grow in popularity, the land-based ones do good business too. That’s especially the case in Tasmania, where you’ll find Wrest Point, Australia’s first casino. It caters to gamers of every type, from “just for fun” tourists to serious high rollers. The main floor has more than 650 machines plus 20 gaming table. With a boardwalk floor with more game plus lounges, bars and spectacular views across the water.

Thought-provoking history

Australia has been through many phases in its history, and these are all reflected on Tasmania, too. 200 years ago, Port Arthur was one of 11 penal colonies in Australia. It is one thing to read about them in books, but this one has been preserved for future generations to witness and ponder.

Situated at the far end of a peninsular that is connected to the rest of the island by a ribbon of land, Port Arthur was broadly assumed to be inescapable as even this was guarded 24/7 by a team of vicious dogs.

The dogs and the convicts are long gone, but all the rest of the prison stands unchanged as an open-air museum and a living tribute to those who lived and died there. The Isle of the Dead was the prisoners’ graveyard and there are regular boat trips across and even late night ghost tours.

Non-stop gastronomy at Bruny Island

Here’s another island adventure that’s a lot less morbid. Bruny is an island that is easily reached from Hobart and has some wonderful scenic hikes. But it is also a magnet for gastrophiles. From freshly shucked oysters to locally made cheese to farm-fresh ice cream and jam, it seems like every second door on the island has food preparation going on behind it, and everyone is welcome to give it a try!

Brave the rapids and the surf

Watersport? Of course, Australia is famed for its surf boards and beach bods. Tasmania has its share of surfing experiences on offer, including Shippies, Australia’s biggest wave, and some tamer family-friendly spots near Hobart.

As an alternative, how about trying some white water rafting on the Franklin River? There are a range of experiences available to challenge all skill levels, from beginners to card-holding adrenaline freaks. There are even multi-day experiences that include camping out under the stars after a day spent tackling the rapids.

Amie has a love for numbers and holds a master’s degree in finance. When she’s not playing with numbers or words or pottering in the garden, you can find her in the kitchen roasting her own coffee beans.

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