When MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, opened in Hobart back in 2011, most people thought the founders were crazy. Avant-garde art in Tasmania? Really? Fast-forward five years and it’s clear the founders we onto something. Tasmania is now emerging as a world-class destination for art lovers with contemporary studios, art galleries and museums popping up across the length and breadth of the state.
One of Tasmania’s greatest assets is its accessible wilderness. After all, 40 per cent of the state is either listed as Wold Heritage Wilderness Area, national park or other reserve. With the recent opening of the Three Capes Trek, a 46km walking trail from Port Arthur in the state’s southeast, that wilderness is now more accessible than ever. Other treks worth discovering includes the Bay of Fires and Maria Island.
Tasmania takes its food very seriously, with a tradition of small-scale production, organic farming and sustainability. Sample delicious locally produced fare at the Hobart Farm Gate Market, take a cooking class at the Sally Wise Cooking School, or hop in the car and tackle the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail in the North West.
Tasmania’s cool climate lends itself perfectly to wine production, particularly Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Top wine regions include the fabulous Tamar Valley north of Launceston, and the Derwent, Coal River and Huon Valleys - together comprising the Southern Wine Route - in the south.
We could go on for hours about the beauty of Tasmania’s beaches, but instead we’ll just name our top three. Firstly there’s the Bay of Fires with its pale blue waters, white beaches and lichen covered rocks, next is the white sands and rock pools of Bicheno, and lastly is the sheltered waters of Adventure Bay on Bruny Island.
The Apple Isle has a surprisingly strong sense of adventure, with offerings such as white water rafting trips on the Picton River to abseiling the Gordon Dam. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out Roaring Forties who run kayak trips from 2.5-hour Hobart tours through to multi-day expeditions in the South West Wilderness.
It may be small, but Tasmania has a lot of fantastic driving routes. There’s the Great Eastern Drive, a dramatic trail taking in the Freycinet National Park, Maria Island and the Bay of Fires; the Heritage Highway, a meandering path through the centre of the state from Launceston to Hobart; the Huon Tail which takes in the still waters of the Huon River and forests of the Hartz Mountains; and so many more.