We’re excited to announce that, in conjunction with Farrow and Ball, we will be holding a Tasmanian evening in our offices on the 12th of July! The event will be at 7:30 pm and we’ll be serving Tasmanian wine and canapés. It’s completely free – we only ask that you RSVP by dialing 01494 678 400 and asking for James Bell.

Throughout the evening we’ll be offering you the opportunity to speak directly with a select number of our suppliers in Tasmania:

The Maria Island Walk

In 2003 Ian Johnstone, left his successful career on mainland Australia with his wife to establish a four day guided walk on a beautiful island national park off the east coast of Tasmania. Maria island is a ‘Noah’s Ark’ of endangered wildlife including many species of bird and marsupial that are unique to Tasmania, tall old growth forests, beautiful beaches, mountains, painted cliffs, strong aboriginal heritage, a world heritage convict settlement at Darlington that predates Port Arthur, and a resident population of just two park rangers. The walk takes small groups of 8 guests and two guides on a journey the length of the island – justifiably described as ‘four days that last a lifetime.’. For two nights walkers enjoy gourmet candlelit dining and sleep in tented beach camp accommodation, and on the last night they kick back their heels and celebrate their four day walk in Bernacchi House, the former home of an Italian count who tried – but failed – to turn Maria Island into Australia’s Riviera.  After 8 seasons the walk was recognised as one of Australia’s most acclaimed experience. It won the Tasmanian Telstra Business Awards in 2008 and 2009 and to date has won every major national tourism award it can win to become the most accoladed eco-tourism  product in Australia www.mariaislandwalk.com.au

Learn more about the other Great Walks of Tasmania

The Maria Island walk is just one of several walks that can be taken around Tasmania, which is one of the world’s greatest hiking destinations for all ages, and for all levels of experience.  The multi day walks in Tasmania are as much about the people who guide you as they about the jaw dropping landscapes and wilderness, the fabulous food crafted out of a backpack and the knowledge that these young, passionate Tasmanians can impart over a few days of magical remoteness with nothing but nature to get in the way.  See link below for some of the walks, the wildlife, and  the faces and personalities of those who devote their lives to sharing the beauty of Tasmania with visitors who choose to immerse themselves with some of the greatest walks in the world. www.greatwalkstasmania.com

Jennifer Burger is joining us from the Maria Island Walk.

Pure Tasmania – Saffire-Freycinet, Freycinet Lodge, The Henry Jones, Strahan Village, Bonnet Island, West Coast Wilderness Railway.

Pure Tasmania is the state’s largest owner-operator of characterful accommodation and extraordinary experiences, ranging from the newest five star lodge to open in Australia (Saffire) to the most authentic and memorable fairy penguin experience you will find anywhere in the world – Bonnet Island – right in the heart of Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s wild west coast, which is six times the size of Sydney Harbour. Every evening you can take a small boat out to tiny Bonnet Island  and enjoy a drink and canapés, while learning about this tiny wildlife haven (that also has Australia’s second oldest lighthouse)  – and wait for hundreds of fairy penguins to come rafting back in from their day of fishing in the Great southern Ocean.

Strahan Village, also run by Pure Tasmania, is the tiny fishing village that is the only place to stay on Tasmania’s west coast – the gateway to the last tract of temperate rainforest left on earth.  It can also be explored by the West Coast Wilderness Railway, a restored steam train that once upon a time was used to carry minerals between the old mining towns of Queenstown and Strahan, but now takes visitors up the steep gorges and through virgin rainforest, home to the tallest flower trees in the world at over 100 metres, and  some of the most remarkable animals left on earth, found only in Tasmania.

Freycinet Lodge, located on the iconic Freycinet Peninsula, has cabins nestled in the bush overlooking Honeymoon Bay and one of the most glorious views to be found in Australia from its sundrenched deck.  However the latest property to be opened by Pure Tasmania, Saffire-Freycinet,  is probably the one that has put Tasmania on the map of Australia –  after years of being left off it, quite literally!

There are innumerable reasons to stay at Saffire, the new AU£32 million super lodge that opened on the iconic Freycinet Peninsula in June 2010.  The 20 huge glass-fronted suites overlooking Great Oyster Bay, classified as a whale nursery; the spa that uses real sapphire dust in its moisturiser; the RAMSAR wetland site that is one of the most important places in Australia for migratory birds, or the Oyster Farm that encourages visitors to don full waders and sample oysters themselves, straight from the sea, or the day trip to uninhabited Schouten Island with its gourmet standing camp.  But the head chef, Hugh Whitehouse, is arguably one of the most compelling reasons to come to this spectacular five star lodge,  and not only for his stunning seven course degustation dinner created with local ingredients, with carefully matched wines for every course. Chef Whitehouse is a loveable, good natured fellow who grew up on a farm and whose training included Chewton Glenn in the UK. He has a string of awards to his name but he is possibly at his happiest taking guests foraging for local ingredients and helping them to create a delectable private dinner in the privacy of their own suite. Whatever the reason, two nights here will never be enough.

Last but not least, The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart is Australia’s only dedicated art hotel.  It opened in a restored jam factory in 2004, on the site that the first settlers landed in Tasmania (or  Van Diemen’s  Land as it was known  in the 19th century).   Now the hottest place to stay and meet in Hobart, the Henry Jones is covered from wall to wall, and from floor to ceiling with art, almost all from Tasmania, and almost all for sale.  Every original beam and exposed area of brickwork has been left in its original condition, and artists gather here on a daily basis,  making one of the most atmospheric hotels in the world.

Meet with Ral Italiano to find out about Pure Tasmania’s remarkable portfolio. www.puretasmania.com.au

Premier Travel

Premier Travel is Tasmania’s leading private touring company, owned and operated by the charming and thoroughly down-to-earth ‘honorary’ Tasmanian, Peter Ernst and his wife Karen together with their capable team of Tasmanian tour guides. The Ernst family’s background is in luxury resort tourism in the Caribbean, where they were involved in building the success of Mustique Island, known for its exclusivity among celebrity travellers.  Many of Peter’s Tasmanian tour guides are bi-lingual and all bring not only a bucket load of knowledge and experience but some fairly unusual interests, making them invaluable to anyone wanting to see Tasmania through the eyes of a true local!  For example, Bernie Samms joined Premier Travel Tasmania after working as a guide taking historic walking tours through Hobart..He has particular interests in Tasmanian history, Tasmania’s out of the way places and its wildlife. His other interests are flying light aircraft, classical music, travel and trout fishing (albeit the latter not so successfully).  His brilliant rapport as a tour manager has many of our guests staying in touch with Bernie years after their visit to Tasmania. For anyone who doesn’t want to self drive in Tasmania, Premier Travel and Peter’s team of guides are a godsend.  Christina Shulthess, Peter’s business partner, will be joining us to talk about Premier Travel and putting together tailor made guided tours around Tasmania.

MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art

Tasmanian David Walsh is a professional gambler, a philanthropist, a connoisseur of good food and wine, and an avid collector of art. MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art – is located on Tasmania’s oldest winery, The Moorilla Estate, just ten minutes from Hobart. Mona opened on 21 January 2011, a AU$200 million investment by Walsh; his vision is of a secular temple, the largest private collection of art in the Southern Hemisphere, uncluttered by what he considers to be the pretentions of art curators. Exhibits by some of the world’s greatest modern artists from Damien Hirst to Australia’s Sidney Nolan sit alongside one of the most impressive collections of African and Egyptian antiquities. There is a Sex and Death Gallery too, but in reality the entire museum has been built and design to scintillate, shock and encourage debate.

Walsh has also built eight contemporary Pavilions to accommodate guests, all overlooking the River Derwent, and a restaurant.  If that weren’t enough, Moorilla Estate’s wine is considered to be among the most exciting in the New World, and the Moo-Brew organic beers are sought after throughout Australia. We fortunate to be joined by Olivier Varenne, Mona’s art buyer, to tell us about this incredible museum.  www.moorilla.com.au

Port Arthur Historic Site and the Coal Mines Historic Site

In August 2010, five of Tasmania’s convict sites were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.  The most well known of these is the Port Arthur Historic Site, on the Tasman Peninsula. Port Arthur was established in the 1830s as a penal settlement. It remains a physical chronicle of a dramatic part of Australia’s history. Its 60 or so buildings and picturesque landscape offer visitors a challenging mix of both beauty and horror and have helped the site to become Tasmania’s most popular tourist destination.  The beauty of the setting belies the horrors of the penal settlement, and the inhuman tyranny which was to be the only life on offer for many ‘convicts’ – many sent to Van Diemen’s Land for crimes as petty as stealing a loaf of bread – if they reoffended once in Tasmania.  Here at Port Arthur, thousands of men, women and children were  to spend many years in fear of a flogging by the  terrifying ‘cat o’nine tails’ , until the introduction of the horrific psychological punishment,  based on Pentonville , by way of the Separate Prison and the Isolation Cell.   The Port Arthur Historic Site can be explored by day, including  a boat ride around Point Puer, where three thousand boys from aged nine were held, and the Isle of the Dead; or by night, by way of a ghost tour.

The Coal Mines Historic Site is outstanding for its insight into Australia’s convict history and the use of convicts as a cheap source of labour for the exploitation of local resources. Today the mine shafts are evident as circular depressions in the landscape, and 18 damp dark alternating solitary cells convey the grim harshness of Australia’s convict history.   Yet again the setting is beautiful with many walks and pathways to enjoy. The Pydairrerme people were the traditional owners of this land. Middens and other cultural sites from many thousands of years of occupation still remain in the area. The Coal Mines formed part of the system of convict discipline and punishment on the Tasman Peninsula. During its busiest years almost 600 prisoners with their jailers and their families lived and worked at the Mines. While the underground workings are no longer accessible, visitors may visit the picturesque ruins of houses, barracks, offices and punishment cells and as they explore this evocative unspoiled landscape, it  may be possible catch a faint echo of those long departed men toiling in the dark, and experience something of the isolation and hardship that they endured.

The Coal Mines Historic Site is open daily. No bookings are required and entry is free.

Andrew Ross, who runs both the Port Arthur Historic Site and the Coal Mines Historic Site, will be here to talk about the attractions.  www.portarthur.org.au

Innkeepers

If you simply don’t know where to start when planning your itinerary in Tasmania – which is roughly the size of Scotland but as diverse as the whole of Australia combined – you simply cannot do better than to start with Innkeepers.  With the widest range of accommodation, experiences, tours and attractions of all Tasmanian providers,  Innkeepers has it all, from boutique bed and breakfasts, carbon positive eco- retreats, coastal hideaways, contemporary apartments and colonial cottages all around the state.  As a local Tasmanian company Innkeepers also has the inside knowledge of who to see, where to go and what to do.  If you dream is to come face to face with a Tasmanian devil, take an adventure cruise along the 300 metre high dolerite cliffs that tower above the Great Southern Ocean, and spot migrating whiles and huge pods of dolphins, or if you long for the thrill of zip-lining through the Tasmanian forests, Innkeepers can arrange it.  Ian Rankin, regarded by many as a pioneer of Tasmania’s tourism industry, will be here to guide you through your dream holiday in Tasmania.  www.innkeeper.com.au

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