A complete guide to Tasmania, Australia
In organising our trip to Tasmania we knew the journey was going to take hours. Thirty-three of them, in fact.
A late Friday night flight from London’s Heathrow to Tasmania via Bangkok and Sydney, combined with a nine hour time difference meant that we arrived just in time for lunch on Sunday. Yes, we missed Saturday out completely spending it instead 35,000 feet in the air somewhere between Iran and Cambodia.
But if you too are travelling from the UK, then is the long journey is worth it?
Tasmania is Australia’s only island state, located 150 miles off the south east coast of Victoria – head any further south and your next stop will be Antarctica. Easily accessible by plane or boat from Australia’s mainland, Tassie (as the locals like to call it), is most famous for its untouched landscapes and unique wildlife.
While wildlife was on the agenda - we weren't visiting only for this; we also wanted to find out more about another, far less documented side to Tasmania. Reports trickling in suggested there was another side to the island, an up-and-coming modernity that was materialising in many an exciting form.
From boutique hotels and chic nightspots, to modern art and a fashion conscious youth, we’d been promised that I’d find it all down south in Tasmania, and we were on a mission to uncover it.
We began our stay in what is widely accepted as Tasmania’s most luxurious hotel, Saffire Freycinet. Marketing itself as the island’s only true 5* accommodation, we were keen to find out why.
One differentiator to most global 5*s is the hotel’s all-inclusive philosophy. Almost everything at Saffire is included in the hotel’s nightly rate, allowing you to indulge in a welcoming massage, or to learn how to make your perfect cocktail with a lesson from the resident mixologist at no extra cost. Both a splendid way to spend an afternoon in our opinion.
Overlooking the Hazards Mountain range, Saffire can make another extraordinary claim. Through its huge floor-to-ceiling glassed windows, you can see the quarry that provided the decorative red granite proudly displayed in the foyer of New York’s Empire State Building. What’s more, the on-site spa actually uses this red granite as stones in their hot stone massage, along with a moisturiser infused with real sapphire dust. Of course, we simply had to indulge, after all - what a claim to have had a massage using the same stone that is lauded over by so many inside one of New York’s most famous buildings.
So far so good, Tasmania.
Hotels are a real focal point for this island’s development and we found a few that would happily fit into the trendy New York or London scene. Avalon Costal Retreat, used as the setting for Vogue fashion shoots, is another such example.
Located in the Rocky Hills area and with views overlooking Oyster Bay, it’s not hard to see why the fashion giant chose this incredible location.
Back in Hobart, Tasmania’s capital city, you’ll not only find one-of a-kind accommodation such as the Henry Jones Art Hotel, but you’ll also find a great base to explore the city’s nightlife. Hobart overlooks a rather famous harbour that is home to the Sydney to Hobart yacht race in December (Australia’s summer time) and as such the city has become a hub for trendy bars and fashionable nightclubs.
For a good evening out in Hobart, start with a visit to Cargo. Hobart’s most original pizza restaurant, here you’ll find a hugely varied menu including a delicious duck hoi sin sauce, or a rather unique apple crumble pizza. Come evening, Cargo transforms into one of the city’s best loved cocktail bars serving a huge range of colourful drinks that will rival any you’ve had made by your favourite mixologist.
Another popular evening spot is the Telegraph Hotel, an art deco building that is popular come sundown.
If you’re anything like us, then drinks with friends often leads to dancing the night away, and we have just the place; Ivory Lounge Bar is a trendy space to spend the evening. Tables quickly fill up with groups of party-goers sipping champagne. At around midnight the tables are pulled swiftly out of view to reveal a DJ playing the season's favourite tunes to a packed dancefloor. Here is where you’ll find the fashion-lovers; wear anything less than a dress and heels, or a designer suit, and you’ll soon feel out of place.
But it's not all about seeing and being seen.
Tasmania’s flora and fauna really is every bit as spectacular as we’d heard. The landscape and wildlife in Tasmania are like nowhere else on earth; the natural habitat varies from mountain ranges throughout the island, to beaches in the south, and rainforest in the west - each of which hide inconceivable views that only become visible when walking the bush and sightseeing by foot.
One such a unique example is the Tasmanian Devil. Thanks to the popular cartoon, we’ve all heard of them but this is the only place in the world where you might see a real life Devil in the wild - and doubtlessly be shocked at how different they are to the creature you’ve imagined. Tasmania is also exclusively home to the Tasmanian Pademelon and Betong, as well as a long list of flora.
So, if it’s chic bars and cutting edge design that you’re after then you’ll find what you’re looking for here in Australia’s southernmost state, but if it’s traditional hiking and countryside sight seeing that you want from your holiday, then Tasmania is perhaps one of the world’s best places to indulge.
Personally, we’d do a bit of both.
- By Katie Silcox
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