Part I: A Weekend on Australia’s Island State … Tasmania

On the summit of Mt Wellington in Hobart, Tasmania
Mt Wellington, Hobart

Overnight bag. Check!

Boarding pass. Check!

Five senses. Check, check, check, check, check!

We’ve set off to explore the country’s smallest (island) state … Just how much did we pack in on a weekend mini-break? Read on my friends!

It’s VERY early Saturday morning in Hobart town and there’s no contemplating our whereabouts but to be at Salamanca Market. Only open on Saturdays, this is an absolute MUST-DO! Originally a warehouse and storage area in the 1830s, you can easily spend half the day wandering through the 300 stalls, galleries, boutique shops, cafes/restaurants and being entertained by talented buskers.

But first, to fuel our bodies and our unique breakfast venue of choice at Salamanca Square certainly ticked our sense of taste. Don’t be put off by their unusual name but Machine Laundry Café is a hidden gem highly rated on Tripadvisor and was well worth the wait for a table to enjoy their extensive menu, generous servings and friendly service. Oh, and great coffee to boot (you might even come across some feedback that says “A bowl of coffee? Yes please!”)!

Tummy rumbles gone, we explored what the markets had to offer. Local produce is always a drawcard for me so I couldn’t resist buying a few small bottles of jam and honey to take home.

Next destination … Mt Wellington and what a vista from the summit! A pleasant half hour journey from Salamanca Place, Wellington Park connects the city to the bush and the mountains to the waterways. We were lucky enough to be there on a clear day with panoramic views of Hobart, surrounding suburbs and brilliant harbour! Weather conditions change quickly on the summit with temperatures often below zero so be well prepared for your visit. Sense of sight … tick!

There was no stopping for lunch only because we were still full from breakfast!

The remainder of our Saturday afternoon was spent leisurely at Australia’s largest privately owned museum, the Museum of Old and New Art (a.k.a. MONA). Officially opened in January 2011, MONA alone would satisfy all your senses in one visit. You’re in for a gallery experience unlike any other as you take in MONA’s unique architecture and frequently updated collection. My favourite part? Enjoying a glass of wine and listening to live ‘MoFolk’ music on the lawns in the sunshine (on not so nice days, the music sessions get brought indoors to the museum). Sense of sound … tick!

After a BIG day of walking and exploring, we still didn’t mind taking a stroll from our comfy accommodation to Battery Point, one of Hobart’s exclusive and historic little pocket. Step back in time as you admire a bygone era of stunning sandstone buildings. At Kathmandu Cuisine we appreciated a candlelit, relaxing and flavoursome meal where the friendly and attentive staff made sure we enjoyed our dinner. After our three course dinner (good to indulge every now and then), we were more than ready to hit the sack in our newly refurbished Executive Room at Travelodge.

Well folks, that was day one of our ‘Tassie’ weekend adventure.

Like to know what we got up to on our second day? Here’s a snippet … roadtrip, beaches, midlands, bushwalk, more beautiful, historic towns and plenty of photo stops!

Keep an eye out for Part II!

Challenges for Desert Daredevils

Experience the ultimate adventure holiday with these challenges from Lonely Planet, which all take place in deserts around the world:

  • The best way to see the extraordinary terrain of the Gobi desert is from the back of a horse. Mongolia used to have the largest herds of horses on the planet; go in July to see the Naadam festival too.
  • Cyclists will relish the opportunity to take on Abu Dhabi’s Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road in one exhilarating 11.7km sprint to the top. With 1219m of elevation it’s certainly a challenge, but the subsequent descent makes it worth the effort.
  • Explore the Arabian Peninsula by camel and let your expert guide teach you the survival techniques needed to thrive in the Empty Quarter’s unforgiving conditions.
  • The Simpson Desert Challenge is a 570km course for cyclists. You’ll encounter cattle stations, sand dunes and punctures, while battling South Australia’s fierce heat in this 10-stage desert race.

Gray Line’s Great Ocean Road Day Tour for Cruise Passengers

A visitor from Sweden once asked an Australian tourism website if he could walk from Perth to Sydney. Maybe, he suggested, he could follow the railroad tracks? Certainly, the website responded, it’s only three thousand miles, just be sure to take plenty of water. And they meant a lot of water – according to Google, the most direct route from Perth to Sydney would take 745 hours to walk, or 31 days non-stop, including a well-deserved break on a ferry across the Spencer Gulf.

Visitors and Australians alike are routinely taken aback by the vastness of Australia. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in a country whose smallest state is roughly the size of Ireland, and whose largest cattle station is roughly the size of Belgium. The question for travellers is often how to maximise their time in Australia, and cover as much distance as comfortably as they can.

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The Best of Australia’s Big Cities

Australia is such a large and diverse country that many visitors coming from overseas have a hard time deciding where to start their adventures. Whether you’re coming to Australia for a holiday, to backpack around, or to do business, then you absolutely must check out some of the following Australian cities.

Sydney

If you want to find the best mix of business and pleasure, then Sydney is the city for you. Here you will find a relaxed outdoor and beach lifestyle mixed with a bustling art and culture scene, fantastic food and wine, plenty of nature and cosmopolitan shopping. If you only have a short time to visit, consider checking out the Sydney Harbour, from where you can see Circular Quay, the iconic Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as the Royal Botanic Gardens. For a closer look at the natural beauty of the city, consider one of the many coastal walks that will take you past golden beaches, dramatic headlands, sandstone cliffs and national parks.

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