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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Top 7 Things to do in Tasmania on Winter

Tasmania is stunning at any time of the year but if you are planning a winter getaway this year then here are a few of our suggestions to add to your itinerary.

DARK MOFO

Dark Mofo has grown beyond belief since it’s launch two years ago drawing huge crowds to check out it’s public art installations as well as live music, a nude swim and gallery events at MONA. This festival alone is worth making the trip down here for alone, full lineup for 2015 is announced soon.

SNOW ON BEN LOMOND

Ben Lomond is famous for the Jacobs Later road sneaking up the back of the mountain, in winter the mountain transforms into a snow field with plenty of options for skiing. You might not find the facilities or volume of runs available on mainland mountains but it’s still plenty of fun to play around on.

RUSSELL FALLS IN FLOOD

Russle Falls on Mt Field after a bit of snow is absolutely pounding, the noise coming from the falls alone is almost deafening. If you have only seen these falls in summer when it’s a bit of a trickle it’s worth coming back in the winter time, plus you can always go up the mountain and make a snow man as well.

PORT ARTHUR ON AN OVERCAST AND MOODY DAY

Port Arthur can be a spooky place at any time of year but on an overcast and moody day with dark clouds above you can really get a sense of isolation and just how depressing and scary it must have been for convicts who had been transported from the other side of the world.

WHISKY TASTING

If it’s cold and wet then head in doors and try some whisky. The whisky industry in Tasmania is booming at the moment with a number of locally produced whisky winning top awards overseas. There are plenty of places as well to try our local product like Lark and Nant in Hobart that are perfect places to go if the weather gets a bit lousy.

FESTIVAL OF VOICES BON FIRE AND BIG SING

Why not come together with hundreds of others to have a huge sing along next to giant bon fire in Salamanca, Hobart. This event happens every year as part of the Festival of Voices and is one of the biggest events hosted in Salamanca.

SNOW SHOE THE OVERLAND TRACK

The overland track in summer is always hugely popular with spots to walk the track being booked out in recent years. If you want to try something different a number of local companies including Tasmanian Expeditions now offer snow shoeing trips along the overland track during the winter months giving you a completely different perspective of the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park.

Getting Cheap Flights To Tasmania

Tasmania has always been just that little bit harder to get to than many other destinations in Australia. Being an Island has it’s benefits but flights can be one of the more expensive elements of an Tasmanian holiday. With that in mind here are our tips on how to score cheap flights to Tasmania.

JOIN THE MAILING LISTS

One of the best ways to score cheap flights is to be on the airlines mailing lists. Every few months most airlines will run snap seat sales where you can get sub $100 flights. These sails are usually announced via email or social media and are designed to sell seats quickly so it’s worth not hitting the spam button on these emails.

Some things to take into account with these seats especially with Virgin and Jetstar is you will get charged steep credit card fees and also things like checked baggage all cost extra. These flights also often come with specific date ranges often around off-peak times so it’s worth making sure you can do the things you want to do here in those times.

WAIT FOR MARKETING CAMPAIGNS

Tourism Tasmania runs two marketing campaigns each year, one in spring and another in autumn. These campaigns are run with partners such as an airline or a travel agent and often feature some discount pricing. Many local businesses such as accommodation providers also tend to offer better prices around these campaigns so it may be possible for you to save on accommodation and pay a little bit more in flights instead.

TRAVEL AGENTS AND TRAVEL DEALS

Travel Agents and sites such as Expedia which offer travel deals can often get you some great rates on both flights and accommodation. These sorts of organisations are part of large travel distribution networks that are able to purchase services like flights, accommodation and tours at whole sale pricing. If you start factoring in your accommodation and your flights together and compare what you can purchase online yourself you may find the agents have some very competitive deals.

PLAN A HOLIDAY OUTSIDE OF PEAK SEASON

Peak tourist season in Tasmania is from October to April, over winter many of the outdoor tour companies shut up shop but this can be the perfect time to go on a road trip or come down for a festival. Often you can find things like accommodation and even car hire at discount rates if you call the operator directly rather than going through a website like wotif or stayz.

9 Best Places to Camp Around the World

There are few more rewarding feelings than pitching your tent and spending the night beneath the stars. Whether you want to escape to a remote mountainside or find an idyllic coastal campsite, there are some spectacular locations to discover. From New Zealand to Finland, this is our pick of the best places to camp around the globe.

1. Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

You can’t talk about camping without waxing lyrical about New Zealand’s out-of-this-world landscapes. Mount Cook (or Aoraki to the Maori) is the country’s highest mountain and the entire surrounding rugged region is the South Island’s finest outdoor playground. Views from the campgrounds here are simply staggering.

2. Devon, England

The southwest of England feels a million miles from the rest of the UK. The campsites on Dartmoor and Exmoor are fantastic places to pitch a tent, while you’ll find spots with unbeatable vistas along the craggy cliffs that sweep down to the Atlantic on the north Devon coast. Come in autumn, when you can watch a huge red sun dip slowly over the horizon.

3. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, Scotland

The scattered peaks, valleys and villages of the Trossachs – often called the Highlands in miniature – make an incredibly scenic backdrop for a camping trip. Amid these romantic lochs and glens you’ll find everything from sprawling caravan parks to remote wild camping spots; be sure to read the Outdoor Access Code before you go.

4. The Alps, France

The dominion of skiers in the winter months, the Alps transform as the snow thaws. Once the balmy spring weather arrives, so do hikers and campers. You’ll find beautifully fresh alpine air and quaint villages nestled in the foothills. It’s a magical place to camp, made all the more special by the glittering night sky above.

5. Hossa National Park, Finland

Finland’s newest national park (set to open in June 2017) is in the wild northeast of the country, a rugged landscape of rivers, lakes and old-growth spruce forests. Finland welcomes wild campers and the park is dotted with remote lean-to shelters and rustic cabins, all with spots for campfires.

6. Skåne, Sweden

Long bright summer days pass delightfully slowly in Sweden’s most southerly region. Gentle countryside backs the coastline and there are many tranquil places to camp near Skåne’s beaches, lakes or forests. As in much of Scandinavia, wild camping is positively encouraged under Allemansrätt, the “right to roam”.

7. Zion National Park, Utah, USA

Zion is one of the most spectacular parks in the Southwest, with its red sandstone cliffs, rugged plateaus and forested canyons. Watchmen and South are the established campgrounds, but if you really want to get away from the crowds you can get a permit to overnight at one of the otherworldly wilderness campsites in the park’s interior.

8. Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Vancouver Island’s mind-blowingly diverse ecosystem gets ever more wild as you head north. Pacific Rim National Park and the West Coast Trail are spectacular places to set up camp – you might catch sight of orcas breaching offshore, sea otters playing in the shallows or brant geese flying overhead.

9. Patagonia, Argentina and Chile

South America’s southern tip, spanning both Argentina and Chile, is as wild as it gets and a great destination for anyone with an adventurous spirit. Follow the RN-40 to discover campsites with wide open skies and snow-capped mountain vistas; this pristine landscape begs for outdoor exploration.

7 Best UNESCO Sites in Europe

The scenery is exceptionally diverse too, with white-sand beaches, ancient forests and dramatic fjords just a hop and a skip away from one another. Here are some of Europe’s best UNESCO sites.

1. Acropolis, Athens, Greece

Located on a rocky hill, the Acropolis of Athens is the greatest architectural and artistic complex of Ancient Greece. The first fortifications date back to the thirteenth century, although it wasn’t until the fifth century that the sanctuary reached its peak.

Following the Athenians’ victory over the Persians, the city’s influential statesman Pericles rebuilt the citadel, commissioning some of Greece’s most prominent architects and sculptors. Phidias was charged with the construction of the Parthenon, the temple dedicated to the patron of the city – the goddess Athena.

2. Venice, Italy

With its network of picturesque canals and waterways, Venice is an astounding architectural masterpiece whose buildings contain some of the world’s greatest works of art. Founded in the fifth century, it was once a major maritime power that influenced the development of architecture across the city’s trading stations, from the nearby Dalmatian Coast to Asia Minor.

Venice’s harmonious integration with the surrounding natural environment and its magnificent medieval and Renaissance architecture make it one of the world’s most unique urban settlements.

3. Évora, Portugal

Dating back to Roman times, the city of Évora in the Alentejo region is a fine example of a city from the Golden Age of Portugal. It became the residence of the Portuguese kings in the fifteenth century, with convents and royal palaces erected around town.

Over the centuries new architectural features were added, including low whitewashed houses embellished with pretty Dutch tiles and wrought-iron balconies. The city’s architecture also influenced the construction of Portugal’s colonial cities in Brazil.

 

4. Bath, England

Founded in the first century AD, Bath was used by the Romans as a thermal spa town. The baths are today among the most important Roman remains north of the Alps. During the Middle Ages the city flourished as a centre for wool industry, while under the reign of George III it was a fine spa city with a lively arts and literary scene.

The city’s architects were influenced by Italian Andrea Palladio, constructing neo-classical buildings, squares and terraces that harmoniously blend in with the city’s Roman remains

5. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Located in the karst area of central Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is home to sixteen terraced lakes separated by travertine barriers and connected by cascades. Surrounded by deep woodland home to deer, wolves, bears, rare birds and boars, the lakes are spread out over 8km. A series of winding paths lead to wooden walkways that cross the pools’ azure waters, offering gorgeous lake views.

6. The Western Fjords, Norway

The Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord fjords in southwestern Norway are two of the longest and deepest in the world. They are characterised by crystalline rock walls rising 1400m from the Norwegian Sea and plunging to a depth of 500m below sea level.

Their steep cliffs are home to coniferous forests, glaciers, rivers and waterfalls, and sprinkled with old and largely abandoned transhumant farms. They’re considered to be among the world’s most scenic fjords, harbouring an array of terrestrial and marine life including native deer, arctic foxes, brown bears, otters, porpoises, sperm whales and Atlantic salmon.

7. Salamanca, Spain

Founded by the Celts, the university town of Salamanca became a Roman settlement and commercial hub in the third century BC, it was later ruled by the Moors. But it wasn’t until the thirteenth century that it gained importance when Alfonso IX of León granted a royal charter to the university, which became one of Europe’s most prestigious centres for learning.

The city’s historical centre is home to Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance and Baroque constructions, such as the magnificent eighteenth century Plaza Mayor, which lies at the heart of the Golden City.