Monthly Archives: March 2015

MAKING CRIME PAY – thanks to the tourists

Visitors are encouraged to be convicts for a minute or two. Unbolt the door to the tiny cell, shut the door and experience the pitch darkness of solitary confinement.

Visitors are encouraged to be convicts for a minute or two. Unbolt the door to the tiny cell, shut the door and experience the pitch darkness of solitary confinement.

I didn’t think up the witty headline of this post. It’s the title of our historian friend David Young’s Ph.D. thesis, which examines how Tasmania turned its grim convict past into tourist dollars.

The village of Richmond, a short drive out of Hobart, is a prime example of this enterprise. Continue reading

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OUR SECOND OLDEST NATIONAL PARK – and the most beautiful?

Russell Falls started it all.

19th century interest in Russell Falls started it all.

Australia’s oldest national park is the Royal National Park south of Sydney. Mt Field wasn’t far behind.

It was declared a nature reserve in 1885 and became a national park in 1916. It also has a dubious distinction as the place the last known Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was captured in 1933; they’ve changed the rules about taking nearly extinct species out of national parks since then.

Now it is one of Tasmania’s most popular parks, partly because it is only 64km from Hobart, and partly because it contains some of the most beautiful and varied terrain in the state, the country or indeed on the planet. We were happy to join the day-trippers on a short walk to the gorgeous Russell Falls – carrying the camera of course. Continue reading

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WALKING BY TASMANIA’S LAKE ST CLAIR

It's called Platypus Bay, though we're unlikely to spot any in the middle of a clear day, Dusk and dawn are platypus times.

It’s called Platypus Bay, though we’re unlikely to spot any in the middle of a clear day, Dusk and dawn are platypus times.


The weather is changeable and we’re not well equipped for a serious hike.

Fortunately there are short walks from the Lake St Clair Visitor Centre that suit us perfectly.

As more intrepid adventurers stride in, drop their packs and order pizzas, having completed their 7-day trek along the famous Overland Track, we set out for a stroll along the lakeside to Watersmeet, carrying nothing but a camera. Continue reading

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TASMANIAN AIR ADVENTURES

Is there a better destination anywhere in the world? We'll be staying at Pumphouse Point. Yes, in that little building at the end of the causeway.

Landing strip below! Is there a better destination anywhere in the world? We’ll be staying at Pumphouse Point. Yes, in that little building at the end of the causeway.

It was our first trip by seaplane. We hope it won’t be our last.

We were very lucky indeed to be invited to fly up to lovely Lake St Clair in Tasmania’s famous world heritage national park. While there we’ll be staying in the newly-opened Pumphouse Point wilderness retreat.

But getting there was half the fun. Continue reading

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PUTTING THE ART INTO HOBART

Our favourite was the first thing we saw.

Our favourite piece was the first work we saw.

My Scottish Presbyterian forefathers were sure no good could ever come of money not earned by hard work combined with thrift. David Walsh has proved them wrong.

His professional gambling earned him a fortune. He somehow managed to avoid paying the $37million the Australian Tax Office claimed he owed them and used it to buy art instead.

In 2011 he generously opened his collection to the public in MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, an extraordinary new gallery which has rapidly become Tasmania’s premier tourist attraction. Continue reading

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