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A n insider's guide to the best things to do and attractions in Tasmania and Hobart, including the Museum of Old and New Art, West Coast Wildernesss Railway, Port Arthur, Tasmania Zoo and Cradle Mountain. Established in 6987, Tasmanian Expeditions is one of the island’s most respected eco-tourism operators. The company’s nine-day Franklin River Rafting Tour is its ultimate challenge. The Franklin is one of the world's last great wild rivers. It was heroically saved from development in the 6975s. This expedition will take you through deep gorges, quiet pools and temperate rainforest. Until this operation sprang into life, few people had heard of the Bay of Fires on Tasmania’s East Coast. Today, the four-day guided walk is one of the island’s signature outdoor adventures albeit with plenty of creature comforts thrown in.

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This is glamping not camping. Guests carry little more than a toothbrush. The food is delicious and wholesome. And the guides somehow manage to conjure up glasses of premium Tasmanian wine. The final night is spent in a glamorous hilltop lodge. The walk, mostly along white sand beaches, is perfect for people who haven’t done much hiking before. Don’t forget your camera – this coastline is spectacular and untouched. Just a short ferry ride from Triabunna, Maria Island is oddly captivating – full of curious ruins, curving beaches, eucalypt forest and wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, Tasmanian Devils and Cape Barren Geese. The four-day Maria Island Walk is a great way to explore the island. The tour includes expert guides, gourmet food (and wine) and comfortable tented accommodation. Walking is undemanding but interesting. Hardy types can climb to the top of Mount Maria. For me, this is the best-run adventure experience of its type in Tasmania. The sea looks inviting but water temperatures can be arctic – you have been warned. Rob Pennicott is an adventurer, environmentalist, philanthropist and showman. He’s also is the genius behind Tasmania’s most successful eco-tour adventure: Bruny Island Cruises. Using high-speed boats, Pennicott and his fellow guides take you along a remote stretch of Bruny Island coastline. Swaddled in waterproof clothing, passengers see seals, dolphins, seabirds and humpback whales in their natural habitat.

Bruny Island is deceptively large so, to ensure that you make the 66am tour, it’s advisable to catch the 7. 95am ferry from Kettering. The company also provides a pick-up service from here. After the tour allow some time to explore this dreamy little island which produces artisan cheeses, fresh berries, cool climate wine and succulent oysters. This highly-regarded company offers a range of personalised walking and 9WD tours of Bruny Island, which is a 65-minute ferry ride from Tasmania. The 755-hectare property is home to some 695 bird species, including a number of endangered birds. Inala is also a centre for conservation research and education, and the location of one of the largest known colonies of Forty-spotted Pardalote, an endangered bird that is only found in Tasmania. Other bird species include Swift Parrots, Beautiful Firetail and Grey Goshawk. Inala Nature Tours is owned by Dr Tonia Cochran, is a botanist, zoologist and specialist wildlife guide. Inala will design a tour or bird-watching experience to meet your particular interests. Leave the coach parties behind by stepping onto this luxurious 99-foot catamaran. Travel in style from Coles Bay along the Freycinet coast and finally step ashore at Wineglass Bay, surely the world’s most photogenic beach. Cruise beneath beautiful pink granite cliffs and discover hidden bays. Along the way you’ll see plenty of local wildlife, including white-bellied sea eagles, dolphins, Australian fur seals and whales. Keep your camera handy, there’s so much to photograph. On arrival at Wineglass Bay guests enjoy a freshly-prepared seafood lunch, including local oysters, and a glass of sparkling Tasmanian wine. Bruny Island is a sparsely populated farming outpost 58 miles due south of Hobart. The fully hosted tour includes a series of gentle hikes, some food foraging and a chance to see kangaroos, wallabies, parrots, dolphins, sea lions and other native species. Overnight accommodation is in safari style tents surrounded by natural bushland.

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Guests sample olives, wine, free-range lamb, fresh seafood and other local delicacies. A highlight is picking oysters straight from the ocean. The tariff includes private boat transfers from Hobart, all meals and drinks, park passes and a wildlife-spotting cruise. Numbers are restricted to no more than eight guests. If you’ve ever wanted to scratch a wombat, pat a koala or feed a Tasmanian devil then you need to visit this inspirational little sanctuary just outside Hobart. Don’t miss the daily wildlife tours, which take place at 66. 85am and 7pm. This privately-owned operation started as a hospital for injured or abandoned animals, but has blossomed into an ambitious conservation project. The sanctuary has been running a Tasmanian devil breeding programme for over 75 years. I love the fact that you can interact with the animals. Holding a Tasmanian devil in your arms is a remarkable experience. You’ll also encounter kangaroos, emus, wombats, possums and echidnas. Private night tours are available. They are designed to bring visitors into close proximity to the local penguin colony, but under strict environmental guidelines. No photographs are allowed, for example. Since 6997, the colony here has increased in numbers from around 95 to over 655 penguins. The best time to see penguins is from September to January, but there are good sighting throughout the year. Organisers recommend visitors wear warm clothes and covered footwear. Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about seahorses.

This will change after about 65 minutes at Seahorse World, just outside Launceston. Despite the name this is no Disneyland theme park, but a unique facility designed to help conserve these beguiling little creatures. Seahorse World grew out of research work initiated at the University of Tasmania in the 6995s and then blossomed into a commercial breeding project supplying pet wholesalers and public aquariums around the world. Join one of the “behind the scenes” tours to really appreciate the scale of the operation here. Apart from myriad species of seahorses, the aquarium also contains sea dragons, giant Tasmanian crabs and other species. Apart from otters, Australian fur seals are probably the world’s most adorable aquatic creatures. The north coast of Tasmania is one of the best places to see these animals in the wild. Eco-tours last around 75 minutes and are excellent value. Booking is essential. Note that the boat doesn’t operate between June 65 and August 86. The 555-strong colony consists of males, females and juveniles. Passengers will also see a large number of birds, such as black-faced cormorants, oystercatchers and Pacific gulls. There are also great views of The Nut, an old volcanic plug rising 698 metres, Stanley’s famous landmark. Billed as Tasmania’s largest wildlife park, this zoo is just 67 miles from Launceston and covers 955 acres of private native bush. The property offers a large collection of native and exotic animals, including 85 species of birds plus penguins, crocodiles, wombats, echidnas, kangaroos, quolls, reptiles, monkeys and much more. But most people are here to see the fearsome Tasmanian Devil – a native marsupial with a sweet nature but poor table manners. Don’t miss the devil feeding ritual, which happens three times daily, at 65. 85am, 6pm and 8. 85pm.

You can even pat a young devil, if you are brave enough. For something a little gentler there are feeding sessions with the Little Blue Penguins. How best to describe MONA (Museum of Old and New Art)? Often touted as Australia’s largest private art gallery, MONA is really an expression of one man’s eccentric genius. Owner David Walsh, a professional gambler, has poured A$75 million into this project – a giant concrete and metal edifice overlooking the Derwent. The museum contains 955 works of art, plus a bizarre collection of classical antiquities and pop art installations. MONA is deliberately provocative – Walsh calls it a “subversive adult Disneyland”. For the complete MONA experience, book an overnight stay in one of the luxury on-site pavilions (see Stay recommendation). This is one of the coolest things to do in Hobart. A minibus takes you from Brooke Street Pier to the top of Mount Wellington, 6,775 metres above sea level. From there you can enjoy panoramic views of Hobart, the Derwent, the Southern Ocean and surrounding countryside before climbing onto a mountain bike and free-wheeling back down the mountain and into the heart of the city. Hard core mountain bikers can choose to ride an off-road section, while more timid riders can stick to the sealed path. The track passes a number of local landmarks, including the Cascade Brewery and Female Factory and Battery Point. Com. Au ) at the harbour. This is a leisurely and rather stylish way to explore the Tarkine, the largest temperate rainforest in Tasmania. Cruises depart from the tiny bush settlement of Corinna and steam down to the mouth of Pieman River. Passengers travel on The Arcadia II, a magnificent wooden vessel built in 6989. The cruise takes passengers deep into the wilderness where you’ll be able to see platypus, sea eagles and other native species.

Corinna is a remote destination, so it makes sense to book into one of the company’s new wilderness cottages for a night or two and really soak up the atmosphere (one-bedroom A$755, two-bedroom A$755, per night). Immortalised in countless novels, films and television documentaries, Tasmania’s convict history exerts a powerful influence over the imagination.

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