Sunday Chronicle shelf life 03 Jun 2018 Tas‘mania’ time

Tas‘mania’ time

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SHILPA PANDIAN
Published Jun 3, 2018, 12:59 am IST
Updated Jun 3, 2018, 12:59 am IST
This place is a must visit destination if you enjoy nature and wilderness. The stunning landscape is also perfect for those who love the outdoors.
A scenic view of one of the capes on the Three Capes Track walk.
 A scenic view of one of the capes on the Three Capes Track walk.

Tucked away beneath the southern shores of Australia, Tasmania or “Tassie” is soon becoming an alluring destination for nature and wilderness lovers across the globe. Breaking away from the mainland hustle and bustle of Sydney and Melbourne, this island offers diverse landscapes and ecosystems of stunning beauty ranging from vast heathlands and cool rainforests to snow-capped peaks and pristine sandy beaches.  As an outdoor person, Tasmania was an exciting destination for me — it is home to some of the best authentic Australian bushwalks and trails within its large protected national parks that form a third of the island.  On the Three Capes Track, for instance, you can get up close with some spectacular cliff views of the Tasman Peninsula. This hike is unlike any other in Tasmania with its significantly diverse and changing landscapes of coastlines, adrenaline pumping cliffs, dark rainforests, sprawling heathlands, and quiet beaches; all in a short span of three nights and four days! If you’re lucky, you may even encounter some of its famous inhabitants that are not found anywhere else in the world.

Serene sandy beach of Fortescue during the Three Capes Track hike.Serene sandy beach of Fortescue during the Three Capes Track hike.

The most legendary of them being the Tasmanian devil — perhaps the largest carnivorous marsupial. The cost of the hike includes accommodation in cabins that are fully furnished with self-cooking facilities, toilets, showers, shared rooms with bunk beds, and phone charging points; fancier than you would expect. Other popular tracks in Tasmania are The Overland Track, The Bay of Fires, and The Cradle Mountain hike. If you want more to your Tasman experience other than its bountiful natural glory, then Hobart is a must see. This charming capital city has gained much acclamation over the past decade for its cultural history and art scene. This city center is small enough to be explored on foot. Walk around the Georgian sandstone warehouses at Salamanca Place that has been converted to modern-day markets, galleries, shops, cafés, bars and restaurants. On Saturdays, the place turns into a bustling market with stallers selling everything from local produce, culinary delights, to Tasmanian handcrafts. Sip on a glass of wine and indulge in some fresh local seafood in one of the many restaurants at Constitution Dock, Hobart’s waterfront. Admire some of Australia’s quaintest and oldest cottages in Battery Point, an erstwhile artillery battery.

Indulge in some fresh seafood and wine at the Hobart waterfront.Indulge in some fresh seafood and wine at the Hobart waterfront.

Today, it is a sought after residential area with a heavy historical feel in its old cafes, restaurants, churches, and homestays. Don’t miss out on sampling the famous scallop pie while you’re at one of the cafes in Battery Point! A visit to Hobart would be incomplete without experiencing the controversial MONA— Museum of Old and New Art- that changed Hobart as a travel destination. This private museum and gallery was created by the Australian art collector and gambler David Walsh. The MONA Experience includes a short ferry ride from the docks of Hobart and back. Be prepared to experience confronting and unapologetic installations that have drawn equal criticism and praise from art appreciators and critics around the world. It can be a thought-provoking, repulsive, incredible, striking, edgy, and fascinating experience - all at the same time!

Port Arthur Historic SitePort Arthur Historic Site

You could also discover Tasmania’s morose convict history at the World Heritage-listed ruins of Port Arthur historic site; about 60 kms away from Hobart. In 1883, it became a prison for the repeat offenders in Australia, who would then undergo inhuman punishments here. The site admission includes a boat tour around the Port Arthur that talks about why and how the port was established, prisoner escape stories, and the establishment of the first boy’s prison in the British Commonwealth. The site is extensive that would need a fair amount of time to explore and discover, so you can make a day out of it. From the north to south, Tasmania has plenty to offer to the curious and adventurous traveller. Divergent from the rest of mainstream Australia, a single holiday may not be enough to explore this gorgeous and underrated Australian state!

—The writer is a travel and yoga enthusiast

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