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Living in Tasmania stories

Links courses shape up on island

Edition 149 - Cape Wickham Lighthouse, a crowning feature of the proposed King Island Golf Links

King Island’s two major new golf courses are taking shape in a development trend that could rival Hydro Tasmania’s proposed TasWind project as an economic game-changer for the remote Bass Strait community.

Links courses 25km apart at Cape Wickham and near Currie are expected to draw well-heeled golf tourists from around the world and complement the hugely successful Barnbougle and Lost Farm links courses near Bridport in north-east Tasmania.

And Australian golf legend Greg Norman has islanders speculating about a possible third course after making several visits.

One of Norman’s businesses develops international standard courses around the world.

The developer of the Ocean Dunes course near Currie, Graeme Grant, told The Sunday Tasmanian in April that he would welcome a third new course on the island.

“[Norman’s] presence on the island would have a massive beneficial impact and having a third course operating would make it that much more of a destination,” Mr Grant said.

Ocean Dunes has a $7 million budget and is steadily taking shape as a small construction team works on the difficult rocky holes near the seashore. The inland holes on former farming country will be easier.

“I’m standing on the fourth green and it’s got water in front, behind and to the right … it’s phenomenal and not many people would get the opportunity to build on this sort of land,” Mr Grant said.

The $12 million Cape Wickham development, designed by American golf architect Mike DeVries, has a working title of King Island Golf Links.

It’s being built at the northern tip of the island amid stunning scenery crowned by the 50-metre Cape Wickham Lighthouse – Australia’s tallest. The lighthouse will dominate views from the closing holes and from the clubhouse.

Mr DeVries, who relocated his family to the Bass Strait island while overseeing the project, has designed eight holes to run along the shipwreck-strewn west coast, with another two greens positioned on the shoreline.

“The combination of the Cape Farewell headland, Victoria Cove, Cape Wickham Lighthouse, views to the ocean and shorelines, as well as the prospect of direct golfer interaction with the water makes this the most amazing site I have witnessed, existing or imagined,” Mr DeVries said.

Twelve of the 18 holes have been grassed and the course is expected to be complete by July. It will operate as a public course and eventually include accommodation for stay-and-play tourists.

Initial investment in the project is $12 million and it coexists with a mutton bird sanctuary that will provide a unique experience for golfers during the breeding season.

Project consultant Darius Oliver said: “Our aim is to put King Island on the golfing map, and we are confident that Mike can help us deliver a genuine world-class course.”

Developers of the two courses don’t anticipate any problems if the $2 billion Hydro Tasmania wind farm also proceeds on the island. The TasWind project is subject to a feasibility study and a second round of community consultation.

Golfing tourists will be able to travel to the island by air from Tullamarine or Moorabbin airports in Melbourne, or from Launceston or Burnie-Wynyard airports in Tasmania.

A trend for golfers to travel to play, the popularity of golf in Asia and growing Asian tourism to Tasmania are all expected to help fuel a golden triangle of premium Australian coastal golfing experiences encompassing Melbourne, King Island and Bridport.

In Tasmania’s south, a $15 million coastal course is planned for the tip of South Arm, south-east of Hobart. The site is a nature reserve over-looking Ralph’s Bay and the River Derwent.

Developers plan to use a quarter of the site for the golf course, add walking trails, cycle-ways and picnic spots, enabling the natural qualities of the landscape to shine through.

It can be reached by road in about 40 minutes from Hobart or via a 15-minute ferry trip and would give golf-minded tourists an excellent reason to travel out of the capital.

A second $15 million proposal put forward for Seven Mile Beach, near Hobart airport, would include two 18-hole courses, plus a mini-layout for children.

On a narrow beach-fringed spit planted with radiata pine, the 300ha project would also include 216 private residences, a conference centre, shops, tourist accommodation and restaurants.

It has been opposed by a local group and on the basis of their objections the Clarence City Council has declined to alter zoning to enable the project to proceed.

The proponents, including Tasmanian professional golfer Matthew Goggin, are considering an appeal.

1 May 2014, Edition 149

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Facts about Tasmania

Tasmania

Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.

Tasmania

Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.

Geography

Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.

Geography

The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.

Geography

About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.

Climate

Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.

Climate

In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.

Population

The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.

Flora

Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.

Flora

Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.

Fauna

Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.

Fauna

The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.

Fauna

The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.

Economy

A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.

Economy

Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.

Economy

The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.

Economy

Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.

Economy

Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.

Economy

The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.

Economy

Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.

Economy

The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

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