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Tasmania’s Stories

Waterfront springs into action

Edition 198_CruiseShips

Spring has sprung, and Hobart’s waterfront is gearing up for a bumper tourist season with a record number of cruise ships on the way and a seaplane back on the docks.

Just a short walk from the GPO, Hobart’s working port is in the heart of the action, and that is one of the biggest attractions for the booming cruise ship sector.

“Cruise ship passengers just love stepping off right in the middle of Hobart,” Destination Southern Tasmania CEO, Alex Heroys, says.

And this season, they will be stepping off in record numbers.

Sixty-three vessels are slated to pull into Hobart for the upcoming cruise season, which officially begins when the Sea Princess docks in Hobart on October 4.

That’s an eight per cent increase on 2017–18, which saw 59 cruise ships visit the capital.

“It must be stressed that this isn’t a rapid jump, rather we are on a gentle growth curve of visitation numbers,” Heroys adds.

“Yes, we are attracting more vessels, but we are also attracting more smaller capacity, high-end luxury ships.

“And that means very little change in actual passenger numbers.”

While Hobart’s upcoming cruise ship season is all but over by April next year, it does not officially end until June as a special Dark Mofo cruise is on the itinerary.

During the 2018-19 season, 180,000 cruise ship passengers will disembark onto Hobart’s waterfront, and that equates to a big boost for the local economy. They are expected to have a direct spend in the order of $30 million.

However, there are longer-term benefits also.

Given just a quick taste of Hobart, cruise ship passengers often come back for more.

Return visitation levels in the sector are high, with Heroys pointing out that over the past three seasons, an average of about 10,000 previous cruise ship passengers returned for another stay.

“The end goal is to increase our opportunity to showcase Tasmania for return visitation,” Heroys explains.

“Everyone who lives here knows just how stunning Hobart is, but when you see it for the very first time nestled under kunanyi/Mount Wellington, it really is a special experience.”

Meantime, another new player will add to the activity on Hobart’s waterfront this upcoming tourist season.

The seaplane is back, but with a new operator, and a new terminal at King Street Pier.

From November the locally owned business, Above and Beyond, will be offering scenic flights over Hobart, as well as trips down to Port Arthur.

Flights to MonaSaffire and Pumphouse Point will be added shortly, together with a second seaplane.

Above and Beyond is run by father and son team, Gerald and Henry Ellis, who have chosen a classic 6-seater DeHavilland Beaver plane for their Hobart venture.

Gerald Ellis told The Advocate the plane was chosen for its safety and reliability.

“It is very suited to Tasmanian conditions, which are similar to Canadian conditions where the aircraft was designed,” he said.

For four years, Hobart had a seaplane – run by Tasmanian Air Adventures – however, it was grounded in 2015 when the company went into voluntary liquidation.

Tourism leaders are thrilled a seaplane will take off once again.

“There was certainly a demand for a new passenger seaplane company in Hobart,” Tourism Industry Council CEO, Luke Martin, told The Mercury.

“We have a perfect destination for it here in Tasmania. It’s very exciting to see [the seaplane] return.”

In the meantime, as Hobart’s waterfront gears up for a bumper season ahead, there are assurances the city can easily absorb these booming visitor numbers.

“There is no doubt we are gearing up for a busy time ahead, but it is nothing that Hobart can’t handle,” Alex Heroys explains.

“There are nine new hotels coming on line in the city over the next 12 months, so we are well and truly prepared for this increase in visitor numbers.”

Image courtesy of The Mercury

12 September 2018, Edition 198

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Facts about 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Brand Tasmania

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