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Working in Tasmania stories

Tourism surges as medals roll in

Edition 181_Three Capes Walk_Courtesy Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife

Tasmania led the medal tally at the Australian Tourism Awards for a third year running in January and there was plenty of other positive news in the sector.

Among Tasmania’s five gold medals, the Three Capes Track was judged the nation’s best New Tourism Business and the success of this once heavily criticised project seemed inspirational.

Within days, an eco-lodge project at Crescent Bay on the Tasman Peninsula was back in the public conversation after being off the radar for nearly a decade.

And the Government had disclosed plans to acquire land on kunanyi / Mount Wellington to facilitate a long-planned and frequently attacked tourism cable car project.

As well, the Marriott group announced a $50 million hotel in the Hobart CBD, bringing to 1,200 the number of extra beds on the way in the city.

Aside from the booming Three Capes Track, Tasmania’s award winners were:

Tourism Hall of Fame

  • The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel

Gold medals

  • The Tasmanian Walking Company (Ecotourism)
  • Saffire Freycinet (Luxury Accommodation)
  • The Old Woolstore (Business Event Venue)
  • Riverfly 1864 (Specialised Tourism Services)

Silver medals

  • Bruny Island Cruises (Tourist Attractions)
  • Par Avion Wilderness Tours (Major Tour and Transport Operators)
  • Pumphouse Point (Unique Accommodation)
  • Avalon Coastal Retreat (Self-Contained Accommodation)
  • Josef Chromy Wines (Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services)
  • The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel (Deluxe Accommodation)
  • Great Eastern Drive (Destination Marketing)

Bronze medals

  • Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service’s Freycinet National Park (Major Tourist Attractions)
  • Curringa Farm Accommodation (Hosted Accommodation)

The Chief Executive of the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania, Luke Martin, said it was the third year in a row Tasmanian operators had won the most combined medals of any State or Territory.

“This tells us … we are setting the benchmark,” he said.

“I’m delighted by the gold medalists. Three Capes being named … is a fitting endorsement of what is a world-class, outstanding visitor experience.”

Almost a decade after entrepreneur Dick Smith shelved his Crescent Bay eco-lodge proposal in frustration at opposition by local activists, the project was described as a "live development" by the Tasman Mayor, Roseanne Heyward.

Mr Smith sold the site to his son-in-law, James Baillie, last year.

Mr Baillie operates eco-lodge business Baillie Lodges and has met with Tasman Council to discuss a new Remarkable Lodge proposal.

Mayor Heyward said she expected the project would be considered by council once a building permit was submitted.

The Chairman of the Tourism Industry Council, Simon Currant, said: “This development epitomises every value that we promote and preserve in this State and it allows people to come and visit it and stay in the sort of surroundings and the way they want to be looked after.

“This actually gets more and more people supporting the preservation of our beautiful State.”

The Premier, Will Hodgman, said the Government had decided to acquire land on kunanyi / Mount Wellington to remove an impediment to the Mt Wellington Cableway Company’s proposal.

He said the project had potential to bring significant investment to the State and to create new jobs both during construction and operations.

A Tasmanian Development Board committee had judged it to be a viable business proposition.

“The project hasn’t progressed because of an inability to address land consent issues with the Hobart City Council,” Mr Hodgman said.

“After careful consideration, the Government has decided to prepare new laws to acquire the public land on kunanyi / Mount Wellington necessary for the project to proceed.

Mr Hodgman said the Government would not provide finance for the project.

“It will still need to attain all planning and other approvals, including complying with the regulations that protect our natural environment, heritage and Aboriginal cultural values,” he said.

Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey backed the Government’s decision while conceding it would annoy many of her colleagues.

Cascade Brewery owns land at the base of the mountain that is also crucial to the development but is waiting for more detail before making any decisions.

Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel group, will create a new $50 million luxury hotel as part of Hobart’s Parliament Square project.

The seven-story hotel will include 128 five-star rooms, a restaurant, lounge and whisky bar. It is set to be completed by October 2018.

Marriott is the second global hotel chain to commit to the city recently.

Hyatt Centric announced in January it would build a $40 million, 221-room hotel – its first in Australia – in Hobart’s Elizabeth Street Mall.

While Hobart is basking in the MONA Effect, Mr Martin said Launceston was also heading in a positive direction.

“The north has its own boom going on,” he said. “There’s about 1,200 hotel rooms under development or planning in Hobart, while in the north there’s about 500.

“It’s all relative.”

Mr Hodgman said the Government was committed to protecting Tasmania’s pristine natural assets outside the cities, while unlocking tourism opportunities in a careful and considered way.

He said the Government had supported the redevelopment of the Thousand Lakes Lodge (formerly Bernacchi Lodge) with a $300,000 grant from the Jobs and Investment Fund, an initiative jointly funded by the Tasmanian and Australian governments.

Mr Hodgman said: “This $1.3 million redevelopment represents not only a dramatic change of pace for former racing car driver, Marcus Ambrose, but also a commitment to sustainable tourism in one of the State’s most precious natural areas.

“We are building Tasmania’s future by backing our competitive strengths and there is no better example than the tourism industry – it’s thriving, driving new confidence and investment and supporting local businesses and jobs.”

Roy Morgan Research reports that Hobart now outranks Perth and Brisbane as a capital city holiday destination that Australians want to visit.

Footnote: The Three Capes Track has generated a new Tasman Peninsula business, Three Capes Gear & Gourmet. Focussed on relatively inexperienced walkers, the business was established by Gail MacCallum and Ian Connellan, former Sydney-based magazine editors with long-standing connections to Tasmania. Mr Connellan, an enthusiastic walker, said: “The track was being set up in part to stimulate the Tasman Peninsula economy – the Tasmanian Government wanted people to create businesses around it.” Selling quality, light hiking gear and a range of food, with a focus on local provenance, made sense and the business opened in February. It’s already busier than the founders expected.

Image courtesy of Tasmania’s Parks & Wildlife Service

8 March 2017, Edition 181

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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 Brand Tasmania © 2014–2019

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