Weird and wonderful Tasmania
Discover a side of Tassie you’ve never seen before.
Evolve Spirits Bar
Let the world evolve around you at this luxury venue on Hobart’s historic waterfront. MACq 01’s Evolve Spirits Bar is a bar with a difference. Explore the growing Tasmanian distilling scene and other rare spirits, while surrounded by a fascinating collection of fossils and artefacts from land and sea. The specimens range from a giant Russian cave bear to a triceratops nose horn. Some date back as far as 550 million years ago.
Tunnel Hill Mushrooms
Learn how oyster mushrooms are grown and stored as you walk through a dark and misty re-purposed train tunnel on a railway line that ran from Bellerive to Sorell between 1892-1926. Producer Dean Smith farms three types of oyster mushrooms in this space, which he bought in 2000. The tunnel is the ideal environment due to its relatively stable year-round temperature and low light. Tunnel Hill Mushrooms supplies to some of Hobart’s top restaurants, including The Glasshouse and Franklin. It is looking to introduce a series of events in 2020, so stay tuned.
Bruny Island Quarantine Station
Step back in time at the Bruny Island Quarantine Station at Barnes Bay. Currently managed by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service and the volunteers of Wildcare Friends of Bruny Island, the site has had several uses in its history. It was originally established in 1884 as a quarantine station to defend against infectious diseases. It later became a place of internment for German nationals in 1914. The station is most well-known for being the “last stop before home” for Tasmanian soldiers returning from World War I. With an influenza pandemic sweeping the world, it was a precarious time. Pack a picnic and do the fascinating heritage walk.
Watch out for the unusual when travelling south of Swansea on Tasmania's east coast. Opposite the beaches of Great Oyster Bay, the iconic Spiky Bridge was built by convicts in 1843. It now intrigues passers-by with its unusual design. It was built without mortar or cement, and field stones were laid vertically to create the spikes. It was once thought that it was designed to prevent cattle from falling over the sides of the bridge, however it’s now believed it was made to withstand harsh weather conditions.
Darlington Probation Station
Listen for ghosts when you sleep in a gaol cell on Maria Island. The Maria Island National Park features the World Heritage listed Darlington Probation Station. It housed convicts between 1825-1850 and is believed to be the most intact example of its kind in Australia. The site has remained relatively unchanged since the convict era. Today it offers basic bunkhouse accommodation – nine rooms with six beds and one room with fourteen beds. Heating is with a wood fired stove and there’s no power, running water or lighting in the rooms. Bring your own bike or hire one – there’s so much to explore! Access to Maria Island is via ferry from Triabunna.
Search for rare giants in the Tarkine/takayna rivers on Tasmania’s north-west, home to the remarkable giant freshwater crayfish. This endangered creature has shades of stunning blue on its body, lives up to 60 years and can grow up to 80cm. Surround yourself in the largest temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere. Marvel at towering tall trees above, the glistening creeks, rivers and windswept beaches all brimming with history. Don’t forget to look down too - brilliant coloured fungi from blue to orange and all shades in between are abundant in fungi season.
Sleep in an old flour mill and experience reinvention at its finest. In addition to dining at the popular and indulgent Stillwater restaurant, you can now sleep in a heritage-listed flour mill just a minute’s walk from Cataract Gorge in Launceston. Opening earlier this year as Stillwater SEVEN, they offer seven rooms showcasing the amazing results of reusing and recycling. They’ve combined this with the finest quality furniture and décor from Tasmanian makers – even the beds were designed in Hobart.
Be swept away by views of the remarkable Henty Dunes. Found just outside Strahan, these extraordinary sand dunes fringe Ocean Beach (Tasmania’s longest beach) and reach up to 30 metres in height in some places. They were formed by the Roaring Forties – a wind that blows uninterrupted from South America and gains speed all the way to Tasmania. For those looking for some adrenalin-fuelled fun, why not try tobogganing or even quad biking down them? Or for something a little calmer, there’s a 1.5-hour return walk to Ocean Beach, where you can explore and marvel at the wild coastline.
Discover the fascinating history of this mysterious church with peeling white paint. Chalmers Church in Launceston officially opened in 1860. It’s a stunning example of flamboyant gothic revival style. It was designed by Tasmanian born architect William Henry Clayton after The Great Disruption of 1843 – a divide in the Church of Scotland that resulted in the Free Church and a new building. The church was named after the leader of The Great Disruption, Thomas Chalmers. Today it’s no longer a church, but a creative business space. It was given a makeover by Walker Design in 2014 and has drawn much attention and interest.