A multicultural melting pot of art, culture and entertainment
Stores are all well and good for some of that essential retail therapy, but there’s nothing more satisfying than spotting a handcrafted bargain the old fashioned way. Melbourne and Sydney both play host to a multitude of markets, which all reflect upon the cities unique blends of subculture, art and design. The market place has also become a hotspot among youths, particularly those within the subculture of all things weird and wonderful.
From fresh produce to second hand goods and handcrafted treats, you will be certain not to leave empty handed.
Where are some of Australia's best markets?
If you’re off to shop in the sunshine, you can’t go past Queensland’s Eumundi Markets on the Sunshine Coast’s hinterland. Find your treasure amongst someone else’s trash, sample the local treats of old fashioned lemonade, chocolate and cheeses and wander amongst the stalls at your own pace, making sure not to skip any on the way. Weekends bring crowds among crowds to this humble little town so ensure you arrive early to get a park. The Bangalow Markets in northern New South Wales are well worth a visit, offering a mixed bag of arts, entertainment and food amidst a relaxed, magical atmosphere. If you’re in Sydney, you can’t go past the illustrious Paddy’s Markets, a traditional and multicultural flea market close to the likes of Chinatown and Darling Harbour. Similarly, Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Markets are located in the city centre, attracting visitors and locals with an array of fresh food, gourmet treats and the wine market.
For some of Australia’s top marketplaces, see;
Markets in Tasmania: http://www.agfg.com.au/Blog/post/2007/05/26/Markets-in-Tasmania.aspx
Markets in Queensland: http://www.agfg.com.au/Blog/post/2007/02/08/Markets-in-Queensland.aspx
Markets in Victoria: http://www.agfg.com.au/Blog/post/2007/05/01/Markets-in-Victoria.aspx
Get cozy with Mother Nature
Tasmania’s natural scenic surrounds make it an easy location to pitch your tent and immerse yourself amidst an unspoilt setting. Both formal and informal camping locations are scattered throughout the state, formal sites located within Tasmania’s national parks
and forest reserves.
Where can I go camping in Tasmania?
Looking to have a sleepover with Tasmania’s native wildlife? Narawntapu National Park is home to a prolific amount of animals and bird life, spanning along the state’s northern coast
, where camping is permitted. While you’re there, why not make friends with your furry neighbours, go boating, take a horse ride or cast a line and go fishing.
One of Tasmania’s greatest national parks and camping grounds, the Mount Field National Park offers thriving vegetation, high elevations and lush rainforests to explore. While on your camping holiday, make the most of the parks superb surrounds, taking a walk through the verdant rainforest, admiring the famous three tiered Russell Falls and wondering at the world’s tallest flowering plant, the giant swamp gum. For beachfront camping, the Swimcart Beach Campground located in the Bay of Fires
Conservation Area is just one of the many destinations Tasmania has on offer. Sandy sheltered dunes and grassy sites are available for camping on, with the beach renowned for surf fishing.
Collections of crime, crafts and culture
Rich in history, an exceptional collection of museums are housed in Victoria, each displaying an array of past and present memorabilia, photographs, information and interactive activities to suit all ages. Delve into the past and explore all the different periods and discoveries throughout history that shaped a modern day Victoria.
Museums in Victoria
The Melbourne Museum
showcases an array of historical, contemporary and interactive displays and exhibits for all ages, large enough to spend a whole day meandering about. Exploring life in Victoria, the Melbourne Museum features exhibits from a complete blue whale skeleton to a living rainforest, with plenty of interactive activities for children.
With over 150 years of stories displaying the darker side of Victorian history, the Victoria Police Museum reflects Victoria Police’s role in almost every major incidence in the state. See artifacts from the notorious Australian bushrangers, the Kelly Gang, find out about Victoria's very own Sherlock Holmes and uncover a range of famous Australian cases and crimes.
For a dose of Australian history, the Immigration Museum
is focused on exploring stories from people all around the world who have immigrated to Victoria, recreating tales with images, voices and memorabilia. Additionally, Beechworth Chinese Cultural Centre is located in an 1850’s building, displaying artifacts of Chinese gold mining camps in Beechworth
. To keep kids entertained, head to Scienceworks, a world renowned, interactive science museum where hands on experiments, displays, demonstrations and tours are available.
Find out more about Australia's history here
A celebration nation
An Australian festival is a celebration of a uniqueness of style, arts, lifestyle and community. Usually held outdoors, these festivals are full of food, dance, events and activities, allowing you to wander and soak up the essence of Australian culture. Wherever you are in Australia, you can be sure to catch a festival, big or small, and see how the Aussies celebrate and showcase their talents in style. Each Australian state and territory capital has their own multicultural arts festival, some of the most notable being that of the Perth International Arts Festival, Adelaide Festival of Arts and the Darwin Festival.
What are some of Australia's cultural celebrations?
Tropical north Queensland celebrates its annual Reef and Rainforest Carnivale in style, featuring everything from masquerade parties, gourmet food and wine and art exhibitions to family fun days. Centred in Port Douglas, this festival celebrates Queensland’s unique landscape and style. The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is another annual Australian celebration, with big festivities held in both capitals. Regardless of where you find yourself, festivals big and small are a blossoming leisure activity in Australia.
For more famous festivities around the country, see
Drive amongst the sand dunes
If you have a taste for adventure, a love of the outdoors and are not afraid to get a little bit muddy, sandy or wet, then quad biking is an activity best spent in the fresh, open air of Australia. Take off on your own four wheels to admire and explore your surrounds while you are taken on a tour of the Australian land and shown its hidden hotspots. Tackling the tough terrain or kicking up the sand has never been so adventurous. Each state and territory in Australia offers an array of quad biking activities, each having its own unique landscape and landmarks to admire.
Where can I quad bike in Australia?
When quad biking in New South Wales and Queensland, you will have the chance to explore the splendour of the east coast hinterland, challenge your riding skills on the sand dunes and marvel at the natural wild life. If you’re keen to tackle Australia’s outback on four wheels, quad biking in the Northern Territory is full of majestic river gums, varied terrain and dusty plains.
Explore the island by sea
If you’ve seen and explored this state by air and by foot, why not continue the journey and continue your Tasmanian journey from the water on a river or sea cruise. Here, you can admire the apple isle from a different angle and see the rainforests, ancient Tarkine wilderness and vineyard lined banks from a whole new perspective. Whether you’re on a cruise for snapshots or indulgence, many boat tours come complete with fresh Tasmanian meals and products, along with famous cool climate wines
Where can I take a cruise in Tasmania?
Get on board one of Tasmania’s major waterways, the Gordon River. Rising in the centre of the island and flowing westward, the Gordon River is uninhabited wilderness, flowing through ancient Tasmanian rainforests and into the harbour. Cruises along the Gordon River start at Strahan
on the state’s west coast, with luxury, relaxed trips lasting for around half a day. Along the way, take a short walk and see Hell’s Gate- the harbour entrance to the Southern Ocean, as well as exploring the notorious penal settlement area of Sarah Island.
In northern Tasmania
, the Tamar River is not so much a river as it is a saltwater estuary but is also used for shipping and commercial cruises. Australia’s longest navigable estuary, the Tamar River stretches for more than 70 kilometers and is a sanctuary for many Tasmanian water birds including the white bellied sea eagle, pelicans and black swans. Cruises along the river allow you to see some of Tasmania’s rich diversity with local vineyards, impressive riverfront communities and the famous Batman Bridge.
One of the state’s seven major rivers, the Arthur River is the only one left completely wild, never having been logged, dammed or spoilt. Cruises on this tea coloured water take you through the Tasmanian rainforest where you can see an assortment of wildlife, including the iconically Australian platypus in its own habitat. When your tour is complete, make sure to stop off and explore the township of Arthur River where you can walk along the sandy beaches, watch the sunset and fish for some abalone and crayfish.
Home of the famous devil
Due to its isolation from the mainland, Tasmania’s native flora and fauna has largely maintained its survival. Endangered birds, animals and marine life surround Tasmania’s pure land and waters, adding to the natural charm of this island home. With 33 native terrestrial and 41 marine mammals in Tasmania, you’ll be sure to easily come across impressive wildlife and their history, from delicate sea dragons in the east coast
to the little pygmy possum in the drier island forests.
Tasmania's wildlife wonderland
Tasmania’s bird life is quite aptly, something you will not see anywhere else in the world. With 12 species specific to Tasmanian shores as well as a range of sub species endemics, bird watching is a popular tourist activity for both locals and tourists who wish to get a glimpse of the Tasmanian native hen or the orange bellied parrot, one of the world’s most endangered species. The South West National Park is one of the state’s areas plentiful in bird life, with Bruny
or Maria Island
off Tasmania’s east coast a popular home for the 40 spotted pardalote.
By sea, Tasmania’s marine life ranges from southern right whales passing through the east coast to sea dragons and giant kelp forests, drifting around the ocean waters. During the winter time, see the humpback whales pass by on their way back to the Antarctic or watch the fur seals off Bruny Island, the Tasman Peninsula and even around the Constitution Dock of Hobart. Fairy penguins are also often spotted along the River Derwent and along the Bass Strait
coast, where seahorses, pipefish and cuttlefish reside.
Back on land, the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park
is home to some of the devilishly charming creatures, where you can catch as they feed, play and entertain. Tasmanian Devils are an endangered species, now only found on the island itself. Famous for snarling, aggressive behaviour, these creatures are not to be approached too closely, unless you’re willing to go home a finger or two short. Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park is also home to the likes of falcons, wallabies, quolls and rare hawks, where you can observe free flight presentations and feed them by hand.
For more Australian animal information, read up on wildlife in Queensland here
Take a dip with the famous forest kelps
Home to some of the worlds best temperate waters both clear and charming, diving is an ideal activity to undertake in Tasmania, described as having some of the most enchanting waters in Australia.
Where can I dive and snorkel in Australia?
To the east of Bicheno
, Governor Island encompasses the rock formations, ‘hairy wall’ and ‘the castle’, both of which are home to an array of Australian wildlife including fur seals, penguins and seagulls. The waters at Governor Island are cold and clear, with underwater corals encompassing an array of bright colours. When diving around Governor Island, particularly within the area of the Canyon, expect to be surrounded by a garden of sponges, butterfly perch and huge rock lobsters. To the east, a diving spot called Bird Rock encompasses grand caverns and swimming spots, where seahorses, boar fish and marble fish are abundant in the water.
Even within the busy centre of Hobart, diving remains a popular activity to discover the secrets of the Bass Strait
. Kianinny Bay is best explored during high tide, a 17 metre sandy shore with big boulders. Teeming with aquatic life such as sharks, puffer fish and bull rays, ensure you dive when the weather is good to avoid poor underwater visibility. To see Tasmania’s famous forest kelps, the best place to go is Tathra Pinnacle. With two distinctive pinnacles, this site is also home many varied schools of fish, seahorses and octopuses.
For diving amongst reefs as well as wreckage, head to Wynyard, one of Australia’s most popular diving destinations. Situated in Tasmania’s North West, Wynyard
is accessible by boat and remains a mecca for those looking to explore amongst the remains of the SS Southern Cross while being surrounded by sea stars, blue coloured leather jackets, yellow goatfish and draughtboard sharks.
For information on diving and snorkeling in Western Australia, see
Tackle the Tasmanian snowy slopes
Another addition to Tasmania’s already brimming natural entertainment schedule, snowfalls are prominent in the state, making it an ideal winter time destination for skiing and post ski relaxation in the surrounding lodges. Tasmania’s central highlands and mountainous areas of the island are more prone to heavier snowfalls, with areas near sea level rarely seen with settling snow. With three main skiing destinations, Tasmania offers wintertime entertainment like no other, full of slopes, sliding and snowballs.
Where can I go skiing in Tasmania?
Ben Lomond, south of Launceston
is the ideal destination for cross country and downhill skiing and Tasmania’s premier destination for snow activities. Complete with ski resort, mountain views stretching to the ocean and snow making machines when nature needs a kick start, this destination thrives during wintertime, with an array of downhill slopes, cross country tracks and snow play areas for children.
North West of Hobart, Mount Mawson is another downhill skiing destination, with fairly consistent snowfalls during the winter months. Downhill skiing runs from beginners to advanced skiers are available at Mount Mawson, along with an extensive cross country area.
When Tasmania gets a good snowfall, cross country skiing can also be undertaken at Cradle Mountain
, one of the state’s most scenic locations. Adorned with extensive cross country terrain, Cradle Mountain has no chair lifts, facilities or surrounding resort type accommodation, so make sure to undertake prior preparation.
Cod, carp and catfish
The Goulburn River Basin and its tributaries off the area of Seymour
are abundant with trout, with redfin and Murray cod commonly caught in the downstream waters of Seymour. The waters of Goulburn River are also home to a number of carp and yabbies, with Victoria’s main river, the Yarra holding a diverse selection of fish species, from southern black bream in the lower reaches and Macquarie perch, brown trout and Murray cod in the upper region. These fish are not for keeping or eating however, due to being contaminated with heavy metals including arsenic.
For fish fit for a meal, Victoria has several other rivers, lakes and oceans just waiting for you to throw a line in.
Where are some of Victoria's fishing hotspots?
holds an assortment of productive fishing grounds, particularly around the areas of Port Phillip and Westernport, where whiting, school shark, salmon and elephant fish are abundant in the waters.
For some great saltwater fishing, take your line along the Great Ocean Road
, where you can catch snapper, tuna and kingfish. Lorne and Apollo Bay are great destinations for pier fishing, with river fishing popular in the Gellibrand River and Aire River.
For freshwater fishing, head to the Grampians
, home to a third of all Victoria’s lakes and rivers. The Wimmera River, situated below Elmhurst has a healthy population of golden and silver perch, catfish, cod and carp and is the only area in Victoria where you can legally catch and keep two catfish over 30 centimeters.
Read up on where to fish in New South Wales, here