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Article by Nicky Cox, Groups Sales Manager
One of the best parts of working in the travel business for so many years is the opportunity to visit places on my own list of ‘must sees!’ In April of this year, I was honoured to join a Tourism Tasmania hosted trip to Tasmania, joining a select group headed for Australia’s island state.
Tasmania offers so many varied opportunities to enhance the group experience that even in my short time on the island, I was able to see and do a lot. Here are just some of my favourites.
In Hobart, Tasmania’s capital city, there was no experience more fascinating than our first evening spent listening to stories told by master storytellers who spun us yarns from bygone eras while we toured the sights and sounds of the city. It made for a magical evening, full of fun.
Another fun group activity in Hobart was our ‘farm to plate’ experience on a gourmet food tour. Tasmania is famous for its emphasis on sustainable, locally produced and grown products, from cheeses and breads to ‘ocean- wise’ seafood and organic meats. To truly experience the Tasmanian food culture we met up with a local foodie who took us on a walking tour of local markets, artisan bakeries, cheese shops, and cafes for tastings and to meet the local merchants.
Tasmania really exceeds all expectations once you get your group out of the city. This is a state where rugged coastlines, jagged mountains, and rushing rivers abound. Our journey took us to the West Coast via a short scenic flight. The smaller planes are always a bit nerve racking but the scenery was spectacular and well worth the nail biting, as was the spectacular cruise on the Gordon River on a state of the art catamaran. Here, we quietly skimmed along the river (the vessel is propelled by electric motors) heading deep into this World Heritage area. The river is famous for its striking reflections when the weather permits and these do not disappoint. Further along the river we got the chance to take two walking tours: Heritage Landing where we strolled through ancient forests, and Sarah Island, the location of one of the harshest convict settlements in the 19th century.
Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair National Park are two other natural gems that should not be missed on any group tour. Cradle Mountain Lodge is the base for group excursions which can include guided bush walking tours viewing lakes, waterfalls, and a bounty of lush vegetation, all on well-worn pathways.
At Cradle Mountain, we also took time out in the evening to visit Devils @ Cradle, a wildlife conservation sanctuary for the endangered Tasmania Devil. Our experienced keeper expertly explained the lifecycle of this unique Aussie animal and some of the environmental challenges it is facing.
Our final stop was the town of Launceston on the northern tip of the island. Smaller than Hobart, it has its own unique charm with quaint restaurants and cafes, plus lively nightlife. The city is also a jumping off point for some of the best golfing in the world (calling all golf groups!) at the Barnbougle Golf Courses that hug the northern shores of the island.
Even with my limited time on the island, it was clear that Tasmania is a fantastic option for groups. Many people will say they have been to Australia, often meaning they’ve seen Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, and Uluru. There is so much more to see and explore. The island state of Tasmania should be on every globetrotter’s bucket list, both for first time visitors and those lucky enough to be returning for a second or third time.
Nicky Cox brings over 27 years of wholesale and retail experience. She is the department’s Group Sales Manager and brings a wealth of destination and team-building experience to the department. She is the coordinator’s backbone and is an integral part of the department’s success over the years. Nicky has traveled extensively throughout the European and Australian Continents.
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