• Betsy Donley

Exploring Tasmania & the Australian Outback


In the early 1800’s, the worst criminals from England were sent to Tasmania, as a penal colony; no one could swim from the island back to mainland Australia – too many sharks.

Therefore, much of the original infrastructure, the sheep stations and buildings were built by indentured prisoners who even after they had served their 7 years, had no money to return to England. Thus a scrappy, smart and industrious culture has survived to make it a unique, independent and wonderful place.

From Gin factories to outback ranches, wineries, fly fishing and the fabulous Getty Museum in Hobart, one finds endless adventures and activities.

A flight from Adelaide to Hobart takes only a few hours and then a helicopter can whisk you off to a winery for lunch and wine tasting. Plan your adventures from Saffire Lodge, right on the Tasman Sea with sail like suites giving the feeling of a luxurious arrival in a far off land.

Hike to Hourglass Bay where the pirates holed up or fly fish for trout at an outback sheep station nearby owned by an English couple who bought it to bring the Kangaroos back, restore it from too much sheep farming and love the land. Big Brown Trout, kangaroos running everywhere – stay in the over water suite – bring the kids.

Signature event at Saffire – there’s nothing like it if you love oysters. Tasmania is famous for oysters and a special experience is to don waders at a local oyster farm, learn how they grow from tiny pill size eggs to the deliciousness you see on the open shellfish bars.

Then wade out into the bay, collect the oysters from their growing baskets and stand by a linen clothed table with champagne and your guide opening all the oysters you can eat.

I even had a lesson in shucking oysters – not the easiest job.

You will never again not admire those guys behind the oyster bars at your country club or wedding party who do it so quickly.

Dining at Saffire is equally exciting with the 5 star menu, tasting menu and delicious seafood. And to top off unusual experiences at Saffire Lodge, visit the Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary – otherwise you’d never see them as they are shy creatures, about the size of a small dog. Reputation comes from their screeching cries, sharp pointed teeth and blood red eyes – scary to meet!

Stop in Hobart for a night to see the Getty Museum, a truly innovative, sensory experience like no other. It’s walking distance from your waterfront hotel – the MACq 01 Hotel.

Returning to Adelaide, connect by private plane to Arkaba Station, truly an old original outback sheep station with fabulous hiking in the Flinders Ranges.

The homestead is as authentic as can be, comfortable rooms in a farmhouse with a gracious, enthusiastic Aussie staff and wonderful food. The owners have restored it to nature and kangaroos abound, hopping everywhere.

Arkaba is not for those who need the luxury of the Four Seasons Sydney but a real experience in outback Australia not to be missed. A sunset sun-downer on top of a canyon is a special experience.

For the most unusual wine tasting venue, when you return to Adelaide, take a private tour of the Willy Wonka winery in a Rubix cube structure.

There a vintner gives a demonstration of mixing wines to achieve just the right blend. You can practice mixing and tasting till yours is just right and then take the bottle home with a special label of your own making.

Make it easy, fly from Los Angeles to Melbourne and on to Tasmania or Adelaide. You can do it in 8 days.

#Australia #Tasmania #Hobart #outback

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