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Melbourne, Victoria & Tasmania
Melbourne, Victoria & Tasmania
Melbourne, Victoria & Tasmania
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Melbourne, Victoria & Tasmania

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The author, a native Australian, covers everything you might want to know about Australia - guaranteed! The places to stay, from budget to luxury, rentals to B&Bs, the restaurants, from fast food to the highest quality, the beachwalks and bushwalks, the wildlife and how to see it, exploring the country by air, on water, by bike, and every other way. Following are a few excerpts from the guide: The gathering of landscapes within the compact state of Victoria seem as if a giant had taken different pieces from around the continent, squashed them together and shaken them up, and then tossed them to let them fall where they may. The awesome, wave-lashed coastal edges are among the state’s classic sights, with crumpled pillars of orange rock stacked tall out in the water. Where the shores aren’t rough, the beaches are silky and white, as soft and tame as a kitten, with cold but gentle waters. Behind this edge are thick patches of temperate rainforests leading up into drier locales, including inland deserts, an unmade bed of mountain foothills and folds, and smooth river marshes and plains. You’d never expect that much of the terrain here was once actually volcanic, resulting in wild peaks, bluffs, and valleys throughout the center. There’s 227,600 sq km of land in the state, and the Great Dividing Range arches through the center of it, with major collections of peaks in the Dandenongs and Macedons. The highest summits are in the east, at 1,986-m (6,514-ft) Mt. Bogong and 1,922-m (6,304-ft) Mt. Feathertop, and snowfields are found throughout the northeastern Australian Alps from June to September. Hemming in the land are 1,800 km (1,116 mi) of coastlines along the Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean, with Melbourne and Geelong fronting the central cut inland to Port Phillip Bay. This is a cool state, akin to the Pacific Northwest or the lower New England states of the U.S., with warm summers but chilling, wet winters. Some regions do dip below freezing, namely the northeastern mountains, while the Gippsland highlands in the east and the western Otway Ranges see more rain than anywhere else. Skip a couple hours south or west and you’ll hit the arid Mallee region, and the Little Desert and Big Desert national park areas. Farmlands fill in the gaps, where orchards and vineyards are filled with apples, grapes, oranges, and other citrus fruits. Main crops are grains and vegetables, the fields fronting huge dairy farms or sheep and cattle ranches. Tasmania is offshore from Victoria. The name “Tasmania” is one of the world’s most intriguing, and it rightfully sounds such as one of the most fascinating places on earth. And, yes, it’s a heck of a journey to reach this offshore Australian state - but once you’re here, if you’re adventurous, you won’t want to leave. Indeed, the island state of Tasmania is ripe for adventure. A heart-shaped, mountainous landmass 298 km (185 mi) southeast of the main Australian continent, it’s covered with forests, threaded with rivers, and edged by wild, rugged beaches and bays. Its wilderness comprises an international Heritage Site of its own, filled with some of the world’s oldest and most unusual plants, animals that are found nowhere else on earth, rock formations that span every geological era, and among the longest underground tunnels ever found. The capital of Hobart, where almost half the island’s residents live, is tucked into the southeastern edge, and the sleepy northern ferry town of Devonport brings in visitors from the mainland. No one ventures far, though, which leaves the majority of the island open to exploring and free of crowds, even at the loveliest of national wonders such as Tasman National Park in the southeast, Freycinet National Park in the east, and Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park in the west.
LanguageEnglish
Release dateApr 15, 2011
Melbourne, Victoria & Tasmania
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Author

Holly Smith

Holly was born in Hamilton, Ontario. She moved to the island of Victoria, British Columbia, with her two young children and they all spent countless summer vacations on Salt Spring Island with her two brothers, Joey and Tony. Holly now resides in the quaint, seaside village of Dundarave in West Vancouver, with her two chubby cats and writes children’s books with her beautiful daughter, Krista. This is her second book. Krista grew up on Vancouver Island in Victoria, British Columbia and now lives with her husband and daughter close to Vancouver in the beautiful city of Port Moody. She loves writing, especially stories with her mom, traveling, hanging out with her family, and spending time at the beach. This is her second book.

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    Melbourne, Victoria & Tasmania - Holly Smith

    Australia's Melbourne, Victoria & Tasmania

    HUNTER PUBLISHING, INC.

    30 Mayfield Ave

    Edison, NJ 08818-7816

    tel. 800-255-0343 / fax 732-417-1744

    www.hunterpublishing.com

    E-mail comments@hunterpublishing.com

    IN CANADA:

    Ulysses Travel Publications

    4176 Saint-Denis, Montréal, Québec

    Canada H2W 2M5

    tel. 514-843-9882 ext. 2232 / fax 514-843-9448

    IN THE UNITED KINGDOM:

    Windsor Books International

    5, Castle End Park, Castle End Rd, Ruscombe

    Berkshire, RG10 9XQ England

    tel. 01189-346-367 / fax 01189-346-368

    This and other Hunter travel guides are also available as e-books

    in a variety of digital formats through our online partners, including

    eBooks.com, Overdrive.com, Ebrary.com and NetLibrary.com.

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher. Brief excerpts for review or promotional purposes are permitted.

    This guide focuses on recreational activities. As all such activities contain elements of risk, the publisher, author, affiliated individuals and companies disclaim any responsibility for any injury, harm, or illness that may occur to anyone through, or by use of, the information in this book. Every effort was made to insure the accuracy of information in this book, but the publisher and author do not assume, and hereby disclaim, any liability for loss or damage caused by errors, omissions, misleading information or potential travel problems caused by this guide, even if such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident or any other cause.

    Contents

    All About Australia

    The Dreamtime

    The Explorers

    The Criminals

    The Settlers

    The Gold-Seekers

    The Vintners

    The Adventurers

    The Rebels

    The Citizens

    The Soldiers

    The Australians

    Six States, Two Territories, & Many Islands

    Surrounding Properties

    The Government

    The Land

    A Moving Puzzle

    A Vast & Barren Core

    Refreshing Waterways

    Farmland Bounty & Natural Riches

    Australian Flora: Unique & Unexpected

    The Forests & Fields

    The Deserts

    Australian Wildlife: Weird & Wonderful

    Brilliant Bird Life

    Bugs, Grubs, & Spiders

    Turtles, Snakes, & Crocs

    Other Water Creatures

    National Parks & Protected Areas

    The Australians

    The People

    Crazy for Sports

    Australian Arts

    Poets & Writers

    Visual Arts

    On the Stage & Big Screen

    Theater

    Movies

    Australian Music

    The Australian Palate

    Distinctly Aussie Cuisine

    Down the Hatch

    Getting Here & Getting Around

    Getting to Australia

    By Air

    From North America

    From Europe

    From Africa

    From Asia

    Connections with China

    Connections with India

    Connections with Indonesia

    Connections with Malaysia & Singapore

    To Antarctica

    By Sea

    Cruise Ships

    Getting Around Australia

    By Air

    Major Airlines

    Regional Airlines

    Charter Airlines

    By Sea

    Cruise Ships

    By Train

    By Road

    Buses

    Driving

    Basic Road Rules

    Car Seats for Children

    Major Preparations

    Car Rentals

    Other Helpful National Resources

    Motorcycles

    Biking

    Travel Information

    General Information

    Addresses & Phone Numbers

    Banking

    Businesses, Shops, & Attractions

    Climate

    Credit Cards

    Currency & Exchange

    Customs

    Disabled Travelers

    Health & Safety

    Internet

    Language & Manners

    Lodging

    Major Hotels, Motels, & Resorts

    Apartment Rentals

    Home Exchanges

    Bed-&-Breakfasts & Guesthouses

    Hostels & Budget Accommodations

    Camping

    Mail & Postal Services

    News

    Shopping

    Taxes

    The Tourist Refund Scheme

    The Mysterious VAT

    Telephones

    Cellphone Rentals

    Time Zones

    Tipping

    Visa Requirements

    Embassies & Consulates in Australia

    Voltage

    Whom to Contact

    Australian Tourism Authorities

    State Tourism Boards

    City Information

    Websites

    Melbourne & Victoria

    A Brief History

    Melbourne's Beginnings

    Growth & Gold

    Challenges & Changes

    Victoria Today

    The Land

    Flora

    Fauna

    What to See & Do

    Traveling in Victoria

    Getting Here

    By Air

    Airlines

    Airports

    By Sea

    Cruise Ships

    Ferries

    By Rail

    By Road

    Driving

    Buses

    Getting Around

    By Air

    National Airlines

    State & Local Airlines

    Airports

    By Water

    Cruise ships

    Ferries

    Melbourne

    The South Coast

    Phillip Island

    On the Ground

    Melbourne

    By Rail

    Trains - Around Melbourne

    The Murray River

    Light Rail

    Trams

    Outside of Melbourne

    By Road - Driving

    Around Melbourne

    Major Sights - The South

    The Northeast

    The Northwest

    Contacts

    Taxis

    Melbourne

    The Southwest

    The North

    Buses

    National and State-wide Buses

    Local Buses

    Victoria's Top Destinations

    Biking

    Information Sources

    Local Tourism Boards and Travel Offices

    The Southeast

    The Southwest

    The Northeast

    The Northwest

    The Murray River

    Websites

    National Parks and Natural Areas

    Cultural Information

    Melbourne

    The Southeast

    The Southwest

    Phillip Island

    The Northeast

    The Northwest

    Other Helpful Local Resources

    Banks & Moneychangers

    Melbourne

    The Southeast

    The Southwest

    The Great Ocean Road

    Phillip Island

    The North

    Emergencies

    Melbourne

    Employment

    Around Melbourne

    The Northwest

    Internet

    Mail

    Melbourne

    The Southeast

    Phillip Island

    The Southwest

    The Northeast

    The Northwest

    Telephones

    Adventures in Victoria

    National Parks and Natural Areas

    Great Beaches

    Melbourne: Gateway to the South Coast

    In the Air

    Ballooning

    Helicopter Flights

    Scenic Flights

    On Foot

    Bushwalking

    Melbourne

    Around Melbourne

    Organ Pipes National Park

    Hanging Rock Reserve

    Wildlife Watching

    Around Melbourne

    Open Range Zoo

    The Yarra Valley

    Healesville Sanctuary

    Ecotourism Walks

    On Camel & Horseback

    The Yarra Valley

    Bunyip State Park

    On Rails

    Great Rail Journeys

    Around Melbourne - Belgrave

    On Wheels

    Bicycling

    Around Melbourne

    Rail Trails

    Contacts

    Four-Wheel-Drive Excursions

    Melbourne

    On the Water

    Boating & Sailing

    Melbourne - The Yarra River

    Albert Park

    Canoeing & Kayaking

    Melbourne - The Yarra River

    Swimming

    Melbourne - Beaches

    Pools

    Surfing

    Scuba Diving

    Around Melbourne - Melbourne Aquarium

    Port Phillip Bay

    On Snow

    Skiing

    Around Melbourne - Lake Mountain

    Cultural Excursions

    Wine Regions

    The Yarra Valley

    The South

    In the Air

    Helicopter Tours

    The Southwest - The Great Ocean Road

    Scenic Flights

    The Southeast - Phillip Island

    The Great Ocean Road

    Skydiving

    The Southwest - The Great Ocean Road

    On Foot

    Bushwalking

    The Southeast - The South Coast - Croajingolong National Park

    Mitchell River National Park

    Mornington Peninsula National Park

    Tarra-Bulga National Park

    Wilsons Promontory National Park

    The Mountains

    Errinundra National Park

    The Southwest

    Stevensons Falls

    Triplet Falls

    Along the Great Ocean Road

    Angahook-Lorne State Park

    Other Trails Around Lorne

    Melba Gully State Park

    Mt. Eccles National Park

    Waterfall Walks

    Around Apollo Bay - Carisbrook Falls

    Marriners Falls

    Around the Otways - Beauchamp Falls

    Around Warrnambool - Hopkins Falls

    Beach Walking

    The Southeast - Ninety Mile Beach

    Cape Conran Coastal Park

    The Southwest

    Around Anglesea

    Around Apollo Bay - Otway National Park

    Around Geelong

    Around Nelson - Discovery Bay Coastal Park

    Bridgewater Lakes

    Around Port Campbell - Discovery Walk

    Port Campbell National Park

    Around Portland - The Great South West Walk

    Cape Nelson State Park

    Around Torquay - Surf Coast Walk

    Koorie Cultural Walk

    Around Warrnambool

    The Mahogany Ship

    Phillip Island

    Mountain Climbing

    The Southwest - Global Geopark

    Mt. Richmond National Park

    Rock Climbing & Abseiling

    The Southeast - Around Buchan

    The Southwest - Brisbane Ranges National Park

    Gariwerd National Park

    Fossicking

    Spelunking

    The Southeast - Buchan Caves Reserve

    Labertouche Caves

    The Southwest - Along the Great Ocean Road - Cape Otway National Park

    Princess Margaret Rose Caves

    Wildlife Watching

    The Southeast - The Lakes National Park

    Around Sorrento

    Raymond Island

    Gabo Island

    The Southwest

    Around Port Fairy - Griffiths Island

    Lady Julia Percy Island

    Around Warrnambool

    Phillip Island

    Phillip Island Nature Park

    Koala Conservation Centre

    Phillip Island Wildlife Park

    Point Grant/Seal Rocks

    San Remo Fisherman's Co-Op

    Churchill Island

    On Camel & Horseback

    The Southeast

    The Mornington Peninsula

    The Southwest

    Warrnambool

    The Great Ocean Road

    By Rail

    Great Rail Journeys

    The Southwest - Along the Great Ocean Road - Portland

    On Wheels

    Bicycling

    The Southeast

    Around Orbost

    The Southwest - The Great Ocean Road

    Scenic Drives

    The Southwest - Great Southern Route

    Dry Stone Walls Trail

    Volcanoes Discovery Trail

    Shipwreck Trail

    Two-States Tour

    Waterfalls & Forests Tour

    Along the Great Ocean Road

    Tours

    Motorcycle Excursions

    The Southeast - Phillip Island

    On the Water

    Boating & Sailing 

    The Southeast - Gippsland

    The Southwest - Around Camperdown - Crater Lakes

    Floating Islands Lagoon

    Lake Bookar

    Lake Corangamite

    Lower Glenelg National Park

    Along the Great Ocean Road - Apollo Bay

    Around Port Campbell

    Port Fairy

    Portland

    Phillip Island

    Canoeing & Kayaking

    The Southeast

    Mitchell River National Park

    The Southwest - Lower Glenelg National Park

    Whitewater Rafting

    The Southeast - Baw Baw National Park

    Sandboarding

    The Southwest - Along the Great Ocean Road - Discovery Bay Coastal Park

    Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

    The Southeast - The Mornington Peninsula

    The Southwest - Along the Great Ocean Road - Around Nelson - Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park

    Queenscliff

    Surfing & Swimming

    The Southeast - The Mornington Peninsula

    Ninety Mile Beach

    Wilsons Promontory National Park

    The Southwest - Around Anglesea

    Around Apollo Bay

    Around Geelong

    Around Lorne

    Around Nelson - Discovery Bay Coastal Park

    Port Campbell

    Port Fairy

    Around Portland

    Cape Nelson National Park

    Around Queenscliff

    Torquay

    Warrnambool

    Childers Coves

    Phillip Island

    On Snow

    The Southeast

    Baw Baw National Park

    Cultural Excursions

    The Southwest

    Around Apollo Bay

    Camperdown

    Around Geelong - Point Lonsdale

    Barwon River Trail

    Port Campbell & Port Fairy

    Queenscliff

    Churchill Island

    The North

    In the Air

    The Northwest

    Bendigo

    Paragliding

    The Northeast

    Skydiving & Hang Gliding

    The Northeast - Corowa

    Mt. Buffalo National Park

    On Foot

    Bushwalking

    The Northeast - Alpine National Park

    Cathedral Range State Park

    Mt. Buffalo National Park

    The Northwest - Gariwerd National Park

    Little Desert National Park

    Along the Murray River - Around Mildura - Hattah-Kulkyne National Park

    Murray-Sunset National Park

    Mountain Climbing

    The Northeast - Mt. Bogong

    Rock Climbing & Abseiling

    The Northeast - Around Mt. Buffalo National Park

    Mt. Arapiles

    The Wabonga Plateau

    Fossicking

    The Northeast - Alpine National Park

    Wildlife Watching

    The Northwest - Around Ballarat - Ballarat Wildlife Park

    Around Castlemaine - Dingo Farm Australia

    On Horseback

    The Northeast

    Alpine National Park

    The Northwest

    Around Daylesford

    On Rails

    Great Rail Journeys

    The Northwest - Ballarat

    Along the Murray River - Echuca

    On Wheels

    Bicycling

    The Northeast - Rail Trails

    The Northwest

    Mountain Biking

    The Northeast

    Falls Creek

    Mt. Buller

    Along the Murray River - Rutherglen

    Wangaratta - Murray to Mountains Rail Trail

    Driving Tours

    Four-Wheel-Drive Excursions - The Northeast - Alpine National Park

    The Northwest

    Scenic Drives

    The Northeast - Great Alpine Road

    The Northwest - Hattah-Kulkyne National Park

    Murray-Sunset National Park

    The Murray River - Rutherglen

    The Murray & Wine Trail

    Motorcycle Adventures

    The Northeast - Alpine National Park

    On the Water

    Boating & Sailing

    Along the Murray River - Echuca

    Kayaking & Canoeing

    Along the Murray River - Around Echuca - Barmah State Park and Forest

    Whitewater Rafting & River Sledding

    The Northeast - Alpine National Park

    Around Omeo - The Mitta Mitta River

    Around Whitfield - The King River

    The Northwest - Around Khancoban - The Murray River

    On Snow

    Skiing

    Alpine Skiing - The Northeast - Mt. Buffalo

    Mt. Buller

    Mt. Hotham

    Falls Creek

    Mt. Stirling

    Snowboarding

    The Northeast - Mt. Hotham

    Cultural Excursions

    The Northeast

    Wine Country

    Beechworth

    Rutherglen

    The Northwest

    Gariwerd National Park

    The Goldfields

    Ballarat

    Sovereign Hill

    Eureka Stockade

    Bendigo

    Golden Dragon Museum

    Bendigo Talking Tram

    Spa Country

    Along the Murray River

    Echuca

    Mildura

    Swan Hill

    Sightseeing

    Melbourne

    Melbourne's Great Neighborhoods

    Melbourne's Main Attractions

    The Melbourne Zoo

    The Melbourne Aquarium

    The Royal Botanic Gardens

    Fitzroy Gardens

    Queen Victoria Market

    Luna Park

    Melbourne Cricket Ground

    Melbourne Park

    The Southeast

    The Southwest

    Geelong

    Queenscliff

    Apollo Bay

    Port Campbell

    Warrnambool

    Port Fairy

    Portland

    The North

    Where to Stay

    In & Around Melbourne

    Hotels, Motels, & Resorts

    Melbourne

    Around Melbourne

    Pubs & Roadhouses

    Farmstays & Stations

    Around Melbourne

    Bed-and-Breakfasts & Guesthouses

    Melbourne

    Around Melbourne

    Brighton

    Port Melbourne

    St Kilda

    The Yarra Valley

    Budget Accommodations & Hostels

    School Dorms

    The South

    Apartments, Hotels, Motels & Resorts

    The Southeast

    Phillip Island

    The Southwest

    Warrnambool

    Pubs & Roadhouses

    The Southeast

    Phillip Island

    The Southwest

    The Great Ocean Road

    Farmstays & Stations

    The Southeast

    The Mornington Peninsula - Around Red Hill

    Around Ferndale

    The Southwest

    Around Apollo Bay

    Around Geelong

    Phillip Island

    Bed-and-Breakfasts & Cottages

    The Southeast

    The Mornington Peninsula

    Gippsland

    Around Olinda

    Around Woodend

    Along the Coast - Croajingolong National Park

    Phillip Island

    Bed-and-Breakfasts & Guesthouses

    The Southwest

    Lorne

    Port Fairy

    Around Portland

    Warrnambool

    Budget Accommodations & Hostels

    The Southeast

    The Mornington Peninsula - Sorrento

    The South Coast - Wilsons Promontory National Park

    High Country - Around Snowy River National Park

    Phillip Island

    The Southwest

    Queenscliff

    The Great Ocean Road

    Anglesea

    Apollo Bay

    Lorne

    Port Campbell

    Port Fairy

    Portland

    Torquay

    Warrnambool

    The North

    Hotels, Motels, & Resorts

    The Northeast

    The Northwest

    The Goldfields - Bendigo

    Spa Country - Hepburn Springs

    The Far Northwest

    Along the Murray River - Echuca

    Mildura

    Swan Hill

    Houseboats

    The Northwest

    Along the Murray River

    Pubs & Roadhouses

    The Northeast

    Along the Hume Highway

    Around Wangaratta

    The Northwest

    Along the Calder Highway

    Along the Maroondah Highway

    Along the McIvor Highway - Around Bendigo

    Along the Murray Valley Highway

    Along the Western Highway - Around Ballarat

    Along the Murray River - Echuca

    Mildura

    Swan Hill

    Lodges & Cabins

    The Northeast

    Mt. Buffalo

    Farmstays & Stations

    The Northeast

    Along the Coast - Around Numurkah

    Gippsland

    High Country

    The Northwest

    The Goldfields - Around Ballarat

    Around Bendigo

    Around Kyneton

    The Grampians - Around Cavendish

    Bed-and-Breakfasts & Guesthouses

    The Northeast

    The Great Alpine Road - Around Falls Creek

    Along the Murray River - Around Rutherglen

    The Northwest

    The Goldfields - Ballarat

    Around Bendigo

    Spa Country

    The Grampians

    The Far Northwest - Horsham

    The Murray River - Echuca

    Mildura

    Swan Hill

    Budget Accommodations & Hostels

    The Northeast

    The Mountains - Bright

    Buchan

    Falls Creek

    Mallacoota

    Around Mansfield

    Along the Murray River - Rutherglen

    Around Buxton

    The Northwest

    The Goldfields - Ballarat

    Bendigo

    Castlemaine

    Spa Country - Around Hepburn Springs

    The Grampians - Around Halls Gap

    The Far Northwest - Around Nhil

    Along the Murray River - Echuca

    Mildura

    Swan Hill

    Camping

    The Southeast

    Around the National Parks - Cape Conran National Park

    Croajingolong National Park

    Errinundra National Park

    Tarra-Bulga National Park

    Wilsons Promontory National Park

    The Southwest

    Along the Coast - The National Parks - Angahook-Lorne State Park

    Lower Glenelg National Park

    Mount Eccles National Park

    Otway National Park

    Port Campbell National Park

    Around the Towns

    The Northeast

    The Northwest

    Where to Eat

    Around Melbourne

    Throughout Victoria

    Entertainment & Events

    Melbourne

    By Day

    Around Melbourne

    The Arts

    Books

    Performing Arts

    Theaters

    Family Fun

    Festivals

    Sports

    Tickets

    Tours

    By Night

    Gambling

    Movies

    Nightclubs

    Shows

    Special Events Around Victoria

    The Southeast

    The National Parks

    The Southwest

    Phillip Island

    The Northeast

    The Mountains

    The Northwest

    Ballarat

    Spa Country

    Hepburn Springs

    Shopping

    Around Melbourne

    Malls & Markets

    Throughout Victoria

    Tasmania

    A Brief History

    The Land

    Flora & Fauna

    What to See & Do

    Top Tasmanian Adventure Areas:

    GETTING HERE

    By Air

    By Sea

    GETTING AROUND

    By Air

    State & Local Airlines

    By Bicycle

    By Boat

    By Bus

    By Car

    TOURING

    ADVENTURES IN TASMANIA

    The South

    National Parks and Natural Areas:

    In the Air

    Flightseeing Excursions

    On Foot

    Bushwalking

    Beach and Coast walking

    Cave Exploring

    Mountain Climbing

    Rock Climbing & Abseiling

    Wildlife Watching

    The Southeast - Tasmanian Seamounts Marine Reserve

    The Southwest - Macquarie Island Marine Reserve

    The Northwest - Around King Island - Bass Strait Sponge Beds Conservation Assessment Region

    On Camel & Horseback

    On Wheels

    Bicycling

    Driving Tours

    On the Water

    Fishing

    Kayaking

    Rafting

    Sailing & Speedboats

    Scuba Diving

    Surfing

    Swimming

    On Snow

    Skiing

    Snowshoeing

    Cultural Excursions & Sightseeing

    Hobart

    Views & Wildlife

    City Tours

    Around Hobart

    Bruny Island

    Eaglehawk Neck

    Franklin

    Huonville

    Port Arthur

    The North

    Launceston

    Where to Stay

    Hotels & Resorts

    Hobart

    Apartments

    Hobart

    Houseboats

    Lodges

    Farmstays, Homesteads, & Stations

    Around Oatlands

    The Northwest

    Bed-and-Breakfasts & Guesthouses

    Hobart

    The East

    Bruny Island

    Marion Bay

    Hostels & Budget Accommodations

    Camping

    Where to Eat

    Hobart

    Fine Dining

    Casual Restaurants

    Launceston

    Fine Dining

    Casual Restaurants

    Activities & Entertainment

    By Day

    Hobart

    The Arts

    Breweries

    Family Fun

    Hobart

    Launceston

    Sports

    Devonport

    Hobart

    Launceston

    Vineyard Explorations

    By Night

    Clubs, Pubs, & Wine Bars

    Hobart

    Launceston

    Devonport

    All About Australia

    The Dreamtime

    Imagine a world covered in ice sheets more than a kilometer thick, with the endless forests and fields between them covering a landscape that today is deep underwater. A dry, flat valley connects the Australia mainland with New Guinea to the northeast, and just 45 miles/72 km of sea - rather than some 299 miles/483 km, as it is now - separates the continent's northwestern edge from the southeast coast of Asia. Inland, cool greenery covers what will in eons be the stark red Outback desert, and the very heart of the country is pocketed with vast lakes and wetlands surrounded with lush, windswept fields. This was Australia 60,000 years ago, in the time of the first Aborigines.

    What brought these first dark-skinned, wiry-haired, bony-limbed humans to the continent is a mystery, but the abundance of food kept waves of humans migrating south. The original settlers first camped along the islands and north coasts near Darwin, then worked their way down the east coast near Sydney over the next 15,000 years. Slowly, tribes moved farther down the continent, finally reaching the south coast near Melbourne about 40,000 years ago, and even Tasmania by around 28,000 BC.

    The new cultures thrived on this freshly-carved continent, living nomadic lives that took little from the land and flourished in both tropical and desert environments. Tribes were adept at the arts, painting hundreds of images along sheltered rock overhangs and in shallow caves, where the earliest, simple scenes of families and hunters gradually expanded to include kangaroos, thylacines, boomerangs, spears, and even the surrounding foliage. More than 500 Aboriginal groups existed throughout Australia, most with their own language or dialect. Each culture's traditions and events were preserved through songs, stories, and finely-honed rock etchings and paintings. The tribes also appointed themselves caretakers of the earth around them, their art and rituals recording specific characteristics of the land and creatures under their domain.

    And to survive in what was quickly becoming one of the world's harshest environments, the Aborigines created an innovative array of tools for hunting and building. The most unusual was the boomerang, a flat, curving piece of wood thrown outward to knock out game. Smaller weapons were flung at small prey such as birds. They returned to the hunter in a full circle if he missed. Bigger, heavier boomerangs, which were often carved and painted with intricate designs, were used to stun larger prey like kangaroos. The tribes also used axes, javelins, and woomeras, long attachments that extended the range of their spears. Nets were woven to trap wallabies, wombats, and smaller game. Dingos were domesticated and taught to chase down kangaroos, or to search for such burrowing game as wombats.

    Everyone participated in finding bounty on the earth. Women gathered bush raisins and bush tomatoes (fruits and berries from desert plants). Seeds were stone-ground into flour, mixed with moisture into a pasty dough, and cooked over the fire. Water was found at billabongs, by tapping into underground streams, and by cutting into the hollow roots of moisture-rich shrubs and trees. Certain types of frogs, which lived deep underground in drought times, were eaten for the moisture stored in their bodies. Small, sharp sticks were whittled to dig plump white, protein-rich witchetty grubs from the earth, while longer sticks helped reach into termite and ant mounds, or dig up deep-set plants with edible roots. The land was regularly burned to create new pastures, where fresh plants would grow and grazing animals could be easily hunted.

    The Explorers

    To outsiders, the Australian continent was sheer enigma during these eras, and most of those in the burgeoning cities of Europe and Asia had neither care nor curiosity about its existence. Known only as Terra Australis Incognita, or The Unknown Southern Land, Australia conjured up images of clear, sparkling seas and white, sandy coasts, with snowy mountains and alpine valleys in between. In the 1400s, Portuguese traders made their way along Australia's north and east coasts; their sketches, known as the Dieppe Maps, were crude but accurate clues to the vast continent. In 1606, William Jansz cast off from Java toward the Cape York Peninsula in the Duyfken, and christened the land New Holland. A year later, the Spanish explorer Torres - as in the Torres Strait between Australia and New Guinea - made his way down the Great Barrier Reef.

    The Dutch continued to make headway toward mapping the continent, as Dirk Hartog's Eendracht cruised into Shark Bay in 1616, and Francois Pelseart's Batavia cruised toward the western coast in 1629. Abel Tasman wandered along the south coast and Tasmania in 1642, calling his discovery Van Diemen's Land after the governor of the Dutch East Indies (today's Indonesia). The remote, foreboding spot was turned into a harshly-managed penal colony, and it was 202 years before the island was rechristened in Tasman's namesake to shake off its stigma of death and despair.

    In 1688 and 1699, the British arrived on Australia's west coast when pirate William Dampier traversed the shoreline between Carnarvon and Broome on his way north to Indonesia. A scientific expedition in the Pacific Ocean, mounted in 1768 by the British, finally led foreign explorers to actually get a foothold on the Australian continent. Manning the Endeavor was 40-year-old Captain James Cook, who was in charge of an intrepid group of naturalists, scientists, artists, and astronomers employed to record everything they found on their journey. Somehow, even after Dampier's adventure, England had so far missed out on the fact that Terra Australis was no longer a myth. Hence, the crew's mission was to first find the continent, and then to actually dock the boat, get out, and explore for all they were worth.

    The team first landed in New Zealand, then made it to the far southeastern tip of Australia, which Cook dubbed Point Hicks. The crew couldn't find a safe landing spot, however, so they headed north along the coast for nine more days until they came to a sheltered spot they named Botany Bay. After a respite to log accounts of the area's strange flora and fauna, the men again headed northwest, this time skimming along the coast parallel to the Great Barrier Reef. The sharp shelves snagged the ship in northern Queensland, however, and the crew was waylaid for six weeks where the settlement of Cooktown now stands. When they finally cast off, the next leg of their journey rounded the northeastern tip of Cape York. Cook anchored off a bit of land he rather greedily dubbed Possession Island, then stuck the Union Jack flag into the ground and claimed the entire territory of Australia for England.

    Ignoring the fact that other people might already live on this strange continent, English royalty judged the land to be terra nullius (no one's land), and immediately gathered Australia into their growing flock of colonial countries. Cook's landing points were quickly named, and most still stick today, including Botany Bay near Sydney, the Indian Head bluffs on Fraser Island, Magnetic Island off Townsville, and Cape Tribulation. Cook also bestowed the entire continent with the new name New South Wales, after his homeland. Little more needed to be done to complete his major coup of convincing the world that the Australian continent belonged to the British, and the British alone.

    And Cook's adventures didn't end yet, as he continued to explore the east coast of Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. Back at home, though, his descriptions of the lush, remote continent had an unexpected effect; rather than sparking visions of a huge resort playground for European rulers, they were instead stirring up thoughts of a convenient criminal outpost. In England, it was an era of war, chaos, and poverty, when - despite there being some 200 offenses legally punishable by death - convicts were overflowing the prisons and bands of thugs were often left to take over the streets. Cook's journey to isolated Norfolk Island in 1774 inspired further ideas for another out-of-the-way penal colony. It didn't take long to gather some of England's worst criminals for an eight-month voyage down under, where they could do little to damage England's shining reputation and growing Asian domain.

    The Criminals

    Eleven more British ships glided into Australian waters in 1788, bringing tools, goods, and detailed plans for a new settlement at Port Jackson, near where the cosmopolitan world city of Sydney stands today. Cook's original landing point at Botany Bay had lacked water, fertile soil, and adequate moorage for the thousands of passengers expected to disembark here, so a British government team had scouted out the better port six miles/10 km farther northeast. More significantly, the ships also brought the first 759 convicts from England's jam-packed prisons, who were closely watched by 206 guards. The ships that followed brought hundreds more criminals, effectively jettisoning about one-fifth of England's worst outlaws.

    Captain Arthur Phillip, the fleet's commander, governed the new Port Jackson colony from 1788 through 1792, during which time more than 160,000 adult and child convicts were sent to the outpost. Irish rebels joined the masses starting in the early 1800s, staging an unsuccessful uprising at a government farm on Castle Hill, on the colony's outskirts. Outside the prison walls, Sydney was a flourishing town of timber homes, wide wharves, and neat brown docks set along rocky shores and backed by mountainous temperate forests. Over the following century, more penal colonies were set up all around the continent's edges, with settlements established at Moreton Bay, near modern-day Brisbane, in 1824; at Albany, Western Australia, in 1827; and at Port Arthur, Tasmania, in 1830.

    The Settlers

    Besides the authorities, guards, their families, Asian migrants, and the local Aboriginal tribes, there were few others to fill the country but convicts. Prisoners with good behavior received conditional pardons, which meant they were free but couldn't leave the colony. Those who were granted full pardons were free to pick up and settle down anywhere they liked, and most headed straight for the cities. Others, however, preferred to continue their rogue lives, and headed out to seek their fortunes in the unknown Outback. Many prison colonies were also abandoned and turned into proper settlements soon after they were established, providing secure dwelling places for convicts who were starting new lives.

    When the English arrived in Australia, there were already 250,000 to 750,000 Aborigines dwelling in 500 to 650 small groups all over the continent, much like the Native Americans before the British arrived on the east coast of America. Each group had its own language, social customs, and laws, as well as a separate but overlapping territory with neighboring tribes. These generally congenial people still lived in small groups and depended on their natural resources to survive, respecting the ways of outsiders they met and observing strict tribal laws that nurtured and replenished the land. However, during the next century, the British quickly took over these Aboriginal regions, expelling the clans out to the most barren terrain or into slavery on farmlands and plantations.

    After 1813, when Gregory Blaxland, William Wentworth, and William Lawson finally blazed a trail through the formidable Great Dividing Range, the fertile central riverlands were opened for settlement. So great was the region's farming potential that by 1831 the British government was pushing even its poorest citizens into migration. New towns quickly built up along the best bends and estuaries, with Melbourne established in 1835 and Adelaide planned a year later. The Murray River, Australia's largest and longest waterway, soon became the major crop and wool transport lane in the south.

    The Gold-Seekers

    In May of 1851, the world changed. Gold was discovered near Bathurst, New South Wales, inciting a flood of hopeful diggers from Sydney to try their luck in the mines.

    The lure of riches also attracted many poor Chinese immigrants, who were despised by the locals as competition for what little gold there was.

    As workers in Melbourne began disappearing to try their luck in the New South Wales goldfields, the city government offered a reward for anyone who struck gold within 180 miles/300 km of their own settlement. It took just a week for a prospector to turn up gold along the Yarra River, and by September huge lodes had turned up at Clunes and Ballarat, in central Victoria. Over the next decade the population of Victoria rose more than eightfold, from 77,000 to 540,000, while the country as a whole swelled from 400,000 to a million-plus residents.

    Much of the gold was tapped out by the 1890s, however, and the sparkling new Outback gold towns quickly dwindled into dusty, delapidated villages. Those who didn't strike gold tried their luck at farming, planting the country's early fruit orchards and berry fields. Today Australia is still a key producer of apples, avocados, bananas, and pineapples, and the country's berries are among the world's best. Surprisingly, in the Mediterranean-like climate of the upper south coast, you'll also find olive groves, tangerine orchards, and asparagus fields.

    The Vintners

    Something else was going on around this time as well, the beginnings of a massive and important industry which today is a defining character of Australia. The first grape vines were planted by the original First Fleet immigrants, although it wasn't until 1822 that the country's first wine export was sent by a Sydney-area vineyard owner to London. His label won second place in an international wine competition the following year, and Australia's wine industry was born. John and Elizabeth Macarthur opened the country's first commercial vineyard on their Sydney farm in 1827. During the next decade, a swathe of small vineyards were planted in the Hunter Valley, some 120 miles/200 km northeast of Sydney, and the trend spread through Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and even Tasmania in the mid-1800s. Today there are more than 1,000 wineries throughout Australia, and more than 50,000 private vintners. Some 20,000 wine-industry workers live in the country.

    The Adventurers

    By the mid-1800s, the east coast was settled, the Great Dividing Range was crossed, the southeastern deserts were pitted with mine holes, and the continent's fringes were dotted with quickly-growing towns. With no permanent roads and few rivers, the common methods of travel were by horseback and camel. In fact, camel caravans were the key transport method of moving goods and supplies between the growing cities and goldfields. Throughout the 19th century, lines of 40 pack animals carried up to 1,100 lbs/500 kg each of water, food, clothing, and tools across the desert, including to workers who were building the Trans-Australian Railroad between Port Augusta and Perth.

    By the end of the 18th century, once settlers had a foothold on the east coast, the British felt it was time to open up the rest of the country. In 1813, explorers Gregory Blaxland, William Wentworth, and William Lawson headed northwest of Sydney to cut a pass through the Blue Mountains. William Hovell and Hamilton Hume headed in the opposite direction, trailblazing a route southwest of Sydney between Goulburn and Albury in 1824. Between 1828 and 1830 Charles Sturt took the latter group's efforts 10 times farther, trekking all the way west from Port Jackson to the mouth of the Murray River near Adelaide.

    In 1844 Sturt resumed his expeditions by heading north from Adelaide and past Cooper Creek to the center of the Australian continent. The Sturt Highway, which runs east of Adelaide, follows the famed explorer's original route. A decade later, Paul Edmund de Strzelecki made his way on a parallel path to that of Hovell and Hume to climb 7,129-foot/2,228-m Mt. Kosciuszko, the highest point on mainland Australia. Incongruously, it's the lowland Strzelecki desert at the northeast corner of South Australia that instead bears his name.

    Edward Eyre took a different direction from Adelaide, exploring the lands west along the continent's southern edge and the Great Australian Bight in 1839 until he reached the site of modern-day Albany in 1841. Highway 1, the main route along the south coasts of South and Western Australia, is now called the Eyre Highway, and South Australia's Lake Eyre, the largest freshwater lake in the country, is another reminder of Eyre's explorations.

    In 1844, Ludwig Leichardt took off along the opposite edge of the continent, opening a route that headed northwest from Brisbane up through the Cape York Peninsula and along the Gulf of Carpenteria to Palmerston (later renamed Darwin). Four years later, he mounted an expedition through the center of the continent and was never heard from again.

    Augustus Gregory made his way backwards along Leichardt's northern route in 1855. Departing from near Palmerston, he ventured through a loop around the Victoria River, where Gregory National Park stands today. He then headed southeast along the Gulf of Carpenteria, toward the east coast and through the Great Dividing Range to Rockhampton. In 1858, his brother Francis joined him in cutting an inland route from the mountains near Longreach to Cooper Creek, at the border of Queensland and South Australia.

    Not to be outdone by stories of the fantastic explorations in the eastern half of the country, in 1860 the South Australian government offered a reward to the person, or team, who could blaze a bridge across the central deserts between the north and south coasts. The first to take on the dare was John McDouall Stuart, a hardy Scotsman who set out from Adelaide that year. By April 1860, he had made it 120 miles/200 km due north of Alice Springs, the country's geographical center. However, by then he was too ill to go on.

    In August, Robert O'Hara Burke and George Landells began a mission from Melbourne, accompanied by 18 men, 28 horses, 24 camels, and 21 tons of food, firewood, and supplies. Landells dropped out of the expedition in Mindee, New South Wales, while the rest of the troop headed to a base camp at the same Cooper Creek of Gregory's explorations two years before. Three months had passed already, and Burke was in a hurry to win the prize, so he appointed William John Wills as his new second-in-command, gathered enough provisions for three months, and headed farther north by camel with just Wills, John King, and Charles Grey. The rest of the group was to wait at Cooper Creek until they returned. Unfortunately, the infamous Wet set in, trapping their camels in the muddy, flooded deserts. Still, the men continued alone. The group finally reached the Gulf of Carpenteria, tucked between the Cape York and Arnhemland

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