In particular, we can think of three ways to wisely spend that tax refund on Tasmania:
· The Maria Island Walk, an itinerary formulated by our friends at Down Under Answers (ask for Mal!), is a 4-day, 3-night professional-led trek through UNESCO World Heritage Sites, wilderness camps, and pristine beaches for $2,250 per person.
· For a full Oz experience, Down Under Answers also has the Sydney-Tasmania-Melbourne package for 15 days/12 nights. The per person price of $3,379 is extremely great for the detailed itinerary, which includes flights, a luxury bus tour along the Great Ocean Road, a rental car to drive around Tasmania, a cruise on the Parramatta River, trip into the Blue Mountains outside Sydney, and all hotels and transfers.
· Those who prefer to take more charge of their itineraries should take a look at the treks and sightseeing flights offered by Tasmania's Par Avion airline, starting from $95 per person. The half-day journey is only $290, and includes roundtrip scenic flights from Hobart over and into the Southwest National Park, with a landing at the remote Bathurst Harbour Airstrip. Travel from there by boat, have a little lunch in the wild, and do it all over again to return to Hobart. This is exactly what we did during our too-short trip to Tasmania, and the experience is now filed away as an official lifetime moment of pure enjoyment.
We'll have more on Tasmania to come, but right now is the prime time to plan for trips there during the Southern Summer (ideally November - February), when Tasmania is beautifully temperate and, well, just beautiful in general.
Above: the southernmost bit of road in Australia, located a couple hour drive outside Hobart, at Cockle Creek
Above: Flying in formation with one of Par Avion's Britten-Norman Islanders, heading back to Hobart over the Southwest National Park
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher]