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Where to Go with Your Tax Refund: Tasmania, for More Than a Few Days

April 21, 2014 at 3:22 PM | by | Comments (0)


Above: Par Avion's remote airstrip in the Southwest National Park

Tax day is here, and you're probably excited...but not because you love sifting through receipts and credit card statements. You're excited because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" trip—a Tax Refund Vacation.

Learn from our mistakes. Two days in Tasmania did nothing to dampen our desire to visit this southernmost bit of Australia; on the contrary, as it only whet our appetite and now Tasmania is all we can think about.

The "Island of Inspiration" is also one of picturesque bays, wilderness walking tracks, incredible contemporary art (MONA!), and what happens to be the the world's best whiskies.

Tasmania is only 35,000 square miles, 45% of which is completely given over to national park and nature reserves. Arriving to Hobart from Sydney means overflying areas that tempt thoughts of "what if I just never leave?" To sum up the style of its capital, Hobart, we'd peg it as a mix of Vancouver and Nantucket. So, in other words, it's nearly perfection for fans of good air, good eats, good views, and good value for money.


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]

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