Cruise ship holidays have long been synonymous with sultry weather, sun kissed beaches and plenty of time spent lounging by the pool. Yet as of late, it seems that the cooler weather, stunning natural landscapes and rugged allure of Tasmania is drawing tourists in by the boat full!
The Australian cruise market is booming and while cosmopolitan cities such as Sydney and Melbourne have been stealing the spotlight, Tasmania is now enjoying its very own slice of the action. In 2014 almost 190,000 Australians set sail on domestic cruise itineraries, a figure that represents a 30% increase on the previous year’s numbers. To put the boom into monetary terms, the Australian cruise industry is now worth in excess of $4 billion.
Cruise lines make a turn for Tassie
Tasmania made a regular appearance on a myriad of these voyages and will continue to augment its role in the next few years. From October 2015 to April 2017 the pint sized island state can expect to welcome 150 cruise ships ferrying thousands of passengers to its shores.
On a recent visit to Hobart Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said, “Tasmania is seeing the benefits of more ships, more itineraries and more Australians wanting to see their country in a unique way from the comfort and attractions of a cruise ship.” Amazingly, a huge 15% of Carnival’s global fleet will pay visit to Tasmania during the line’s two upcoming summer seasons.
As well as offering passengers the chance to explore one of Australia’s most resplendent yet underrated gems, Sherry also asserts that the economic benefits are largely local. Annually, Carnival Corp subsidiary P&O Cruises purchases around 40 tonnes of Tasmanian salmon and 30 tonnes of ocean trout, with other lines taking similar advantage of the state’s world famous fresh food scene.
Australia’s ‘Island of Inspiration’
So what does Tassie offer Down Under tourists? Check out some of the state’s most popular highlights.
- Captivating coastal scenery
The state is world renowned for its natural beauty, with a plethora of unique costal attractions. Wineglass Bay on the east coast and the 19th-century Port Arthur penal settlement turned open air museum are meccas for nature lovers.
- South coast culture
Hobart offers a wealth of cultural experiences. From the galleries and boutiques found in Salamanca Place’s Georgian warehouses to the quirky Museum of Old and New Art, culture connoisseurs will most definitely be in their element.
- Idyllic island eating
Not to mention the tantalising culinary scene that’s based on Tasmania’s longstanding tradition of organic farming, small scale production and sustainable practices. All made possible by the rich soil, pure air and clean water that blesses the state’s land. Foodies will fall head over heels for the oodles of artisan produce available. The state’s lush green pastures produce some of Australia’s finest dairy products, including award winning blues, bries, cheddars and camemberts.
- Bottoms up!
For those who love a tipple, Tassie’s cool climate has made it famous as one of the world’s finest producers of pinot noir and sparkling wines. Thanks to the crisp, clean ecosystem the rural regions are also perfect for producing whisky, gin and cider. Sample to your heart’s delight at the myriad of independent wineries, craft breweries and boutique distilleries peppered across the state. Cascade is always an iconic favourite!
- Natural nirvana
Tasmania is one of Mother Nature’s most prized possessions, boasting stunning landscapes and a plethora of unique flora and fauna. More than one third of Tasmania claims National Park, Reserve or World Heritage protected wilderness status! Its small footprint means visitors can soak up a myriad of different nature experiences in a short amount of time, from towering alpine ranges and temperate rainforests to lush wetlands and coastal heaths. The natural wonderland supports a handful of ancient native species, including the eastern quoll, bettong, pademelon and of course, the iconic Tasmanian devil. The state is also home to the Fagus, Australia’s only native deciduous native plant.
- Thrills and spills
Adventure seekers can get their hearts beating faster with an electrifying line-up of outdoor adventures. With such a large portion of the state enjoying protected wilderness status opportunities for open air adventures are profuse. Hiking, fishing, mountain biking, caving, camping, dirt biking, surfing, white water rafting and more – take your pick!
Have we convinced you that Tasmania is worth the trip? Today, cruise lines are featuring Tassie more than ever before, with world class ships such as Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, Carnival’s Carnival Spirit, Cunard’s Queen Victoria and Holland America’s Oosterdam setting their sights on the Apple Isle. Most sailings throw in a combination of New Zealand and other Pacific Island destinations which means passengers can get a spectacular glimpse at some of the Southern Hemisphere’s most resplendently rugged regions.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: mariusz kluzniak, Ralph Bestic, roger smith