Tasmania has a history, culture and landscape distinct from mainland Australia. This eight day tour offers unique insights into the island and its past, combining renowned attractions, such as the colonial Clarendon Estate and the World Heritage-listed convict site at Port Arthur, with sites of particular interest to the cultural traveller, such as the excellent Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) on the Derwent River, and a special focus on John Glover. These visits are carefully balanced with the experience of Tasmania’s pristine natural beauty, including a day trip along the Huon River Valley and a Freycinet Peninsula cruise.
Tasmania’s colonial sites, including Clarendon Estate and World Heritagelisted Port Arthur
Leading public and private art galleries in Launceston and Hobart
Cruise from Coles Bay to Wineglass Bay, gaining a unique perspective of the Freycinet Peninsula’s sheer cliffs and abundant wildlife
A day trip to the Huon River Valley, visiting pristine rainforests, gardens and wineries
Fine regional wine and produce at some of Tasmania’s excellent restaurants and vineyards
Days 1–3: The tour begins in Launceston, visiting historic homes and villages, exploring the farm of colonial artist John Glover and touring the Tamar Valley and hills towards the Cradle Mountain region. We also visit wineries and the excellent Stillwater restaurant.
Days 4–5: Travel to the Freycinet Peninsula via colonial-era towns, and cruise Wineglass Bay.
Days 6–8: In Hobart we continue our exploration of colonial artists, enjoy day trips to the Huon Valley and the Tasman Peninsula, and visit David Walsh’s astonishing MONA.
The tour begins at Launceston Airport and ends at Hobart Airport. Qantas and Virgin fly into Launceston and out of Hobart from most Australian cities. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Saturday 28 November: Arrive into Launceston
Group members should arrange to arrive into Launceston by midday, making their own way to the hotel. We meet in the hotel lounge in the early afternoon to make our introductions. We then travel to Clarendon, the National Trust listed three-storey Georgian colonial estate of James Cox, built in 1838 using convict labour. After a guided tour of the estate, we return to Launceston, where we have time to settle in to the hotel before our welcome dinner at Stillwater, an excellent restaurant in a historic former mill overlooking the junction of the Tamar and South Esk Rivers. Overnight Launceston. (D)
Sunday 29 November: John Glover
Our tour today focuses on the art and life of John Glover. We begin with a guided visit to the Queen Victoria Art Gallery with its unique collections of colonial fine and decorative arts from Tasmania. We then visit the historic town of Evandale, where the Sunday markets are in full swing. In the afternoon, we call in at Nile Farm, once the estate of artist John Glover. Current owner Carol Westmore shows us the restoration work they have been undertaking. Returning to Launceston, the evening is at leisure. Overnight Launceston. (B)
Monday 30 November: The Tamar Valley
We spend the day enjoying northern Tasmania’s history and scenery. This morning we travel up the eastern shore of the Tamar River to George Town, where we visit the Bass and Flinders Museum, which documents these explorers’ 1798 circumnavigation of Tasmania. We continue north to the mouth of the Tamar River and visit Low Head Pilot Station Maritime Museum and lighthouse. Dating from 1805, the Pilot and Signal Station has run continuously since 1833 and is the oldest in Australia. Before returning to Launceston this afternoon we stop for a wine tasting at a local winery. Overnight Launceston. (B)
Tuesday 1 December: The Midlands and Freycinet
Departing Launceston, we head south to explore Ross, one of the best preserved colonial towns in Australia, with buildings mainly from the 1830s and 40s including a ‘female factory’ for female convicts. We also visit Campbell Town where there is free time to explore the Convict Brick Trail down the high street. We then head to the east coast, where some of Tasmania’s finest coastal scenery is to be enjoyed. We spend the night at Coles Bay, with fine views across Great Oyster Bay. Overnight Freycinet. (B, D)
Wednesday 2 December: Wineglass Bay cruise
Today we enjoy a four-hour cruise from Coles Bay to Wineglass Bay, admiring the dramatic scenery of the Freycinet Peninsula and learning about local history, flora and fauna from our on-board guide. The cruise includes fresh oysters, lunch prepared by Freycinet Lodge and a sampling of east coast wines. We continue to Hobart, arriving in the early evening. Overnight Hobart. (B, L)
Thursday 3 December: Huon Valley & TMAG
We depart early this morning and head south of Hobart to the fine scenery of the Huon Valley. Agricultural land gives way to the rainforest of Tasmania’s southwest wilderness region. We walk the Tahune Airwalk for breathtaking views over heritage-listed forests and the Huon and Picton Rivers. We enjoy lunch at Home Hill Winery, which produces some of Australia’s finest pinot noir. Returning to Hobart we visit the Tasmanian Museum and Gallery, to view the excellent collection of colonial art. The pieces exhibited in the museum have their origins in the Royal Society of Tasmania, established in 1843 and Austalia’s oldest scientific society. Overnight, Hobart. (B, L)
Friday 4 December: Port Arthur
This morning we travel to the Tasman Peninsula, about two hours south east of Hobart. We spend much of the time at Port Arthur, a World Heritage site that functioned as a ‘panopticon’ style convict prison from 1833 until 1853. It is a remarkably well preserved site, and the beauty of the setting belies the tragic events that took place there. We have an introductory guided walking tour including the museum and a cruise on the harbour. There is time after lunch to explore some of the 30 buildings, ruins and restored homes set on the 40 hectares of landscaped grounds. Overnight Hobart. (B, L)
Saturday 5 December: Mona – Departure
This morning, we travel up the Derwent to visit Mona, David Walsh’s idiosyncratic museum, which has quickly gained international recognition for its approach to the display of art. After lunch at The Source, the restaurant above Mona led by the acclaimed chef Philippe Leban, we explore the galleries, some of which are cut deep into the rock. We head to the airport in the mid-afternoon for return flights to east coast cities. (B, L)
A cultural historian and founding director of Academy Travel, with a strong interest in visual arts, architecture and music.
Robert Veel is a cultural historian with over 20 years’ experience leading tours to Italy, the USA, Scandinavia and Turkey. He has a strong personal interest in the visual arts, architecture and music, and is a founding director of Academy Travel.
Robert holds a BA, Dip. Ed and M.Ed, all from the University of Sydney. He worked as a lecturer at the University of Sydney before a long stint at the University’s Centre for Continuing Education, lecturing in Italian history and culture and working as Assistant Director. Robert continues to teach occasionally in Continuing Education courses.
Robert’s historical and artistic knowledge stretches from the Middle Ages through the early 20th century. In Italy he has led many tours focusing on the Medieval and Renaissance periods. In the United States he likes to focus on the founding of the Republic and the Gilded Age of the early 20th century. In Scandinavia he is particularly interested in national identity and its role in Scandinavian literature, design and architecture. Robert speaks fluent Italian.
Robert led his first tour to Italy in 1990 and has not looked back! He has led more than 50 tours and designed many of Academy Travel’s most popular tours, including Sicily, New York, Rome and Venice residential tours, and our Scandinavia tours. More recently Robert led the first offering of Academy Travel’s tours to Tasmania and New Zealand.
We asked Robert, what do you enjoy most about leading tours?
“I really enjoy travelling with like-minded, interested travellers who are up for a bit of an intellectual adventure. It’s often the unexpected things that create the ‘shared joy’ of group travel”, says Robert “a wonderful, but little-known painting, a great performance or a fabulous meal. These are the things we travel for.”
“Over the years travellers have commented on my seemingly boundless enthusiasm. It’s true that I am curious about most things – people, places, history and artistic expression. There’s a kind of alchemy when this enthusiasm rubs off on others – hopefully with a bit of useful information as well!”
An elegant boutique-style apartment hotel located in the city centre and central to most of Launceston’s main attractions. The spacious one-bedroom suites have a separate open plan living room and kitchenette with dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. www.thesebellaunceston.com.au
Coles Bay, Freycinet Lodge (1 night)
This four-star lodge has well-appointed cabins and fine views across Great Oyster Bay. The Lodge’s restaurant is also well regarded. www.freycinetlodge.com.au
Hobart, Lenna of Hobart (3 nights)
Built in 1874, this sandstone mansion is classified by the National Trust. It is close to the Hobart’s CBD, Salamanca Place and historic Battery Point. Our rooms in the modern wing are large and functional. lenna.com.au
What is included in the tour price?
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate, taxis or public transport are also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price?
Our tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity