Tassie On My Mind, October 2010
- the appeal of Tasmania

Welcome to the October 2010 issue of Tassie On My Mind, a free monthly newsletter keeping you informed of the latest news on what makes Tasmania such an attractive travel destination.

Does Tasmania appeal to you? It certainly does to me. Every time I look, I find something amazing about this unique island which beckons to me. For example:

  • Buckets of talent
  • Exciting events
  • Awe-inspiring wildlife
  • Unique and tasty produce
  • Nature at its best

This issue:

  • Tasmania's Junior MasterChef
  • Cracker events
  • Whale spotting
  • Cheese is queen
  • Island paradise anyone?

Plus... your chance to be a part of tasmania-attractions.com!

Tasmania's Junior MasterChef

So now there's a Junior MasterChef show! What do you think about that? To be honest, I always get too nervous watching those shows. I feel what I imagine the contestants are going through. I enjoy myself when I'm feeling their ecstasy but suffer when I'm feeling their anguish.

I really do admire reality show contestants. What courage! And I certainly think very highly of the Junior MasterChef contestants.

Remember what I said above about buckets of talent in Tasmania? Well one of the Junior MasterChefs is Tasmanian! He is Jack Lark, son of Lyn and Bill Lark who own Lark Distillery in Hobart. You may recall - I actually mentioned the Larks and their distillery in the July 2009 issue of Tassie On My Mind. Jack Lark has made it to the final 12 in Junior MasterChef.

Do you know what inspired Jack Lark to delve deeper into cooking? It was the movie Julie and Julia.

Have you seen that movie? I have, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It has a special place in my heart - not so much because of the cooking, but more because one of the main characters shares her experiences on the web... like I do!

Jack is the only Tasmanian remaining in the show but he's doing very well. And most importantly, he is having a terrific time. We wish him the very best. Go Jack!

Cracker events

I regularly check on what events are coming up in Tasmania. I never cease to be delighted at what I come across. Let me tell you about a couple of "crackers"...

The Tasmanian Whipcracking Championships will be held on 9th October. Whipcracking? I didn't even know it was a serious sport. Sounds dangerous!

I'm glad that whipcracking involving animals at a circus is very much in the past now. And we can still admire whipcrackers at events like these Tassie championships.

Apparently there are different kinds of whip cracking - rhythm cracking, trick cracking, continuous cracking and displays of accuracy using items like straws, matches, cigarettes and ribbons. You'd have to be pretty accurate all right!

And now for an event involving something I love to watch - ballet! The Tasmanian Ballet Company will be performing The Nutcracker in Hobart and Launceston.

Have you ever seen the Nutcracker or heard the music? It's one of my favourites, if not my favourite ballet. It's one of the few ballets I've actually seen live. I love the story, the dancing as well as the music. Unlike the stories behind many other ballet performances, The Nutcracker is a wonderful feel-good story with a happy ending.

Whale spotting

Going by the latest news, now might be a good time to spot whales around Tasmania.

There have been some recent sightings, for example:

  • in the Tamar River a southern right whale was seen
  • over the last couple of months, in the Derwent River, a number of whales have been showing up
  • off Taroona a whale birth was witnessed! That would have been an awesome sight. It is believed to be the first recorded birth in the Derwent River since 1820.
  • off Lauderdale a rare white southern right whale was spotted

According to Australian Antarctic Division whale biologist Nick Gales, the whale population looks to be rebounding at an annual rate of 5 to 6 per cent.

Isn't this great news? Especially in view of what whales have suffered in the past.

Cheese is queen

Queen, not king? That's right, because Jane Bennett, managing director of Ashgrove Cheese has been named Tasmanian Business Woman of the Year.

I was thrilled when I got the news. Why? It's about:

  • an award for a woman
  • yummy Ashgrove cheese!

Over the years I've discovered how much I love cheese. Whenever we have an office celebration, out come the cheese, dips and crackers. And I've realised I'm a bit of a cheese fan. A new kind of cheese I've never tried before? Bring it on, I'll give it a go!

When I first tasted Ashgrove cheese, I couldn't get enough. I particularly liked the bite in Bush Pepper and the woodiness in Smoked Cheddar.

Interested in trying some yourself? You can order online at the Ashgrove Cheese website.

So how did Jane Bennett get where she is today? She started off studying dairy technology, then she moved to the UK where she made Farmhouse Cheese for a couple of years. With all that study and experience behind her, she returned to Tasmania and kicked off Ashgrove Cheese.

Jane Bennett is a businesswoman who understands her business from the ground up. She has been involved in making and packing the cheese as well as serving in the shop. She certainly deserves her award in more ways than one.

Island paradise anyone?

Your very own island for only a million dollars, how does that sound? Ok, I agree, that's a lot of money. Not the kind of spare change that most of us would be carrying around in our back pockets. However, as far as Australian property goes, you couldn't do much better for that price than a beautiful island off the east coast of Tasmania.

I'm speaking of Picnic Island near Coles Bay, also near gorgeous Freycinet National Park. The island is for sale! Apparently there has been quite a bit of interest but no firm offer as yet.

Want to know more about the island? We know that:

  • size-wise it is 6750 square metres
  • it has about 1000 penguin burrows
  • it has an abundance of bird life
  • oysters, mussels and abalone abound close by
  • the island comes with a permit to set up tourist facilities

I hope it goes to the right party who will cherish this place of natural beauty, and allow others to come visit too.

Well that's it for this issue.

I'll be keeping an eye on Junior MasterChef to see how young Bill Lark goes. More importantly, I could do with a lesson or two in cooking! Never mind if my teacher is a fraction of my age!

Also welcome will be any further news on whale sightings around Tasmania. It's great to know that these magnificent beasts are back again!

Plus I'm keen to find out who buys Picnic Island. Hopefully it's a nature lover who appreciates all the island has to offer. Sure, it may be an entrepreneur who sees the island as a tourism business opportunity. Why not? A desire for success may mean that the new owner is highly motivated to look after the island's treasures, even if mainly in the interests of attracting tourists.

See you next month!

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