Monthly Archives: June 2017

Amazing time of year to visit Tasmania

Winter is an amazing time of year to visit Tasmania with heaps to see and do all around the state. From June to September you will always find plenty of things to delight the senses on a winter break.

1. Winter Festivals
Tasmania is home to some of Australia’s best winter festivals with delights for all your senses. Whether it’s music and art or the best food around you will find it all in Tasmania over the winter months.

Dark Mofo
Dark Mofo runs from the 8th to the 21st of June and features a huge range of performances from top international and Australian talent including Mogwai, A.B. Original, Ulver and plenty more. Keep an eye out around the water front for massive art installations including Dark Park and eat until your stuffed at the Winter Feast.

To end the festival write down your fears for the Ogoh-Ogoh and join the procession to the burning. If all that isn’t enough don’t forget to sign up for the nude solstice swim and join hundreds of others for a quick skinny dip in the Derwent River.

There are plenty of free events but make sure to check the website for details.
Huon Valley Mid Winter Fest
The Mid Winter Fest has become a winter highlight for many in Southern Tasmania, happening in the middle weekend of July (14th to 16th). The festival is based on ancient European traditions helping to bring in a bumper harvest when spring arrives.

The festival includes a giant burning straw man and the Wassail Away where you dance, sing, scream and make as much noise as you can in order to scare away anything nasty from the local fruit orchids. While there make sure to enjoy the amazing cider that the Huon Valley is famous for.
Festival of Voices
Festival of Voices is Australia’s premier vocal and choir festival happening from the 30th of June to the 16th of July. Expect to see some amazing performances with artists travelling from all over the world to sing and share their knowledge and experience.

A major highlight of the festival is the huge bonfire and singing event that happens in the middle of Salamanca.

2. Keep an eye out for the Aurora Australis
Winter with it’s shorter days is the perfect time of year to see the Aurora Australis. The Aurora occurs when solar winds from our sun collide with the magnetosphere and are pushed down into the upper atmosphere where they lose their energy and create stunning colours that dance across the night sky.

The best places to see the Aurora Australis are outside of populated areas in Southern Tasmania with beaches such as Clifton Beach and Eaglehawk neck often proving popular. It takes a powerful Aurora to be seen by the naked eye but you can usually see them with a camera capable of taking long exposures.

3. Lift your spirits
Tasmania is home to a booming Whisky and Sprits industry, and it feels like there is a new boutique distillery trying something different opening up each week. From Vodka made with Sheep Whey to global award winning whisky it’s not difficult to find a raging fire and something strong to warm you up.

Under constant threat from poachers, and numbers

The African elephant is under constant threat from poachers, and numbers have fallen by one third in seven years. Joe Minihane journeyed to the Samburu reserve in Kenya to meet its elephants and the people trying to save them.

His trunk sways like a pendulum as he turns and spots our 4×4. Slowly, silently, he begins padding towards us.

“Don’t move a muscle,” whispers Saba from the driving seat. “Just let him come to us.” I watch as this young male elephant begins circling our vehicle, turning my head slowly as he passes and lets out a grunt, eyeing us with interest. His scent is pungent, his hide wet.
“He’s secreting from his temporal glands,” says Saba, as our interlocutor walks off towards the nearby dry riverbed. “It means he’s in musth.” Musth, she explains, is a short period when bull elephants become acutely hormonal. High testosterone levels mean they can be dangerous.

I’m in Samburu, northern Kenya, exploring the frontline in the battle to save these majestic creatures from the menace of ivory poaching.

Saba Douglas Hamilton is my guide. With her father, Iain, and her husband, Frank Pope, she runs the world-renowned Save The Elephants (STE) charity from here in the heart of the east Africa bush, doing vital, pressing conservation work.

It’s estimated that 22,000 elephants are killed annually for their tusks
There’s no denying that the African elephant is in crisis. Between 2007 and 2014, numbers fell by 30 percent across the continent, according to the Great African Elephant Census. In September 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said elephants were experiencing their worst decline in 25 years. And there’s one key reason: poaching.

Markle’s Latest Winter Look

Meghan Markle may not yet be a royal, but she’s the queen of winter fashion.

For her second official royal engagement, Meghan and Prince Harry stepped out in London on Tuesday for a visit to Reprezent Radio in the city’s Brixton neighborhood. And as adorable as the couple was on their way into the event, all eyes were on Meghan’s chic winter outfit — which, predictably, has mostly sold out already. And though you may not notice it at first, the look actually had a few nods to Meghan’s future sister-in-law, Kate Middleton.

She bundled up in a coat from Smythe, the same brand that makes Kate’s go-to blazer. It’s the Brando coat in camel. (You can find a similar style here and here.) Though it immediately sold out after Meghan wore it, the coat has since been restocked and is available for pre-order. However, it won’t ship until next August (just in time for fall 2018!) Meghan is a big fan of this style in particular: She also has it in a darker gray color, Salt & Pepper, and was seen wearing it around Toronto in December 2016. (Sadly, that one is currently sold out.)
On Tuesday, she also wore a similarly-hued gray scarf from Jigsaw, another retailer with a Kate connection: The royal mom worked there as an accessories buyer just after graduating from the University of St. Andrews in 2005. (This cashmere scarf will give you the same look as Meghan’s.)

Meghan still put her own spin on the ensemble, though. She embraced a very of-the-moment trend — bell sleeves — with a black top from British high street brand Marks & Spencer. (And it’s still in stock!) But as it’s certainly on its way to selling out, this one is similar, too. She wore a luxury British brand on bottom: A pair of wide-legged Burberry pants, which are no longer available. However, this style is almost identical (and is a fraction of the cost!).

For shoes, Meghan wore one of her go-to designers, Sarah Flint’s Jay Pump, which features a black suede foot with a tortoiseshell heel. And yes — they’re still in stock! She previously wore the designer’s Natalie flat when she and Harry stepped out for the first official event together at the Invictus Games.

Since she announced her engagement to Prince Harry (and even before!), Meghan has become quite the fashion force. The demand for Meghan-worn pieces is so high, in fact, that designers can barely keep up.

“The interest in the brand has been incredible,” Leeanne Hundleby, a spokesperson for Strathberry, who designed the bag Meghan wore to her first official royal engagement, told PEOPLE last month. “The phones began ringing constantly, and our visitor numbers on our website were up by around 5000%!”

Travelled to Berlin to hear the stories of three Syrian refugees

Syria has been shattered by conflict since March 2011; more than 5 million people have been forced to flee the country and rebuild their lives elsewhere. Jessica Bateman travelled to Berlin to hear the stories of three Syrian refugees who now call the city home and are working hard to keep their culture alive in the German capital.

Berlin’s Sonnenallee is a 5km stretch of main road running between the certified hipster districts of Neukölln and Kreuzberg. Back in the communist period, the street was intersected by the Berlin Wall and contained a border crossing, still marked by two lines of cobbled stones.

That the street was once home to a wall between communities seems fitting, because today Sonnenallee has become something of a bridge. Shisha cafés like those in Damascus or Beirut sit next to coffee shops serving flat whites to bespectacled laptop workers.
The smell of shawarma and tobacco mixes with fumes from the busy traffic, and voices speaking in Arabic, German and English catch your ear as you walk along. The Sonnenallee of 2017 is now affectionately known as “Arab Street”, and is the unofficial hub of Berlin’s newly arrived Syrian community.

Although the city has long been home to large Middle Eastern and Turkish populations, the more than 600,000 Syrians who’ve arrived in Germany since the outbreak of the civil war are making their presence felt.

Along with the Syrian restaurants popping up in and around Sonnenallee, throughout the city you’ll also find Syrian-led tours, music, dance and storytelling nights and community projects such as refugee kitchens.

Bay and Freycinet Day Tour

Wineglass Bay has been voted many times amongst the top beaches of the world. A perfect crescent shape, stunning colours and dazzling white sand make this one of Tasmania’s “not to be missed” locations.

Wineglass Bay is nestled in the Freycinet National Park on the East Coast of Tasmania. One of Tasmania’s first National Parks this is a coastal area rich in stunning landscapes. Pink granite mountains form the backdrop for secluded bays, pristine waters, white sandy beaches, local wildlife and walking trails.

We travel from Hobart heading east then following the coastline north. We travel through the seaside towns of Orford and Swansea. Enjoy a brief stop at Spiky Bridge, a convict built bridge, picturesque Spiky Beach and then on into the National Park.

We walk as a group to the Wineglass Bay Lookout where your guide will help you take those sought after photographs and offer you some walking options for the day.For the keen walkers you can continue the walk down to Wineglass beach (2.5 hr return) or even continue onto the Hazards Beach Circuit (4hrs).

Travel with our guide to explore more of the National Park and visit Honeymoon Bay, Sleepy Bay and Cape Tourville lookout and short walk.After a very full 4 – 5 hours at Freycinet National Park we begin the trip back to Hobart. With one last coastal gem we stop at Friendly Beaches, a fabulous highlight, as we leave the beaches and bays behind. We have a brief stop at the Freycinet Marine Farm for anyone interested in sampling the local oysters, mussels or crayfish fresh from the pristine waters.

Last but certainly not least we stop at the very famous Kate’s Berry Farm where Kate is serving up absolutely delicious Berry Ice-creams and other delights, jams, sauces, chocolates and jellies.We return to Hobart to your accommodation around 7.00pm.