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Snowdog: Map of Australia highlighting Tasmania; 30 December 2005

Tasmania is Australian island and state at the same time. It is separated from the main land by Bass Strait and is located 240 kilometres (150 mi) south of the eastern side of the continent. Hobart is the Capital of Tasmania.






Biatch: Tesselated Pavement, Tasmania; 2006

Tasmania is a classic example of the future of surf exploration and discovery that awaits in cold water regions around the earth. As an island state of an island nation, Tasmania has excellent exposure to swell trains from the south, west and east. The size of Tasmania means that it is conceivable to travel to seperate coasts as required by prevailing and forecasted swell patterns.

The main source of power here is the endless passage of S to SW swell rolling out of the Antartic. The west coast is directly in the firing line of the roaring 40's and whilst it is rarely flat it is often out of control. Weeks of onshore winds in the summer are a problem. Fortunately the sheltered bays and points of the other coasts offer reasonably uncrowded reprieve and often a very good wave in such conditions. Unlike many cold water surf destinations, you can surf in Tasmania all year round.

The days are short and the water is cold in the deep winter but the potential for reward far outweighs the negatives. Besides, stretching out at a pub in front of a fire with a bowl of lamb stew and a pint of porters after a cold water session is without doubt one of the most pleasurable experiences you will enjoy whilst on this mortal coil.


NOAA Satellite and Information Service: Pseudo-color visible image from October 19, 2005 at 1315Z.

The weather and water temperature varies to a large degree around Tasmania, both in season and location. The warmest waters off the state are generally along the east coast in the summer months (December-February), thanks to warmer currents moving down from the Tasman Sea. Average water temperatures range from a head numbing 10-12 degrees Celcius in winter (June-August) to 18-20 degrees in summer.

As a general rule the east coast tends to do best in autumn (March-May) and early winter as intense low pressure systems start to form more regularly over the Tasman Sea. The South Coast also seems to do best at this time of year, with larger Southern Ocean swells occurring. Summer (December-February)is really the only consistent time for the west coast, as the sub tropical belt of high pressure brings a brief reprieve from the constant westerly winds of winter.


Mattes: Qantas Boeing 737-400 'Kookaburra' taxiing into Canberra; 21 October 2005

There are two common ways of travelling in Australia: by car or by plane. Train can be an option, but not all states have a public rail network. Greyhound Australia provides a nation-wide (except Tasmania) interstate bus service. And there is a car ferry that departs from Melbourne and goes to Devonport in Tasmania.

The country is huge, so if don’t have enough time, take a plane. Fares are generally low, due to the amount of competition, and flights depart regularly. Main business travel corridor is Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane with flights leaving every 15 minutes. You’ll be able to get to every state with Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Blue or Regional Express. There also are some small state-based airlines that serve regional areas: Airnorth, Skywest, O’Connor Airlines and MacAir Airlines.   

Travelling by car is a great option as well, especially to those who want to see and feel the country from he inside. Australia has a well-maintained system of roads and highways and drives 'on the left'. Keep in mind that great distances separate its cities and after leaving one of them, you can sometimes expect to travel for hours before finding the next trace of civilisation. So it’s a good idea to hire a satellite phone in case of emergency. The shortest distance would be from Sydney to Canberra – just 3-3.5 hours (~300 km). But it is a truly magnificent experience to hire a car and travel around the coast of Australia (check the Great Ocean Road), which you won’t forget.

where to stay

SchuminWeb: Rockingham Hall Exterior; 7 March 2006

Your final decision really depends on your preferences and budget. If you like camping, there are a lot of those in every state of Australia. And there is a great option for those, who still prefers some comfort, but the budget is limited, – Hotel Formule1. These hotels have absolutely the same basic and very clean rooms (for 3 people) in all the cities (so you know what to expect) and can be found in Sydney (NSW), Coffs Harbour (NSW), Melbourne (VIC), Canberra (ACT) and Brisbane (QLD).  Rates can start from AU$59.00 per room/per night and conditions are usually better than in the numerous motels along the highways (where you will probably spend about AU$100 per room/per night).
There are nice caravan parks (van/trailer parks) with on site cabins in WA, as well as in most states (usually you will see the signs if you drive on the highway). Prices range from AUS$25.00 to AUS$50.00. They are very comfortable and have cooking facilities and a refrigerator. The extra price will provide you with some more comfort.
Cable Beach Backpackers is another nice place in WA with clean and spacious rooms, bathrooms and kitchens, just a few minutes walk from Cable Beach in Broome. Also try Augusta YHA – a very affordable and clean hostel in a brand new building.
And of course, there are all the luxurious hotels, where you can enjoy the best service. But basically for all the states the rule would be the same – there are numerous motels, hostels, caravan parks and camping sites near the surf spots, so you’ll definitely find something.

what to pack

Pupils info-Some folded scarves, 20 December 2005

Tasmania is the coldest state in Australia. Definitely take warm clothes with you, though it doesn't meen you don't need sunscreen anymore. Good sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are essential.

All the gear if you plan to camp: a good sleeping bag and tent that are good for low temp; special gas container you can use for heating food and water; a sturdy backpack or a cargo pack with a good daypack. A pair of comfortable walking shoes will be great for walking.

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