This is sponsored content for Tasmania – Come Down For Air
No matter how you find your thrills – from mountain biking adventures to quiet forest contemplation – Tasmania is the place to pursue your passion.
Tasmania is different. Compact, cosy almost – until you encounter the state's rugged wilderness and wild coastline. About 40 per cent of the island is protected as national park and World Heritage wilderness, and much of it is remarkably accessible.
You have to readjust your expectations here. You'll feel the taut coils of your busy life unwinding. You'll find excitement in new activities even as you feel yourself slow down. Tasmania has its own quirky ways of invigorating you.
Here are just five.
Take the plunge
Don't be deceived by the seeming serenity and Nordic chic of two little cabins (one black, one white) floating on the edge of silvery, misty Lake Derby in northeast Tasmania. Your visit will likely result in an ear-splitting scream – though happily not of terror but painful pleasure.
That's because the black cabin contains a traditional wood-fired sauna offering relaxing hot therapy, after which a plunge into the ten-degree lake waters energises you like an electric shock. "You'll come alive. You reconnect with nature here, but reset your nervous system at the same time. It's exhilarating," explains Floating Sauna Lake Derby's sauna master Nigel Reeves.
No better way to conclude a day after shredding Derby's world-class mountain bike trails, though the Floating Sauna has become an attraction in itself too. Where else is almost zen stillness and tranquillity combined with a shot of adrenaline?
Hug a tree
See the largest and oldest living things on Earth. Photo: Tourism Tasmania & Geoffrey Lea.
The daily stresses of life seem a long way off in the forests of Tasmania's southwest. You're dwarfed by some of the largest and oldest living things on Earth. The mottled light that passes through the canopy bathes you in luminous green. Your world is damp, mossy and magical. Listening to leaves rustle or watching beetles scurry is like a form of meditation that peels away problems.
Take time out with Giant Tree Expeditions (with departures from Hobart, Maydena, Geeveston, or Huonville) and you also get an insight into one of the world's most remarkable ecosystems. Your guide is an expert ecologist who makes sure you don't miss the secret life of the world's tallest flowering plants, waterfall-sprinkled tree ferns, and even the peculiar funguses and insects that grow beneath the leaf litter.
There's something about being on a bike that makes everything more fun. Maybe it's the fresh air, the workout, or the way the world passes at a slightly faster speed, like an old-fashioned movie. Certainly if you get into the saddle with On Your Bike in Launceston you'll be feeling cheerful.
"It's a fun and unique way to discover the city's memorable stories and fascinating past," says project coordinator Alison Hugo. "You'll come away with a warm and familiar sense of the true Launceston."
One of the excursions takes you through back streets and parks and along the Tamar River. Another brings you into surrounding vineyards for wine tasting. Or you could cycle to a convivial lunch at Stillwater Restaurant and stop at James Boag Brewery on the return. The joy of cycling, Tasmanian style.
Walk the walk
Gain a deeper appreciation of natural beauty through the wukalina walk. Photo: Rob Burnett
The four-day wukalina walk doesn't just take you through the stunning landscape of the northeast's Bay of Fires but provides a different perspective on it, from which you'll gain a deeper appreciation of its natural beauty.
The Aboriginal-owned and operated guided walk connects you with palawa indigenous culture, creation stories and community history from the moment you're welcomed with a smoking ceremony. The landscape is a living museum of botany, birdlife, bush tucker and ancient middens, brought to life by Tasmanian Aboriginal guides.
Luxury dome-shaped accommodation has you hunkered near beach and lagoon, and surrounded by granite boulders. Modern city life seems far away as plovers call, a fresh wind whispers and sunset flares over the land Tasmanian Aboriginal people have called home for 10,000 years. You'll feel as if you've slipped through a crack in time.
Escape to an island
So, you want glorious beaches, gorgeous hills, lots of wildlife and a windblown escape without actually making too much effort? Then Tasmanian e-Bike Adventures is for you. You can explore thirty kilometres of tracks and trails in Maria Island National Park off Tasmania's east coast, helped along by an electric-pedal-assisted mountain bike.
It's intrepid without being exhausting – there's nothing like the satisfaction of hitting the turbo button as a hill looms. Meanwhile you can save your energy for admiring the sapphire seas, the sandstone Painted Cliffs, the peppermint trees and parrots. And for listening to e-bike tour owner and guide Ben Rea.
"Maria is a magical island for adventure. It's a playground of wilderness and wildlife," he says. "And great local stories. From explorers to convicts and Italian entrepreneurs, you won't believe the stuff that's gone on here."
Come down for air in Tasmania. To learn more, visit discovertasmania.com.au/air