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Tools of the Trade: The 411 on Booking distinctive Tasmania getawaysFebruary 1, 2007 By: Camie Foster Home-Based Travel Agent
Mix things up a bit by having clients carve out at least four nights of their visit for a sojourn in Tasmania. Pair it with time in Sydney, Melbourne, Victoria, Cairns or Ayers Rock. Clients interested in wine and cuisine may be receptive to the idea of an Adelaide-Tasmania duo. Families, active travelers and those who are making a repeat visit may be intrigued by a Tasmania-Kangaroo Island combo.
Getting there: Book clients on one of the many flights to Hobart or Launceston. Upon arrival at either of these airports, clients can catch a shuttle or a taxi if they're not renting a vehicle. At Hobart, the Airporter Bus meets all flights and drops off clients at accommodations in central Hobart, Sandy Bay, Battery Point, North Hobart and New Town at a fixed rate. It also provides scheduled service from Hobart and its suburbs to the airport. Booking reservations is essential. Call 0419-382-240 or 0419-383-462; both are cell numbers. At Launceston, the Airporter Shuttle meets all flights and also is a fixed-rate service. Call 03-6343-6677 to arrange a pickup point.
Additionally, Serenity Shuttle covers the northwest, with service between Launceston Airport and Devonport, Ulverstone, Penguin and Burnie; book in advance. Call 03-6424-9251 or visit www.serenitytas.com.au.
Passports and Visas: Australia requires U.S. citizens to have a valid passport and either an Australian visa or, if they qualify, an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The ETA replaces a visa and allows travelers to spend up to three months in Australia. Visit www.eta.immi.gov.au to apply for an ETA or www.austemb.org for additional information about ETAs, other visas and entry requirements.
Wholesalers: Especially if you're creating a two-or three-destination itinerary, you're likely to call on the specialized knowledge of wholesalers that have a range of Tasmania products. Arm yourself with details about your clients' interests and hobbies; operators can help you with optional activities to take itineraries up a notch. Among the wholesalers to add to your Tasmania file are Down Under Answers (800-889-1464, www.duatravel.com),
Goway Travel (800-387-8850,
www.goway.com) and Qantas Vacations (800-348-8145,
www.qantasvacations.com). Base commission starts at 10 percent.
At Down Under Answers, Cathi Landowski at [email protected] specializes in Tasmania. Goway's agent liaison in the U.S. for Australia and New Zealand is Scott Roseblade, manager, U.S. Wholesale Division. He can be reached at 800-387-8850, ext. 386, or by e-mail at [email protected]. The Tasmania destination specialist at Qantas Vacations is Laura "Elle" Matar: 800-641-8772, ext. 1024, [email protected].
Lodging: There's a healthy product range, with hotels, apartment-style digs as well as independent properties with singular personalities. Clients bound for Hobart may want to stay at the Islington Hotel (www.islingtonhotel.com), built as a home in 1847 and later restored and expanded. Ask for one of the rooms in the original residence. Contact Amy Parkinson-Bates at 61-3-6220-2123 or [email protected].
Another Hobart hotel with a notable history is the Henry Jones Art Hotel (www.thehenryjones.com). The harborside property occupies space once the purview of entrepreneur Henry Jones, a man with a prominent place in Tasmania's history. Ask for the Art Installation Suite, which provides the upscale amenities found in the hotel's other suites, plus the chance to surround oneself with art by up-and-coming and well-known artists. Contact Matt Casey at 61-3-6210-7700 or [email protected]. For an upscale wilderness lodge experience, book your clients at the Tarraleah Lodge (www.tarraleahlodge.com) in a 1930s-era Art Deco building. Encourage your clients to consider booking the Highland Suite. Contact is Lisa Dunn at 61-3-6289-1199 or [email protected]. Other properties to check out include Freycinet Escape (www.freycinetescape.com), a new luxury wilderness eco-camp within Freycinet National Park, and @VDL Stanley (www.atvdlstanley.com.au), a two-suite hotel in Stanley.
Restaurants: Fresh ingredients prepared with care and accompanied by quality local wine are a highlight of Tasmania visits. Among the restaurants to suggest is The Source at Moorilla Estate in Berriedale (www.moorilla.com.au), where the best dish is farmed Huon rabbit and mushroom ragout on herbed bigoli with Asiago and pine nuts. At Stillwater at Ritchies Mill in Launceston (www.stillwater.net.au), clients should request the seared scallops with double mushroom custard on roasted portobello mushrooms with tomato beurre blanc. A favorite at Peppermint Bay in Woodbridge (www.peppermintbay.com.au) is the dry-aged Tasmanian ribeye steak with celeriac and native pepper remoulade and gratin dauphinoise.
Educational Resources: Tourism Australia's Aussie Specialist program provides information on Tasmania. Bookmark www.discovertasmania. com.au. —CF