Tasmania, the world’s Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year!

IT IS estimated there are 50 million golfers in the world and now these golfers have a newly discovered destination for tee time, according to the International Association of Golf Tour Operators.

Tasmania has been named the ‘undiscovered golf destination of the year’ by over 200 of the world’s leading golf travel journalists across 36 countries.

It is not the first time Tasmania’s golf courses have received accolades, with Barnbougle Dunes (pictured) and Lost Farm courses rated in the World’s Top 25 courses by Golf Digest. Both courses feature dramatic dunes, following the contours of Tasmania’s north east coast in true links-course style. In fact both courses are leading courses in the Great Golf Courses of Australia.

The IAGTO Awards announcement caps off an impressive year for Tasmania’s trophy cabinet, with Travel + Leisure readers propelling Tasmania to the heights of world’s fourth best island, and Lonely Planet naming the island fourth most desirable region in the world to visit in 2015. Praising the island’s clean air, premium eats and drinks, friendly locals, and accessible wilds, Tasmania is now welcoming visitors in unprecedented numbers.

Tourism Tasmania chief executive John Fitzgerald said that this accolade from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators is a welcome acknowledgement of Tasmania’s growing world-class golf offering.

“Recent developments have certainly raised awareness of Tasmania as a golfing destination.

“However, I believe it is our incredible natural features, heritage, world-class produce, wines, beers and whiskies, and the welcoming and engaging nature of our people that have elevated our island’s status as a golfing destination that surpasses every serious golfer’s expectations”, he said.

IAGTO chief executive Peter Walton said: “Tasmania richly deserves being named Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year in the 2016 IAGTO Awards. To earn such an accolade is no mean feat. The winner is voted for by members of the International Golf Travel Writers Association, which is administered by IAGTO.

“There are more than 200 members in 36 countries around the world, and these are journalists who are at the cutting edge of golf tourism trends. Where they go, golf travellers follow, spurred on by the prospect of discovering a new gem after reading about it in respected golf publications or online.

“Tasmania is now well and truly on the global golfing map thanks to this award and I am sure it will result in an increase in golfers from other parts of the world wanting to play the lush fairways and greens of this pristine island,” he said.

Tasmania was announced as the World’s Undiscovered Golf Destination at the 2016 IAGTO Awards Gala Dinner on Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands, selected from over 60 international destinations. Judges based their decision on criteria including the extent of which the golfing destination is undiscovered, attractiveness of the region and courses, speed of play, climate and accessibility.

Tasmania’s windswept King Island is also positioning itself as a world-class golfing destination with the much anticipated Cape Wickham Golf Course due to open 30 October 2015, Cape Wickham is rumoured to become Australia’s most spectacular course, however with Ocean Dunes on the western coast of the island slated for launch a month later, golfers will decide the highlights of each once play is in full swing.

Ratho Links Course is another drawcard for Tasmania – one of Australia’s oldest golf courses – laid out by Scottish emigrants in 1822. Located in Bothwell, one of the country’s earliest inland settlements, a round on today’s course might include a trip to next door’s Nant Distillery and world-class trout fishing come evening.

As for accommodation, after 18 long holes golfers have ample options including Saffire Freycinet, recently named Best Australian Boutique Property, Villa or Lodge in Luxury Travel Magazine’s Gold List. Golf enthusiasts can expect an island not only boasting internationally-sought courses but with culinary experiences to match and high-end accommodation never far from the first tee.

Those who venture from the manicured grass will find ancient wilderness, rich heritage and may even be tempted with a dram of Sullivan’s Cove single malt, named the world’s best in 2015 in the World Whisky Awards. And with more than 67 golf courses across the State, you’re never far from a fairway.

IAGTO is the global trade association of the golf tourism industry and the IAGTO Awards are the industry’s annual accolades.

Travel to Tasmania

Travellers can fly to Tasmania on Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Qantas, Qantaslink, Tigerair, Sharp Airlines or Rex Airlines, or take the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Port Melbourne (VIC) to Devonport (TAS).

For more information on Tasmania, visit www.discovertasmania.com.au.

 

PHOTO: Barnbougle is set on 200 acres of undulating coastal dunes and is the creative genius of famed golf architect Tom Doak and Australia’s Michael Clayton. Barnbougle, still only in its youth, continues to gain a reputation as one of the world’s top links golf courses. The breathtaking landscape upon which the course has been created mirrors the wild coastal links courses of Scotland and Ireland and as Barnbougle continues to develop with age it looks set to follow in the footsteps of these great courses. 

 

New Year’s resolutions you’ll make and break!

LOSE weight and get fit. Eat healthier. Spend more time with loved ones. Cut the stress. Drink and smoke less. Travel to new places. As the New Year looms, these old resolutions pop up and, we’re sorry to say, none every really carry much weight – did you see what we did there? – come March 1.

While helping with the smoking and drinking isn’t possible, Tourism and Events Queensland can help with fun holiday solutions to drop the stress, lose the weight and travel the state… so here’s cheers to a happier and healthier 2016, Queensland-style.

Drop the stress…

Dory from the movie, Finding Nemo, said it best: “Hey there, Mr Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do?  Just keep swimming.”  When you’re down in the dumps, a little Great Barrier Reef therapy will go a long way.  There are plenty of active reef experiences –scuba, snorkel and swims – dotted along the reef and coastlines including the two-day, one-night Reefsleep (with Cruise Whitsundays), where the sound of the ocean can wash your cares away.  http://www.greatbarrierreef.org/

Forget the latest Kardashian craze (whatever that might be), in an Australian first, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat is offering four holistic, equine-assisted therapies for guests including therapy, meditation, learning and journey on the Gold Coast.  Horses, like humans, are social creatures and these newly introduced ‘horse-play’ nature therapies are designed to assist Gwinganna guests to reach heightened social, emotional and cognitive awareness.  www.gwinganna.com

Get on my line, you darn yellow bellies! It’s not a line from a Yosemite Sam cartoon, but rather a call to join the Annual Boondooma Dam Yellowbelly Fishing Competition in the South Burnett.  Experts report the lake is ‘fishing really well’ and they’re looking forward to records breaking thick and fast in both the ‘Catch and Release’ and the ‘Gilled and Gutted’ sections.  This uber-stress reliever for fisher folk is happening February 13 and 14 and families are welcome. http://www.lakeboondooma.com.au/

Lose the weight…

Strike while the resolution-iron’s hot with a New Years’ day sunrise run along a Sunshine Coast beach with the folks from Noosa Running Tours or sign-up forThe Colour Run – also known as the ‘happiest 5km run on the planet’ – at Bokarina on January 16.  www.noosarunningtours.com.au

For the more resolute amongst us, the Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival from 11-13 March offers up Olympic distances on the Sunshine Coast and The Gold Coast Triathlon on April 10 attracts athletes who want to go the distance in gorgeous surrounds.  Plus, the Cairns Airport Ironman (June 12) has arguably the most scenic bike course in the world and follows some of our favourite coastline in the Tropical North.  http://ap.ironman.com/events/triathlon-races.aspx#axzz3tgcwJa1v

Eden Health Retreats’ daily activity schedule reads like a boot camp on super-charged organic herbs.  In attention to cardio fusion, laughing yoga and the splendidly named Club Mud, you’ll find neuro aerobics, flying foxes and martial groove on their activities schedule.  No two days are ever the same, and if the activities are as fun as they sound, sign me up! http://www.edenhealthretreat.com.au/

The ultra-lazy can attempt to ‘scare themselves skinny’ with a heart-racing rafting experience on Australia’s most famous white-water river – The Tully River.  You don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to spend time with the folks at RNR White Water Rafting in the Tropical North.  http://www.raft.com.au/

Travel the state…

If you want to generate zero carbon points (that can be New Year’s resolution number seven), then book a Safari tent in the Nightfall Wilderness Camp (pictured), and ‘glamp it up’ in a private pocket of the Lamington National Park, 90 minutes south west of Brisbane. Guests get to join the owners as they forage for produce, sample local organic food and learn about the camp’s environmental practices. http://www.nightfall.com.au/

Take a journey along The Bama Way (ex Cairns) and discover Tropical North Queensland through the eyes of its original inhabitants. Linking together three Aboriginal-owned and operated tours – Guurrbi Tours, The Walker Family Tours and Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours – each experience provides an insight into traditional Aboriginal culture and history. Visit sacred and historic local sites, learn about bush tucker and medicine or hear the stories of the rock paintings. Tours can be booked separately or in a one to three day package. www.bamaway.com.au

If you thought taking kids on holiday was a bit of a juggling act, well Novotel Twin Waters Resort Aqua Fun Park on the Sunshine Coast has a monster floating obstacle course that’ll help keep your littlest holidaymakers occupied.   There are Segways to explore the natural surroundings, a games room and a Kidz Cove Club with activities every morning and afternoon through the week and evening sessions on Fridays and Saturdays. Don’t despair, if you’re not staying at the hotel, you can buy a one-day activity pass.  www.twinwatersresort.com.au

Spicer’s Peak Lodge is officially Queensland’s highest non-alpine lodge retreat and offers singular views of the World Heritage-listed Main Range National Park. Guests can choose to stay at one of the ten luxurious suites in the main lodge or spice it up with a one or a two bedroom private lodge. Activities include a rainforest bushwalk, mountain bike adventures or a four-day guided trek which ends in a night of luxury at the lodge. Those who prefer the great indoors can enjoy a degustation dinner menu relax in the infinity edge swimming pool, in the library or indulge in a treatment or massage. www.spicersgroup.com.au/property/spicers-peak-lodge

 

Putting the Great in ‘The Barrier Reef’

FORGET Beiber, Attenborough fever is about to hit our shores as the veteran broadcaster’s eagerly-anticipated Great Barrier Reef documentary series makes its small screen debut in the UK on the BBC this December 30.

What began sixty years ago, with rather rudimentary SCUBA and camera equipment, came full circle last year when Sir David one again dived the reef… this time in a state-of-the-art submersible, with the latest scientific thinking and super high-tech cameras, macro lenses and satellite scanners.  The rest, as they say, will go down in the annals of modern documentary history and Australians will be in the box seat, with the show set to screen locally early in the New Year.

In an interview with UK press, Sir David described the reef as: “the most magical thing you ever saw in your life.”

He went on to describe the first time he dived beneath the surface and saw the diverse range of multi-coloured species that call the reef home.  In his words, it had “astounding and unforgettable beauty.”

The Great Barrier Reef is dynamic, diverse and ever-changing and it is one of Australia’s strongest tourism drawcards, attracting almost two million visitors a year.

As anticipation for Attenborough’s series starts to build, six super sexy must-dos that help put the ‘Great’ in The Great Barrier Reef have been unveiled.

Six super sexy Great Barrier Reef must-dos

Reef Sleep: Cruise Whitsundays’ Two Day, One Night Reefsleep adventure accesses our underwater world and provides the best place to rest your sleepy, salt-water head – in overnight swags under the stars on a reef pontoon. Gourmet meals give you the energy to keep jumping, diving, and lazing until day’s end.http://www.cruisewhitsundays.com/gbra-reefsleep.aspx

When Time Is A Factor: Reef Sprinter snorkelling adventures have guests on the reef just 15 minutes after leaving Port Douglas. Reef Sprinter take smaller group tours – up to 14 guests – out to experience the vast coral gardens and abundant fish life of the Low Isles. They even include a glass-bottom boat trip.  Getting there is half the fun aboard the 600 horsepower sprinter reaching speeds of more than 40 knots. Reef Sprinter tours operate daily from the Port Douglas Slipway.www.reefsprinter.com.au

See Creatures Without Getting Wet: Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville is the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium and comes complete with a marine turtle hospital and all manner of exhibits and hands-on displays that showcase the rare and rather wonderful creatures found on the reef.  www.reefhq.com.au

Close Encounters: Stunning Lady Elliot Island, on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, is known as the home of the Manta Rays, who are present all year around, but more abundant in the cooler months. Also in the stunning southern reef section, Heron Island is a haven for turtle hatchlings and a great place to freestyle with these flippered favourites while Lady Musgrave Island’s natural lagoon is like swimming in a giant aquarium.  http://www.southerngreatbarrierreef.com.au/

Licensed To Dive: Yongala wreck off Townsville is hailed as one of the top dive sites in the world… so trust us, when we say it’s good!  The SS Yongala was wrecked during a cyclone in the early 1900s, but like the proverbial phoenix, has risen in popularity as divers around the globe converge for world-class diving.  On a clear day, you can dive with manta and eagle rays, bull sharks, turtles, barracudas and a number of large pelagics. Whale sharks have even been reported to pass by at certain times of the year.  http://www.yongaladive.com.au/

Take A Sea Plane Trip Over The Reef: Experience the sparkling expanse of the Great Barrier Reef from above. Air Whitsundays was the original sea plane operator to fly over the famous Heart Reef and continues its tradition of dropping guests off for a beach picnic at Whitehaven Beach. Tours depart from Airlie Beach. www.airwhitsundays.com.au

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