Subject: Re: Tasmania, Australia B&B
Hi everyone,

As Joan mentioned a couple of days ago, I managed to fit four days of Tasmania into my trip to Australia this past January. I wish that we had spent a few more days there. I very much enjoyed myself there. It is clean, picturesque, friendly, and remarkably inexpensive (at least to me, based on American $$), Driving is easy, as the roads are clearly marked, uncrowded to a New Yorker, and things are generally close together. The coastline is rugged and beautiful, and their seafood is to die for. We spent time at Cradle Mountain Lodge, doing all of the usual things such as hiking, climbing, etc. It is a wonderful place to take a family, as the hikes are well marked and vary greatly in difficulty. There is wildlife everywhere. I nearly jumped into the lake when a Wallaby hopped directly in front of me as I was taking a walk on my first night there. Cradle Mountain has spectacular glacier lakes, one of the only non-tropical rain forests in the world, unique animals, great fishing, and wonderful food. Everywhere in Tasmania, you will come across wonderful food. In Launceston, we had one of the most memorable meals of our lives, at a place called Fe and Me, which was recommended by Joan, and a host of others. For those of you looking for a reference point, if you have ever been to Charley Trotter's in Chicago, a meal at Fe and Me is similar, although less pretentious, 1/3 the price, and the spectacular ingredients are almost all local! I can't wait to get back. Believe it or not, we had a lunch that was as good or even better, at a Vineyard in the Tamar River valley, just 30 minutes or so from Launceston. I will look up the name of the vineyard, but it is very well know. Perhaps it was all of the wonderful wine that they plied us with, but we both agreed that it was a very, very special lunch. Port Arthur is also a tourist site not to be missed. We enjoyed our drive down there from Hobart, and had a wonderful day viewing the historical sites, and marvelling at the scenery as we drove down. Again, if you are a seafood lover, this is a great place to visit. Hobart is a clean, charming city, with a beautiful harbor and historic district. It reminded me of a miniature Sydney. We had a great time walking around and shopping in the galleries. Once again, the food was great, and we found some wonderful pubs with amazingly friendly people. We did not make it up to the Freycinet Penninsula and Wineglass bay, but we will on our next trip. It is a short, 1.5 hour flight from Melbourne, and with the cheap flights being offered by Qantas and Virgin Blue, Tasmania is very accessable. I hope to get back there for a week or so, very soon. The b&b that Joan recommended sounds fantastic.

best wishes from New York

Jonathan Chimene