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What to do in Tamar

Tasmania

Nobody could decide whether we should visit Platypus House or Seahorse World first. My mother, in her seventies, was convinced seahorses were the best creatures ever, and my son, five, was keen to see a platypus thanks to a recent Octonauts episode. Neither of them listened to my explanation that we would have a chance to see both of them.

This was my third trip to Tasmania, and we were staying with my mother’s friend an hour north of Launceston, where the Tamar River meets Bass Strait. Our host told us about the Tamar Triple Pass, a ticket which would get us entry to Platypus House, Seahorse World and the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre, all within cooee of each other, at a discount rate.

beaconsfield
 

After crossing the Tamar River over the impressive Batman Bridge (and explaining to my son that it was a different Batman), we soon reached Beaconsfield. To adults, it’s particularly well-known as the site of the Beaconsfield Mine collapse in 2006 where, sadly, one miner was killed, but two were rescued after being trapped underground for two weeks.

The mine does memorialise this event but it’s much more than that - my son was fascinated by all the old mining equipment, while his grandmother was thrilled to see the heritage section with all the old paraphernalia she had used in her childhood.

You can imagine that my son had plenty of “real life” lessons that day as Nan demonstrated how she dipped her pen in an ink pot at school, and heated the old heavy iron on a stove before ironing.

A short drive further north is Beauty Point, home to both Platypus House and Seahorse World - in fact, they share a parking lot and a jetty. In the end, we opted for the platypus experience first, because when we popped in to check they had a guided tour leaving immediately.

I have a bit of a thing for platypuses, I admit, and just loved watching them swim around; the rest of the gang preferred the echidnas (which share the building but didn't get naming rights, somehow!).

seahorse

Photo source: http://seahorseworld.com.au

With an ice cream break in between (the cafe upstairs at Seahorse World has views over the Tamar), we were ready to tour this working seahorse farm - it breeds and exports seahorses all around the world. It is hard not to be captivated by a seahorse - they are pretty odd creatures - and with an enthusiastic guide showing us around, we all quoted weird and wonderful seahorse facts for the rest of the day

jetty
 

Two tips about the Tamar Triple Pass: you don’t have to visit every attraction on the same day, just within a period of three months; and don’t leave your seahorse or platypus run too late in the day, as final tours leave by 3.30pm.

Amanda Kendle is a born and bred Perth girl who loves to hang around with her rubbish-truck-loving five-year-old son. Amanda has lived and worked abroad in Asia and Europe and has been blogging about her travels at home and abroad for almost a decade at Not A Ballerina

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