Fun Tassie Tours is owned & operated by Robert Wilson. He has spent the last 6 years offering 'Eco-friendly, small group tours' in Tasmania.
Robert has travelled exhaustively throughout Tasmania over the last 20 years. He has developed contacts & relationships with small business owners right across Tasmania meaning he has the genuine local knowledge of all the best spots! He lives in the beautiful Derwent Valley region for 9 months, spending a portion of each year in Queensland over the winter months.
Q & A / Robert
Why did you get involved with Tourism in Tasmania?
I was previously retired but found myself with itchy feet and wanting to undertake another challenge, with this venture I was able to align my passions of travel & business. I really don’t consider this work, for me this is my hobby - it took an early retirement to discover my dream job!
What are some of your personal travelling highlights in Tasmania?
The Overland Track with my brother John a few years back comes to mind. This is Australia’s premier multi-day trek and it’s incredible. We completed the trek south-north in the winter when snow was everywhere, also adding on an extra few days to tackle side trips up Barns Bluff & the Labyrinth. My favourite memory was spending a night on the summit of Mt Ossa - Tasmania’s highest peak at 1610m it was amazing.
The Gordon River Boat Cruise also comes to mind for sure. I have a soft spot for the west coast with its history and remoteness. I never get tired of the Gordon River or the entire World Heritage area really.
Why should people visit Tasmania ahead of other states in Australia?
I believe Tasmania is the best state in Australia for travel. We don’t need to cover large distances which gives us more time for sight seeing. You can get an incredibly diverse experience on our tours, the east coast is totally different from the remote west - they almost feel like different countries. And the weather down here is fantastic, late twilights and much more pleasant temperatures in the summer months.
What has changed with 'Fun Tassie Tours' in recent years?
We have recently decided to expand our itineraries to offer longer & more comprehensive tours of the island with 8 and 13 Day tour offerings. These tours are designed for those who prefer to spend slightly longer, moving at a slightly more leisurely pace. Most importantly, they allow time to include some of Tasmania’s most iconic day trips which simply cannot be working into a shorter 4-6 day itinerary.
We have also recently purchased a brand new Yutong 23 seat Coach bus which I am very excited about. It will be fantastic for our guests to travel in more comfort and with more space.
Do guests need a high level of fitness for your tour?
Definitely not. Our tours are designed to suits people of all ages and physical abilities. We cover many great walks on tour (several from Tasmania’s official 60 Great Short Walks list) but they are hand picked to be relatively flat, well pathed, shorter than about 25minutes and very scenic.
Why do you keep your tour groups small?
I prefer to work with smaller groups because it allows me time to get to know guests individually. This is as much fun for as as for our guest so I prefer smaller, more intimate groups.
Favourite stops on tour?
I love the gourmet food stops, particularly tasting freshly chucked oysters. The Wilderness Railway is spectacular and The Wall in the Wilderness art gallery in Derwent Bridge is a national treasure. It has been a real honour for me to watch that place develop from nothing over the last 12 years. Choosing favourites is extremely hard for me!
Does your wife ever come on tour with you?
These days she probably joins in once a year - preferring to spend more time with the grand children:) She is keen to come on board for some of these longer, new itineraries as she enjoys the slightly more leisurely pace.
Do you ever get tired of visiting the same places?
Never! Every week is different faces, different weather and different experiences. Now I have been joined in business by my son Morgan we can offer more variety in itineraries which keeps me on my toes and constantly interested.
Most difficult thing about being a tour guide?
Nothing! For me this job is a real passion and I don’t consider it stressful or difficult in any way. The beautiful island of Tasmania does most of the work for me:) I simply try to bring into focus its best features.
Where else have you travelled of memorable note?
In recent years my wife & I have been travelling quite a lot. I’ve circled the world many times on business as a younger man but am now enjoying visiting places purely as a tourist. We recently visited Iceland together, took a self-driving tour through Norway & eastern Europe. We have visited both the Arctic & Antarctic ice shelves which were truely mesmerising. A few years back I undertook several trekking adventures to the Mt Kilimanjaro summit in Africa and Everest base camp in Nepal though I wasn’t able to convince my wife to join me on those:) We’ve actually just returned from a month in Greece so ongoing travel experiences, learning and adventure are an important part of my life.
In 2017, Morgan Wilson joined on to partner his father Robert in the operating of Fun Tassie Tours. An intrepid traveller, Morgan recently spent nearly 3 years camping & backpacking with his wife throughout Australia, India and SE Asia, completing a nearly 50 000km 4WD trip around the Australian continent exploring every dirt road he could find! He has spent many seasons exploring, trekking & working in Tasmania and now lives permanently in the Derwent Valley region.
Q & A / Morgan
Best part of being a tour guide?
Tour guiding for me is the perfect role as it’s a great mix of travelling & meeting new people in a relaxed, outdoor environment. It is a real privilege guiding our guests around Tasmania and I feel pride in showcasing the best this great little island has to offer. I never get tired of the job because every week is new faces & new personalities for me to connect with. I also love the changing seasons we have in Tassie. Unlike many places on mainland Australia, Tasmania has 4 genuine seasons so the landscape and colours are changing every week. Usually our guests are all in a great mood because they’re on holidays!
Whats it like working with your Dad?
Robert is great to work with:) We enjoy similar interests in travel, chatting to new people and we both very much enjoy driving! He has done an amazing job flying solo for the last 5 years but we both agree it is more fun with 2 people, sharing the experiences.
Why should people travel to Tasmania?
Tasmania is a hidden gem in my view… although people are definitely starting to catch on in recent years. Being a small island it’s great for travel as guests can have a diverse experience in a short time frame due to less distances that need to be covered. For example, 6 Days in QLD will be only enough time to see a very tiny part being so massive… 6 Days in Tasmania however can give a great overview and sample of much of the island. In that time we can see Hobart, the east coast, the central highland areas and even parts of the remote & mountainous west. It makes for more time spent at the attractions and less time in commute.
Whats on your Tasmanian bucket list?
Actually the more time I spend here the longer my list seems to grow! Some adventures that come immediately to mind though are: The Frenchman's Cap Trek - I have twice prepared for this but been foiled by terrible weather. The Southwest Cape Trek, a helicopter ride over the SW World Heritage area, kayaking in the Bass Straight, the Overland Track in winter, another camping trip through the Tarkine, taking my wife to Cradle Mountain in the winter snows, the Wineglass Bay cruise, rafting on the Franklin River & finally seeing in person the bioluminescence.
Thoughts on the Tasmanian food & wine scene?
The food scene down here is incredible. The produce is fresh, high quality and often produced by small, family owned business putting plenty of love into their work. We endeavour to sample many of the gourmet foods & drink on our tours around the island. If you like things like cheese, chocolate, jams, relishes & chutney, wine, whiskey, oysters, seafoods, fresh fruits, home grown vegetables, ice cream & yogurt then you will love the food scene in Tasmania. We also have 2 great festivals highlighting the best of our local produce: Taste of Tasmania in the Summer and Dark MoFo festival in the winter.
Gee that’s hard to pick… I love the mid summer time when the days are long and the extended twilights are amazing. Outdoor dining with a beautiful 9pm sunset really is something I look forward to every year. I also love the colours of Autumn though, we are lucky to have the best displays of deciduous trees anywhere in Australia by far and to see the spectrum of colours during the fall is incredible. Tough to completely forget about the freshness of Springtime though, I particularly love seeing my favourite flower in bloom the Tasmanian Waratah.
Favourite animal spotting experiences?
2 come to mind. I absolutely love the occasional treat of seeing a Platypus foraging in the wild. There are many places around the island I sometimes spot them… it is always unexpected and really puts a smile on my face. The other animal encounter I love is the Wombats around Cradle Mountain. I love their lazy, relaxed and unselfconscious attitude. They stroll around munching away at grass like we aren’t even there:)
The Kookaburra and the blue Fairy Wren.
Favourite part of Tasmania?
I could write a book about the places I love most in Tasmania. If I had to pick 1 I’d say the Cradle Mountain & central highlands area. It is an absolute dream for those interested in photography, trekking or just beautiful, fresh, pristine wilderness. The East Coast is also incredible but for me the Central Highlands are the most unique as there are very few places if any in Australia that boast similar terrain & vegetation.