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Serena & Taylor

For Serena and Taylor, they wanted a day that focused on the non-traditional. They chose Serena’s gown together, they got ready together, they ditched a wedding party and they invited just a few of their favourite people to celebrate with them as they eloped to Tasmania. The date and location? On the very anniversary and the very place, they had their first date.

This in itself is just the beginning of what is endearing about today’s story, and what we fell in love with. Luckily for us, they invited Agape Media House along to capture every photo to accompany their tale.

Their paths first crossed in Hobart, even though the pair are from completely different cities. Serena explains “Taylor is from Melbourne and I’m from Sydney, but we met in Hobart. We were both doing 3-month internships for the same company but didn’t meet through work – we met in the kitchen of our student accommodation. We talked for 4 hours straight that night and became inseparable ever since.”

The groom popped the question one romantic eve. “After two 12 hour days working away from home, Taylor took me out to dinner in the city” shares the bride. “We had a romantic stroll in the rain before returning home. Suddenly Taylor gets down on one knee and proposes – turns out he picked up the ring from the jeweller that morning and asked my parents for permission over dinner the night before. I had no idea and was completely over the moon. He told me that he thought about proposing during dinner or our walk but decided it was too public. I was so happy that he chose to propose at home!”

After a few disappointing in-store experiences, Serena found her gown online at Esther & Co. She explains “I wore a dress I purchased online through the Iconic. It was sheer luck because I managed to buy the very last item and when it arrived it fit perfectly, no alterations needed. It was probably the 6th wedding dress I’d bought online and it was absolutely perfect. I’m of a petite build and 150 m tall, so most dresses swamp me or have too large of a bust. I previously tried walking into a bridal store with Taylor but found the experience to be confronting and very unenjoyable. Those dresses were too extravagant, super expensive, and just weren’t “me”. Taylor and I chose the dress together and at the time of the wedding, no one but him and I knew what I was going to be wearing on the day.”

The bride walked down the aisle with her father.

St David’s Park set the scene for the garden ceremony, and the garden also ticked all the boxes for sentimental value. “We chose St David’s Park as our ceremony venue as we had our first date there 4 years ago. We had the ceremony inside the rotunda which is elevated from the rest of the park and very private.”

Serena and Taylor chose Tracey Bruce to officiate proceedings, telling “We wanted our ceremony to be intimate and totally focused on the love we had for each other. We wrote our own vows together in the month leading up to the ceremony and memorised them for the day. Our celebrant Tracey also spoke about our three favourite things about each other which we loved as it really gave a personal touch to our ceremony.”

Serena and Taylor enlisted the help of Pop Up Weddings Tasmania to make their wedding come to life “Pop Up Weddings Tasmania was wonderful to work within the months leading up to the wedding and on the day” tells Serena. “Tracey was always there to answer our questions and keep the wedding planning rolling while placing zero stress on us. My favourite detail of the day was the styling that they put together at the rotunda for the ceremony. It was simple, elegant and didn’t overshadow the event taking place in front of it. It also matched the park setting perfectly – there were lots of natural colours, greenery and even some romantic candles.”

These two skipped having a wedding party, sharing “We decided not to have a bridal party. We thought it was unnecessary as we wanted to keep the focus on each other as a couple. We also wanted every guest to just turn up and enjoy the celebrations and not feel obligated to perform any roles or duties.”

The flowers were kept simple, Spoil Me Gifts creating a bouquet and boutonniere of white. “We chose ivory white roses and lots of greenery” explains Serena. “We wanted a classic and contemporary look with some greenery to keep it really natural and fresh.”

Of their photographer, the newlyweds were thrilled. “His approach was relaxed and non-intrusive which was really lovely as it allowed us to focus on other aspects of the day.”

And after photos, the party continued with an intimate reception dinner at the Henry Jones Art Hotel. Serena remembering “Our first dance song was “Is That Alright?” from the soundtrack of A Star is Born. We loved the movie and thought it was the perfect first dance song. We figured out a simple dance routine the night before using YouTube tutorials. It ended up being a mix of basic steps, turns, and swaying.”

A big congratulations to you both Serena and Taylor! Thank you to Agape Media House and  Pop Up Weddings Tasmania for sharing today’s beautiful celebration.

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Photography by Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service

Whilst the weather might be getting cooler and for us living further south the frost has already begun and winter is a fabulous time to explore some of Tasmania’s hiking trails without the summer heat! We have rounded up some of our top hiking trails and now it’s over to you to start exploring.

Cradle Mountain Huts Walk

This multi-day adventure will have you starting at the picturesque Cradle Mountain with several overnight stops along the way. Cradle Mountain can be found in the Central Highlands of Tasmania and is the sixth highest mountain in the state.

Photography by Emilie Ristevski

Take the hike with just you and your partner and enjoy the peaceful surrounds – or if camping is not your style, you can join the Tasmanian Walking Company and stay in a private hut enjoying the evenings and get to know your fellow hikers.

Three Capes Track

At a total distance of 48km spaced over four days and three nights is the Three Capes Track. Start and finish in Port Arthur for a round trip that will require a boat cruise and a bus during particular points of your hike.  Enjoy seaside views and a landscape that looks like another world! This hike is rated easy to moderate and there are three cabin sites along the way for you to rest and recharge.

Photography by Jason Charles Hill

Wineglass Bay

For a shorter hike that can be done within the day, check out Wineglass Bay. There are a number of different hiking trails within the region, so make sure you do your research to ensure you select your favourite one. Wineglass Bay is one of the more popular hiking locations in Tasmania because of the incredible landscape. The lookout can be found within the Freycinet National Park surrounded by the Hazards, an incredible mountain range. Take your time and enjoy the location, bring along a picnic and look out over the crystal-clear waters.

Photography by Matt Donovan

Mount Field National Park

One of the lesser known but still equally as awe-inspiring hiking trails can be found within Mount Field National Park. These hikes can be completed within a day and you have three to choose from, all varying in length. Some of Australia’s most impressive flora and fauna can be found in this park and you might even have the opportunity to spot some of our native wildlife including platypus and wombats. Gaze up at some of the tallest trees in the world or take a break by one of the waterfalls.

Photography by Tourism Tasmania & Michael Walters Photography

Many hiking trails in Tasmania are open year-round though it’s worth researching the terrain to ensure you are prepared for any weather. Some fees might apply for entry into national parks.

Where will your hike take you?

Ms Zebra Says: From the many people I’ve known to hike in Tasmania, everyone raves about it. There doesn’t seem to be a short supply of great hikes and this list is a great selection if you’re planning a secluded but activity filled honeymoon with your new spouse!

Tasmania is a beautiful place to get married or have your honeymoon. Via Freycinet Lodge

Tasmania is a beautiful place to get married or have your honeymoon via Bree Morgan Photography

You don’t need to travel half way around the world to find a romantic honeymoon destination. Australia is blessed with some of the most beautiful coastlines and forests in the world and Tasmania is no exception.

And when it comes to honeymoon destinations, it checks all the boxes: Secluded? Check. Scenic? Check. Good food and drink? Check and check! Tassie’s coastline might only measure 4500km but almost half of the state is world heritage listed, national park territory or marine and forest reserves.

In short, it’s some kind of national treasure and an unfairly underrated one at that. When you combine its mesmerising beauty with delicious, fresh local produce and award-winning local whisky and wine, it’s hard to look past as a pretty nifty (not to mention cost-effective) nearby honeymoon destination.

You’ve got a few options in terms of how you approach a Tasmanian honeymoon. From hiring a car and driving around the whole island, to pulling up stumps and relishing a totally secluded part of the world. Either way, you’re guaranteed to find time to reminisce about your wedding day, while making plans for your new life together.

Here are just a few Tassie honeymoon tips to get you started.

Where to stay

Freycinet National Park is just over two hours’ drive from Hobart and is home to incredible, pink granite peaks, secluded bays, white sandy beaches and a tonne of local wildlife.

For the ultimate in seclusion and luxury accommodation, Freycinet Lodge is tucked within the national park overlooking the blue waters of Great Oyster Bay and the picturesque Hazards mountain range.

Modern timber cabins overlook some seriously stunning views. The accommodation is secluded, stylish, peaceful and perfect for spending some quality time with your new spouse. There’s nothing quite like waking up to the views of the bay surrounded by old gum trees. Hot tip: There’s a very nice restaurant onsite too – more below.

Freycinet Lodge is an amazing honeymoon spot. Via Freycinet Lodge

Freycinet Lodge is an amazing honeymoon spot. Via Freycinet Lodge

What to drink

If you’ve been living under a rock then you might not know that Tasmanian whisky is kind of a big deal. It used to be described as the next big thing in whisky, now we’re pretty sure it may just be the big thing.

Sullivan’s Cove is Australia’s most highly awarded whisky and the distillery is only located a 20-minute drive from Hobart.

In 2014 they were named ‘World’s Best Single Malt’ at the World Whiskies Awards – a feat no other Aussie whisky has ever achieved. More recently they were also awarded World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt for their French Oak Single Cask and American Oak Single Cask. I think you get the picture – this place has a good drop and you can do distiller-lead tours and cellar door tastings if you’re dropping in for a visit. A tour and tasting will set you back $50 per person.

What to eat

Oysters. Eat all the oysters.

The good news is, if you opt for Freycinet Lodge, you don’t have to stray too far from where you’re staying to taste the best oysters on the Apple Isle. Freycinet Marine Farm is right around the corner from Freycinet Lodge and they sell fresh oysters you can eat on the farm’s deck or you can take them away to shuck them yourself at your own secluded picnic spot. They also sell mussels, rock lobster and pan-fried abalone too!

I don’t know what it is, but Tasmanian oysters just don’t taste as good on the ‘mainland’ as they do from the source. Tucking into them fresh is an absolute must!

I can also vouch for dining in at Freycinet Lodge. There are several dining options but you can’t look past The Bay Restaurant for a special (and tasty) dining experience. Mrs Houndstooth has several food allergies and they were so accommodating, we went back again for round two on the second night of our stay!

 

 

How to be romantic

There’s no shortage of romantic things to do in Tasmania. From bushwalking to picnics by the water, but I couldn’t go past Freycinet again – that place really got a hold of me. We’re talking beach walks, picnics, hikes, bay cruises, scenic flights and more. To get the true beauty of the stunning local scenery and wildlife I recommend kayaking around Coles Bay with your significant other.

Take a three-hour guided paddle around the bay with Freycinet Adventures. It’s a definite bucket list item and breathtakingly beautiful. You’ll glide beneath pink granite mountains, past pristine sandy beaches and on top of crystal-clear waters. The tours are in small groups but you paddle with your partner and kind of forget anyone else is around. The tour involves a morning snack and coffee on a remote private island – it’s such a unique experience.  If physical activity isn’t really your thing for your honeymoon, firstly I hear you, but you can rest assured this is a beginner level paddle at a leisurely pace. It’s worth the effort. Come on, you’ve got the rest of your honeymoon to sit back at the hotel with a drink in hand!

Don’t forget to also check out New York, Kyoto, Myajima Island, The Whitsundays and Lake Louise, Canada, San Francisco as great honeymoon destinations!

Ms Zebra Says: Ahh Tasmania! Secluded and romantic. It really does provide a wonderful backdrop for any honeymoon! Thanks Mr Houndstooth for helping us explore!

About Mr Houndstooth: I am a happily married man. I enjoy a fine whisky, a new suit and swashbuckling around town with my beautiful bride. Looking back on my wedding day always makes me smile, even though it began to rain just as we said ‘I do’.