As a rule, we’re not fond of the online forum. However, we do like to encourage positive discussion about matters relevant to Think Tasmania. We receive so many questions from readers and we do try to answer as best we can. Recently we’ve started allocating one post per day on our Facebook page (at 6:00pm) to reader questions. We’ve dubbed it forum o’clock, and it’s taken off like a rocket.

Forum - Think Tasmania

Think Tasmania: forum questions (photo by Dan Fellow)

Tasmania: Forum Questions

Obviously, a more permanent forum solution needs go on the Think Tasmania list: Things To Make Happen… and soon! In the meantime, we’ll soldier on with the 6:00pm (forum o’clock) system on Facebook, despite the fact it’s quite labour intensive.

We posted this Facebook status today…

We’re still receiving reader questions, so that’s great. All forum questions (relevant to Think Tasmania) will be shared, but we do currently have a small queue, so don’t worry if there’s a slight delay… it will happen. Sharing one a day is probably enough! We’ll share forum questions in the order they’re received. To ask a question email Tania or send a Facebook message. And please, try and keep the questions brief. We also transfer some comments from the website for those who don’t use Facebook (and then relay the answers via email). Phew!

And one more thing (there’s more… OMG!!). We’re fine with business owners asking a question of our readers. Use a christian name only, and keep it real. It’s more about feedback than advertising. Thanks!

Business Owners, Tourists, Locals and Sea-Changers

Everyone is welcome to join the forum discussion on Facebook or submit questions. Obviously here at Think Tasmania we work with business owners AND we distribute information to our readers. Those two aspects are firmly intertwined. Over the years we’ve found our readers to be a great source of helpful advice, and we even use the questions and resulting answers to source ideas for future articles.

Forum - Tasmanian Tourism

Tasmanian tourism: forum questions (photo by Dan Fellow)

The communication between business owners, tourists, locals and potential sea-changers has been nothing short of amazing in the forum scenario. As we’ve mentioned on Facebook, there’s no right or wrong answer; everyone is entitled to their own opinion and we should all continue to respect that.

So You Want to Move to Tasmania?

Much of the feedback we receive via Think Tasmania is from people looking to move to Tasmania. We moved here ourselves about five years ago, so we can relate to many of the issues that arise in the forum. We could just give our own personal opinion and be done with it, but what’s the value in that? Everyone has a unique story to tell or an experience to share, and we’re happy to facilitate a discussion.

The cross-over between the Think Tasmania website and our Facebook page has just been remarkable. I’d like to share one example of that with you here.

This 6:00pm (forum o’clock) question from Francis was shared with our readers on our Facebook page, 19 April 2013…

We’d like to make the sea-change to Tasmania within the next year. We totally can’t narrow down the choices of town after reading about all these great regions. We like the idea of a quiet life… small farm with a cottage, animals, nice views. We are middle-aged, empty-nesters who will work from home, only requiring Internet services. Help us!

Back in July 2012, Marie from Ireland wrote to us asking for assistance from local people as her family planned a move to Tasmania. We published her questions on the website, and you can read all the public responses at the end of that article. There’s one response in particular I’d like to share here. It comes from Barry (and I paraphrase)…

We live in the Huon Valley just south of Hobart. Tasmania is a fabulous place to live and an especially great place to raise a family. The people are friendly, scenery is wonderful and so on, the folks who have already commented have covered all that, so I won’t bang on and on about it. They are right!

The Huon Valley is the best part of this wonderful island (ok, I’ll admit to a bit of bias). Close to Hobart, and a high proportion of people who have moved here from interstate or overseas, so a great mix of locals and blow-ins – and it works.

The job situation isn’t quite as good as other parts of Australia, but good people do get jobs. Wages are generally a bit lower than the mainland, but the cost of living is a lot less (some things a bit dearer, but big ticket things like housing a lot cheaper).

If you are looking at any particular district as a possible new home and good Internet access is essential to you, you should check that out. We are in an area with no prospect of ADSL or even the NBN fibre optic cable. We have got the latest two-way satellite connection. It is proving reliable, but the maximum download speed seems to be around 4 megs which is okay for Skype – just. They say that should improve to 8 or 10 megs within a year or so – which is still well short of what’s been promised under the fibre optic NBN. So that may be an issue you need to check out. And note that the Internet issue might be quite different for a property just a few hundred yards up the road. Don’t assume the NBN coverage maps are accurate right down to the individual property.

The property market is fairly flat in the Huon Valley, so you can get a place with views, acreage or whatever that you wouldn’t be able to afford elsewhere. Prices fall away once you’re more than 40 minutes drive from Hobart. And commuting to Hobart is a breeze. Peak hour lasts about five minutes on a bad day.

Tasmanian food is the best in the world. If you are a foodie, you don’t need to die to go to Heaven.

And it’s an absolute paradise if you’re into bushwalking, kayaking and that sort of eco-activity. Plenty of great beaches or walks where you are pretty much on your own. It’s very uncrowded most of the time.

We borrowed one of those movement-sensor field cameras last year so we could get an idea of what wildlife we have on the farm at night. The good news is that we have a lot of Tassie devils and they all look healthy (ie no sign of facial tumour disease). And we also have a pair of wedge-tailed eagles that now call our place home – we think their nest must be up around the dam somewhere. Magnificent creatures.

And the climate here in the Huon Valley is the best. Winters are mild – well, it’s been a bit cold the last few weeks, but nothing like a UK winter. It can get a bit wet in the Huon Valley but, hey, you’re from Ireland. Summers are mild which means you can do those bushwalks and mountain climbs in comfort.

If you come to Tassie to check the place out, I’m sure many of the folk who have posted comments here would be happy to show you around their part of this glorious place. Good luck!

Forum Feedback: Constructive and Diverse Opinions

Now you may not agree with Barry that the Huon Valley is the best part of this wonderful island. And that’s okay. You can have your say as well, as long as you respect Barry’s right to an opinion. The point is, the wonderful information provided in Barry’s reply is still so pertinent and helpful for Francis almost 12 months later. And you can’t get more grass-roots in terms of personal experience.

Forum - Move to Tasmania

Forum questions: move to Tasmania (photo by Dan Fellow)

So the moral of today’s tale is this: we can provide information to our readers, who are all engaged and eager to share in the discussion about Tasmania. And this new Clayton’s forum is helping to harness the knowledge and enthusiasm of a much wider audience. We say thanks to those asking questions; and thanks to those providing answers. What a great network we have here at Think Tasmania. Just brilliant.

We credit Barry with inspiring our decision to move to Tasmania all those years ago. We were house-sitting our way around Australia, and arrived at his sheep farm near Geeveston, south of Hobart. But that’s a whole other story, and we’ll save that for another day.