We receive all sorts of weird and wonderful comments and lots of feedback when articles are published by Think Tasmania. Today, I’d like to share something in the “wonderful” category from Robert Stephens about his Travels in Tasmania. We initially received this brief note via our contact page…

New travel documentary: Travels in Tasmania

I was inspired to include a section on mailboxes by your article on that subject. I will return to Tasmania in late January to shoot the second half of my documentary. Warm regards and thanks for your fine work, Robert

We contacted Robert to find out more; and to request permission to share his documentary with our readers. This is the resulting conversation.

Travels in Tasmania: Documentary

by Robert Stephens

Firstly and most importantly, we’d like to share a link to the documentary titled Travels in Tasmania. Robert, with wife and fellow keen photographer Marie, chose to visit Tasmania for the first time in February 2012. By their own admission, they “completely fell in love with the island” and decided to tour only the eastern half, saving the west and northwest regions for a follow-up trip in 2013.

Travels in Tasmania - Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian devil (photo Dan Fellow)

Robert has told about 20 stories in the first instalment of Travels in Tasmania. Bruny Island is featured, including Dr. Tonia Cochran and her Inala Conservation property. The Tasman Peninsula is also a major focus, including the Tessellated Pavement and Port Arthur Convict Settlement.

Travels in Tasmania - Port Artthur

Travels in Tasmania: Port Arthur (photo Dan Fellow)

The documentary includes a mixture of scenes highlighting endemic native wildlife such as albino wallabies, rufous bellied pademelons, forty spotted pardalotes, echidnas, fairy penguins and Tasmanian Devils with more typical tourist activities such as the Bruny Island Adventure Cruise and Freycinet Wineglass Bay Cruise. Also included: Hobart 19th century architecture and visits to two Midlands heritage towns (Ross and Oatlands).

Travels in Tasmania - Wineglass Bay

Wineglass Bay: travels in Tasmania (photo Dan Fellow)

Documentary Style of Robert Stephens

Of course, people are curious about Rektango, the Salamanca Market and MONA so Robert has included segments on those. The documentary also highlights some Tasmanian eccentricities such as the curious sign outside the Penguin Cafe in Adventure Bay and the interesting range of mailbox designs that they encountered along the way. Robert also managed to slip in some of his favorite dishes, activities and meals such as the blueberry pie at Kate’s Berry Farm in Swansea, strawberry picking at Hillwood Berry Farm outside Launceston and memorable meals at Stillwater and Hotel Bruny.

Travels in Tasmania - Salamanca

Salamanca, Hobart Tasmania (photo Dan Fellow)

Robert would sum up his documentary style as telling stories about events, museums, people, wildlife and scenery that can only be found during travels in Tasmania. Specifically, the cleanliness and social heritage of the environment, the friendliness and passion of the people they encountered, the beauty of the scenery, the quality of the food and drink, the lively cultural activities and the uniqueness of the wildlife are all part of the special draw that Tasmania has.

As you can tell, Travels in Tasmania by Robert Stephens sounds well worth watching! We did just that and found it very enjoyable, particularly liking Robert’s voice-over and accent.

Story Behind Travels in Tasmania

We also asked Robert to reveal a little about himself. He writes…

To give you some background, I have been working in the field of television and online media for about twenty years. I’ve always had a fascination with Australia since my father, who was a diplomat, served as consul in Sydney a few years before I was born in Japan. Growing up, my parents told me many wonderful stories of their travels throughout Australia, mostly by camper.

I have a full-time job as a Senior Media Manager at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, USA. However since 2008, I have spent about three weeks every year traveling to Australia shooting documentaries in various regions, starting with the Northern Territory. All the while, I have been polishing my skills as a documentarian, doing all the shooting, editing, writing and voice-overs for my films. My wife, Marie, travels with me and adds her photographs to my collection. Sometimes, residents and fellow travelers contribute photographs to the finished productions. I have been partly supported in my travels by various Hollywood studios and cable networks in the States that have bought some of my footage and edited clips.

Travels in Tasmania: Australian Series

My overall goal is to create seven documentaries about Australia that will be shown as a series on public television in the US. In these films, I try to highlight the work of naturalists and conservationists throughout Oz, as well as trying to capture the special essence of places that are not usually considered tourist icons, but have special qualities for the visitor and native alike.

I don’t consider my first film: Travels in the Northern Territory (2008) a real documentary since I did not fully narrate it.  Nevertheless, it has found abiding popularity on YouTube with over 39,000 views.

My next two films were about Lord Howe Island and featured on-camera appearances by the noted naturalist, Ian Hutton, who has lectured at Harvard and Longwood Gardens near Wilmington, Delaware, and has written several books about the island.

My films have been highlighted in the Lord Howe Showcase created by the Lord Howe Island Tourist Authority, along with David Attenborough’s Life of Birds that had a segment shot on Lord Howe.

In 2011, I traveled on a road trip throughout Southwest Australia and produced the namesake: Travels in Southwest Australia which was my first full-length documentary (26 minutes) and featured a birdwatching excursion with the resident expert, Peter Taylor. It has been reviewed in Top Documentary Stream.

Robert Stephens Contact Details:

Mobile:  571-328-6345
Address:  6545 Old Chesterbrook Road, McLean, VA 22101 USA

Robert and Marie will be staying at St. Ives Apartments in Hobart on January 23-27 and February 8-10. In between, they will be staying in Strahan, Cradle Mountain, Stanley and Launceston.

We can only hope that the Travels in Tasmania documentary will be as popular as the earlier versions. How could anyone resist a visit to our beautiful island once they’ve seen the images shared by Marie and Robert Stephens? We thank them for sharing their story with our readers and look forward to hearing about Part Two as it evolves.