Queensland local Jason Hill (@jasoncharleshill) is a world- traveller and photographer with nearly 20,000 followers on Instagram. So when he froths on Tassie’s landscapes, there’s a good reason. We caught up with Jason to hear about his recent trip to Tasmania with Flight Centre. He’s clearly a fan – but you can let the photos and interview below speak for themselves.
Was this your first time to Tasmania?
Yes! Tasmania had been on my bucket list for quite some time. I was coincidentally looking into checking it out later in the year so when I was told that I would be given the opportunity to come down and check it out with Flight Centre and Tourism Tasmania, I was ecstatic!
How is it different to other parts of Australia? Does it feel quite remote and unique?
Tassie feels untouched and undiscovered. There are so many places to get out and explore. I loved the remoteness of Tassie, on my adventures I only saw a few other travellers. It was so different from the busier places and tracks I have travelled to before.
What was the highlight of the trip?
Wow, now that really makes me think, I was seriously impressed with the entire place! But if I had to choose one highlight it would have to be the sunrise at Cradle Mountain. It's really hard for me describe in words what I felt when I witnessed first light hit the face of Cradle Mountain while Dove Lake was showing an absolutely perfect reflection. It resembled something fit for an art gallery and was easily one of the best moments of my life.
How did you get around?
We drove the around Northwest Tassie which I think is the best way to do it. We had so many of those "STOP THE CAR!" moments so we could get out and take photographs. Driving gives you the freedom to stop where you wish and it couldn't have been easier, with only two hours between major destinations. When I wasn't driving I was totally fixated on the changing landscape happening outside my window, from mountains, forest and rugged seascapes. There was so much to see!
Tassie is well known for its food and wine scene, what’s the best meal you had there?
With the amount of travel we did it was always welcoming to arrive at the next location and sit down to sample the local food – always accompanied by a drop of the local beer, James Boags, of course! I had an exceptionally tasty calamari from the Tall Timbers restaurant in Smithton. On our final day we took a trip up to Mount Gnomon Farm and were very privileged to dine on some of the local pork with their farm fresh veggies. The food melted in my mouth!
Did you come across any unique locals (human or otherwise)?
[Laughs] I'll never forget the wombat I met while taking photos of the stars out at Cradle Mountain. He was so inquisitive and curious and wasn't fazed by my presence at all! It was a really awesome moment. The people in Tassie were also really welcoming, every time we stopped we were always greeted with someone keen to have a chat and know what we were up to.
This trip was the ‘Tassie Top 4’ if you had to choose four places to recommend to friends to visit, where would they be?
It's really hard for me to narrow down just four, because I would recommend you come to Tassie and see the lot, but if you're strapped for time and only have a limited number of days then I would recommend hitting the West Coast. The West Coast gives you a diverse range of scenery. You get to see the spectacular Cradle Mountain, the quaint fishing village of Stanley and the Tarkine which is a remote wilderness forest that is absolutely incredible. You’ll also cover Launceston which is great for a history lesson and has some of best food I’ve ever eaten – and if you're lucky you may even see some penguins!
Where are you based when not on the road travelling?
Home is Queensland. I grew up about 40mins outside of Brisbane not far from the coast. When I'm in town you will usually find me at the beach enjoying a social surf or hiking off trail through Lamington National Park.
When did you start taking photos?
I started when I was fairly young by taking photos of friends surfing and what not and I guess it grew from there. It wasn't until I really started travelling that I realised that I had the photography bug. I found myself in all these amazing destinations with a camera so I decided why not document my travels and the rest is history.
What was the first camera you shot on? What do you shoot on now?
I'm kind of embarrassed to say but I've only really had a decent camera over the past 3 years. I used to sneak into my Mum's closet and borrow her old Kodak camera, which at the time was pretty good, and try and sneak it back before she found out [Laughs]. These days I shoot with a Sony Full-Frame Mirrorless camera and I'm not looking back. With the places I go and the distances I travel I really need a lightweight package. But as they say, the best camera is the one you have with you.
Are you self-taught or did you study photography?
100% self taught. Never really saw the need to do a course but I guess it wouldn't hurt. I'm the kind of person who buys something and doesn't read the instructions [Laughs]. Sometimes it fails / sometimes it works!
How did you get into the travel photography industry?
Instagram! I had just spent the summer hiking through Switzerland and posting pictures of my adventures when things started getting crazy. People really started to engage and respond to the style of my images and that's how it all began. I have been very lucky with the opportunities I've had and the calibre of companies I've worked with considering I am relatively new to the game compared to others. I've enjoyed every minute of it!
Where are you off to next?
That's a good question. I would honestly jump on a plane and go anywhere, I just love to travel. I'm really attracted to wild, rugged and remote landscapes so one day I would really like to get to Iceland and see it for myself. In the short term I am hoping to get back and explore more of the South Island of New Zealand and I’m also planning to get back to Tassie later in the year and explore the places I missed on this trip. I have a ridiculously long list I want to tick off!