Rapidly gaining a reputation as having some of the finest food and wine in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia's island state of Tasmania, which also has a total ban on all GM produce, is increasingly attracting visitors drawn by its reputation for its pristine environment, walking and wildlife. However, knowing where to find the best spots for lunch and dinner on an island that is largely covered by rainforest and wilderness can be daunting.

Australian holiday experts, Australian Pacific Touring (APT), has launched a new 'Gourmet Wanderer' tour that allows visitors to enjoy the very best of Tasmania's food, wine and dining experiences in the most scenic of locations.

Visitors will find themselves shucking the freshest oysters in the Southern Hemisphere, tasting the creamiest cheeses by the world's tallest tree ferns, and sipping the smoothest Riesling and Pinot Noir wines. The cities of Launceston and Hobart, both on picturesque river locations, with mountains as backdrops, are equally renowned for their restaurants and cafes, with Hobart's Salamanca Market gaining legendary status Down Under.

The tours range from four to eight days in length, and like many of APT's holidays, can be tailor made with the Freedom Concept. This allows guests to choose the complimentary excursions that suit their interests best, as well as having the chance to explore the local dining scene with Dine Around Dinners.

Walking, wilderness and wildlife form the basis of any visit to Tasmania and the Gourmet Wanderer tour is no different. Some of the most scenic spots on the tour, where sightings of some of the world's rarest and most unusual marsupial mammals are guaranteed, include the remote beaches of the Bay of Fires and the iconic national parks of the Freycinet Peninsular and Cradle Mountain.

The tour ventures across several eco-zones to the west coast town of Strahan and the tannin-stained Gordon River deep in the heart of the west coast temperate rainforest.

Mouthwatering highlights include cheese tasting at the island's leading cheese factory at Pyengana, famous for its King Island blue cheeses; slurping oysters fresh from the world's cleanest waters at the Barilla Bay Oyster Farm; tasting the sweetest of berries at Sorrell Fruit Farm, and lunching at Strathlynn, a top winery in the fertile Tamar Valley that serves award-winning organic food.

Those game for a bit of adventure can try their hands (and their stomachs) at activities such as a 4WD tour at Freycinet, followed by some sea kayaking. Those wanting more of a passive experience can board Bruny Island Cruises for a trip along the highest cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere, to view the colonies of Australian fur seals, dolphins and birdlife in the Great Southern Ocean.

The eight day tour costs from £1,395 per person and includes 15 meals including a hot breakfast daily. Shorter tours of four and five days cost £795 and £895 respectively. Prices are based on twin share accommodation (flights are additional). The tours run from late October to late April.

For further information visit www.aptouring.co.uk.

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