Separated from mainland Australia by the 150-mile stretch of the Bass Strait, Tasmania is a land apart. A place of wild and beautiful landscapes, friendly and welcoming people, a pleasant, temperate climate, wonderful wine and food, a rich history, and a relaxed island lifestyle. Over one-third of this island state is protected land, so there are endless trails to hike from mountains to coast. In western Tasmania you can find the world's last great temperate wilderness, the Tasmanian World Heritage Area. Kayak on a secluded mountain lake, ride a bike in a forest of some of the world's tallest hardwood trees or leave your footprints in the sand of one of the world's most beautiful beaches at Wineglass Bay.
Tasmania is a living ark of rare and amazing animals, many of which can be observed at close range in national parks. A torchlight walk at dusk is the perfect time to meet quolls, possums, wallabies, and wombats. The elusive platypus hangs out in the highland lakes and streams, hard to spot but worth the patience. Tasmania's wildlife parks permit close-up views of the Tasmanian devil.
One cannot travel the byways of Tasmania without being mindful of the colonial heritage of this former penal colony. Across the state are buildings and bridges built by hard convict labor. A visit to the prison settlement at Port Arthur is a chilling reminder of the hardships faced by early inhabitants.
Tasmania's mild climate, rich soils, sunny days and proximity to the sea ensure a bountiful harvest. World-class ales, beers, and cool-climate wines complement the freshest of produce from land and sea. A visit to the Salamanca Market, held every Saturday in Hobart, and a meal at one of the island's many fine cafes affords the visitor an up close and personal experience with Tasmania's culinary delights.
Tasmania is full of pleasant surprises and warm hospitality. It's a great self-drive destination and, unlike mainland Australia, much of it can be seen within the confines of a one- or two-week holiday. Put a visit to Tassie on your itinerary. You'll be so glad you did!
Photos Courtesy of: Luxury Lodges of Australia