Tasmania, an isolated island 150 miles south of the Australian mainland, is a land of extremes and is known for its vast, rugged wilderness areas, largely protected within parks and reserves. From the pristine white beaches of its east coast to its desolate alpine plateaus and majestic mountains, Tasmania is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. The island offers outstanding hiking and trekking opportunities, ranging from short, waterfall-rich trails through primordial forest to remote multi-day wilderness treks along Cradle Mountain’s Overland track. Adrenaline junkies can hike Wellington Park’s Organ Pipes.
You can explore the island's rocky coastlines by kayak or boat, or raft down its wild rivers. Freycinet National Park is an ideal location for snorkeling, diving and kayaking and beach bums will love it’s dazzling white beaches at Wineglass Bay and Bay of Fires.
Then there’s Tasmania’s wildlife including the platypus, wombat, wallabies, Bicheno’s penguins and, of course, the Tasmanian devil. The Southern Ocean is home to seals and dolphins.
Tasmania has a fascinating history and is steeped in convict lore. In the early 19th Century the British Empire established a penal colony here in Port Arthur. More than 75,000 convicts were sent to what was then known as Van Diemen's Land, where most were conscripted into hard labor. Upon arriving, William Smith O'Brien, an Irish political prisoner, wrote to his wife: "To find a jail in one of the loveliest spots formed by the hand of Nature in one of her loneliest solitudes creates a revulsion of feeling which I cannot describe." Visit the open-air museum or enjoy a heart pounding, evening ghost tour at this the Historic Site.
Known as the “Apple Island”, Tasmania retains strong farming and seafaring roots. Thanks to the growing reputation of its locally made wines, beers and spirits, along with its gourmet food and seafood, and its art galleries, boutiques and variety of shops, however, it is losing its “Apple Island” image. In Hobart, the port capital, Salamanca Place's Georgian warehouses now house galleries and boutiques. Its Museum of Old and New Art has a contemporary edge.
For visitors, the compact nature of Tasmania is a great advantage. With good roads and few cars, it’s possible to drive from one end of the island to the other in a single day.
If you're dreaming of a remote destination filled with historical charm, pristine beaches, unique wildlife and jaw-dropping mountains, then consider vacationing in Tasmania.
WHEN TO GO
Despite its location Tasmania is a year-round destination. That said, the weather is notoriously changeable and can slip from winter to spring and on through fall in a matter of hours. Weather wise, summers (December to March) are the best time to travel, although it is also the busiest time, with the entire population partaking in activities like sailing, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking or just enjoying the sun. Seal pups are also born in summer and migrating birds flock to the island.
Hobart hosts numerous events in Summer, including the Summer Festival, over New Year, with concerts, theatre and the foodie fest Taste.
You can experience warm sunny days throughout the year, however, and some people prefer to visit in the cooler, less touristy months.
Early fall tends to be fine and bright and offers visitors beautiful displays of colorful woodland foliage. Humpback and southern right whales can been seen offshore at this time, on their annual migration.
Spring can be pleasant, although typically windy. This is also the joey (baby) season for kangaroos and wallabies.
Winter (June-August) is generally cold and wet.