Tasmania Destination Guide
Australia's island state takes friendly mockery from mainland dwellers on the chin, having the last laugh when it comes to their enviable lifestyle and pristine wilderness. Long known as Australia's best kept secret, Tasmania is enjoying an influx of visitors who have cottoned on to the Apple Isle's diverse holiday experiences.
One of Tassie's great appeals is its rich Colonial heritage, with World Heritage Listed convict sites offering a glimpse into the country's rough and tumble origins. Grand sandstone estates, ghost-ridden gaols and crumbling fortifications are found in townships scattered around the state, sharing the stories of the unique characters who settled the untamed land. Port Arthur is the most well known penal colony and arguably the best preserved convict site in Australia where you can explore the impressive penitentiary, time-bound chapels and cottages hugging Mason Cove.
A delightful blend of old and new, the southernmost capital city Hobart is Tasmania's cultural heart. While it has preserved its original 19th century charm, there is a contemporary cosmopolitan sway making its way through the city streets that is hard to miss. You won't have any trouble filling your itinerary in Hobart – visit the famous Salamanca Market where hundreds of stallholders peddle fresh produce and handcrafts against the backdrop of repurposed warehouses, settle in at a cosy cafe at Battery Point or lace up your hiking boots and tackle Mount Wellington.
Still got time up your sleeve? Tour the Cascade Brewery, the Cadbury Chocolate Factory or cruise up the River Derwent to the subterranean Museum of Old and New Art. Heading out of the waterfront capital, the second largest city Launceston in the state's north is the gateway to the Tamar Valley wine region, boasting a classic Tasmanian charm and laissez-faire way of life. There is something magical lurking beneath the surface of Van Diemen's Land that cultivates the sweetest fruit and crisp wines to complement the fresh seafood caught off the coast, upholding the state's reputation as a gourmet paradise.
Tasmania's main bragging point is, of course, its spectacular scenery. With nearly half of the island cloaked in national parks and reserves, Tassie is a nature lover's seventh heaven. To the east, Freycinet's pink granite mountains guard alabaster beaches; in the west, the imposing Cradle Mountain is mirrored in the glass-like lakes that surround. Tasmania encourages an adventurous spirit with no limit of outdoor pursuits, equally matched with a hearty dose of leisure.