Some say islands are metaphors for the heart. Isolation mightn’t be too good for romance, but Tasmania has turned remoteness into an asset, with unique wilderness and hip arts and food scenes.
To understand Australian colonial history, you first need to understand Tasmanian history. The often tragic story of the island plays out through its haunting convict sites: the sublime scenery around Port Arthur only serves to reinforce the area’s grim history. It’s just as easy to conjure up visions of the raffish past in Hobart’s Battery Point and atmospheric harbourside pubs. Elsewhere, architectural treasures include the stoic convict-built bridges at Ross, Richmond and Campbell Town, and Launceston’s quality cache of heritage houses. Meanwhile, the state’s ongoing obsession with the (probably) extinct Tasmanian tiger continues – are you out there, thylacine?
Wild by Nature
From the squeaky white sand and lichen-splashed granite of the east coast to the bleak alpine plateaus of Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania punches well above its weight when it comes to natural beauty. Hiking opportunities range from short forest trails leading to waterfalls, to multiday wilderness epics with no one else in sight. You can explore the island’s craggy coastlines and wild rivers by kayak, raft, yacht or cruise boat. Tassie’s native wildlife is ever-present: spy Tasmanian devils after dark, share the Southern Ocean swell with seals and dolphins, or watch penguins waddling home at dusk.
First it was all about apples…but now the Apple Isle’s contribution to world food extends to premium seafood, cheese, bread, honey, nuts, stone fruit, craft beer, whisky and intensely flavoured cool-climate wines. Many smaller producers are owned and operated by passionate foodies: Tasmania is seemingly made for a driving holiday visiting farm-gate suppliers and providores. After you’ve sampled the produce, book a table at a top restaurant and see how the local chefs transform it.
From wine, beer and food festivals to hot-ticket arts and music events, Tasmania packs a lot of parties into the year. Hobart’s beautiful docks play host to many, from the Taste of Tasmania to the heritage glories of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Art and culture get their game on during MONA FOMA and Ten Days on the Island, and winter’s brooding, edgy Dark MOFO. Festivale brings the party to Launceston. Escape for a long weekend – how many more reasons do you need?
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