Tantalizing Tasmania is called ‘The Holiday Isle’ for its light-hearted lifestyle. However Australia’s only island state takes a serious approach to resource preservation.
Tasmanians have preserved their colonial heritage in interesting historical sites for visitors to explore. But they also recognise the great natural heritage of pristine national parks as one fifth of Tasmania is designated a World Heritage site.
The most renowned wilderness areas are in the west of this heart-shaped island, and they are all easily accessible by road from Hobart or Launceston. The largest national parks with heritage listing are; Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers, and South-West National Park. This part of Tasmania has been dubbed ‘The land that time almost forgot’, and it’s true that isolation from mainland Australia has enabled this wilderness area to survive.
Hobart, an engaging and easy-going capital city, sits astride the Derwent River under the towering form of Mt Wellington. Exploring on foot is an easy way to view attractive streets lined with historic buildings in Battery Point and other Old Hobart Town areas. Imposing warehouses have been converted into galleries, restaurants and craft shops, and you will see the Theatre Royal, Australia’s oldest continually operating theatre. Visit the Salamanca Markets and choose a local seafood dish at one of the fine restaurants in the area. The Tasmanian Museum, Art Gallery, Botanical Gardens and the quaint settlement of worker’s cottages called Arthur’s Circus, should not be missed. A side trip out to the notorious penal settlement at Port Arthur, will give you an insight into the island’s chequered past.
Driving north from Hobart you will find some beautiful white sand beaches along the east coast road. You will pass many settlements, which tempt you to stop and enjoy the comfort and hospitality of a village inn. The highlights are Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park, the Bay of Fires and Maria Island.
Launceston, two hours north of Hobart, has interesting design centres, colonial buildings, gardens and walking trails. From here you follow the northern coast to Stanley where you can enjoy a chairlift ride to an impressive lava outcrop called The Nut. Highlights of the western region are the World Heritage parks, Mt Ossa, Mole Creek caves, Macquarie Harbour, Ocean Beach and the Overland Track, Australia’s most famous bush walk.
Touring ‘Tassie’ is an exhilarating experience with extraordinary sights appearing around every bend in the road. Prepare yourself for countless surprises such as stunning rock forms, glacial lakes, towering waterfalls, treetop walkways, booming blowholes, old oast-houses, fearsome ‘Tassie’ devils, fun-filled festivals and much more. Tasmania is a veritable ‘feast’ of visual and culinary treats that will forever hold a place in your memory.