Tasmania is an Australian island state, just off the coast of Australia. In fact, it ranks as the 26th largest island in the world. There are over 300 smaller, outer-lying islands just off its coast. Evidence shows that Tasmania was once part of mainland Australia, but sea tides severed the island some 10,000 years ago. Human presence can be traced back more than 30,000 years in Tasmania to the Tasmanian Aborigines who established nine different ethnic groups before the Europeans landed on the island in the early 1800s. The European settlements took a stark toll on the native Tasmanians through diseases, war and bi-racial marriages, which reduced a thriving native population from 10,000 down to just a few hundred.
Today, Tasmania is home to just over a half million people who share some 25,000 square miles of varied terrain. Even though it’s the most mountainous islands in the world, but it has plenty of lush green land as well. Forty percent of the island is reserved for national parks and has some of the world’s cleanest air. Tasmania remains a tourist hotspot, both for Australians and international visitors. The island welcomed some 850,000 tourists in 2011 alone, who pumped more than $1.5 billion dollars into the economy. Tourists return to Tasmania each year for the scenic beauty, cultural offerings and vast array of interesting sites and locals to visit. We’re going to highlight some of the best Tasmanian destinations that you don’t want to miss if you’re planning a trip there.
Source – slieschke
A penal colony to ‘control the uncontrollable’ (or a place for the worst of the worst) was established on Sarah Island in 1822. The prisoners came from far and wide – from all walks of life and spent their days toiling away in the hot Tasmanian sun. There were men, women and children. Sarah Island was known for being one of the most severe penal settlements of its time, offering little hope to those who were condemned here.
Source – arthur_chapman
Port Arthur was another famous penal settlement in Tasmania. It began in 1830 and was a sprawling compound with many colorful inmates with colorful histories. Its location made escaping very hard, but it wasn’t impossible because, as secluded as it was, Port Arthur was infamous for its prisoner escape rate. To circumvent this, a ‘Dog Line’ was established just below Port Arthur at Eaglehawk Neck. The dog line was just that – a line of chained dogs tethered along the crossing to deter prisoners from passing that way.
World Heritage Area
Source – eedh
Tasmania’s World Heritage Area is comprised of nearly 1.5 million hectares of some of the world’s most pristine landscape. Most of Tasmania’s national parks are in this area as well. Suitable for very experienced backpackers and hikers, Tasmania’s World Heritage Area is like a world all its own. The climate changes as much and often as the terrain and communication to the outside world via electronic means is cut off, due to the area’s remote location. Truly the place to go to ‘get away from it all’.
Source – jomilo75
The Salamanca Market held in the Salamanca Square in Hobart is the intersection of Old Tasmania and New Tasmania. Surrounding the courtyard, you’ll find fantastic Georgian architecture, dating back to the early 1800s, that tells some of the city’s story. On Saturdays, the Square is teeming with hundreds of vendors peddling everything from antiques to handmade toys to regional food and treats. On Friday nights, the Square comes to life with Hobart’s healthy music scene, with performers playing everything from traditional Australian music to cutting edge New Wave sounds.
Source – cyborgelph
Take the 13mi drive up to the summit of Mount Wellington. Once at the top, you can see for miles via the enclose observation deck. The summit offers panoramic views of Tasmania that you just can’t get anywhere else. It’s also the windiest spot in Hobart. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, take one of the many bike or hike trails instead of your car!
Source – nossinator
Hastings Caves have been around some 40 million years, but were not discovered until 1917 when some local timber workers stumbled upon a hollowed out entrance into the side of a mountain. The most famous cave in the group is the Newdegate Cave. It’s spacious, well it and easily accessible via 240 stairs that are scattered throughout the cave. Aside from the natural wonders inside the cave, there’s also a souvenir shop, picnic areas, BBQ pits and camping areas along with a naturally fed hot springs that maintains an 82 degree year round.
Mole Creek Karst National Park
Source – mawari
If you really get into the cave thing and would like to see some of the most amazing ones that Tasmania and the world has to offer – a trip to Mole Creek Karst National Park is in order. There are more than 300 caves and sink holes in the park, most of which are readily accessible for exploring. Stalagmites, stalactites, pillars and more all formed naturally and all on display for your exploring pleasure.
Source – julieedgley
A 90 minute walking tour of this historic old (and haunted) city will reveal to you some of its darkest secrets. It has been said that some of the residents of the historic buildings in the city never left. Hear their stories and find out why.
Walk Louisa’s Walk
Source – rgs_
The history of Hobart is riddled with stories of the tragedies that befell the thousands of convicts that were shuffled through the area in the times of penal colonies. Via costumed actor putting on strolling theater in the streets of Hobart, you’ll learn the story of Luisa – who was sentenced to seven years in one of the harsh Tasmanian penal colonies. Her crime? Stealing a loaf of bread.
West Coast Wilderness Railway
Source – haynes
The West Coast Wilderness Railway is a 22 mile adventure through the pristine green wilderness of Tasmania via a steam train. The train and tracks are restored originals once used to transport copper through the region in the 1800s. Refreshments are available on board the train in the form of wine, cheese and pastries.
Take To The Water
Source – lachlanrogers
Given Tasmania prime location on two seas and the many rivers that flow through it, there are lots of water-based sightseeing and touring companies who can tailor a cruise to fir your needs – whether it’s one afternoon of watery fun or a several hour long dinner cruise exploring every harbor along the coast, no visit to Tasmania is complete without seeking the island from the water.
- Cell phone and Internet access are limited in Tasmania, due to its secluded location. Plan well advance for this and make an alternate plan for staying in touch with members of your traveling party.
- Tasmania is one of the cleanest and disease-free places in the world. They are notorious for their strict ordinances to ensure they remain that way. For this reason, no dirt, plants, vegetables, fruits or honey into Tasmania and officials will make sure you do not by conducting searches of your belongings at points of entries.
- Like the rest of Australia, Tasmanian people drive on the left side of the road. Inexperienced drivers should refrain from renting cars or driving due to the likelihood of accidents being increased by the reverse-side driving rule.
- If you do plan to drive or rent a car in Tasmania, be advised that an international license is not required, so long as you are 21 years of age (for rental purposes) and hold a current driver’s license from your home country.
- Tasmania is a popular destination for a variety of seasonal events. When one is in progress, accommodations may be at a premium and a minimum number of nights may be imposed on bookings.