Top Destination for 2009
If you are thinking of a typical Australian experience when you visit Tasmania, think again. In Tasmania, you will not find the arid outback, or vast stretches of desert. Instead, you will experience landscapes of staggering beauty variety and abundance. In the north and south-east of the island, you will encounter rich, fertile rolling hills, whilst in the central highlands there are lakes and mountains. In the south and south west, you can explore the wild and virtually untouched coastlines. Tasmania is not short of breathtaking countryside, with about 20% of the island designated with World Heritage status and another 10% consisting of national parks and nature reserves. If you have been sweltering in the heat of mainland Australia, you will enjoy Tasmania's temperate climate, which makes it ideal for trekking. You may want to enjoy walking the Overland Track in Cradle-Mountain-Lake in St Clair National Park, or wandering through dark Gondwanan rainforest South-west National Park, or perhaps watching two wild rivers tumble through valleys as if they are one in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Although small by Australian standards, the island is on a similar scale to Britain and not only offers a rich diversity of landscapes and wilderness, but many other attractions too. Its relatively small size means that you can visit most places without spending long hours on a bus, or in the car. Tasmania has a fascinating history and you may want to steep yourself in 18th and 19th century colonial life on Hobart’s riverfront cobblestone streets, or perhaps visit the former penal colony at Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula. This is Tasmania's most popular tourist attraction and it will give you a unique insight into what life was like during the convict days. Alternatively, you may want to discover shipwrecks and diamonds on Flinders Island. Tasmania also has a thriving cultural life and you will not be short of opportunities to visit art galleries and concerts of all types of music. You will also be enthralled by Tasmania's rich history of convicts, miners and whalers. Then there is the fabulous food and wine, especially the quality of Tasmanian fresh produce. Tasmanian cuisine is the very best of modern Australian cooking, which embraces a wide variety of simply-prepared, fresh ingredients.