Experiencing Tasmania: Exploring another side of Australia

LOOKING to get out of the city these holidays? Experience a world of untouched natural beauty in Tasmania and indulge in the culinary delights that Australia’s smallest state has to offer. Stephen Clarke has more. 

One of the world's most isolated landscapes, South West National Park. Image: Nomad Tales via Flickr

One of the world’s most isolated landscapes, South West National Park. Image: Nomad Tales via Flickr

Tasmania is so much more than just that little island that fell off the mainland 10,000 years ago. The state has forged itself a fresh and quirky identity whilst retaining the historical landmarks that serve as reminders of its harsh colonial past. Where convicts once toiled, there are now trendy new restaurants and bed and breakfast cottages.

Around 40-minute flight from Melbourne and situated at the base of Mount Wellington is Hobart, the state’s capital. Somewhere in the spectrum between a city and a large town, Hobart is perfect for a weekend getaway.

Food lovers will delight in the range of gourmet produce that is on offer at the weekly Salamanca Markets. The markets are one of the city’s biggest draws, often attracting up to 40,000 visitors every Saturday.

For an epic panorama of Hobart and the surrounding area, climbing (or driving) up Mount Wellington is a must do.

Image: Martybugs via Wikipedia

Port Arthur Historical Site. Image: Martybugs via Wikipedia

For a true Tasmanian experience, a vehicle is almost a necessity. Hiring a camper van or car is simple and can save a lot of accommodation costs – provided of course you have a legally permitted licence to drive around.

The island is packed full of amazing natural wonders and historical sites. Port Arthur, the once notorious convict settlement, is a stunningly well preserved and maintained site. Perched on the edge of a pristine harbour with the bush creeping down to the water on either side, it’s impossible to imagine the hard labour and suffering that tainted the site for decades.

Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park. Image: Mikeybear via Wikipedia

Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park. Image: Mikeybear via Wikipedia

Further north is Freycinet National Park, home to dramatic pink granite peaks that tower over the famous and pristine Wineglass Bay. The park has a number of great bush walks and its beaches are rated as some of the best in the world by travel authorities.

Tasmania is home to a huge range of national parks from the famous Cradle Mountain to the isolated wonders of South West National Park that will have you feeling like the only person on Earth. The parks are superbly maintained by the National Park service and they all beckon to be explored. Don’t forget to check out the bush walking safety guide before you head off though!

For those more inclined to exploring Tasmania’s urban jungle, the state’s cities and towns offer a wide range of experiences. There are all manners of walking tours, museums, breweries and day trips on offer.

MONA, or Museum of New and Old Art, is a bizarre, controversial dedication to art that has attracted a wide range of appraise and criticism. Judge for yourself.

Salamanca markets in Hobart. Image: Jes via Wikipedia

Salamanca markets in Hobart. Image: Jes via Wikipedia

Tasmania is an island steeped in cultural history and abound with ancient natural wonders. The air is said to be the freshest in the world and some of its trees are reported to be up to 4,000 years old.

It can often be like stepping back in time; its towns are thriving with an alternative, relaxed beat that will feel like a breath of (really) fresh air after the hustle and bustle of Melbourne.

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