Although Tasmania may be just a dot on the map it is one of the world’s most ancient lands, the natural beauty, friendly people and spectacular wildlife make it a must see destination. Tasmania lies just south of the Australian mainland, our Tassie Local website provides resources for visitors and locals alike – everything from accommodation and tourist information to snapshots of over fifty towns and locations – Tassie Local is the perfect place to start planning your Tasmanian adventure.
Once joined to the mainland by a land-bridge Tasmania is an island of great contrast with rugged mountain ranges, lush green pasture, magnificent coastal scenery, modern un-crowded cities & towns and quaint colonial villages exhibiting their strong convict heritage.
There is great contrast too in the States weather. Officially categorised as Temperate – Maritime, parts of the island are pummeled by the ‘roaring forties’. In some places masses of cold air stream up from the Antarctic depositing snow on the high peaks yet in others frosts are unheard of and sub-tropical species of plants can be found. Areas of the west coast average three metres of rainfall per year while parts of the east coast receive less than 20 centimetres. Most Australians would find it difficult to believe that statistically Hobart is the second driest Capital in the nation.
One of the world’s most mountainous islands, more than forty percent of Tasmania is protected by National Park or Reserve status, the islands craggy, ancient rock formations providing a clue to its Antarctic origins millions of years ago.
The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman made the first known sighting of Tasmania in 1642 and named it Van Diemen’s Land in honour of the Dutch East Indies Governor.
Throughout the 17th and 18th Centuries many Europeans, predominantly French and British, visited Tasmania intermittently but it wasn’t until 1803 that a British naval officer, Lieutenant John Bowen undertook the establishment of a settlement at Risdon Cove.
Though short-lived the Risdon Cove settlement is important in Tasmanian history not only as the birth-place of European settlement on the island but also as the scene of the first major conflict with the indigenous inhabitants, an incident which shaped much of the States future history and continues to polarise Tasmanian opinion today.
The States brutal but colourful history as a penal colony is one of the foundations upon which its present day status as a premium destination for tourists from around the world is based. The predominance of historic townships and colonial buildings together with the remains of arguably some of the harshest penal settlements the world has seen, places like Port Arthur, Maria Island and Sarah Island are a magnet to thousands of tourists who flock here to witness history at its harshest.
Other major attractions include the laid-back serenity of eastern and north coast beaches and the abundance of pure, unadulterated wilderness, such significant and pristine wilderness in fact that around 1.4 million hectares, about 20% of the island, have been declared World Heritage Areas.
Add to these Tasmania’s array of world-class food & wine – dairy produce including more than 100 mouth-watering speciality cheeses, crisp vegetables, assorted apples & berries, beef, seafood, premium beer & wines, honey & chocolate and you’ve hit the tourist bulls-eye, Tasmania in all its glory.
Come by air, come by sea but be sure you do come and experience everything this magnificent State has to offer. You will be in awe of its natural beauty, your taste-buds will be overwhelmed by its produce, you will be both shocked and intrigued by its history but you will not be disappointed.
This Tasmanian snapshot was produced by Ian Gill, Footloose Photographic & Media Solutions.