The Australian island state of Tasmania is named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. The island lies to the south of Australia separated by the Bass Strait. The Tasmanian state takes in its surrounding islands (including sub-Antarctic Macquarie). Over a third of the land area consists of World Heritage Sites, reserves and national parks which permanently preserve a large and unspoilt natural environment.
Tasmania was inhabited by Aborigines until the time of British settlement (mainly of convicts and their guards) in 1803. By 1833 the remaining Aborigines were relocated to Flinders Island and few, if any, survive to date. Tasmania has been a state of the Commonwealth of Australia since 1901.
The two main airports are Hobart International and Launceston, with direct routes to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and the Gold Coast. Road transport is great with routes like the Huon Highway and the Hobart and Launceston Southern Outlets. These are also served by the Metro Tasmania bus service. Rail transport connecting the major population centres with mining and forestry locations is operated by TasRa, while tourist trains include the West Coast Wilderness Railway.
Tasmania’s cool temperate climate ensure temperatures are kept mostly between 4°C and 40°C. The year comprises four distinct seasons approximately during the reverse times to those in the Europe (e.g. Tasmanian summer lasts between December and February.)
Tasmania’s unique Southern Hemisphere temperate rain forests include the Tarkine and the Southwest National Park, while its tallest mountain (Mount Ossa, 1617m) is part of the Central Highlands mountain ranges by the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. But Tasmania is also a country of great rivers, with the South Esk River being the longest and providing Launceston’s hydroelectricity, the Derwent reaching the coast at Hobart and the Franklin and Gordon reaching the coast at Strahan.
The unique carnivorous marsupial known as the Tasmanian devil is now found in the wild only in this country.
Tasmania produces unique cheeses and other dairy products, has many vineyards and several unusual breweries (like Boags and Cascade). The locals are gourmets with crayfish, seafood, salmon and oysters being menu specialities.
Popular sports include cricket (with the Tasmanian Tigers national team ruling supreme at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart), Australian Rules Football and Association football (soccer). The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race arrives at Constitution Dock during the Taste of Tasmania food and wine festival. Agfest is a grand three-day agricultural show near Launceston and Targa Tasmania is a state-wide international road rally.
Other events include the Falls Festival at Marion Bay on New Year’s Eve, the 10 Days on the Island Arts Festival and the biennial Tasmanian Living Artists’ Week. Depending on your musical taste you can listen to the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra at the Federation Concert Hall, visit the IHOS Music Theatre and the Southern Gospel Choir, or dance to Tasmania’s rock band Paradise Motel and Death Metal band Psycroptic.
Posted : Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 at 11:00
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save