With so much to offer visitors, it’s no wonder Tasmania was rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s best destinations in Lonely Planet’s annual book ‘Best in Travel’ for 2015.
Observing the state’s natural wonders, historical significance, and up-and-coming food scene among the top reasons to visit, Lonely Planet forges an excellent case for you to book a plane ticket immediately after reading their write up.
Here are 5 reasons to get out and explore the outstanding natural beauty of our southern-most state.
1. Breathtaking drives
Tasmania was ostensibly made to be explored by road. Roads are intertwined with dramatic mountains, lush valleys, attractive coastlines, and beautiful Georgian-style towns.
There are a lot of driving routes on offer and each has its own unique draw. Travel the state from coast to coast to take in the pristine coastline and everything in between, immerse yourself in the Tamar Valley and explore vineyard and orchard country, or soak up nature at its best in Cradle country and marvel at that beauty that is Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair. Along the way stop at charming Georgian-style towns and explore Tasmania’s heritage along the Heritage Highway.
Visit Tasmania during autumn months and you’ll be rewarded with an impressive display of gold and crimson covered trees. Tasmania is home to the mighty Oak, Ash, and Elm trees among others. These trees provide the richness of colour synonymous with autumn. Mt Field and Cradle Mountain are both good starting points for taking in this beautiful season, with Mt Field being home to Australia’s only native deciduous beech tree: Nothofagus gunnii, better known as Fagas. Autumn runs from early March to the end of May, with May being the ideal time to view autumn in all its glory.
2. Food and wine
Tasmania is rapidly gaining momentum in the culinary world by consistently producing outstanding local food and wine. Once only famous for its apples, the Apple Isle is increasingly becoming known for its gourmet cheeses, fresh seafood, and delicious cold-climate wines as well as expertly produced beer, spirits and ciders. Two of the most popular and better known Tasmanian beers, Cascade and James Boags, offer up great tours of their breweries.
When Tasmanian’s say their food is fresh they mean it. Chances are if you’re slurping down an oyster at dinner it was caught locally, oftentimes on that very morning. Farmers pride themselves on providing quality fresh produce, often organically farmed, and roadside stalls are not uncommon in regions such as the Huon Valley. There’s even the opportunity to meet with local farmers to learn about sustainable farming practices.
From farms to local markets, the Salamanca Markets (run every Saturday) are one of the most popular attractions in Hobart and draws farmers and sellers from right across Tasmania. Here you will find stalls selling fresh produce, seafood, gourmet cheeses, homemade bread, artwork, as well as handmade crafts such as jewellery and ceramics.
3. Wild nature
Tasmania is home to a distinct wilderness that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else in Australia. Nearly half of the state is made up of National Parks and reserves so you know they do nature well here.
Everything from the temperate rainforests of the Tarkine in Tasmania’s wild northwest to the white sandy beaches and fiery red rocks in the east, Tasmania’s wild nature is striking and plentiful. The national park and wilderness areas remain in a relatively wild state, particularly in the west, where getting lost is not only possible but curiously pleasurable. If getting ‘lost’ in nature is not really your thing, there are plenty of knowledgeable tour operators who can guide you through the wildest of wild areas of the state.
There are parts of Tasmania that remained virtually untouched by human hand until the 20th century, making this a very unique part of the country. The biodiversity in Tasmania’s parks is so rich you can find plants and animals here that can be found nowhere else on earth.
Some of the richest and most pristine parks to visit include the Tarkine Forest Reserve, South Bruny National Park, and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which encompasses Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
4. History and culture
Tasmania is perhaps most famous for its extensive convict history. During the early 1800s over 70,000 convicts were transported to Tasmania from around the world.
There are many historical penal settlement sites around the state that document and pay homage to this important part of history, with the Port Arthur Historic Site being the most famous. The Port Arthur Historic Site sits on the stunning Mason Cove and is one of five UNESCO World Heritage listed convict sites in Tasmania. It’s well worth a visit for both its historical reference as well as its stunning surrounds.
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), just north of Hobart, is one of the most popular attractions for those visiting the city. It is home to a wide variety of antiques and contemporary artworks. The museum is nestled on the banks of the Derwent River and, as far as museums go, is rather attractive. It is Australia’s largest privately owned museum and is also home to the Moorilla winery and vineyard, a restaurant, and even a cinema.
5. World class walks and hikes
Tasmania does walking and hiking well, period. There is such a diverse range of walks and hikes available in this state you could walk around it for years on end and never get tired of the scenery.
Take a tour through the Wild West and get ‘lost’ in the rainforests of the Tarkine for a few days or stare in awe at Cradle Mountain from the banks of the stunning Lake St Clair. If you prefer a coastal view walk the world famous Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet National Park and count all the different shades of blue you can see from the top of The Hazards, or go barefoot on one of the beyond-white sand beaches in the Bay of Fires.
The options for exploring Tasmania by foot are endless and pristine beauty is everywhere, all you need to do is lace up your boots and discover Tasmania.
Did our article ‘5 reasons to visit Tasmania’ make you want to head to our apple isle?
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