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Tasmania

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Australia : Tasmania
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Quick Facts
Capital Hobart
Area 68,401 km 2
Population 484,700 (July 2005 est.)

Tasmania [1], once known as the "Apple Isle", is the smallest of Australia's states and is located off the south eastern tip of the mainland.

Understand

Tasmania was settled by the British as a penal colony and convicts were first transported to what was then called Van Diemen's Land, in 1804. Penal settlements were established at Sullivan's Cove (Hobart), Maria Island, Sarah Island, and Port Arthur. The ruins of the convict gaols can still be seen in these places, particularly at Port Arthur which has been carefully preserved and has many convict related activities for tourists.

In spite of its small size, the Tasmania has plenty attractions and you could spend a month there and still not see everything.

Tasmania promotes itself as the "Natural State" and the "Island of Inspiration" owing to its large, and relatively unspoiled natural environment. 36% of Tasmania is formally in reserves, National Parks and World Heritage Sites.

Tasmania is famous for its merino wool which is used by Japanese companies to manufacture high quality men's suits. It is also known world-wide for the Tasmanian Tiger, a now extinct striped marsupial dog-like animal, and the nocturnal Tasmanian Devil, a small black and white marsupial whose sharp teeth and frightening growls belie the fact that it is relatively shy of humans. Tasmanian Devils are currently under threat of extinction due to a widespread facial tumour. The state government is endeavouring to detect the cause of the tumours and preserve disease-free colonies.

On the whole, expect a good mix of nice natural scenery, fresh food and wines, and historic heritage.

Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, a World Heritage site

Get in

By Plane

Tasmania is served by several national or regional airlines, flying into Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and Devonport.

By Ferry

Tasmania is served by several boats from mainland Australia, departing from Melbourne. These boats arrive at Devonport.

  • Spirit of Tasmania Ferries [2]

Theses large ferries take vehicles, bikes, foot passengers and pets on a ten-hour crossing between Melbourne and Devonport. Reservations are recommended, particularly at peak summer periods. Note that the cost of a ticket increases over the Christmas period (especially for those taking a car), when mainlanders return to visit families and summer vistors arrive.

The crossing can be a little rocky at times, but provides you with beautiful views. For overnight crossing you have the option of booking one of a range of a cabins or a reclining chair for the 10-hour journey. The ferries provide the basic facilities expected including:

  • self service cafe
  • restaraunt
  • a number of bars
  • gaming lounge
  • childrens play area
  • cinema
  • televisions
  • tourist information

The ferries offer additional support for travellers with mobility impairments.

Get around

By car

Getting around Tasmania by car is by far the most convenient way to see what the state has to offer. Cars can be brought into Tasmania from the mainland on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry (see above), or hired upon arrival.

Look out for good package deals including car rental and accommodation. It is easy to think that such a small island can be seen in just a few days, but roads are relatively narrow and can be mountainous. Visitors often find that a couple of days is not long enough to see the main sights.

By bus

If you have plenty of time in Tasmania, buses can be an option, but you would be advised to study timetable carefully and to do an extra bit of planning, as services can be infrequent.

Two major companies which service most of Tasmania:

  • Tassielink [3]
  • Redline Tasmania [4]

Metro Tasmania [5] provides intra-city bus services for Burnie, Hobart and Launceston.

Merseylink [6] provides services to Devonport and Latrobe

By train

There are no passenger rail services in Tasmania.

See

Regions

Cities


Towns

Popular destinations

Itineraries

Do

  • Trout Fishing, [7]. Trout Guides and Lodges Tasmania Incorporated (TGALT) is the industry body, that was voluntarily formed in 1981, initially called the, Tasmanian Professional Trout Fishing Guides Association. Its primary purpose was to provide anglers with a source of guides that they could be assured, would provide a safe, appropriate and professional service. During 1995 the Association was expanded to specifically include trout fishing lodges as full members.
  • The Overland Track, [8]. The iconic bushwalk from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair - bookings essential during the main walking season (November to April).
  • the Great Tasmanian Bike Ride, [9] - held in early February.

Eat

There are a wide variety of culinary offerings in Tasmania, from the best chips and gravy at the local milk bar, to world renowned chefs in amazing upper class restaurants.

Drink

Tasmania has superb wine regions including along the Tamar River and Down in the Huon Valley.

There is also a large spring water industry in Tasmaniam, which means that some bars and restaurants do not to offer free tap water (they are not legally obliged to do so).

Tasmania (in particular Hobart) has experienced sporadic outbreaks of meningococcal infections in recent years and you may prefer to avoid tap water or sharing glasses.

Sleep

  • Tullah Lakeside Chalet, Farrell Street, Tullah 7321, Tasmania Australia., +03 6473 4121 (fax: +03 6473 4130), [10]. A warm and inviting hotel in Tullah, Tasmania, located between majestic Cradle Mountain and scenic Strahan on the western coast of Tasmania, Australia. Set on the shores of pristine Lake Rosebery and at the foot of Mount Murchison, Tullah Lakeside Chalet will thrill and delight you as you enjoy the spectacular sights of nature at its most breathtaking. Best rates on official website start at AU$136.

Stay safe

When driving observe the speed limits. The rules are simple. 50km/h on all Tasmanian streets, and 100km/h on highways and freeways unless otherwise signposted.

Be aware that there are many wild animals in Tasmania, and be prepared to see a lot of roadkill. Be especially careful at dusk and dawn. Although wallabies and wombats are not large, they can make a mess of your vehicle and drivers swerving to avoid them have caused many accidents.

When driving on highways and freeways, do be careful of large trucks. Speeding large trucks are common and dangerous. If one is heading your way slow down and move towards the side of the road, letting it pass.

Always slow down at school crossings when in operation or you may be surprised by a waiting police car and receive a fine.

Bushwalking can be a truly breathtaking experience in Tasmania, but be sure to obtain the right gear and local advice and maps. Always sign the book at the beginning and end of each walk. Be aware that mobile coverage is very limited (although reception can often be had on Mt Ossa, Tasmania's highest mountain). The main dangers are getting lost and/or suffering hypothermia. If you include thermals, a good sleeping bag and a map and compass in your shopping list, these scenarios are unlikely. Paddy Pallin has stores in both Launceston and Hobart (ask about the 10% discount).

Get out

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