- Salt-air and sandstone
- City life
- Seafaring, fine dining
Incredible coastlines, lush valleys and ancient peaks comprise Tasmania’s geography, so add to this a unique heritage, succulent seafood and famous wildlife and you can’t imagine a seasoned traveller asking for more.
This southern isle is staggeringly beautiful, awash with an artist’s palette of natural colours spanning cerulean seas and skies, white sandy shores, verdant valleys and sun-kissed hops. The island’s intimate capital, Hobart, is especially enticing, with its historical harbour and tempting restaurants, backdropped by the looming Mount Wellington. It’s unlikely that Hobart’s earliest European inhabitants – convicts shipped over by the British Empire – appreciated Tassie’s coastal expanses, volcanic peaks and fertile orchards though. Instead, their relentless graft culminated in the capital’s prized 19th-century architecture. Two centuries on, Hobart is a feelgood destination for all.
Keep your eyes peeled and ears pricked for a Tasmanian devil. The island’s most famous – and deceptively cute – species resembles a cross between a bear cub and a dog. Look out for its distinctive black fur, emblazoned with a crest of white, and beware its piercing screech. If you’re lucky enough to spot the endangered nocturnal marsupial, don’t get too close: powerful fangs aside, it releases a pungent pong when panicked. Catch them at Bonorong Wildlife Centre, 25 minutes’ drive from Hobart (www.bonorong.com.au).
- Nicknamed Slo-bart, the city makes for pleasant walking. Cabs are easily hailed though, or call United Taxis (03 6274 3120) for a reliable service around Hobart and the surrounding areas.
- Tipping culture
- As with the rest of Oz, tips aren’t expected anywhere – but 10 per cent is always appreciated in upmarket bars and restaurants.
- Packing tips
- Binoculars for devil spotting, a sou’wester for fly fishing and trainers for scaling rocky outcrops.
- Recommended reads
- The Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes, chronicles the transportation of 160,000 convicts from Britain to grim prisons in Australia, aboard ships bound for an unknown world. Wild Rivers, by photographer Peter Dombrovskis and Greens Senator Bob Brown (both of whom were instrumental in saving Tasmania’s Franklin River from being dammed), gives a flavour of the island’s spectacular wilderness.
- Tasmania’s seafood is among the finest the southern hemisphere has to offer. Take your pick from plump oysters, silky-smooth scallops, luscious lobster, deep-sea trevalla, abalone, wild trout and succulent salmon. Sample white cherries from New Norfolk, Coal River Valley venison and have a tipple of Pepperberry Bush Liqueur, produced in Tasmania from the alpine berries that grow all over the highlands.
- Regional specialities
- Wine worshippers rejoice; locally produced pinot noir, chardonnay and riesling make for refreshing and delicious drinking.
- Australian dollar (AU$)
- Time zone
- GMT +10
- Dialling codes
- Country code: +61; Hobart: (0)3
- Do go/don't go
- Foodies should head to Hobart in November or December to reap the fruits of Hobart’s harvest; in these months, farm shops sell rations for your day’s adventures by the roadside: juicy berries, fresh juices, creamy yoghurts, just-baked breads, cheeses and other goodies. Avoid Hobart in winter (June to August) when the island is lashed with rain and the Roaring Forty winds.
Don't go home without...
buying a wooden trinket from Salamanca market. The market showcases beautiful, locally crafted woodwork made from Tasmanian timber such as Huon pine and myrtle.