’s only island state, Tasmania
’s distinctive landscape, climate and culture are largely due to its 300km distance from the mainland. With no point on the island more than 120km from the ocean, Tasmania has an amazingly diverse landscape that belies its small size, with glacial mountains, rolling green hills and wilderness that is one of only three large temperate forests in the Southern Hemisphere. Tasmanians take an immense pride in their island and much of it remains untouched by human habitation, protected as the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. This is Tasmania’s greatest attraction and every year thousands of visitors come to explore its national parks and trek some of the most rugged and scenic trails in the world.
Once a harsh penal colony, today Tasmania's economy is largely based on the state’s quality specialised food products, and on the visitors who flock here to experience the scenery, adventure activities and history. The historic towns and hamlets scattered throughout the state make excellent bases from which to explore the surrounding wilderness areas. Most towns have preserved their colonial charm by retaining their historic buildings, many of which have been converted to B&Bs, art and craft galleries and restaurants. The restored ruins of Port Arthur
, now part of a peaceful 40ha visitor attraction, remain as a monument to Australia’s convict era.
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Tasmania’s history is the most colourful but tragic of all the states. For over 25,000 years Aboriginal tribes lived here in isolation, until their peaceful existence was shattered by the establishment of a British penal colony in 1803. Tasmania’s settlements prospered from the hard labour of the convicts, incarcerated in brutal conditions at Port Arthur. Sadly the Aborigines, who resisted the takeover of their land, were treated even more harshly than the convicts. With the end of convict transportation and the granting of self government in 1856, Tasmanian civic pride took the form of constructing splendid buildings such as the Town Hall and Government House. The capital Hobart
became the port for a prosperous agrarian economy with wool, meat, crops, fruit and timber being shipped to foreign ports.
Area of State
The climate is classified as 'temperate maritime' and is much cooler than the mainland states. It has mild summers and cold winters, with average maximum summer temperatures of 21ºC, and average maximum winter temperatures of 12ºC. Much of the mountain regions receive heavy winter snowfalls.
Australian Eastern Standard Time.
Clocks go forward one hour on the first Sunday in October and go back one hour on the first Sunday in April.
Tasmanian TigerFloral Emblem:
Tasmanian Blue Gum
Hobart, Port Arthur Historic Site, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Freycinet National Park, Tamar Valley, Maria Island National Park, Flinders Island
, King Island
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Images courtesy of Tourism Tasmania