Holiday IslandThe heart-shaped island of Tasmania lies some 300km south of the Australian mainland, separated from it by the usually stormy Bass Strait. The smallest of the Australian states, it has an area of only 67,800 sq.km and measures only just over 300km from east to west and rather less than that from north to south. Lying as it does in the relatively cool Australian south, it cannot offer the attractions of coral reefs and all-year-round bathing; but immigrants from Britain must have been reminded of the climate they had been used to at home. During the summer months many mainlanders (inhabitants of the Australian mainland) like to spend their holidays in the temperate climate of the 'Holiday Island', with its scenic beauty and range of facilities for leisure activities.Tasmania was known in the 19th C. as a convict island on which prisoners transported from Britain were condemned to hard labor, breaking stone, hewing coal, felling timber, building roads and bridges.The topography of this hilly island in the cool temperate west-wind zone was shaped by glacial action during the ice age. Its highest peak is Mount Ossa (1617m). In the west of the island are temperate rain forests and, here and there, expanses of moorland; in the drier east eucalyptus forests predominate.The island is comparatively rich in minerals - auriferous copper ore, tin, iron ore, wolfram and coal. Ample power is available from the island's vast hydro-electric potential, and over the last few decades an elaborate system of artificial lakes has been built up, particularly in western Tasmania, to power hydro-electric stations.Tasmania has more hills than any other Australian state. Roughly two-thirds of its area is covered by plateaus bounded by escarpments ('tiers'). In the southeast, round the capital city of Hobart, the landscape is friendlier, and the early settlers were attracted by its fertile soil. Particularly attractive parts of the island are the Tasman Peninsula, with Port Arthur, and Huon Valley, the 'apple valley'. Along the north coast, too, Tasmania has the appearance of a well-tended garden. The volcanic soil and mild climate produce good grazing land and rich crops of fruit, potatoes and other vegetables. Important towns on the north coast, in addition to Launceston, are George Town, Devonport, Burnie, Wynyard and Stanley. The east coast has quiet fishing ports and beautiful sandy beaches, with such holiday resorts as Swansea, Bicheno and St Helens. In the hilly Midlands, so green and English that the early settlers at once felt at home, are a number of old settlements (Ross, Evandale, Richmond, New Norfolk, Oatlands), living museums which recall the early days of the colony. The central plateau reaches out towards the inaccessible south and west in imposing ranges of hills. The eastern part is known as the 'land of a thousand lakes', after the innumerable glaciated valleys and barrier lakes. Lake St Clair, 17km long and 200m deep, is a relic of the ice age. Almost the whole of the southwest - a unique expanse of undisturbed wilderness - is on UNESCO's World Heritage list and under strict statutory protection. The South West National Park, with an area of 605,000 ha, occupies a tenth of Tasmania. The damming of Lake Pedder to supply a hydro-electric station led to a sharp conflict between environmentalists and the electricity authorities. One benefit for visitors is that the construction of a road to the reservoir made the national park more easily accessible. The wild storm-lashed west and south coasts are still unspoiled. Apart from Strahan, on Macquarie Harbor, there is no better sheltered harbor.
Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area
Evandale (pop. 850) was founded in 1829. It has been classed as a Historic Village, and the whole village is under statutory protection. It is a unique example of a complete and unspoiled Georgian settlement.Situated on high ground above the South Esk River, it was originally called Collins Hill but was later renamed in honor of GW Evans, the first surveyor-general of Tasmania. John Kelly, father of the notorious bushranger Ned Kelly, worked here as a convict, and John Batman, founder of Melbourne, and the well-known English landscape painter John Glover lived near the town.The High Street, with its Georgian and Victorian buildings, is very attractive. The Clarendon Arms Hotel has been in business since 1847. Two notable churches are the Anglican church of 1871, with 300 nameless convicts' graves in the churchyard, and the Uniting Church of 1840, famed as the most beautiful village church in Australia. The massive water tower on the outskirts of the village was built at the end of the 19th C.To the west of Evandale is the oldest merino sheep station in Australia, established in 1809. The homestead of Pleasant Banks Farm was built in 1838.
Clarendon House is on the banks of the South Esk and was built in 1838 for the very wealthy wool and grain dealer James Cox. This elegant Georgian country house with its pillared portico is one of the finest of its kind in the whole of Australia.
Address: 234 Clarendon Station Road, Evandale, TAS 7212, Australia
Flinders Island, the largest island in the Furneaux Group, lies in Bass Strait off northeastern Tasmania. It is named after Matthew Flinders, who sailed through Bass Strait in 1797.The Furneaux Islands are named after Captain Furneaux, commander of Cook's supply ship Adventure, who discovered the group of 42 islands. They are probably a remnant of a land bridge linking Tasmania with the Australian mainland. Seal-hunters established settlements on the islands at an early stage. Off the rocky coasts are numerous wrecks.In the 1830s Flinders Island was used as a place of internment for the last Tasmanian Aborigines on the main island, whose numbers thereafter fell sharply. The last survivors were finally removed to Oyster Cove, south of Hobart, in 1874, and a few years later the Aborigines of Tasmania were extinct. At Emita, on the west side of Flinders Island, are a cemetery and a chapel marking the site of the Aboriginal settlement (Wybalenna Historic Site). The main center on the thinly populated island, which was developed for agriculture after the second world war, is Whitemark, also on the west coast. Native fauna abounds, especially mutton birds, and the beaches are excellent.
Strzelecki National Park
Strzelecki National Park is named after the explorer Paul Edmund de Strzelecki. This unspoiled region is good walking country, particularly round the Strzelecki Range, from which there are magnificent views over the island, reaching as far as Cape Barren Island, home to a protected species of geese.
Address: Box 41, Whitemark, TAS 7255, Australia
Although the climate of King Island is fairly raw, its wildlife draws many visitors. Every spring millions of mutton birds can be observed here in their breeding colonies. The sea elephants which were formerly numerous here have now been almost exterminated, but it is still possible to observe other species of seal.The inhabitants of the island live mainly by dairy farming and mining scheelite for its wolfram content. Seaweed is also harvested.There are regular flights to from Melbourne and from Wynyard in northern Tasmania to Currie, on the west side of King Island.40km north of Currie is the Lavina Nature Reserve (area 6800ha), established to protect the coastal vegetation. There are a number of wrecks off the island for scuba divers to explore. The lighthouse on Cape Wickham, at the north end of the island, is one of the tallest in Australia. At both the north and the south ends of the island there are beautiful beaches and bathing places.
Heard and McDonald Islands
Heard and McDonald Islands are located about 4000km southwest of Australia and 1500km north of Antarctica in the Indian Ocean. The islands were discovered in the 19th c. The main feature of the islands is Big Ben, a still active volcano on Heard Island. Big Ben rises approximately 3km. Heard Island is also covered with snow and glaciers.
Macquarie Island lies approximately 1500km southeast of Tasmania. Macquarie Island is the only island in the world made up entirely of oceanic crust and rocks. This rock was forced to the surface from approximately 6km below the oceanic floor.
Derwent Valley and Central Highlands
Huon Valley, D'Entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island
Launceston and Tamar Valley
The Launceston and Tamar Valley region features a variety of attractions.
George Town (pop. 5500) lies on the east side of the natural harbor of Port Dalrymple (the estuary of the Tamar). There was a settlement here as early as 1811, named after King George III. George Town is now a busy industrial town, with the large Comalco aluminum plant (which can be visited).A monument on the Esplanade commemorates an involuntary landing by Col. William Paterson and his crew when HMS Buffalo ran aground in 1804. The Grove is an elegant house of the 1820s (restored), now occupied by a restaurant. Directly on the harbor is the venerable Pier Hotel. The old pilot station now houses the local Maritime Museum.
George Town lies in a fruit-growing area (particularly strawberries and apples). There are boat trips to the islands of the Furneaux group (Flinders Island).On Low Head, 5km north of George Town, are both a good surfing beach and a sheltered bathing beach.20km east of George Town are the ruins of the gold-mining town of Lefroy, which flourished around 1870.A few kilometers south of George Town is the industrial port of Bell Bay, which has recently gained added importance as the destination of the fast catamaran service from Victoria over the Bass Strait (the Sea Cat, a rival to the Abel Tasman).
Tasmania Central North and Cradle Mountain
Tasmania North East
Tasmania North West
Tasmania South East
The South East region features a variety of attractions.
The Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas are linked by a narrow isthmus, Eaglehawk Neck. On the east side of both peninsulas are storm-lashed cliffs and crags; the coast is particularly wild round Eaglehawk Neck.The famous Tessellated Pavement is a natural rock platform which has been broken up into the appearance of square tiles. There are other striking rock formations at the Blowhole, Tasman's Arch and the Devil's Kitchen. In the northwest of the Tasman Peninsula is Lime Bay Nature Reserve with its sandy beaches and rugged cliffs. Inland are areas of heathland.Also in the northwest of the peninsula is Coal Mine Historic Site, where convicts from Port Arthur hewed coal.
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