Tasmania is an island off the South Eastern coast of Australia, separated from the main land by the Bass Strait. Tasmania is the name of the island as well the state. Sometimes referred to as the Natural State, or the Island of Inspiration, almost 40 percent of Tasmania’s land is preserved as a World Heritage Listed area. This temperate island paradise boasts 20 national parks, and the mild sunny climate makes this a prosperous region for making fine foods and wine.
The capitol of Tasmania is Australia’s second oldest city, Hobart. With the River Derwent running through it and Mount Wellington just behind, Hobart does not lack charm and beauty. Many of the historic colonial houses and buildings in Hobart have been preserved, and are now used as restaurants, art studios, cafes and boutique hotels.
Some of the most popular attractions in Hobart include:
•Bonorong Wildlife Center offers visitors the chance to interact with native animals, including koalas, Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, emus and wombats. Open year round, except for national holidays. Tours run twice daily.
•Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is located near the city center and is home to historic plant collections and a large number of significant trees, some dating back to the nineteenth century. Open year round except for Christmas day and Good Friday. Admission is free!
•Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is a great place to find out about Tasmania’s history, including its Aboriginal heritage. Also features traveling art exhibits. Open year round. Admission is free!
•Salamanca Place is Hobart’s entertainment hotspot, offering a wide variety of shopping, restaurants, galleries, pubs and nightlife. It is also home to the famous Salamanca Market, which is open every Saturday.
•Kayak tours are one of the best, and perhaps most interesting way to see Hobart. Dozens of tour companies offer these tours year round. Most are about 2 hours long.
•Walking tours can be a fun way to see this scenic city. There are many different tour options available, one to suit just about everyone, including historic tours, coastal walks, treasure hunts and ghost tours.
•Mount Wellington stands right behind the city of Hobart. When it is not covered in snow, there are many walking trails to explore its heavily forested slopes. Near the top is an enclosed look out which provides spectacular views of the city below.
Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs are located approximately 80 miles south of Hobart. The richly decorated cave is one of the few caves in Australia formed by dolomite. It began forming over 40 million years ago. Admission to the Cave Tour also includes use of the thermal springs pool, changing rooms, hot showers and barbeques for the day. Open year round.
Port Arthur Historic Site is the best preserved convict settlement in Australia. Every feature of this historic site has a story to tell. Besides the historic buildings, Port Arthur also features magnificent gardens, guided tours and a restaurant and café. It is open every day of the year, except Christmas.
The Cradle Mountain – Lake St Claire National Park is one of the most popular and beautiful natural areas in Tasmania. The park contains a network of walking trails and paths, many of them leading to lookout points with breathtaking views below. There are many picnic areas complete with barbeques throughout the park.
Vineyards and Wineries. Tasmania has over 60 vineyards and wineries, spanning over seven wine regions, mainly on the east side of the state. The wines produced in Tasmania include Chardonnay, Merlot, Riesling and Pinot Noir, just to name a few. Many of the wineries offer tours and free wine tastings.
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