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Friday, July 31, 2015

So You'd Like to Visit Tasmania?

Of the six states which comprise modern Australia, perhaps the most famous is Tasmania. Perhaps this fame owes much to the hyper-energetic marsupial made famous by Warner Brothers; perhaps it’s because it’s the easiest to spot on a map. Whatever the reason, Tasmania has much to draw those who venture there – both tourists and prospective migrants alike! In this article, we’ll take a look at this island province, and see exactly why so many of those choosing to emigrate to New Zealand and Australia are choosing to make their home in Tasmania.
Photo IS NOT mine

What is Tasmania?

Let’s begin by establishing exactly what Tasmania is. The state comprises not only the main island, which is the twenty-sixth largest in the world, but also the more than three-hundred smaller islands dotted all around. It is divided from the mainland by a one-hundred-and-fifty-mile-wide stretch of ocean known as the Bass Strait.

The state is Australia's most mountainous and much of that elevation can be found in its Central Highlands area. There, sharp, craggy outcroppings sit alongside serene lakes. The sharply undulating landscape is due not to volcanic activity (in that respect, the region has long been dormant) but to more recent glacial activity. The region's tallest mountain is Mount Ossa, which sits in the center of Lake St. Clair, one of the many national parks the state has to offer.

Where wildlife is concerned, many visitors might come in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the state’s most famous creature, the aforementioned Tasmanian devil – with its tiny body and outrageously powerful jaws. Unfortunately, the devil is an endangered species, with some estimates suggesting that the population may have contracted to around 30% of the mid-nineties figure. This is thanks in the main to an expansion of the Tasmanian road system and the illegal introduction of the red fox at the turn of the current century.


As well as containing a wealth of natural beauty, Tasmania also offers visitors many sites of historical interest. In the country’s north are a series of picturesque villages and estates which date back to colonial times.

Of course, this description of Tasmania’s history makes it sound unduly rosy; visitors should therefore also make time to inspect one of the five convict sites dotted around the state, each of them listed by UNESCO World Heritage. Being physically removed from the mainland, Tasmania seemed to the early settlers to be perfectly suited to housing the nation’s (and indeed, the world’s) convicts, and so the state contains a number of different buildings suited to that purpose. Indeed, many of the historic buildings were constructed using forced labour.

Of these historic penal settlements, the most famous is Port Arthur. Between 1833 and 1853, the port was where the British shipped the worst offenders – those that re-offended after arriving in Australia. Though the place enjoyed a reputation as a more progressive-minded facility, it still provided a harsh, brutal existence for its occupants – especially by the standards of today. Port Arthur is surrounded by forest and sea and accessible to visitors via a short – yet picturesque – drive from Hobart, the state capital. The place is officially the state’s most popular tourist attraction.

Urban life

Tasmania’s population density, at just over seven people per square mile, is roughly equivalent to that of the mainland. That said, on the mainland this population is concentrated in four or five hubs, with vast swathes of wilderness in between. Tasmania’s people, by contrast, are spread more evenly. Consequently, you’ll rarely find yourself totally isolated – but then you won’t find yourself surrounded either.

The State’s capital is Hobart, on the South coast. While few outside Australia have heard of Hobart, it is actually among the oldest cities in the country and home to more than two-hundred thousand people. The area boasts a wealth of culture, from its concert hall, which plays host to one of the world's finest small orchestras, to the Museum of Old and New Art – the southern hemisphere's largest privately-owned museum.

The nightlife is similarly impressive, and mostly concentrated in Salamanca Place, a bustling waterfront comprising row upon row of sandstone warehouses which once served the port and have since been converted into a raft of different bars and restaurants, serving food from across the globe.

Those looking to move to Australia from the UK should certainly spare a thought for Tasmania. As remote as it may be, it contains some of the most amazing sights and sounds the country has to offer.

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