About Tasmania (TAS)
By far the smallest of the Australian States; separated from mainland Australia by the 240 km stretch of Bass Strait, Tasmania is a land apart. A place of wild and beautiful landscapes (largely covered by densely forested mountains) Tasmania is renowned for it's wonderful food and wine; rich history; and a relaxed island lifestyle.
Next stop south is Antarctica, 2000 kms away. The climate and temperature range are often said to resemble those of England and the similarity is increased by the millions of northern hemisphere trees which also underwent transportation at the beginning of settlement.
Aboriginals first reached here 40,000 years ago. The first Europeans to discover this land were lead by the Dutch navigator Able Tasman in 1642 and named Tasmania Van Diemen's Land after their naval superior. The island was not colonised however until 1803 when a party from Sydney arrived to establish a convict settlement. For the next fifity years Van Diemen's Land was a penal colony, in many cases receiving prisioners the New South Wales authorities found too hard to handle. Port Arthur is a great place to appreciate Tasmania's European heritage.
Encircled by the Southern Ocean, Tasman Sea and Bass Strait, Tasmanians enjoy some of the world's cleanest air and rejoice in pure water and fertile soils, resulting in the production of superb wine and food, acclaimed around the world. A land of dramatic coastlines, rugged mountains, tall forests and sparkling highland lakes. A naturalist's dream, the southwestern areas contain some of the worlds oldest forests and over a third of the state is reserved in a network of National Parks. Cradle Mountain, located in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is a definite highlight.
The compact size of the State and the excellent standard of its accommodation and roads make motor touring appealing to many visitors (book well in advance for December and January).