On a map, Tasmania has the appearance of a jewel hanging around the neck of mainland Australia – an appropriate image for what is Australia’s most unique state, a jewel waiting to be discovered and appreciated.
In Tasmania, you are never far from water and mountains – it has more than 1,000 mountain peaks. More than 40 per cent of the island is protected as national parks and reserves, which are home to some of the world’s rarest animals. Tasmania was the first Australian state to be settled by Europeans after New South Wales, and as such is home to a wealth of World Heritage Listed convict era buildings and relics and to Australia’s finest collection of intact Georgian villages.
The peak holiday period is from December to April, so if you plan to travel during those months, particularly in the school holidays, be sure to book early to avoid disappointment. If your trip is to be a short one (a week or less), particularly during the peak period, car hire can be a cheaper option. Organised coach tours are another easy way to see the sights and are worthy of consideration.
The great tourist rush to Tasmania occurs between mid December and late January. This is when many mainlanders take their annual vacation. The place is hopping, the tourist centres come alive and the atmosphere is high. The downside is that it can feel crowded and you must book very early if you are choosy on things like accommodation.
The cleanest air and water on the planet, varied landscapes and four distinct seasons all contribute towards Tasmania’s bountiful supply of produce. Its rich volcanic soils are perfect for growing premium fruit, the cooler climate produces elegant dry wines and the unspoiled coastline ensures the freshest seafood around. Its fish and seafood, cheeses, wines, oils, truffles, game, smallgoods, organic fruits and vegetables are of the highest quality and flavour. No wonder Tasmania has such a highly sophisticated local food and wine culture.
More than anywhere else in Australia, Tasmania enjoys four seasons, each with its own unique pleasures and appeal. The warmest months are December, January, February and March. Autumn has still sunny days and riotous colours as 200 year-old oaks, elms, birches and our own native beech, turn from gold to red in preparation for winter.
If precise timing is not so important, intending visitors should give serious thought to making the trip in late spring or autumn when the weather is as reliable as it is in midsummer and the countryside colourful with blossoms or autumn leaves. Accommodation is cheaper then, there are no crowds and it feels like you have the place to yourselves. After easter, Australia’s domestic airlines often have sales on air travel in April and May, and you can often get tickets to Hobart or Launceston at half the normal cost for travel at this time.
There is good skiing in the high country of Tasmania from as early as June to as late as October, but winter sports accommodation and facilities are limited. Ski tows at Mt Mawson (Mt Field National Park) and Ben Lomond operate at weekends and during school holidays in the ski season.