Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania, Australia ~ http://suitcasesandsunsets.com/tasmania-australia.html Tasmania is the island state off the south east coast of the Australian mainland and is one of Australia’s best kept secrets.

In 2013, Tasmania, Australia’s southernmost state, will celebrate its 30th anniversary as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Join the festivities on the wild island, where wombats and wallabies roam free.

The island offers an unspoiled Australian adventure like no other. Check out Cradle Mountain National Park’s diverse wildlife and catch a peek of the eponymous Tasmanian devil. Or dive the coast’s calm waters and explore shipwrecks, exotic aquatic life, and crystal-clear Wineglass Bay.

Experience Tasmania’s World Heritage wilderness, great food and wine, compact cities and clean air. Hobart is gateway to historic Port Arthur, the wildlife of Bruny Island and Maria Island, and breathtaking Wineglass Bay in Freycinet. From Launceston or Devonport, discover Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Liffey Falls and Flinders Island in Bass Strait. Discover Tasmania’s wild west coast via Strahan.

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Separated from mainland Australia by the 240 kilometres (150 miles) stretch of Bass Strait, Tasmania is a land apart – a green island of wild, mountainous and beautiful landscapes; friendly, welcoming people; temperate climate; quality cool-climate wines and food; a spirited history; and a creative arts community – all wrapped up in a relaxed lifestyle. More than 40 per cent of the island is protected as World Heritage Area, national parks and reserves. And because Tasmania is so compact it is easy to walk through an ancient alpine meadow in the morning and be on a pure white beach in the afternoon.

Tasmania’s population of less than 500,000 supports a world-class symphony orchestra, a festival of island cultures, and a mid-winter festival that celebrates their Antarctic connections.Tasmania is never crowded, and its historic towns and seaside villages are dispersed across an area about the size of Ireland or West Virginia. The average summer temperature is a comfortable 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit), while winter’s average is a mild 12 degrees Celsius (52 degrees Fahrenheit).

Hobart is gateway to historic Port Arthur, the wildlife of Bruny Island and Maria Island, and breathtaking Wineglass Bay in Freycinet. From Launceston or Devonport, discover Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Liffey Falls and Flinders Island in Bass Strait. Whether it’s trout fishing, cycling tours, hiking, scuba diving, exploring historic buildings, or just visiting the friendly local restaurants and pubs to try the popular local wines, Tasmania has a lot to offer, especially if you are looking for a more relaxing vacation. There’s an otherworldly quality to Tasmania, the island where you can experience a gothic landscape of rain clouds and brooding mountains and take pleasure in the heavily-wooded wilderness. For lovers of the outdoors, it is a remarkable source of natural beauty.