Traditionally neglected by visitors to Australia, Tasmania’s pure environment, wilderness adventures, unique wildlife and boutique lodges are attracting more and more Brits all the time. Here are five top reasons to make the trip to Australia’s own emerald isle.
1. The world’s cleanest air and water
Rid your lungs of accumulated toxins and breathe the air that Nature intended you to breathe. The oxygen hit will invigorate you for the adventures ahead, and the natural tap water will save you heaps on bottled water.
2. The food (and wine)
Tasmania is Australia’s cheese capital, so try some of the wonderful European-style cheeses produced from herds reared on pure, organic, super-fertile grassland. Then there’s the apples – try Tasmania’s cider – and cold-climate wines produced in small-scale Tassie vineyards. Yum! Meat-eaters will relish the fresh lamb and seafood that grow from these unpolluted shores, and the whole lot is packaged into a uniquely Tasmanian cuisine that’ll have you eating out constantly.
3. The wilderness
Here’s one big difference between the UK and Tassie: while we chopped down our native forests thousands of years ago, over a third of Tasmania’s landmass remains unspoilt and protected as National Park. Find peace in its thick, verdant forests, dripping with ferns and splashing gullies, ravines and chasms – such as the 1.38 million hectare Western Wilderness, much of which is so impenetrable that it’s tempting to believe that the officially extinct Tasmanian tiger survives out there still.
4. The boutiqueness of everything
Tassie is a different universe from the gleaming skyscrapers and malls of Sydney, or the glitz and crowds of the Gold Coast. It’s about half the size of England but with only half a million people, meaning there’s plenty of space, peace and quiet for all. This also means that mass production is not Tasmania’s thing.
Everything is on a delightfully small scale: think artisan and boutique.Boutique guest houses and hotels, boutique wineries and micro breweries, boutique boat-yards, markets and shops. Individual attention to customers is a pleasant by-product, and visitors are struck by how quickly they feel welcomed as part of the Tasmanian clan.
5. The history
Other Australian cities have been redeveloped and rebuilt so many times, that their first settlers would not recognise them. Not so among the Georgian terraces of Hobart, where rumbling stone warehouses line the quaysides today just as they did in 1800. Out at Port Arthur, Tasmania’s notorious convict settlement still stands, eerily deserted, as a reminder of the colony’s 18th century beginnings. In the countryside you’ll find little arched bridges, stone barns, rustic farmhouses and windswept fishing villages – and yet the atmosphere is not English – it’s pure colonial Australian frontier.
Here, the settler spirit is still alive and visible, and the ghosts of the vanquished Tasmanian Aborigines still beg for discovery – their culture was unique and their torch is still carried by what’s left of their descendants. Here, the history of modern Australia is still visible – everywhere. There is much to learn.
• For boutique accommodation ideas click here