If you were to ask many people where Tasmania was some would say Africa thinking of Tanzania. Tasmania is a small island state off the south coast of Australia. It is so small you can drive from one end to the other in one day. Because it is so small it is a popular spot for tourists because the diverse scenery can be seen quickly. It varies from beautiful white beaches on the east coast to the rugged mountains in the center and to lovely farm lands in the north west. Because it is to the south of Australia it is very near to Antarctica and that is why it can get very cold. The ships leave the capital Hobart for Antarctica and you can almost feel the cold wind whistling from the ice.
Hobart is a very pretty city on the banks of the Derwent river with Mt Wellington right behind. On a cold winters day in the main street of Hobart the winds come down from the snowy mountain top and seem to go right through you. Hobart is famous for the finish of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race held every boxing day. The wharf system is right in the main street of the city and the old ware houses have been renovated into trendy shopping. When the yachts arrive there it is a sight to see. The area is also the site of the famous Salamanca markets held every Saturday and a must see for tourists. A couple of the obligatory seafood restaurants are there too on the water and are very popular.
On the other end of the island on the north west coast, is Devonport where the over night ferry comes in every second day bringing tourists and their cars. That is the most romantic way to get to Tasmania. You can have a cabin with double bed and window and can watch the coast of Tasmania getting closer while you have your breakfast. The ferry leaves Melbourne on mainland Australia about 6pm and has a nice choice of dining facilities on board. There is a bar and entertainment facilities on board so you trip is a memorable one. You can choose to bring your car with you or hire one at the terminal when you arrive.
You will need about two weeks to get a good look at most of the state. There are plenty of hotels and motels for you to stay overnight. The east coast is white beaches and holiday resorts while the west coast is rugged with lots of mining sites and small mining towns. The north west coast where you arrived is mostly farm lands with vegetable and cropping popular. Down south around Hobart, the capital, you will visit Port Arthur, the site of the first convict settlement in Australia. The place was chosen because it is on a peninsular with a very narrow strip access where vicious dogs were chained to prevent escape. The ruins have been preserved and you can go into one of the original cells in the prison. Some of the cottages have been preserved too and you can visit where the governor used to live.
In the center of Tasmania you are very high and it is the home of some of the biggest and best hydro electric schemes in the world. In creating these systems huge lakes were made which are now the home of some of the best trout fly fishing in the world. One of the first of these electric schemes is known as Wadamanna and is now disused and has been kept open as a museum. The old generators and turbines have been cut away to show you the workings of them. The huge steel pipes are still there that drop straight down from the lake for hundreds of feet and must have created a huge force of water. On the walls of the old station are now photos of the men building the first huge dam. It was all done by hand with shovels and wheelbarrows. An incredible feet. The advertisement is on the wall from the nearby city newspaper. 'Work available at Wadamanna. Straw mattress provided. Apply on site three days walk from Launceston'. The good old days.
Tasmania is a beautiful little island with a lot of history and well worth a visit. It can be cold in winter but it can also have beautiful sunny winter days with cold frosty nights. Summer is perfect but is pretty short. The plus for a winter holiday is that the rates for travel and accommodation are usually quite a bit lower. When ever you go you are sure to enjoy it and will be looking for a return trip. The boat is a special trip but if that is not for you there are plenty of commercial flights into the four major airports. Check it out sometime. You will be glad you did.
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