With its wind-whipped headlands, wild peaks and omnipresent wildlife, the remote island of Tasmania offers the perfect antidote to big-city life. Australia's smallest state no longer plays second fiddle to its mainland neighbors, and adventurous travelers will find a captivating mix of heritage sites, hiking trails and charming villages to explore.
With the coolest climate of all Australia's states, Tasmania can be visited at any time of year given the right wardrobe. Head here in summer to hit the beach and enjoy Hobart's lively festival season, or visit in winter to see the landscapes dusted with snow. Whenever you plan to visit, there’s no time like the present to book your trip, and with the Australian dollar falling, US and European travelers have all the more reason to book soon and take advantage of the favorable exchange rates.
Ready to start planning? Here are five things not to miss:
Take a day trip to Bruny Island
Less than an hour's trip south of Hobart, Bruny Island
has long been the top summer retreat for city dwellers and an ideal choice for a day or multi-day trip. Spend time hiking, fishing or surfing along the coast; take in the views from the landmark Cape Bruny Lighthouse
; and keep a look out for native wildlife like penguins, echidnas and cormorants.
Cruise the Gordon River
Escape the beaten track and set sail along the remote Gordon River
for a real back-to-nature adventure. The 117-mile waterway winds through Tasmania’s UNESCO-listed wilderness, passing ancient rain forests, the former convict settlement of Sarah Island
and natural landmarks like Hells Gates.
Take in an Ultimate Winery Experience
Follow the advice of the Ultimate Winery Experiences of Australia (UWEA)
and discover the secrets of Tasmanian wine at some of the island's most prestigious wineries. Combine fine Chardonnay with award-winning cuisine at Josef Chromy Wines in the Tamar Valley
or mix wine tasting and modern art at the Moorilla Estate, just outside of Hobart.
See historic Port Arthur
Uncover the truth about Tasmania's convict history at the island's most-visited attraction, the UNESCO-listed Port Arthur
. Explore the fascinating ruins and interactive exhibitions of the former convict settlement; take a cruise to the Isle of the Dead or brave a lantern-lit ghost tour of the notoriously haunted ruins.