Tasmania is an Australian island state located south of the mainland. Much of Tasmania is an environmental reserve of national parks and world heritage sites. Its vast stretches of natural wilderness are so unspoiled that its nickname is the “Natural State”.
Unfortunately, the history of Tasmania is rather tragic. Tasmanian Aborigines arrived in Tasmania between 29,000 to 140,000 years ago, developing a culture distinct from even the aborigines in Australia. While the Dutch discovered Tasmania in 1642, the first European settlement was by a British penal colony in 1803. The arrival of British convicts and military guards brought diseases that wiped out a significant number of the original 5,000 aborigines. The remaining aborigines who survived the diseases were persecuted and massacred in the Black War, which left only about 300 aboriginal survivors who were then forced to relocate to Flinders Island in northeastern Tasmania. By 1876, the Tasmanian Aborigines became extinct after the death of the last full-blooded aborigine.
Visitors today can learn more about the Tasmanian Aborigines by visiting the Tiagarra Aboriginal Culture Center and Museum Center on Devonport’s Bluff or take the tour “Jahadi Indigenous Experience” in Deloraine. You can also learn more about the early European settlement in Tasmania by touring the preserved ruins of the penal settlements at Hobart, Port Arthur, Sarah Island, and Maria Island.
Tasmania, however, is most appreciated by tourists for its natural beauty. The island is home to dense rainforests, mountain peaks, great lakes, gorgeous waterfalls, alpine meadows, and fertile farmland. There are 20 national parks in Tasmania, much of which has been declared a world heritage area. This wilderness is virtually untouched and waiting to be explored. You can observe some of the world’s tallest and rarest trees and perhaps catch a glimpse of the distinct wildlife of Tasmania, including the famous carnivorous marsupials: the Tasmanian devil, eastern Quoll, and Tiger Quoll. The Tasmanian Tiger is also indigenous to Tasmania, but this wild dog-like marsupial is believed to be extinct.
Bird-watching is another major draw in Tasmania, which is home to 12 endemic birds including the Wedge-tailed Eagle, the Green Rosella, and the Black Currawong. There are also some great beach areas in Tasmania. Wineglass Bay has been rated as one of the world’s 10 best beaches. Other beaches include the Bay of Fires and Binalong Bay, both very tropical-looking and popular. Tasmania is also great for outdoor activities like camping, caving, cycling, fishing, diving, kayaking, off roading, handgliding, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and surfing.