By Suzanne Bopp
An island about 150 miles south of Australia’s mainland, Tasmania offers something for every traveler: a fascinating history, picture-perfect beaches, ancient rainforests, ﬂora and fauna found nowhere else on earth — all packed into an area about a tenth of the size of Texas.
Tasmanians take their natural attractions seriously. More than 3.4 million acres of the island are protected wilderness, providing almost unlimited natural surroundings unique to many destinations today. Tasmania off ers extensive opportunities for kayaking, rafting and hiking. Additionally, iconic landmarks, from the pristine curved beaches and clear waters of Wineglass Bay to Cradle Mountain, a steep slice of rock shaped by ice over millions of years, beckon travelers. Explore Cradle Mountain (and other highlights) on Trafalgar’s Perfect Tasmania. Blanketed with lush moss, the mountain yields unique wildlife encounters with wombats, quolls and Tasmanian devils.
Back in Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart, explore the historic waterfront, largely unchanged from the British colonial era. Stroll along Salamanca Place, the center of Hobart’s whaling industry, where the rows of sandstone buildings lining the waterfront were constructed by prisoners in the early 19th century. Today they’ve been transformed into galleries, restaurants and cafes, creating a vibrant atmosphere and an ideal people-watching spot. Pop into Lark Distillery or Society Salamanca for a taste of locally distilled gin. Tasmanian gin is gaining momentum thanks to the reversal of a law banning small-scale distilling. Locally sourced botanicals like tea tree blossoms, saff ron and wakame seaweed add to their popularity.
Delve deeper into Tasmania’s history at the Port Arthur Historic Site, an open-air museum and one of Australia’s most important historical locations. Built on a remote peninsula, established in 1833 and closed in 1877, this prison housed thousands of convicts serving brutal sentences of hard labor. Explore its prison buildings, restored homes and various ruins with a local guide. Then, cruise around the Isle of the Dead, the ﬁnal resting place for hundreds of prisoners, before your ship turns back toward Hobart. Along the way, soak in spectacular views of Tasmania’s rugged coastline, including unique geological formations such as Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen, marveling at all that Tasmania has to offer.
(Traveler Spring 2020)