Tasmania was the last part of the Australian continent to separate from the great southern landmass of Gondwana 45 million years ago. This, together with 10,000 years of isolation from mainland Australia, has resulted in Tasmania’s environment being significantly different to the rest of the country.
Tasmania’s coastline embraces fjords, large bays, magnificent beaches and dramatic sea cliffs. On the east coast the granite peaks of the Freycinet Peninsula mark the southern end of the land bridge that once linked Tasmania to mainland Australia. The loss of this land bridge served to protect Tasmanian wildlife hence the island is the last bastion of several mammals. Tasmanian Devils, Eastern and Spotted-tailed Quolls, Tasmanian Bettongs and a variety of smaller marsupials are frequently seen.
Coastal wildlife includes Fairy Penguins, fur-seals, sea-lions, dolphins, Humpback and Southern Right Whales as well as the occasional visitor from further south – King Penguins and Leopard Seals.
The southwest corner is one of Australia’s most pristine wilderness areas, accessible only on foot or by scenic flight. Most of this region and the Central Plateau are comprised of heath covered mountains and peaks rising above beautiful mountain lakes. The lakes and rivers of the high country are renowned for their trout fishing.
In 1803 the first settlers arrived to establish a penal colony on the island and the ensuing settlement resulted in conflict with the small Tasmanian Aboriginal population. Much of the original colonial and convict architecture remains today and is amongst the finest of its kind in Australia. Less obvious, though no less significant, is the evidence of Aboriginal culture in the middens that dot the State’s coastline.
Tasmanians pride themselves on top quality food and wine and the island’s produce is evident in the gourmet cuisine which is an integral part of welcoming Tasmanian hospitality.