Putting the “mania” in Tasmania

Many countries in the world have an area that, rightly or wrongly, is considered a hub for yokels.  The residents usually live in small towns and have funny(er) accents.  These are places like West Virginia in the US, Jejudo in Korea, or all of Wales

Sometimes it’s justified, like Gore in New Zealand.  Sometimes it’s not, like New Foundland in Canada.  But the least deserving of its reputation, I think, is a little island south of Australia proper.

Mention Tasmania to an Ozzy and you’ll get a laugh and a joke about incest or two-headed people or, if you’re lucky, about two-headed people committing incest.

I lived in Australia for two years and there’s a lot of it I haven’t seen.  I was studying for my masters and my travels were restricted to the East Coast.  Still, from where I’ve been, Tasmania is my favorite part of Australia.

It’s often compared to New Zealand and I think those comparisons have some truth.  It doesn’t have the striking mountains of the South Island or the hot pools of the North.  But Tasmania shines in the animal department.  Everyone knows about the Tasmanian Devil, but they have a host of other animals that are relatively easy to see in the wild: kangaroos, wallabies, paddymelons, wombats, platypus, quolls, echnidas, sugar gliders, and more.    They are some of the coolest animals in the world, and you can easily camp or hike really close to them.

Another amazing thing about Tassie is the history.  Australia is a new country, of course, but many of the buildings in Tassie are the oldest in Australia.  It feels to me a bit like the UK with pubs steeped in history and hundred-year old buildings.  Port Richmond is largely intact and is a great place to visit.  The sea there is like the Oregon coast or the west coast of the South Island, kind of a primal beauty.

Cradle Mountain is one of the best hiking areas I’ve ever been to, and the Overland Track is on many lists of the top-10 hikes in the world.  Hobart is one of my very favorite cities in the world; it’s walkable, has good food, pubs with character, a great whiskey distillery, live Irish music, and the Salamenca Market, one of the largest in the world.  Hobart isn’t the only nice city in Tassie either.  Tasmania’s second city is Launceston, and it’s scenic, has the Boags brewery, and an amazing gorge within walking distance of anywhere in town.

In short, Tasmania is an underrated destination, especially for travelers who enjoy hiking, scenery, beer, culture, or history.

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One response to “Putting the “mania” in Tasmania

  1. awesome!!

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