Thirty-seven percent of Tasmania is either World Heritage listed or otherwise protected and it’s easy to see why. It’s cold in Tasmania compared to the rest of Australia, especially up in the mountains. It rains a lot and the weather is conducive to temperate rainforests – the Tasmanian Wilderness Heritage Area covers 3.2 million acres.
Tasmania is home to a couple of unique animal species: the Tasmanian devil, whose numbers are currently being decimated by a shocking facial cancer; and the Tasmanian tiger or thylacine, Australia’s largest predatory mammal, believed to have gone instinct early last century.
‘Tassie’ is also historically significant. It was first settled by Europeans in 1803 and was a dedicated convict settlement for the next fifty years with a reputation for brutal conditions. The settlement of Port Arthur is a poignant reminder of what the convicts had to endure. Visitors will notice that many places in Tasmania have French names (‘Freycinet’, ‘D’Entrecasteaux’, ‘Bruny’ and ‘Recherce’ to name a few) The French actually mapped Tasmania before the English but didn’t bother to settle. Whether that is a good or bad thing depends on what you think of the French.