Tasmania is a world apart – from Australia, from everywhere. It's a place to unplug, recharge and reconnect with the things that matter. It's where you can breathe the purest air on the planet in World Heritage-protected wilderness carpeting a fifth of the island.
The wild places are remarkable but there's much else besides: hyper-local gastronomy, magnificent gardens, a treasury of Georgian architecture, haunting echoes of a convict past as Van Diemen's Land, adrenalin-fuelled adventures and dazzling, do-nothing beaches.
Tassie, as it's commonly known, is not one island but an archipelago of more than 300, anchored in the Southern Ocean far from everyday cares – the perfect place to escape, in other words.
A trip to Tasmania can span a few days or thousands of years. Among the fascinating layers of history are convict sites such as Port Arthur, now a remarkable open-air museum where 12,500 convicts were exiled between 1830 and 1877. It's one of the island's five World Heritage-listed convict sites, and there are scores of towns with convict-built streetscapes, roads and bridges.
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Meet Hairy Tasmanians
Little devils are living proof that all babies are cute, even those with claws. Tasmanian devils are the world's largest surviving carnivorous marsupials; the babies are properly known as joeys but colloquially called imps, a name that better captures their Gothic romance. Always born in autumn, these fierce furballs spend their first winter in a milk coma in their mother's pouch.
Arts end of the world
Sex, death and outrageously provocative art are the defining characteristics of Mona, aka the Museum of Old and New Art. Built on the outskirts of Hobart to house the private art collection of maverick millionaire David Walsh, Mona was billed as a "subversive adult Disneyland" when it opened to global acclaim a decade ago. There's plenty to entertain the kids, too.
Air New Zealand is currently offering twice weekly direct flights from Auckland to Hobart. For more information click here.
For more on Tasmania, see discovertasmania.com.au/nz