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Population: 541,965 (2021)
The island state of Tasmania is located some 200 kilometres south of the mainland of Australia and is Australia's smallest state (68,000 sq. km.), measuring only some 250 kilometres from north to south and east to west at its broadest points.
Rich in Australia's young history, it was the second settlement in Australia after Sydney and the first settlers arrived in 1803 to what is now Hobart. It was primarily established as a penal settlement to house prisoners from the United Kingdom and much of this early penal history can be seen around the state.
It takes its name from Abel Tasman who first charted the island in 1642 and originally named it Van Diemens Land. Like those who visit it today he was struck by its intense and varied beauty.
As Australia's most southern land mass, it is snow capped throughout much of the year, and the mountainous terrain and many lakes provide a tranquil and beautiful island which is a popular destination for holiday makers from all over the world.
For travellers, the island can be divided mainly into 4 sections. The north west, where the ferry from Melbourne disembarks at Devonport, the North East, with beautiful beaches and snow capped mountain peaks, the South West, renowned for the system of rivers and the beautiful rain forests which comprise a magnificent World Heritage Area, and the South East, which houses the ruins of the penal settlement of Port Arthur, and has a rugged and beautiful coastline interspersed with many fine beaches.
The principal cities are the capital, Hobart, in the south, and Launceston, in the north. A list of the major towns, with a brief summary, will be found by clicking the 'TOWNS' button above. There are nearly 100 detailed street maps and you will find a list of these by clicking on the 'MAPS' button above.
This guide covers most of Tasmania's most important towns, national parks, wilderness areas, and other relevant information to help you understand the attraction and beauty of the state.

Further information can be obtained from the Tasmanian Travel and Information Centre, 20 Davey Street, Hobart. Tasmania. 7000. Telephone: (03) 6230 8233 or Fax: (03) 6224 0289.


  • The Bush Inn at New Norfolk (1825) is the oldest continually licensed public house in Australia.
  • The Theatre Royal in Hobart is Australia's oldest operative live theatre.
  • Tasmania has Australia's oldest brewery, the Cascade brewery in Hobart.
  • Tasmania has Australia's most complete ruins of a convict settlement at Port Arthur.
  • Tasmania has a higher proportion of its land area (22.6 per cent) reserved for recreation and conservation purposes than any other State.
  • Western Tasmania's World Heritage Area is one of the last great unspoilt temperate wilderness areas in the world.
  • Tasmania possesses the finest brown trout angling in the southern hemisphere and is the source of all brown trout stocks in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Tasmania has the longest and deepest caves and the deepest natural freshwater lake in Australia.
  • Launceston's Cataract Gorge Chairlift is the longest single-span chairlift in the world.
  • Tasmania has the fastest growing farmed Atlantic salmon in the world and one of the world's largest and most modern hatcheries.
  • The reputation of Tasmania's premium wines is protected by the only legislated apellation scheme in Australia.
  • Tasmania has the largest lavender farm in the world and it is the only commercial lavender producer in the southern hemisphere.
  • The dominant rainforest species are eucalypts, including the tallest stands of hardwood in the southern Hemisphere and the biggest white gum (89 metres tall and 10 metres around) in the world.
  • The forests also include a unique range of minor species, including myrtle, blackwood, sassafras, leatherwood, celery top pine, Huon pine and King Billy pine. These timbers are used extensively in the craft and quality furniture industries.
  • A Huon pine tree in the south-west wilderness is estimated to be 4,000 years old, making it the oldest living thing on earth.
  • Tasmania has 68 golf courses - more per capita than any other state in Australia.

  • Tasmania is closer to the equator than Rome, Chicago or the Azores.
  • Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world and its rainwater is so pure that quantities have been shipped to Australian Olympic Athletes competing overseas.
  • Tasmania is the most decentralised State and Tasmanians travel the shortest distances of any Australian workers between their homes and their jobs.
  • Tasmania is the southern-most State and lies 240km south of the Australian mainland, on a latitude of 40 degrees south.
  • Its territory includes Macquarie Island, halfway between the Australian mainland and the Antarctic continent, but the capital, Hobart is no further from the equator than New York or Madrid.

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© Copyright Peter W. Wilkins