The island state of Tasmania differs from mainland Australia in that it is uniformly more mountainous and untamed.
Australia’s smallest state, Tasmania is a kind of pocket wilderness, some of its impenetrable depths are still to be explored.
Although the the island was discovered by Dutch navigator Abel Tasman in 1642, first settlement was not until 1803. Foe 50 years Van Diemens Land, as it was known until 1856, was a British convict settlement with a reputation unsurpassed on the mainland.
Reminders of Tasmania’s colonial past are scattered all over the island and are responsible for a large amount of its tourist trade. The infamous Port Arthur penitentiary ruins on the south coast are probably the best known. Ironically the setting for this grim relic is among the most scenically magnificent in Tasmania.
The largest city, Hobart has arguably the most beautiful setting of all state capitals. Against a backdrop of Mount Wellington snowcapped for much of the year, its population of 160,000 pursue a peaceful existence on the west bank of the Derwent Estuary.
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