by Lydia Schrandt for USA TODAY 10Best

Explore Tasmania on this virtual tour

Tap to start

Tasmania, Australia’s spectacular island state, is known for its white sand beaches, world-class hiking, farm-to-table food scene and loads of travel-worthy festivals. Explore it on this virtual tour.

Hobart, the capital of Tasmania – and second oldest and smallest capital in Australia – has a lot going on for a city of just over 200,000 people.

The 20-minute drive from Hobart to the summit of Mt. Wellington takes visitors through temperate rainforest to the sub-alpine peak. An open viewing platform offers one of the best views in all of Tasmania.

You may have heard of the northern lights in the Arctic sky. The southern hemisphere has its equivalent, the aurora australis. The southern lights can be spotted year-round in the far south of Tasmania.

Mount Field National Park, located just an hour outside of Hobart, ranks among Tasmania’s oldest and most accessible national parks. Russell Falls is among the park’s most popular attractions.

Photo courtesy of Rob Burnett

Many consider the Tamar Valley to be one of Tasmania’s prettiest areas. It’s also the island’s most important wine-producing region, known for its cool-climate vineyards and sparkling wines.

Port Arthur’s history dates back to 1830, when it was founded as a timber station. It’s better known, however, as a former penal colony where British criminals were sent in the years from 1833 to 1853.

Wildlife is abundant in Tasmania, but perhaps no animal is quite as iconic to this region as a carnivorous marsupial known as the Tasmanian devil.

Tasmania has some of the best hiking on the planet. One of the most famous alpine hikes is the Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair. The 40-mile bushwalking track takes about six days to complete.

The Tasman Peninsula sets the scene for another of Tasmania’s popular multi-day walks, the Three Capes Track. This 30-mile track is best known for its outlooks along the clifftops of Cape Pillar, Cape Hauy and toward Cape Raoul.

What Maria Island lacks in amenities, it makes up for in immense natural beauty, from white sand beaches to fern-filled forests. The waters off the coast are popular among snorkelers and divers.

Some of the world’s best lavender oil, known for its relaxing fragrance, comes from the Bridestowe Lavender Estate in the north of Tasmania. Visitors can wander freely through the 260 acres of rolling lavender fields.

Tasman National Park is known for its coastal rock formations and towering sea cliffs. Among the highlights is the Tessellated Pavement, a flat rock surface fractured into rectangular shapes.

Photo courtesy of Ollie Khedun

Queenstown serves as the gateway to Tasmania’s west coast. The city was once one of the world’s richest copper mining towns, and that mining history remains.

Freycinet National Park on the East Coast is one of Tasmania’s best known national parks. The three granite peaks of the Hazards stand watch over the Freycinet Peninsula and the iconic Wineglass Bay.

Cradle Mountain, located within Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, is surrounded by glacial lakes and alpine vegetation, all of which can be experienced via a series of short hikes.

You’ll find one of Tasmania’s most Instagrammed spots on Bruny Island. The Neck is an isthmus of land connecting the north and south parts of the island and offering spectacular 360-degree views.

The Cape Bruny Lighthouse, the second oldest extant lighthouse in Australia, rises 374 feet above the southern tip of Bruny Island.

On the northwest coast of Tasmania, you’ll see a sheer-sided bluff rising above the fishing village of Stanley. This formation, known as the Nut, is a remnant of a volcanic plug.

Many of Tasmania’s caves provide a habitat for some magical little creatures: glowworms. These points of glowing blue light aren’t worms at all but hanging larvae of an insect endemic to Australia.

Read more at USA TODAY 10Best

Read the article
Read the article