The Nut, Stanley

About Tasmania

Tasmania is Australia’s smallest state and the most decentralised and geographically diverse.

Its landscape can change from rain-forested valleys and highland lakes to long white beaches within a 90 minute drive, however, driving around the entire island will take visitors several days.

Tasmania is an island of spectacular coastlines, tall forests, rugged highlands, sunny beaches and wild rivers. There are vibrant cities, sleepy country towns, and picturesque fishing villages.

Almost half of Tasmania’s land mass is protected in World Heritage Areas, national parks, and marine and forest reserves. These are ideal for walking, kayaking, cruising and other recreational and adventure activities.

With four distinct seasons and a mild, cool climate, Tasmania is well suited to gourmet food production. There are premium cool-climate wines, fresh seafood and clean, green produce, no matter where visitors go in the state.

Tasmania's protected, natural environment and soft southern light attracts artists and crafts makers from around the world, generating a dynamic, creative artistic and cultural scene.

Tasmania’s strong links with the sea and its convict and maritime history are still evident in its towns and cities, while the local people are friendly, inventive and enjoy engaging with visitors.

The combined readership of all seven international editions of Travel + Leisure magazine named Tasmania the number one island in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, in its 2009 World’s Best Awards. The prestigious accolade from the world’s highest circulating travel title confirms Tasmania is a world-class visitor destination.

Tasmania truly has something for everyone.


In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to sight Tasmania and named the island Van Diemen’s Land. The French visited the island in 1772, followed by the English one year later.

To prevent the French from gaining a footing, the English established a settlement at Risdon Cove in 1803. It was an unsuitable site due to lack of fresh water, so in 1804 the settlement moved across the River Derwent to Sullivans Cove, where the city of Hobart is today.

Named after the British statesman Lord Robert Hobart, Hobart Town, as it was then called, became the capital of Tasmania in 1825 and was chartered as a city in 1857.

Tasmania was initially colonised to imprison convicts from England. The first ship of convicts arrived from England in 1812, however, convicts had been arriving in Van Diemen’s Land as early as 1803 when the Lady Nelson travelled from Sydney to old Hobart Town with 21 convicts on board.

Numerous convicts settlements were established in Van Diemen's Land, including the particularly harsh penal colonies at Port Arthur in the southeast and Macquarie Harbour on the West Coast.

Transportation ceased in 1853, after England had sent more than 74,000 convicts to the island and in 1856 the still-fledgling colony’s parliament changed the name to Tasmania.

In 1901 Tasmania became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia under Federation.


Tasmania has a mild, temperate climate, with four distinct seasons, each with its own special appeal.

In summer the average maximum temperature along the coast is 21°C  and inland areas around Launceston reach 24°C.

In winter, June and July are generally the wettest and coolest months across the state, with most high-lying areas receiving considerable snowfall.

Winter maximums are 12°C on average along coastal areas and 3°C  on the central plateau.

Spring is a season of transition, where winter weather patterns begin to take the shape of summer patterns, although snowfall is still common up until October.

Rainfall varies dramatically across the island. Hobart, is Australia's second-driest capital city (after Adelaide) with an average of 626 millimetres, while on the West Coast an annual average of 2,400 mm ensures that the temperate rainforests thrive.

CityMin. Temp °CMax. Temp °CNo. Clear DaysRainfall (mm)


515 000 (Sep 2014)


Map of Tasmania [PDF 1.1MB]