I’m always slightly cautious when I hear too many good things about a destination I’m about to visit. I just don’t want to get my expectations too high and, without sounding ungrateful, end up deflated when it’s not what I thought (or it was hyped up to be).

When I mentioned to Australian work colleagues and friends about my planned birthday trip to Tasmania, everyone told me they thought it was one of the most beautiful states in Australia. “The hikes will blow your mind”, “you’ll fall in love with the rural lifestyle” were a few comments I received that stirred up stomach butterflies, which before my visit, I was consciously trying to diminish.

Even with these high expectations in the back of my mind, it took less than a day before I realised my friends were totally right – holy crap did Tasmania deliver. I’d go as far as to say I loved everything about it. On occasions, I’ve even found myself fantasising about moving there – mountainside eco-hut for one please!

From spending just two weeks travelling Tassie, here is everything I loved about this absolutely underrated Aussie isle.

 

1. The ‘Outdoor’ Culture

Take a walk anywhere and you will find people of all ages appreciating, and more to the the point, respecting nature’s beautiful offerings.

Tasmanians seem to love and take pride in their state. On a weekend you will see whole families hiking or camping together. You will bump into young tour guides and rangers passionate about dedicating their lives to showing off and preserving their unique landscape. I saw people picking up litter on their walks that had been accidentally dropped by someone else. I even met people who were taking time off from work to travel their state instead of going abroad. ‘Staycations’ are definitely a thing in Tasmania.

When you stop to chat (because locals will if you don’t – they’re so incredibly friendly), they will explicitly tell you how lucky they are to be surrounded by such scenery. Tasmanian’s not only know it, but actually get out and embrace it. It’s so admirable; many people living in other countries just don’t know what they have on their doorstep!

 

2. The Local Produce Ethos

In the same way Tasmanians are proud of their landscape, they are also immensely proud of state-grown produce. Stickers in windows and signs outside restaurants boldly declare menus of Tasmanian ingredients. It’s a selling point that works – I can definitely vouch that they have some of the most incredible tasting fresh goods! The famous Bruny Island oysters and also the local cherries were literally some of the best I’ve ever had in my life.

Residents champion supporting local, independent businesses. On a tour, the guide was telling us that many people start side projects, such as beekeeping or wine making, but due to the success of selling to neighbours and friends, many have rapidly grown and become full-time!

When I walked past people’s gardens I also found many have fruit and vegetable patches. The temperate climate (i.e, wider temperature changes between the seasons) means that you can grow a variety of produce in Tassie – from tomatoes to root veg, from citrus fruits to berries – there isn’t all that much you can’t grow for yourself at one time of the year or another.

It’s so refreshing to see a state that aims to be pretty much self-sustainable. The eco-conscious side of me cheers at the thought of all those saved ferry fumes from the reduced imports!

 

3. The Serenity

Having flown in from Melbourne (a city with a population of nearly 5 million) to Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania (with a population of only 225,000), I couldn’t have been more aware of just how absurdly peaceful Tasmania is! There’s no crazy traffic jams, no horrendous skyscrapers, no loud trains running throughout the night or bad light pollution obliterating the stars – just blissfully quiet ‘sleepy’ living.

At dusk one evening on the outskirts of Hobart, I took a walk and all I could hear were the cicada’s chirping and distant laughter of children.  That was it. I found it so strange – this is a late rush hour in many capital cities all over the world yet I didn’t pass a single car!

 

4. The Hiking

This one may seem like a given. With over 1.5 million hectares of protected World Heritage landscape, it doesn’t matter which direction you head, you’re pretty sure to come across some stunning hiking opportunities in Tasmania. Whether you’re a mountain, beach, bush or forest person, you can find all types of trails to suit any ability. Some walks are unlike anywhere else in the world, let alone Australia. Due to the size of the state, you can pretty much go most places as a day trip too – bonus!

Camping in Tasmania is a really popular activity and one of the best ways to really explore the national parks. There are over 50 caravan parks in the State to choose from and if you’re on a budget, a few free camp spots too.

If you want to read more about the walking opportunities in Tasmania, make sure you check out my other post ‘5 Must Do Hikes in Tasmania’.

 

5. The Unique Flora and Fauna

Tasmania is geographically isolated from the rest of mainland Australia due to the flooding of the Bass Strait many thousands of years ago. This has resulted in the island being home to some really bio-diverse and genetically unique species. Some animals that have been extinct in mainland Australia for centuries, such as the Tasmanian Devil and Pademelon, are still alive and thriving in Tassie (and in fact, nowhere else in the world!)

The vegetation in Tasmania is also extremely diverse and you can find some of the oldest species on the planet here. From alpine heathlands to eucalyptus forests, very different flora seems to flourish happily in Tasmania. The variety means you don’t have to explore very far for the scenery around you to change altogether.

For me, knowing that some of the wildlife and plants are exclusive to the area, makes Tasmania all the more special.

Have you fallen in love with Tasmania now as well?