Finding My Scenic Serenity in Tasmania

If you think that Tasmania is like the Tasmanian devil from Looney Tunes, think again. The island may be wild, but it’s far from the chaotic nature of this famous cartoon character known for his whirlwinds and snarls. Tasmania is calm, quiet, a place of overwhelming serenity. I learned this intimately on a recent trip through Tasmania.

Upon arrival in Hobart you immediately notice the quiet charm of Tasmania’s largest port city. Fishing boats dock along the harbour. Quaint bars and fish and chip restaurants line the boardwalk. While walking with our guide Sylvie Schoedler, owner of Premier Travel Tasmania and long-time partner of Goway, she mentions Tasmania has the cleanest air quality in the world and you can sense that right here in town. There’s not much hustle and bustle in Hobart. Salamanca Market, established in 1972, is probably the busiest spot in the city. It opens every Saturday at 8:30 a.m. to cater to locals and tourists who want to sample the local spirits, check out the woodwork stalls, or purchase a handcrafted cowhide leather bag.

In Tasmania, there’s a lot of history hiding in plain sight. At Port Arthur and the Cascades Female Factory, we learn about the island’s convict history and how much of the preserved historical architecture exists due to convict labour. The island’s remoteness allowed for its use as a penal colony. That remoteness is also what makes its abundance of wildlife possible. It’s home to many species that are extinct on Australia’s mainland, such as the Tasmanian devil (or Tassie devil as they say in Oz), platypus, and the adorable-yet-lesser-known eastern quoll. Quolls are smaller than Tasmanian devils, but just as carnivorous. They come in two colourations: tan and black, both with unique spotted patterns.

Despite their reputations, Tasmanian devils are adorable, affectionate animals.

As for Tassie devils, I soon learn that they’re not the aggressive creatures their name suggests. In actuality, their name comes from the screechy sounds they make. We learn from Greg Irons, owner of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, that they suffer from a cancerous face tumour that is severely impacting the wild population. My heart melts watching one of the devils playing with the cuff of Greg’s hoodie, tugging and rolling like a little puppy. I was so taken by these special creatures that I have since sponsored two Tassie devils, one from Bonorong, and another from Devils@Cradle Sanctuary in Cradle Mountain. Luckily, people in Tasmania have a passion for wildlife preservation. They want to protect these adorable marsupials, which are everywhere. As Greg mentions, “If you don’t have a pouch, you don’t fit in” in Australia.

Later, we explore Maria Island by ferry and immediately notice the picturesque and well-maintained landscape, the grass trimmed like a putting green. Sylvie tells us this is due to the wombats. These teddy bear-looking creatures are abundant on the island. We were even lucky enough to spot a couple of babies sticking very close to mum.

If you like the outdoors, it’s hard not to love Tasmania. The landscape is made for hiking. Maria Island offers many trails, which vary according to difficulty and length. But it’s not the only showstopper you can explore on foot. We hike up the pink granite Mount Amos in Freycinet National Park to Wineglass Bay Lookout, where you enjoy just about the best views imaginable. The 45-minute hike offers a breathtaking view of the bay, where you can sit and relax to take in the majesty of your cardio-filled reward.

My favourite stop on our journey is Cradle Mountain due to its chillier temperature and majestic green hills. I loved the crisp air and snowfall. A simple stroll outside my cabin even gave me an up close and personal glimpse of a wallaby munching on some grass. The scenic streams and beautiful mountains are a sight to behold. Tasmania offers the kind of peace and tranquility that large cities, no matter how nice, simply cannot compare to. It’s where I found the serenity I didn’t know I needed.

This article was originally published in No. 32 of Globetrotting Magazine.

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Gareth Adamson
Gareth Adamson

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