23 Jul 2015
We're rather precious about our special island state of Tasmania - and some may even say a tad partial when championing its many virtues.
So it's good to be reminded that we're not alone, and that those in the know at the respected Travel + Leisure recently voted Tasmania the 'Top Island' in the Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific region for 2015 - and honoured it with fourth spot on the list of the Top 10 islands across the world.
So what's so special?
Well, considering there's everything from mesmerising wilderness scenery and charming villages to Indigenous and settler history, great food and wine and the buzz of downtown Hobart, it's no easy task deciding where to start.But as most visitors disembark the Spirit of Tasmania at Devonport, common sense says this should be our launching point.
With feet back on terra firma, explore the area's rich nautical history at the Bass Strait Maritime Centre or take in the local art at the Devonport Regional Gallery before hitting the highway to Launceston and indulging in the profusion of delicious local produce en route.
Sample mouth-watering fare at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm, the total chocolate experience at the House of Anvers and the cheese-lovers' delight that is Ashgrove Cheese and, when in Launceston, a visit to the many award-winning wineries fringing the Tamar River and Pipers Brook areas is a must.
Moving south, Cradle Mountain and its surrounds are currently blanketed with lush snow, the air is wholesomely bracing and the stunning walks equally exhilarating, with Lake St Clair National Park and its Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area adding to the overall appeal.
As you meander towards Australia's second oldest capital city, Hobart, allow your mind to do likewise and reflect on the many attractions that await, from the best whisky anywhere on the planet at Sullivans Cove Whisky, to the city's rich and vibrant arts and culture scene that includes the Festival of Voices, the Henry Jones Art Hotel and the iconic Museum of Old and New Art - or MONA in the local vernacular!
Another beauty of Tasmania is that wherever you go, there's a raft of accommodation options for all pockets and preferences, with organisations like Discovery Parks there to host you every step of the way with fully-equipped cottages and cabins as well as caravan and camping sites.