Tasmania's boast is that there is "another island" just to the north - the Australian mainland!

Tasmania's other boast is that it is very like "the old country" - England. Except in the extreme north-west, where you could view the rolling hills through half-shut eyes and see some resemblance to England's green and pleasant land, everywhere else there are rather too many gum trees for the likeness to be convincing! The road signs warning of devils rather than badgers or deer are another factor in shattering the illusion.

Set in the "Roaring Forties", Tasman does receive rather more rain than its northern neighbour and on the west coast in particular, this has given rise to dense forests and cascading rivers. The east coast is in rain-shadow from the central highlands and you can distinctly notice the change in vegetation as you drive east from Queenstown to Hobart. The vegetation is sparser and drier, though still verdant by Australian standards.

Despite having beautiful beaches, spectacular coasts, dramatic mountains and amazing wildlife, Tasmania is sufficiently far off the beaten track that it is not overrun by tourists. In consequence prices are reasonable, the natives are friendly, the beaches uncluttered and life is slower, calmer and more contented. Whatever you do, don't visit Tasmania. Leave it for real travellers to enjoy.