Little heart shaped island under Australia, once connected to it, through the Bass Straits, no longer. Birthplace of Errol Flynn and home to the recent Nobel Literature prize winner, Richard Flanagan. Closer to the Antarctic, part of the roaring Forties, cold weather, green pastures, amazing mountains and scenery and of course home to the Sydney Hobart races that take place every year. And that is just a small part of it today.The whole of its notoriety for years centred on it being Van Diemen's Island, the place where convicts were sent to be incarcerated on far flung, cold and inhospitable islands, where the colonists of the day landed all their baddies, as ever that could be a solution. And that is not even mentioning the unspeakable events which lead to the dissemination of Aboriginal groups and cultures who had of course inhabited the land long before the Europeans.
For a long time I think Tasmania was considered a bit of a poor cousin to the mainland and not that much importance given to it. People did not really have it in their scope. How things have changed now. There is a staggering increase in Tasmanian tourism. People come to enjoy its ruggedness and natural beauty but also its excellent produce and wine, often taking in the many small museums and monuments which speak of its past.
We are here to explore it for a while though I suspect we will not be able to see as much as it has to offer. Travelling up the east coast from Hobart, an easy journey on good roads. we stop to see some of the interesting vegetation and some of the coastline. Our first destination, Coles Bay and our resort Saffire.
Using the most beautiful woods, gum, celery pine the whole building is architecturally magnificent, having a very low impact on the skyline, disappearing from view on the beach and at night using very little low lighting.
We head down to Coles Bay almost immediately. Across the bay are the five mountains collectively called the Hazards - which remind me strangely enough of the Kyrenia range - and the Pentadaktylos.
The beach, bracing and cold but majestic offers us these views as our introduction to Tassie.
All part of the Freycinet peninsula which is a national park and one of the favourite destinations in Tasmania. Just the scenery tells you why.