Located 240 kilometers from the Southeastern coast of Australia, Tasmania is an Australian island state. Bass Strait is the water body that keeps this island separated from the mainland. This state is made up of the island of Tasmania, and other surrounding islands. A must-know fact here is, the island of Tasmania occupies the 26th position in the list of the largest islands of the world.
Geographical Features of Tasmania
What is intriguing to know about this near shield-like shaped state is, its geographical features are different from that of the mainland Australia. The island has a land mass of about 68,401 square kilometers, and stretches to about 350 kilometers. And approximately, the population of the state is 507,626 (according to census, June 2010).
Here is a sneak peek at some of the beautiful attractions of Tasmania.
Some Important Facts To Know About Tasmania
- Perhaps the most important feature of Tasmania is its wildlife. The island was home to one of the most amazing animals the Earth ever had - the Tasmanian Wolf, also known as the Tasmanian Tiger. It was reputed to be the largest carnivorous marsupial known to man in the modern times. But unfortunately, the mention of this unusual beast of the wild is now only used in past tense, as it was believed to have become extinct in the 20th century (1936).
- The Tasmanian Devil is another creature of the island's wildlife. Post extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger, this animal became the largest carnivorous marsupial. Although, the creature may look like a puppy, it is reputed to lay the strongest bite among living animals. Even this creature is on the verge of meeting the same fate as what the Tasmanian Wolf did.
- There are 12 species of birds, which can only be sighted in Tasmania, and the island has 3 endemic species of frogs.
- The original inhabitants of the island were known as Aborigines. These indigenous people inhabited the island for over 1000 years. It was only 200 years back, that the place got colonized by the Europeans. It is believed that the last of the Aborigines was a woman named Truganini (1812-76).
- It is amazing and very impressive to know that almost 37% of the island encompasses reserves, national parks and World Heritage Sites. What's more amazing to know about this place is, it has the world's cleanest air!
- The island is blessed with a mild, temperate maritime climate, and has been honored twice by the travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler as the 'Best Temperate Island in the World.' Also, given the large and relatively unspoiled natural environment, it is also attributed as the 'Island of Inspiration'.
- Hobart is the capital of the state, and the largest city, as well.
- Tasmania's original name 'Anthony van Diemen's Land' was derived from that of the sponsor of Abel Janszoon Tasman, Anthony van Diemen. He was the Governor of the Dutch East Indies. It was on 1st January 1856, that it was renamed 'Tasmania.'
- Dolerite, a medium-grained basalt, is present in massive amount on this island, and this is evident by the many distinctive mountains and cliffs formed from it.
- Mt. Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft) is the highest peak on the island.
- Tasmania is also known as 'Apple Isle'. This is because until recently it was one of the main apple-growing areas in the world for many years. However, still at present times, it boasts having the largest apple-growing industry in the country.
- One more interesting fact about Tasmania is that it is home to the oldest and largest trees in the world. The slow growing 'Huon Pine' is the oldest native tree species, with one specimen that is estimated to be up to 10,000 years old.
And to conclude with one more fact, it is about a Tasmanian shrub called King's Lomatia. It is a self-cloning plant, and each clone plant has a life span of 300 years. There is only one colony of this plant that is believed to be alive in the wild.