Burnie Tasmania: The city is on the shores of Emu Bay, a deep-water port that contains the fifth largest container port in Australia. This small industrial city is surrounded by lovely countryside and has some interesting features such as the multi functional Civic Centre (theatre, convention facilities and a major art gallery) and the Pioneer Village Museum. It also has many fine gardens and parks. In a Tasmanian town you might find a coffee shop in an old colonial baker's, or an art gallery in an 1830s blacksmith's. There are old churches of stone, brick and timber and pubs that have provided warmth and company for over a hundred years.
Wynyard Tasmania: On the A2, about 60km west of Devonport. Farms on the fertile hinterland, fish in the bountiful sea - Wynyard is a centre of agriculture. The local landmark is Table Cape, flat-topped and fertile. Take a boat out, go fishing, ride a horse, swing a golf club or a tennis racquet, or just go walking or driving. This is a beautiful stretch of coast, with beaches and bays in either direction. Behind the town you'll pass village after tiny village as you explore the country roads among the farmlands, patchworked in green, gold and dark chocolaty brown. It looks even prettier from a scenic flight - the Wynyard airport serves Burnie, nearby.
Kempton Tasmania: On Highway 1 (the Midlands Highway), 49km north of Hobart. This little town was settled in the 1820s, when transported convicts were using picks and shovels to build the first road from Hobart to Launceston. Now the highway bypasses the town and peace has returned to the quaint streets. There are elegant colonial shops, cottages and houses, some occupied by descendants of the people who built them. The old court house and police station are now the council chambers. Enjoy homemade scones in a tea room, browse the antiques and souvenirs and check out the horses in the paddocks - this is riding country.
Oatlands Tasmania: On the Midlands Highway (A1), about 84km north of Hobart. Actually, Oatlands is now just off the Midlands Highway. The highway used to go through the town but was rerouted, making Oatlands wonderfully peaceful. It is a very pretty colonial town and has more Georgian and early colonial buildings than any other town in Australia. Many of the old cottages are now cafes and restaurants. Lake Dulverton is nearby, and also a golf course, a bowls green and a swimming pool.
Flinders Island: Flinders and its surrounding islands are what remain of land that once connected Tasmania to mainland Australia. At the eastern lagoons and inlets thousands of migrating birds rest on their long flights to breeding areas north of the Arctic Circle. Shearwaters, the southern hemisphere's most numerous birds, make their rookeries on nearby islands. The island's dense coastal scrub shelters wallabies and wombats. It's an island with a rich heritage, at Wybalenna Aboriginal Tasmanians, 'exiled' during the 19th century, pined for their homelands. Rough and ready sealers camped on smaller islands and ships foundered and sank on hidden reefs.
Derby Tasmania: On the A3, about 104km north east of Launceston. Mountain scenery, rainforests and old tin mines surround this classified historic town. In the late 1800s it was a booming mining settlement and at the Derby Tin Mine Centre you can pan for a bit of raw tin - metal we use every day of the week without thinking about where it comes from. Browse among antiques, second hand books and modern crafts in the quaint old shops, see for yourself that Blue Lake really is blue, paddle a canoe on Cascade Dam to stir up your appetite for a homemade afternoon tea in one of Derby's tea rooms.
Perth Tasmania: On the Midlands Highway (A1) about 15km south of Launceston. A pleasant, old-fashioned town settled in 1821. It has a number of historic buildings, notably churches (Baptist and Methodist) and inns (the Jolly Farmer, the Leather Bottell Inn and the Old Crown Inn). The nearby South Esk River is a popular fishing spot.
Launceston Tasmania: It's in the north of the island, where the North Esk and South Esk Rivers join to become the Tamar River, which then flows into Bass Strait. The city is elegant with Victorian and Edwardian buildings and is surrounded by beautiful countryside. Rich wheat and wool merchants once stalked the elegant streets of Launceston, and built their mansions and villas where visitors now enjoy bed and breakfast. Call in for a drink at the Batman Fawkner Inn, where Batman, Fawkner and others planned the founding of Melbourne on the other side of Bass Strait. Visit the Waverley Woollen Mills, established in 1874 and still weaving fabrics from fine Tasmanian merino wool.
Hobart Tasmania: the capital of Tasmania. It lies in the southeast at the foot of Mount Wellington, near the mouth of the River Derwent. The 19th century waterfront warehouses once bustled with whalers, soldiers, petty bureaucrats and opportunist businessmen. Now there are cafes, restaurants and studios in the old warehouses, and they bustle with shoppers and visitors. Polished glass winks in the windows of settlers' cottages, brass doorknobs gleam in the lofty porches of colonial edifices. Square-riggers still put out on the river, tacking among the yachts and fishing boats.
Ross Tasmania: On the Midlands Highway (Highway 1), roughly halfway between Hobart and Launceston. A beautiful old town established as a garrison in 1821. It has a fine collection of Georgian cottages and a fascinating sandstone bridge carved by a convict in 1836 - the work earned him his freedom. The remains of the old female factory, a prison for women between 1847 and 1853, have been restored and are open to the public. There are also antique and crafts shops, a wool centre (the town is in the middle of the sheep-farming area) and a toymaker.
Devonport Tasmania: at the centre of the north coast at the mouth of the Mersey River was founded as two towns. They merged in 1890 to become the city of Devonport. The terminal for the Bass Strait ferry service - the Spirit of Tasmania - is in this pleasant city. There are interesting features such as the Tiagarra Aboriginal Culture and Art Centre, the Maritime Museum, the Don River Railway and Museum and Home Hill, the house that Australia's only Tasmanian prime minister, Joseph Lyons, built when he married. Joseph and Dame Enid Lyons lived in the house, now owned by the National Trust, for the rest of their lives. It is preserved as they left it and open to the public.
Latrobe Tasmania: Just off Highway 1, about 10km southeast of Devonport. A lovely little historic town with streetscapes redolent of the 1880s and '90s and early 1900s. Many of the buildings are National Trust registered. It is a delight to walk through the town, along the riverbank and through the orchid reserve.
Swansea Tasmania: A delightful historic town that overlooks Great Oyster Bay, about halfway up the east coast. There are lots of lovely beaches, bays and rivers and if you want a change from sunbathing, swimming and fishing you can take yourself on a local tour. There are the old saltworks ruins, the very unusual Spiky Bridge, vineyards where you can taste and buy, Nine Mile Beach that forms the southern edge of Moulting Lagoon. Visit the Swansea Bark Mill and East Coast Museum and learn about life and work in the early European settlement.
Strahan Tasmania: West coast, on the shores of Macquarie Harbour. In January 1999 'The Chicago Tribune', an American newspaper, named Strahan as 'The Best Little Town in the World'. The travel editor, Randy Curwen, wrote that 'With fewer than 1,000 year-round residents, this is the only settlement on the entire south-western coast of Tasmania … Downtown is a one-block postcard shot, and the only real nightlife is the spectacular sunset over Australia's largest bay.' Curwen also enthused about '… cruises on the harbour, hikes into the wilderness, jet boat rides, walks on a nearby beach.
Sheffield Tasmania: On the B14, 25km south of Devonport. A rural town with a most unusual collection of murals, more than 30 of them, that illustrate the history of the area. Arts and crafts are among the important activities in the area and galleries and studios display high quality hand weaving, leatherwork and pottery. There is also a community museum, a deer farm and an emu farm. The town is near Lake Barrington, the venue of international rowing competitions, and is surrounded by wonderful scenery.
Stanley Tasmania: At the western end of the north coast. An attractive fishing port established in 1826 by the Van Diemen's Land Company. In 1832 the company built the nearby Highfield House as its first headquarters. This historic little town, with its original cottages and other buildings, has been well preserved. It is dominated by The Nut, an unusual flat-topped circular headland 152 metres high, with a path and a chairlift to the summit. The town sits against a backdrop of beautiful countryside.
Huonville Tasmania: On the A6, about 30km southwest of Hobart. A busy town on the tranquil Huon River, and gateway to the Huon Valley, where fruit orchards froth with blossom in the spring and produce luscious fruit all summer and autumn - plums, cherries, apricots, peaches, apples, pears … A short drive takes you to lovely walks at the Pelverata Falls. A thrilling jet boat whizzes you down the river and back again. You can play golf, lawn bowls and tennis, ride a horse, take a fishing rod out on a rowboat. Think about the Frenchman, Bruni d'Entrecasteaux, rowing his boat here in 1792. The river is as lovely now as it was then.
Coles Bay Tasmania: On the Freycinet Peninsula, east coast. Get away from it all to peace and beauty in this fishing village that overlooks Great Oyster Bay, with the Tasman Sea just a step away on the other side of the peninsula. Spend hours exploring the beaches, bays, inlets and lagoons and then climb The Hazards, jagged pink granite peaks. You'll be astonished by the view of glorious Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet National Park. Go fishing, diving, sailing, water skiing, canoeing … have a round of golf or just sit down somewhere and absorb the beauty. Imagine the bird's eye view from a scenic flight - do it!
Pontville Tasmania: On Highway 1 (the Midlands Highway), 27km north of Hobart. In the middle of the 19th century this was a garrison town, where transported convicts built the bridge over the Jordon River. The soldiers and convicts are gone now but the historic buildings remain: St Matthew's Catholic Church and St Mark's Church of England, the Crown Inn (1835), the Sheiling (1819) and other cottages that now offer colonial accommodation. Walk along the riverbanks, read the headstones in the old churchyards and admire the pottery and crafts at studios roundabout.
Richmond Tasmania: On the B31, north-east of Hobart. Georgian cottages of mellow sandstone stand in pretty cottage gardens in this beautiful old town. The colonial gaol built in 1825 is now a museum, thankfully peaceful after its unhappy, noisy past. Ducks on the Coal River swim to and fro under Australia's oldest bridge, built in 1823-25. Galleries and boutiques sell a wide range of quality arts and crafts - other attractions are a maze, a large and detailed model of old Hobart Town, and an amusement park specially for young children. The teashops and restaurants are excellent.
Huon, Channel, Bruny
In the waterways and wilderness of the Huon Valley and D'Entrecasteaux Channel south of Hobart there's art and heritage; apple blossom and vineyards; farmers, foresters and fishers. The town of Huonville bustles on the willow-clad banks of the Huon River, which flows quietly past Franklin, where boat-builders learn traditional skills with timber. Further south the towns of Geeveston, Southport and Dover shelter in their bays, and dolomite caves guard their secrets at Hastings and Lune River. The road ends at the tiny settlement of Cockle Creek.
Evandale Tasmania: On the C416, 15km south of Launceston. A lovely Georgian village with well preserved cottages, houses, churches, inns and old shops. There are good antique galleries and art and craft shops and the Sunday morning market is a mecca for bargain hunters. Clarendon, a Georgian mansion owned by the National Trust, is just outside the village. The Penny Farthing Bicycle races have become a national institution. The Launceston airport lies between Evandale and Launceston.
Scottsdale Tasmania: On the A3, about 40km northeast of Launceston. This pleasant, busy town is surrounding by farmlands, where you'll see crops growing, contented dairy cows grazing and forests providing shade and tranquillity.If you like sport this is the country town for you: work off your energy at tennis or lawn bowls or squash or golf and then relax with a swim in the heated pool. For a relaxing afternoon take a picnic to the Mount Maurice Forest Reserve. Drive a mere 20km to the north coast beaches, where three people make a crowd.
Campbell Town Tasmania: On the Midlands Highway (Highway 1), roughly halfway between Hobart and Launceston. A lovely old country town settled on the banks of the Elizabeth River in the 1830s. It was, and is, the centre of the sheep-farming region of Tasmania. There is an impressive collection of colonial buildings such as The Grange (the local wealthy doctor's house built in the late 1840s), the Foxhunters Return (1834), St Luke's Church (1939) and the Red Bridge (1836). The town was the birthplace of Harold Gatty, the first person to fly around the world.
Bicheno Tasmania: On the east coast, just north of the Freycinet Peninsula. Sand, surf, sea and sun epitomise Bicheno, a pretty fishing town founded on the sea and its bounty. Nearby there's the Governors Island Marine Reserve with fascinating underwater scenery and sealife. See it from a glass-bottomed boat or get right into it with some scuba equipment. In the town there's the Sea Life Centre, where creatures of the deep swim in huge glass tanks. The town is a centre for endless outdoor activity - fishing, sailing, golf, tennis and much more.
St Helens Tasmania: Near the northern end of the east coast. This is the largest town on the east coast and is well known for wonderful beaches, huge sand dunes, good fishing and lovely scenery, both on the coast and inland. The town, a fishing port, is sheltered by Georges Bay. The bay is formed by St Helens Point, a long headland, 1,066 hectares of which is reserved as a recreation area. The other side of the bay - Humbug Point - is also a recreation area. The history of the town and the region is told in displays in the St Helens History Room.
New Norfolk Tasmania: On the A10, 20km north-west of Hobart. Settlers from Norfolk Island established this town on the banks of the River Derwent in 1807. Early townspeople planted hundreds of poplar trees, which in autumn turn bright gold. he town is the centre of the hop-growing area of Tasmania and there are several old oast houses (kilns) left from the early days of hop-processing. The town has many old buildings, including one of Australia's oldest inns, the Bush Inn, and Australia's oldest Anglican church - St Matthews (1823).
Westbury Tasmania: 25km west of Launceston. A lovely village surrounded by beautiful countryside. There are many interesting attractions here - the Culzean gardens established in the 1840s, the Pearns Steam World collection of hundred-year-old agricultural machinery, the Westbury maze, the National Trust's White House built in the 1840s, and antique shops.
Bothwell Tasmania: On the A5, 73km northwest of Hobart. A lovely old town on the Clyde River, where Australia's first herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle grazed and the first golf course was built. Walking round the town is to walk back in time - more than 50 colonial cottages, houses and official buildings cluster around the trees and grass of Queens Park. Go fishing, swimming or hang-gliding. Then see the studio that created the Tasmanian tartan, examine superb local crafts and have a homemade afternoon tea in a cosy tearoom.
Queenstown Tasmania: On the A10, 30km inland from the midwest coast. The town was established in the 1890s when copper was discovered in the surrounding mountains. The mountains, stripped by mining of all their vegetation, became a tourist attraction, but technology has progressed and the vegetation is now slowly returning. The town has an interesting collection of timber architecture left from early mining days and is the main focus of the national project to restore the old and rare Abt railway. There is an excellent museum that covers a hundred years of mining and community development in the area. The road into and out of the town passes through stark mountain scenery and drivers need to keep their wits about them.
Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, blends heritage and lifestyle, scenery and culture. It's a place of mellow sandstone, dockside fishmongers, al fresco coffee shops, art, craft, music and theatre. Hobart is shaped by water. Take a river cruise, or drive to the summit of Mount Wellington. Twenty-five kilometres away the historic town of Richmond, with its fine Georgian architecture, remembers days gone by. In Richmond Gaol Tasmania's convict past seems just a clink of chains away.
Hamilton Tasmania: On the A10, 74km northwest of Hobart. This pretty town on the Clyde River is full of history, from quaint old cottages that now house craft galleries or offer bed and breakfast, to street foundations that colonials laid out for the ambitious town they dreamt of. The stories of the town's lively past are told in the Hamilton Heritage Centre. It's a quieter place now, but not too quiet - you can fish (Meadowbank Lake is close by), swim, play tennis, go water skiing, and you're surrounded by beautiful countryside to explore.
Deloraine Tasmania: On the Midlands Highway (highway 1), 40km west of Launceston. A charming town on the Meander River with an attractive collection of old buildings of the 1830s and 1840s, many of which now house galleries, restaurants and studios. The town has lovely views of the spectacular Western Tiers and is surrounded by wonderful countryside - a plethora of caves, waterfalls, cliffs, lakes and nature reserves.
East Coast Tasmania: A coast of contrasts - Sample fine wine and food - along the East Coast Gourmet Trail. Three national parks, Douglas-Apsley, Freycinet and Maria Island, are paradise for bushwalkers. On the Freycinet Peninsula visit the holiday town of Coles Bay - from here it's a short walk across a saddle to the perfect half-moon of Wineglass Bay. Above Coles Bay's quiet beaches, The Hazards pink and grey granite rocks, painted with orange lichen, rise steeply. Travel inland through the Fingal Valley, where rainforest clings to steep mountain passes.