Tasmania is Australia's island State, located
240 kilometres south of the eastern side of the
continent, from which it is separated by Bass Strait. Tasmania
is the 26th largest island in the world and has a population
of app. 500,000 of whom almost half
reside in the greater Hobart area.
Tasmania is 68,401 square kilometres of
which the main island covers 62,000 square kilometres. Tasmania
is promoted as the natural state owing to its
large and relatively unspoiled natural environment. Almost
37% of Tasmania lies in reserves, national parks and World
Heritage Sites. Tasmania is 364 kilometres
long from the northern most to southern most points, and
306 kilometres from west to east. The state capital
and largest city is Hobart, which encompasses the local government
areas of City of Hobart, City of Glenorchy, and City of Clarence,
while the satellite town of Kingston is generally included
in the Greater Hobart area.
Other major population centres
include Launceston in the north and Devonport and Burnie
in the north-west. The subantarctic Macquarie Island is also
under the administration of the state, as part of the Huon
Valley Council local government area.
Tasmania’s landmass of 68,401 square kms is located
at 42°S 147°E Coordinates: 42°S
147°E, right in the pathway of the Roaring
Forties wind that encircles the globe. The island is
surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans and separated
from mainland Australia by Bass Strait.
Tasmania has a cool temperate climate with four distinct
seasons. Summer lasts from December to February when the
average maximum sea temperature is 21 ° Celcius
and inland areas around Launceston reach 24 °c.
Other inland areas are much cooler with Liawenee, located
on the Central Plateau, one of the coldest places in Australia
with temperatures in February ranging between 4 °c to
17 °c. Autumn lasts between March and
May and experiences changeable weather, where summer weather
patterns gradually take on the shape of winter patterns.
Rainfall in Tasmania follows a complex pattern rather
analogous to that found on large continents at the same latitude
in the northern hemisphere. On the western side rainfall
increases from around 1,500 millimetres at Strahan
on the coast up to over 2,600 millimetres at Cradle
Valley in the highlands. Hobart is Australia's second driest
capital city behing Adelaide.
Tasmania is also home to some of the tallest and oldest
trees of the world with some individual Huon pines believed
to be more than 2,000 years old. A stand of male Huon pines
at Mount Read has maintained itself by vegetative reproduction
and is estimated to be more than 10,000 years old.
tallest trees in Australia, more than 90 metres
tall, are Eucalyptus regnans found in the Styx Valley . As
these are still growing, there is hope they will surpass
the tallest tree ever measured in the country, a mountain
ash growing at Thorpdale, Victoria measuring more than 112
metres before it was felled in 1884. Tasmania
hosts the occurrence of certain endemic plant genera as well
as plant genera of restricted distribution; an example of
such a genus is Archeria.