Federation Peak and Lake Geeves
Tasmania is a rugged island of temperate climate, so similar in some ways to pre-industrial England that it was referred to by some English colonists as 'a Southern England'. Geographically, Tasmania is similar to New Zealand to its east, but as Tasmania has been volcanically inactive in recent geological times, Tasmania has 'rounded smooth' mountain ranges similar to mainland Australia, unlike most of New Zealand. The most mountainous region is the Central Highlands area, which covers most of the central west parts of the state.
The central east area (the Midlands) is fairly flat by comparison, and is predominantly used for agriculture, although farming activity is also scattered around the state. The West Coast, being populated and having historically over a 150 years of mineral exploration and exploitation, is a vital region to the state for its high rainfall which has powered hydro-electric schemes, and its earnings from mineral activities. The West Coast Range has had some of the more well known West Coast mines on its slopes - notably the Mount Lyell mine.
The South-West region, in particular, is densely forested, the National Park holding some of the last temperate rainforests in the Southern Hemisphere. Management of such an isolated and inaccessible area has been made easier and more reliable with the advent of satellite imaging.
Most of the population lives on and around the coastal rivers - the Derwent and Huon Rivers in the south, the Tamar and Mersey Rivers in the north. The temperate climate (Tasmania is the only Australian state with any land below the 40th parallel,) rustic environment and numerous historic features (eg, Richmond Bridge in south-eastern Tasmania is the oldest bridge in Australia) has made Tasmania a popular choice for retirees, many of whom prefer a temperate climate over a tropical one such as Queensland.
Covering an area of over 1 million hectares, the Tasmanian Wilderness constitutes one of the last expanses of temperate rainforest in the world. It comprises a contiguous network of reserved lands that extends over much of south-western Tasmania including several coastal islands. The insularity of Tasmania, and of the Tasmanian Wilderness in particular, has contributed to its uniqueness and has helped to protect it from the impact of exotic species which has seriously affected the mainland fauna.
For many visitors, the best time to see Tasmania is spring mainly because of the mild weather, however the profusion of wildflowers is an added bonus. There's no single spot that stands out as the place to go to see Tasmania's wildflowers, you'll find them practically anywhere where there's a walking path through untouched countryside from September to November. The wildflowers of the alpine regions are in full bloom in summer, which is perhaps the best season to walk the tracks of the high country.
Southern Aurora, Howden, Tasmania
In northern latitudes, the effect of an aurora is well known. It is given the name aurora borealis (or the northern lights), after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas, by Pierre Gassendi in 1621. Lesser known is its southern counterpart, the aurora australis (or the southern lights), which has almost identical features to the aurora borealis. Tasmania, King Island and Southern Victoria are the most likely places to see a southern aurora.