The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - Travel



There might not be any saloon doors swinging or tumbleweed­s blowing in this island state 149 miles from the mainland, but Tasmania’s wild western region is still a final frontier. Dense temperate rainforest­s huddle in the shadow of fierce mountains and sparkling rivers flow through valleys carved thousands of years ago.

Hire a car to explore the scenic section between Launceston and Hobart, stopping to hike, hop on steam trains or join a boat cruise along the way. Leaving Tasmania’s capital behind, begin by following the Derwent River, heading towards the waterfalls of Mount Field National Park. A gateway to the west coast, quirky historical town Strahan is worthy of an overnight stay. Set sail on a catamaran to explore surroundin­g islands, including Sarah Island, the setting for Australia’s longest running play.

Telling the true story of an escape from the former convict settlement, The Ship That Never Was is staged at the waterfront’s Richard Davey Amphitheat­re every night at 5.30pm.

Once a base for hopeful prospector­s during the gold rush, riverside settlement Corinna serves as an entry point for the Tarkine Reserve, a sprawl of ancient huon pines and myrtle beech trees swathed in an eerie, ethereal mist. Scenes get even better at Cradle Mountain and St Clair National Park, where views of the sawtooth summit are best enjoyed from a trail fringing the Dove Lake. End at Launceston, famous for its Cataract Gorge.

A six-day self-drive trip (0333 234 2889; freedomdes­ costs from £445pp, including accommodat­ion and car hire; excludes flights

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