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Adventure Guide: Tasmania
Text by Andrew Bently    Map by Computer Terrain Mapping
Map: Tasmania

Separated from mainland Australia by the Bass Strait, Tasmania is a world unto itself, full of wildlife, forests, and landscapes not found anywhere else on Earth.

OVERLAND TRACK: The six-day, 40-mile (64-kilometer) trek slices across the top of the 5,300-square-mile (13,727-square-kilometer) Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area, beginning at glacier-carved Cradle Valley and ending at pristine Lake St. Clair. Before starting, hikers should reserve a spot and pay track and park fees ($75; an eight-day Tasmanian National Parks pass costs an extra $22; www.overlandtrack.com.au). For a six-day guided tour with warm showers, fresh food, and spicy Pinot Noir each night, sign up with Cradle Mountain Huts ($1,610; www.cradlehuts.com) at least 60 days in advance. 
 
BAY OF FIRES: Coastal Mount William National Park is packed with indigenous wildlife—eastern grey kangaroos, echidnas, wombats, and Tasmanian devils. The four-day hike to the Bay of Fires ($22; book two weeks in advance; www.parks.tas.gov.au/reserves/bayoffires) links white-sand beaches and wild woods. To trek with a guide and stay at the Bay of Fires Lodge, contact the Bay of Fires Walk ($1,170 for four days; www.bayoffires.com.au).

LODGING & OTHER ACTIVITIES: Dry off at the new Henry Jones Art Hotel ($190; www.thehenryjones.com), housed in renovated 19th-century warehouses on the waterfront in Hobart. The hotel showcases 250-plus contemporary works by Tasmanian artists. Then explore Tas's undeveloped coastline with the Roaring 40s Ocean Kayaking Company (www.roaring40skayaking.com.au); it offers a day trip of the cove-studded D'Entrecasteaux Channel ($110). To sample Tasmania's renowned wines, follow the Tamar River on a one-day excursion to six vineyards with Valleybrook Wine Tours ($75; www.valleybrook.com.au). 

GETTING THERE: The Qantas Airways Aussie AirPass ($1,299; www.quantasusa.com) includes a Los Angeles-to-Melbourne round-trip (15 hours) and three flights within Australia. From Melbourne, use one of your domestic flights to catch a daily departure for Tasmania's capital, Hobart.

WHEN TO GO: The austral summer and fall (December through April) are the best seasons for trekking in Tasmania, but trails can be crowded at the height of summer. Visit in February or March for the ideal combination of smaller crowds and comfortable weather.

RESOURCES: Lonely Planet Tasmania ($24) contains extensive trekking information. For a literary take on Tassie history, pick up In Tasmania (Harvill Press, $35) by Nicholas Shakespeare.          


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