Heading to the end of the Land Down Under this video explores the island of Tasmania, starting with its capital Hobart and in its history 200 years’ prior as a British Empire penal colony named Van Diemen’s Land due to his remoteness. Though the island is now used for much more than hardened convicts it still retains its remote untamed nature. In contrast to most of the Australian mainland, Tasmania is covered in rich thick rainforests and greenery covering a rocky mountainous terrain, such as Mount Wellington rising straight above Hobart to more than 12,000 metres; the border between city and wilderness is just a simple 30-minute drive. Another key difference between Tasmania and mainland Australia is that it is one of the coldest places in the nation, where you can freeze to death if not careful, even in summer.
Roughly the size of Ireland but only with a population of less than a million, meaning large parts of Tasmania are still wild and untouched by mankind. The west is more dominated by the mountains and is wetter due to catching winds coming in from the Southern Ocean. The temperate cool rainforests grow strong here, filled with ancient trees and ferns while forests of snow gums grow strong on the mountain slopes while the plateaus are covered in button grass moorland. Much of Tasmania is preserved in its natural state for tourism and botanists and zoologists to study the local wildlife. This trend was largely started by Austrian-born immigrant Gustav Weindofer, who created the Waldheim (Forest Home) chalet and the Cradle Mountain National Park.
We take a look at the almost primordial forests which are remnants or descendants of those found in the Ancient Gondwana continent, as well as the Mountain shrimps, a species just as ancient with identical fossil records of the creature dating back almost 50 million years. Many of Australia’s common and famous animals were stranded on the isolated island at the end of the last Ice Age which flooded the land bridge between the mainland and Tasmania. Creatures such as the Grey Kangaroo and the Red Neck Wallabies, which due to isolating evolution have developed enough to be classed with entirely new names, the Forester Kangaroos and Bennett’s Wallabies. Other famous Aussie animals found on this island include Wombats, Platypus, Echidna’s Possums and Cockatoo’s. However, some animals only found in Tasmania are the eastern Quoll, extinct recently in the mainland due to introduced animals, and the Tasmanian Devil, the largest of three Carnivorous Marsupials since the extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger in 1936.
Tasmania, as an island off the Island continent is also home to many islands, such as Bruny island, home to the rare White or Painted Wallaby, a species that is a few genes short of albinism and have managed to breed to a sizable population due to the isolation of Bruny Island, and tourist camping here feeding the creatures.
Bruny is known for its widely varied landscape and coast with a rocky south carved by the Southern Ocean and sub-Antarctic climate; the rocks and cliffs, such as the remote Friar’s Rock, are also a popular haul-out spot for Australian fur seals, attracting tourists and sightseers. Away from the southern waters smashing the headlands are found small sheltered coves that look like they belong more in the Caribbean than the bottom of the world. Though it’s not just humans invading these pristine beaches, as each time at low tide soldier crabs swarm the sands looking for food hidden in the wet mush, before disappearing back into the sandy ground just in time for high tide. Bruny’s remoteness also makes it the home of a very shy creature, which can only be observed around sunset and sunrise: The Little or Fairy Penguins and the Short Tailed Shearwater coming into their nests after a hard day at sea.
Many animals see Tasmania as their ark, protecting them from extinction, such as the Eastern Quoll, the Tasmanian Devil and the Cape Baron Geese introduced to now uninhabited Maria island in case anything happened to the species in their natural habitat. Like many places in Tasmania, many places are natural parks and reserves to protect and preserve the natural landscapes and animal populations as well as conserve and even build up populations of animals both native to the island and introduced from the mainland.
These are just some of the wonders and majestic beauties of Tasmania touched upon, and for everything mentions, there is more to see. Couldn’t go giving everything away, otherwise, you might never come see it for yourself