This Switzerland-size island off the southeastern coast of Australia has long been synonymous with the impossibly remote, and even today, it seems exotic and far away to many Australians. But despite the island’s end-of-the-earth reputation, the flight time from Sydney to Hobart, Tasmania's capital, is just under two hours. The first European sighting of the island was by the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman in 1642, but it was the British who tentatively began to settle Tasmania 150 years later. Fierce battles with the Aboriginal people gave Tasmania a violent reputation. But today, Hobart is a peaceful city that provides few clues to its turbulent history. Aside from its natural beauty, Tasmania lures visitors with its thriving food and wine scene.

Join Andrew Harper today to continue reading our exclusive content.