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Tasmania is located 150 miles (240 km) to the south of Australia, within the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and offers captivating scenery, and world-class food and wine.

Originally inhabited by Tasmanian Aborigines some 35,000 years ago, the island was first spotted by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1642. European settlement began in 1803.

Early settlers to the island consisted primarily of convicts and their military guards, assigned with developing agriculture and other industries.

The Aborigines were resistent to the invasion of the new settlers. Conflicts arose, becoming so strong that European troops were deployed to drive the Aborigines to nearby islands.

Tasmania suffered economic instability in its early years, as did many new colonies, remaining however, mainly prosperous, with steady growth. In 1901, Tasmania and five other Australian colonies, formed the Commonwealth of Australia, and was granted legislative power.

With nearly 37% of the island designated as reserves, national parks, and World Heritage Sites, Tasmania is well known as the "Island of Inspiration" or the natural state.

The capital city of Hobart is a busy seaport, noted for being the home port of Antarctic activities for both Australia and France, and serves as a hub for cruise ships during the summer months. Outside the city, vineyards dot the countryside and in the past 15 to 20 years, Hobart's wine industry has seen great success.

Along the eastern coast of Tasmania sits Wineglass Bay, where water lovers flock to swim, boat, fish, snorkel and scuba dive in the crystal blue waters.

The rugged, natural beauty of this small island state is not to be missed.

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