Tasmania’s population is concentrated on the northern and southeastern coasts, where fertile, undulating countryside and accessible harbours invited European settlement. By contrast, the southwest and west coasts are wild, desolate and remote – monstrous seas, howling winds and endless rains pummel the shore. Inland, the southwest’s rainforests and mountains form one of the world’s last great wilderness areas, almost all of it World Heritage–listed. Over on the east coast it’s dry, sunny and crowded with holidaymakers.
Tasmania has four distinct seasons, although storms can deliver wintry conditions at any time of year. Summer days are warm rather than hot; nights are cool rather than balmy. Autumn days are crisp and sunny, with occasional frosty nights. Winter is wet, cold and stormy, particularly in the west. Overcast skies cloak the east, despite its lower rainfall, but in the north and south, clear, windless winter days sparkle with promise. Snow settles on the higher peaks but it’s usually only deep enough for the state’s two ski resorts to operate spasmodically. Spring is windy and storms still sweep the island, but the sun shines between showers and hints at returning summer.