|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – Most Rugged Coast: Tasman National Park
2. No Reservations Required
We hiked three national parks without jockeying for campsites. Even in high season, backpackers donít need reservations (excep- tion: The Overland Track).
3. Best Wildlife
No denying it: We oohed and ahhed like windshield tourists in Yellowstone at the first wallaby we saw, grazing in Walls of Jerusalem. In fairness, we thought it could be the only sighting of the week. The next day, we hiked to Dixonís Kingdom, a lush valley dominated by a pen- cil pine forest, and encountered a mob (thatís what a group is called) of wallabies congregating in the meadow. Other wild wildlife to look out for: wombats (short-legged marsupials), echidnas (spiny anteaters), and spotted-tail quoll (cat-like carnivorous marsupials). If youíre really lucky, you might see a Tasmanian devil, but the population has been decimated by a facial cancer (a disease-free colony has been established on Maria Island).
4. Freshest Air
Before landfall in Tasmania, the wind-driven air sweeps across thousands of miles of ocean, where itís stripped of impurities. Breathe deeply.
5-8. No poison oak or ivy; Lyme disease; mosquito-borne diseases; or acclimatization
The highest mountain in Tasmania is a tad over 5,000 feet, and alpine terrain starts at 3,000 feet. No need to build in travel time to adjust to the elevation.
9. Easy Entry
Every widely traveled backpacker knows what itís like to have an overzealous customs agent paw through a carefully packed sack of freeze-dried food, trail mix (fruit!), and jerky (almost always confiscated). Itís not a trip-ender, but itís sure a hassle to replace camp meals abroad. What a nice change to show an Australian customs officer our entire duffle worth of backpacking food, and have him ... wave us through with a smile.
10. Best Bouldering
Like climbing, donít want to pack a bunch of gear? Head to the granite blocks in Freycinet National Park that make up The Hazards and Mts. Graham and Freycinet. Established climbing crags (for all skill levels) are scat- tered across the peninsula, and the bouldering (no rope, harness, or equipment needed) is endless.
11. Tastiest (Local) Single Malt Whisky
In 1839, Governor John Franklin prohibited distilling spirits in Tasmania. About 150 years later, Bill Lark looked around at the islandís plentiful barley, pure water, and natural peat, and wondered, Why? The result: He got the regulations changed, and now his Lark Distillery produces a single malt whisky thatíll warm the chilliest Tasmanian rain. ďA sweet, peaty flavor and distinctive smoky finish,Ē says one very satisfied tester. Info: