Travellers taking cheap flights to Tasmania are spoiled for choice when it comes to destinations and activities. This small island is remarkably diverse and wonderfully wild.

Hobart, the capital, has the heritage as well as the stunning setting and, within a 90-minute drive, beautiful, bird-full Bruny Island and Port Arthur, the historic former penal settlement. Along the east coast - which has the mildest weather - the beaches are pristine, white-sanded and lapped by the bluest of seas.

Launceston, Tasmania's second city, is in the north. It boasts the Cataract Gorge and, thanks to the bounty of the Tamar Valley, a reputation as a foodie city. Across the island, to the west, small villages give way to the Tarkine wilderness and the World Heritage Area, which accounts for about 20 per cent of Tasmania.

The national parks in the World Heritage Area include Southwest National Park, the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, the Hartz Mountain National Park and Mole Creek Karst National Park. Few places are as unexplored as Tasmania's national parks.

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Tasmania climate

Tasmanians like to say that the island gets all four seasons in one day, but it has a mild, maritime, climate with plenty of rainfall. On the east coast, Hobart, for example, gets an average of 630mm, making it Australia's second-driest capital city (after Adelaide). The west coast gets four times that, about 2,400mm per year.December-March are the warmest months with temperatures between 17 and 23 degrees. May through August is winter; temperatures hover between 3 and 11 degrees.

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When to fly to Tasmania

Peak Season: 

Summer (December to February) is high season, when most travellers take cheap flights to Tasmania. 

Off Season: 

Winter - May to August - is low season. 

Shoulder Season: 

The autumn and spring months - March and November - are shoulder season, but the weather can be unpredictable. However, if you brave the elements you can save on flights and accommodation.

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Getting into town Tasmania

The major hire-car companies have desks at Burnie Airport.

From Devonport Airport there are taxis (a trip to Devonport costs about $20), a bus service and car-hire desks.

At Hobart Airport there are several car-rental company desks including Hertz and Avis. Tasmanian Redline Coaches operates shuttle buses from the airport to the Hobart CBD. There are also taxis, limousines and chauffeured cars.

There are hire-car companies with desks at Launceston Airport including AutoRent-Hertz and RedSpot Rentals. Taking a taxi to the centre of Launceston will cost about $30 to $35. The Airporter Shuttle Bus Service runs to the Launceston CBD and surrounding regions. The cost is about $15 one way or $24 return.

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Getting around Tasmania

Just a couple of airlines offer flights around Tasmania. Airlines of Tasmania offer flights from Launceston to Flinders Island as well as tours to South West World Heritage Area. Tasair offers Hobart-Devonport, Devonport-King Island and Burnie-King Island flights.

If you're planning to explore Tasmania, hiring a car or camper van is the best idea. Several car-rental companies have desks at the major airports.

Tassielink and Redline offer extensive coach services around the island. Metro Tasmania operates bus services in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.

Rail travel is not an option in Tasmania as there are no public passenger trains - just freight trains. Despite this, there are some great train journeys to take. The West Coast Wilderness Railway runs between Queenstown and Strahan, through the King River's gorge. It's a journey through rain forest. The Ida Bay Railway chugs from Lune River (about 90 minutes south of Hobart) to Deep Hole Bay, a distance of 7km.

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Tasmania insider information

  • Hobart gets the most daylight hours of any Australian state capital city in the summer - 15.2 hours of daylight on December 22, the summer solstice. 
  • Tarkine Forest Adventures at Dismal Swamp is about an hour from Stanley. The best fun here is the sling-shot slide that whizzes you from the top to the bottom in less than 20 seconds. 
  • Locals in Hobart will tell you that Cascade beer is the one, true, Tassie drink, but, up north in Launceston locals will go for Boags every time. Boags has been brewed on William Street since 1881. 
  • Catch a ferry from Triabunna to Maria Island National Park. It's heaven for bird-watchers, bush walkers and bikers. The snorkelling and diving is great. And history lovers will enjoy the convict and industrial ruins that date from the 1800s. You can even stay in the original convict penitentiary. 
  • Cygnet, about a 50-minute drive south of Hobart, hosts a popular folk festival each January. The  festival takes place over three days, attracting musicians and performers from around the world. This part of Tasmania was first explored by Bruni D'Entrecasteaux who sailed up the Huon River in 1793. He called the bay, which extends to Cygnet, Port des Cygnes (the Port of Swans) due to the number of swans he noticed. D'Entrecasteaux also gave his name to Bruny Island. 
  • Stanley is a fishing and tourist resort in the north west. It's most notable perhaps for The Nut, an old volcanic plug that can be climbed. It's a fairly steep hike, rising 143m.

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Tasmania airports

Burnie Wynyard Airport(BWT) (website: www.burnieairport.com.au) The airport is the gateway to the Tarkine, Cradle Mountain, Strahan and Stanley.

Devonport Airport (DPO) (website: www.tasports.com.au) 8km from Devonport's CBD. The airport is the closest entry to the Tasmanian Wilderness and Cradle Mountain National Park, an 80-minute drive from the airport.

Hobart Airport (HBA) (website: www.hobartairpt.com.au) The airport is located 17km from Hobart.

Launceston Airport (LST) (website: www.launcestonairport.com.au) Launceston Airport lies about 15km from the city centre.

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