The Top 10 Places to See in Tasmania
With Tasmania's 3.4-million acres of protected wilderness, this alluring isle feels close to heaven—Tasmanian devils included
- By Tony Perrottet
- Smithsonian.com, April 17, 2012
Thylacine Thylacinus cynocephalus Historical photo at the Hobart Zoo. (© Dave Watts / Alamy)
In the 2011 Australian film The Hunter (just released in the United States), Willem Dafoe plays a mercenary sent to track and kill the last surviving Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine. It has long been a favorite Australian fantasy that one of these magnificent creatures—which look like sleek wolves, with dark tiger stripes and powerful jaws—has somehow survived in an unexplored Tasmanian valley, although scientists believe that farmers hunted them to extinction long ago, and that the last specimen died in captivity in Hobart Zoo in 1936. The fascination with the tiger continues as a symbol of Tasmania’s unique character—it is on the island’s tourism logo, car license plates and even the local Cascade Beer label—and regular “sightings” by hopeful locals still occur in the bush. The best place to understand the fate of the tiger is the Wilderness Gallery at Cradle Mountain Chateau, whose Tasmanian Tiger Exhibition presents an intriguing collection of artifacts, as well as poignant film footage from the 1930s of the last tiger in captivity.
Contributing writer Tony Perrottet, who was born in Australia and now lives in New York, has been visiting Tasmania since the 1980s; www.tonyperrottet.com.