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
(© Gerry Pearce / Alamy)
Unlike the famed Warner Brothers cartoon version, the real Tasmanian devil is a small, hyena-like marsupial with a haunting hiss—a sound “like that of a woman being strangled,” in the phrase of Tasmanian novelist Richard Flanagan. Convicts first thought they were tormented souls in the bush. Today, the devils are a beloved island icon—although one that is endangered by a mysterious cancer, the Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD). Luckily, visitors can help. The environmental group Devils@Cradle has created a specially designed “devil sanctuary” near Cradle Mountain to enable visitors to view the nocturnal marsupials at close range, raising awareness of their plight (and funds for their defense). The Keepers Tour offered during the day, when they are more docile, includes the possibility of petting devils. But the most spectacular viewing comes after dark, when the carnivorous critters indulge in loud, snarling feeding frenzies.
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.