Across the Bass Straight and south of Victoria, Tasmania is the only Australian state off the mainland and covers only 68,401 square km including the surrounding islands. Over half its population of approximately 500,000 live in or around the capital city of Hobart.
Almost 37% of Tasmania's land mass is claimed by land preserves, national parks, and World Heritage Sites and is often called the 'natural state' and the 'island of inspiration.' Lush greenery, mountainous regions, and lovely beaches support Tasmania's tourist industry well.
The island state basks in a cool, temperate climate that cycles through four seasons annually. The average maximum sea temperature during the summertime is 21 degrees C, and inland areas can reach 24 degrees C. Some inland areas can experience wintertime temperatures as low as 4 degrees C to 17 degrees C.
The well-known Tasmanian Devil was imported to the area by Europeans and until recently was believed to be thriving. Unfortunately, the Devil's population figures have dropped to close to 20% of prior levels, primarily due to a medical condition called devil facial tumour disease. There is no known cure for the condition, believed to be spread via fighting between devils over carcasses found and eaten. The Tasmanian government as found moderate success in creating a disease-free Tasmanian Devil population out of the country.