An island separate from the mainland, yet an integral part of the nation, Tasmania (named after the Dutchman, Abel Tasman, who bumped into it in 1642 and called it Van Dieman's Land) lies in the direct path of the Roaring Forties and is the port for our Antartic scientific fleet.
Famed for its salmon and trout, for its apples and its potatoes, for its timber and for its wilderness, Tasmania is fiercely defended by those born there and the increasing number of mainlanders who sea-change themselves down there.
The isolation, the landforms and the weather have bred a tendency towards conservatism, politeness and acceptance. The pace of life is slowed, the socio-economic standards are lower, but the happiness, conviviality and acceptance is heightened.
Noncommital rather than taciturn - until the conversation turns to logging old growth forests, or using waters from pristine waterways to power through pulp mills - Taswegians are the friendliest, most down-to-earth community that I have meandered through in many a year.