But WaitThere's More
Find other great ideas in these related stories:
- Car-Free Destinations for Your Big Summer Trip ›
- Top Islands in the World ›
- Top 10 Spas in the U.S. ›
- Romantic Travel Spots Off the Beaten Path ›
- The Best Cruise Ship Cabins ›
- Dreamy Tower Suites ›
- The Platinum Circle ›
- Natural Swimming Holes Around the World ›
- The Best U.S. Beach Resorts ›
- Last-Minute Escapes: Beach Vacations ›
- Hot List All-Stars 2012 ›
Perfect for: The been-there, done-that crowd looking for an off-the-grid utopia
The scene: Few places are as edge-of-the-world as Tasmania, Australia's smallest state, located beneath the continent's southeast coast; beyond lies only turbulent ocean for thousands of miles. Australians long dismissed Taz as a backwater, leaving islanders to their own devices. The result is a bunch of independent types who'd eat Crocodile Dundee for breakfast. But despite that sexy swagger, they're friendly, fun, and always up for a drink. And yes, quite a few look like Transformers actress Rachael Taylor, who hails from here. The place is awash in Eden-like abundance, from dense old forests squawking with birds, wallabies, and Tasmanian devils to pristine waters filled with crabs, oysters, and fish. The Mediterranean climate also means great wines. Share one with a local.
Don't miss: A hike along the Bay of Fires, the most pristine and sun-stunned coast imaginable. A guide picks you up from the Mount William National Park and takes you along the utterly deserted, numbingly gorgeous coastline, which has no roads. You end up at the strikingly modern Bay of Fires eco-lodge. It's a four-day trip, but you've come all this way, so make time for the once-in-your-life experience.
Between the sheets: Tasmania has more than 26,000 square miles filled with wildly diverse topography, so it's worth spending time both on the coast and in the interior. Inland, try the Lodge at Tarraleah, a luxury property abutting the forested highlands. The fireplaces, spa, and massive wine cellar are perfect foils for the roughly beautiful countryside. When you're ready for some beach time, opt for the less blustery eastern coast. The Avalon Coastal Retreat is a stunning glass-and-steel rectangular building with an enormous patio that opens onto the sea. If you can't make it happen here....