1. It’s different
The landscapes, the people, the cities, the climate… They are all markedly different to the rest of Australia. You haven’t truly experienced Oz until you’ve been to Tassie as well.

2. Escape the crowds
Many travellers are too busy getting pissed on the Gold Coast to make it down here. Geronimo! More room for the rest of us.

3. Into the wild
Not carefully manicured “wilderness areas” with concrete paths through the middle. Proper life-changingly spectacular, genuinely untouched wilderness.

4. Parklife
The western half is dominated by a huge swathe of unbroken greenery – the Tasmanian World Heritage area, made up of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair, Walls of Jerusalem, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers and South-West. Parts of it have never been explored. Around a third of Tassie is national park.

5. Mystery
As well as the dark colonial history there’s the great is-it-isn’t-it? tiger debate. The dog-like Tasmanian tiger was hunted to “extinction” in the 30s, but numerous sighting claims make it the equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster. When I was last there a German tourist took a convincing photo that was never officially verified or discredited.

6. Ghosts
Visit Port Arthur for the best insight into the hellish existence of convict life – the worst of the worst were sent here. Ideally do an evening ghost tour.

7. The great divide
Tassie is an odd place – in a fascinating way. The Isle is split into greenies versus people who want to cut down magnificent ancient hardwood trees (the tallest in the world), mash them up and ship them to Japan to be turned into paper. See them before they’re cut down.

8. Green activism
It’s hardly surprising then that the world’s first Green Party was born here. As well as the active Wilderness Society. www.wilderness.org.au

9. North versus south
It has a north-south divide. Try saying your favourite beer is Cascade – the Hobart-brewed beer – whilst on a Boags brewery tour, in Launceston. Great tour. But let’s just say I seemed to get less beer than the others. These divides make Tassie the most interesting state in Oz.

10. Beer
Mmmm, beer. Partly because the water is so pure down there, Cascade and Boags are some of the best beers you’ll taste in Australia.

11. Wildlife
Many of the introduced mainland pests haven’t made it down here so native fauna flourishes. Pademelons (the Tassie wallaby), wombats, duckbilled platypusses and fiesty Tassie devils run rampant.

12. Tasmanian devils
With the table manners of Ridley Scott’s Alien (they like to eat carcasses from the inside out) these ferocious furballs manage to be both endearing and repulsive.

13. Penguins
These perky, tuxedo-clad little fellas can be found around much of Tassie’s coastline. In the town of Penguin (no really), they clamber out of the sea at twilight for a night of partying and passing out in their burrows. Other top spots include Bicheno and Bruny Island.

14. Right on track
Sure there’s no bungy jumping – the mainland can keep all that. Tassie is more unique. Though my feet still grumble about it, the 80km Overland Track is an exhausting yet exalting walk through stirring gothic landscapes. It rivals anything New Zealand has to offer.

15. Walking the walk(s)
And there are plenty more less famous – and less crowded – trails, too. Tassie is a hikers Valhalla. Look into the South Coast Track.

16. Keep it wheel
I’ve also done some fantastic cycling along the east coast, stopping off every hour or so for a quick dip in the sea. Bombing down Mt Wellington, Hobart, is another pump-action fave.

17. Profound beauty
I could name so many spots – incredible forests, islands, rivers, beaches – but Wineglass Bay is possibly my favourite spot on the whole continent.

18. Wineglass Bay
A seductive curve of dreamy white sand, with bush on one side and the turquoise sea lapping the other, where dolphins can be seen. Camp at the end of the beach and find yourself surrounded by curious pademelons.

19. Cities
Hobart is plain lovely. It’s old fashioned and cosy, with great pubs (and we’re not talking those ugly generic sports bars – proper pubs). Hobart is easily Australia’s second most picturesque city. I met two ex-Sydneysiders who had come on holiday and never returned.

20. Monkeys
Launceston isn’t half bad either and Cataract Gorge is well worth a visit. Also, we love monkeys. Monkeys are skill. In City Park, you can go and hang out with them, for free.

21. Rivers run through it
The Arthur River cruise through the wonderful Tarkine region (in the north-west), complete with brandy-tea and Banjo Paterson poem recitals, is well worth your time. Tassie is awash with wild, roaring rivers.

22. The world’s cleanest air
The Roaring Forties weather system passes over the Atlantic, Indian and Southern Oceans, and no grubby polluting land masses, before hitting Tassie.

23. The locals
To them the mainland is “North Island” – they live on the “main land”. People are so friendly and unassuming – I was offered a spare beenie and somewhere to stay. They are easily the friendliest Aussies.

24. Mount Wellington
Snow-capped in winter, this lofty peak towers over Hobart. From the summit, on a clear day, the views are breathtaking.

25. Salamanca markets
Hobart’s famous waterfront hippy bazaar is full of buskers, stripey leggings, Indian saris, 1930s’ bric-a-brac, comics, curry, crystals, candles and stuff made from spoons…

26. Just plain raft
One of Australia’s greatest adventures is rafting the Franklin River. It takes from five to 10 days and goes through one of the most rugged and inaccessible places on the planet.

27. Waterfalls
Loads of ‘em. Stepped ones, tall thin ones, low, wide ones, freefalling ones, trickly ones… The highest is Montezuma’s Falls near Strahan.

28. Cradle Mountain
The curious double-headed, Gothic Cradle Mountain towers above tranquil Dove Lake in the midst of
highland heath. Bring plenty of film.

29. Snow-capped mountains
In the central and south-west areas they seem to be everywhere you look. Very pretty with the sun setting, when they turn a fetching shade of baby-pink.

30. The wild west coast
It may be wet, wind-swept and rugged, but it’s wonderfully, lusciously green too. Proper edge of the world stuff. Make sure you call in at the cosy fishing village of Strahan, too.

31. The Nut
Tassie’s answer to Uluru. This solid mass of basalt (volcanic rock) is a sort of lava plug, in Stanley. Walk to the top for sunrise.

32. Islands
There are many more islands off Tassie worth exploring. Gorgeous Bruny Island, near Hobart, and Maria Island (entirely national park) come highly recommended.

33. Apples, cheese and chocolate
It’s not nicknamed the Apple Isle for nothing. With its English climate, Tasmania was once the world’s major apple producer – I’ve never tasted better. Tassie is also dairy country, meaning they make great cheese as well as the good stuff. Little factories – many with tastings – and shops dot the isle. Seafood is exceptional – and cheap – too

34. Sand storm
While there, venture out to the ever-moving, desert-like expanse of the Henty Sand Dunes – ideal for flinging yourself down on a board or zooming over on a quad bike.

35. Adam and Eve it
Not sure you want to do “the Sydney thing” on New Year’s Eve? Well, Tassie is a great alternative as Hobart comes alive after Christmas as the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race crews cross the finish line. Head to the stunning Marion Bay to catch the likes of the Arctic Monkeys playing the Falls Festival before heading back to town for the Taste Festival.