For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is on its way out. But, as we look forward to the spring flowers, bunnies, puppies and all that, our friends south of the equator are wading into autumn. Still, fall is not without its attractions, and chief among them is the opportunity to head out on leaf peeping trips and watch the landscape turn technicolor. The absolute best destination anywhere south of the Mediterranean? Tasmania, Australia's Hawaii.
To say that Tasmania is at its best in autumn is to sell the 26,410-square-mile island short. The most temperate part of Australia, Tasmania is coated in thick forests and vineyards that blush as cold air trickles up from Antarctica. The island is also home to the Fagus tree: Instead of talking about foliage, Tasmanian's refer to the "Turning of the Fagus," when the small, spiky leaves on this tree turn riotous shades of orange and red.
Were Tasmania's sole asset its foliage, travelers probably wouldn't want to make the considerable trek to Hobart. But the small city has an outsized personality and the coast there is an attraction unto itself. The current hot spot is the Museum of Old and New Art, the creation of an eccentric gambling genius and arguably the most buzzed about gallery on Earth. The museum is just down the coast from Seven Mile Beach, which is exactly what it sounds like but with more birds.
Leaf peepers -- one imagine Aussies scoffing at the term -- can head to Richmond, a scenic berg north of Hobart and take in view among more chapels and stone bridges than they can shake a Fagus stick at.