2. Super shopping. Even Launceston, centre of all things greatness, is still just a delightful overgrown country town. The stores are delightful and unique and often in old, old buildings. There are fewer chain stores and even those few are cooler because of the setting (Sportspower in a palatial stone structure with a painted pressed tin ceiling!).
3. The people are lovely. Apart from the fact that everyone looks lovely because of their warm and luscious winter clothing, the people are actually lovely, too. Strangers smile at you as you pass them in the street. At first I thought, "Am I holding a glowing neon sign that says 'tourist' in large letters?" Then I realised that no, Tasmanians haven't yet realised that strangers aren't supposed to notice each other. It's nice.
4. City Park. Every city should have a park like Launceston's City Park. It's a huge, lush green space with monuments and statues (which you can hug, if you are so inclined) and a kids' playground. But best of all are the monkeys. In the actual park is an enclosure (a nice enclosure, not fencey, with glass walls and no roof) that is filled with rocks and a stream and trees and ropes -- and monkeys. And the monkeys caper away and show off and play for everybody and everybody watching feels like they own the monkeys -- or perhaps just one of the monkeys. It's very cool.5. Food is cheap. Good food is cheap. I think that says it all.
6. The Evandale Markets. These -- on a Saturday morning -- are the sort of markets you see on television shows or read about in magazines but never actually find yourself. They had a bit of everything, but lots of genuine vintage finds, old books, and homemade cakes and cookies. It was bitterly cold the day we were there, but still a good-sized crowd of stallholders turned out, making us wish we had more room in our luggage...
7. Invigorating temperatures. Everyone says Tasmania is cold, and it's true but, except for a few occasions (see #6, above), the cold was delicious and refreshing and lovely. It whips your cheeks into pinkness and gets you moving quicker, but it's not uncomfortable. Which brings me to point number eight...
8. You can wear a beanie in public and not feel like a noob. Because everyone else is wearing them, too. Not because they're a fashion statement but because it's actually sensible.
9. SNOW! All my little brother wanted to do in Tasmania was to have a "snow flight" and he got his list one Saturday morning when we made the (fate-tempting) journey up the series of hairpin turns known as Jacob's Ladder to reach Ben Lomond, thick with snow that was not too hard. Most of us had only seen teensy bits of snow, so this was as exciting as we could have imagined. We learnt that snow is not that cold when you are having fun, that ice is -- erm -- slippery and falling over embarrassing, and also that Dad packs snowballs far too hard. A most enjoyable education.