3 days in Hobart: go far, without breaking the bank.

Hobart in Winter is not for the faint-hearted. Icy winds and single-digit temperatures (Celsius) frame an otherwise sunny day with frost.

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Snow on Mt Wellington

So what takes a lover of 40 plus degrees so near the Antarctic? – The knowledge that we’d not spent enough time there last year, when we travelled Tasmania,  and cheap direct flights from Adelaide! Our aversion for the cold limited our visit and maximised our planning. Normally preferring to drive, we read up on the hazards of driving in Tasmania in Winter – snow, black ice, sudden weather changes (true all year) and decided to walk and catch public transport.

GETTING AROUND. 

From the airport, we caught the airport shuttle for $20 each, which took us to our accommodation, although this wasn’t one of the stops. We caught a public bus to Richmond, which was about $15 (for two) each way. Fares are cheaper after 9 and before 3. I downloaded MetroTas on my phone so that I could see what was available at any time and plan our trips, and we could have got a green card which is a transport card, which means reduced fares. Weekend services are not as frequent. Most of our travel was on foot, however, and the signage and street maps are amazing. As there are no footpaths for highways, make sure you get an underpass.

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clear signs from Hobart

PLACES TO VISIT

Salamanca Place is interesting, varied, accessible. We’re told the markets on a Saturday are great but we’ve always missed them. There is a large square with a fountain, where kids could run a bit, art, shopping, bars…

 

 

Kelly’s steps are located in Salamanca and these lead to Battery Point. James Kelly was a sailor and at the time he built the steps, in 1839, they were part of a cliff that overlooked the Cove. The buildings on the wharf were made of the stone from the cliffs (courtesy of Wikipedia). We took the steps and did the historic walk:  https://tasmania.com/things-to-do/walks/battery-point-historic-walking-tour/   credit to Dale Baldwin, that we could follow on our phones, taking us to historical places in the area. It took about an hour and is inclined from the steps. St George’s was an imposing building, not on the walk but definitely on the horizon and unmissable.

The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens – an easy half hour walk from Hobart, even in the rain, well-sign-posted. The view and terrain was very pleasant and we went via the Soldiers of the Avenue, a memorial to the soldiers of the Boer War and the two Great Wars and past the gunpowder magazine. It was a good track until just after the sports field, where three choices led to the use of Google maps on our phones and following a narrow, muddy track for the last km. The gardens are not too big and you can probably get around in about an hour.

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Botanical Gardens

We took three, with stoppages in the gift shop, Succulent (the cafe), the lily pond, conservatory and the subantarctic plant house.

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subantarctic house
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conservatory
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well-designed
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lily pond
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centenary arch

 

Richmond is an historical town, not far from Hobart. It boasts the oldest bridge, oldest intact gaol and the oldest Catholic Church in Australia. We arrived around 9.30am, after a 40 min bus ride and left at 1.40pm. We had seen everything, but not visited every shop or gallery. Very interesting. The gaol was $10 entry and the miniature village was $15 (both for adults). We decided against the latter. The courthouse, village square and St. Luke’s Anglican church are all worth a stop. The town is known for the well-preserved Georgian architecture, so enjoy it. Take note of details like the chisel marks, used to create rounded edges on the bridge.

The oldest synagogue in Australia easy to get to, in the city

Australia's oldest synagogue

The waterfront and Hobart’s 200+ year-old piers, and some much younger.

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The Drunken Admiral
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An active fishing industry

FOOTSTEPS, artwork commemorating the 13 000 female convicts transported to Van Diemen’s Land (name prior to Tasmania) between 1804 and 1854 and the 2000 children they brought with them. Artists John Kelly, Carole Edwards, Joanna Lyngcoln and Lucy Frost.

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SELF PORTRAIT – The Bernacchi Tribute. Tasmanian Louis Bernacchi (1876 – 1942) was the first Australian to winter in Antarctica. He left from this point in 1998, with his dog, Joe. The husky also joined him in 1901 when they joined Scott’s Discovery expedition.

HOBART AT NIGHT

Some views and comparisons might lure you into the even colder night air:

 

 

PARKS AND CHURCHES

St David’s Cathedral, with artifacts brought from the UK, dating as far back as the 11th Century

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St David’s Cathedral
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interior, St David’s

St David’s Park

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Flinders’ Square

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TASMANIAN MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY (free or gold coin donation)

Now, I’m not talking about MONA (museum of old and new art) and you should definitely see that. Had we not seen it, we would have taken a ferry there, with wine and cheese, as recommended by Bridget and Chris, but we had, so…

This original museum houses some interesting displays that have been presented in a very human way. For example, the Tasmanian Tiger, now extinct, has some anecdotal accounts, questions of what if, and photographs. Some children, nearby, could follow the information and were asking their dad some further questions. In the migration section there were pictures of a couple who married by proxy in the 1950s and are still married, today. Real, everyday, history.

 

We went to the Bond Store Galleries, in the same complex but a different building. It has three levels of history and one was about mental health and incarceration, so be mindful of this if you take children. The stairwell is a piece of art and the walls, showing the results of convicts/prisoners practicing their writing, is sobering. Quite unsettling is the account of white invasion and the terrible things done to the Indigenous people. A provoking exhibition.

Mount Wellington TRY to get the amazing view that we’ve only seen in other people’s pictures. The last visit we went up and fog came in about half way up. This time, we were told that it would be closed if there’s snow, so… no luck. It is an impressive backdrop to Hobart, from whatever angle you catch it, even out of a bus window.

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FOOD

A walk across the road to the local pub for typical pub fare, at pub prices, but supersized. Local beer and “An Englishman”, a chicken Schnitzel with a Yorkshire pud on top. I had a plate of roast Mediterranean Vegetables. Good atmosphere, very big, warm fire, solo guitarist /singer.  Other nights, prepared meals in accommodation. Lunches at bakeries and breakfast provided. We ate at the pier one day, to have seafood at Mures, and discovered that which was very nice. However,  if you head for Salamanca Place, not far away, you can get a good meal for half the price, under substantial outdoor heaters. The view won’t be so close to the waterfront. There are many, many food possibilities, so do a bit of research with your phone or by foot.

ACCOMMODATION

There is a huge range and during winter the rates are very good. We stayed at Argyle Apartments, which had excellent reviews and they weren’t exaggerating. The studio room was spacious and had a huge, comfortable bed. We had a fridge and the usual condiments, with a kettle and a coffee machine. Arriving at night, it was amazing to enter a pre-warmed room and the enclosed balcony had a heater, sofa and table and chairs (and a great view of Wellington). The shared kitchen had a great variety of foods and a microwave for heating/cooking. There was also a stocked fridge, here. The amenities were in a separate corridor, but we had our own toilet/shower room. Great location, central to everything, and they allowed us to store our bags there on the last day and even come back and have tea/coffee while we waited for our shuttle.

We were on the go for a lot of the time, but it’s a good way to stay warm. The town is pretty small and so manageable on foot, or if you are restricted, there is a hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus, for $35 /day or local buses. It only rained the first day and we had sunny, but icy days for the rest.

Loads of charm in Hobart and nearby. Why not see for yourself?

Safe Travels. Take water and a warm scarf and beanie.

 

5 Things you’ll love about the Blue Mountains.

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Why are they called blue, for a start?

Rayleigh scattering – the elastic

scattering of light particles, put simply. It is common with many such mountain ranges, that they look blue from a distance.

  1. ACCESS

The Blue Mountains are in New South Wales, Australia. They are accessible from Sydney by a two hour train ride to a heritage location, but we took a two and a half day drive from Adelaide. Coaches also travel here and you can hire a car.

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Blackheath train station
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great views from the carriage windows

 

2. ACCOMMODATION

We stayed in Blackheath Glen Tourist Park.  This had great facilities and wide sites for vans, as well as being near Pope’s Glen track to Glovett’s Leap, but we were told that the neighboring Katoomba Tourist Park was equally good, and ran shuttles to major attractions.

There are a multitude of accommodation options in the area and good access to all the necessities – supermarkets, bakeries, sweet shops, swimming pools, liquor, churches and more.

3. STUNNING VIEWS AND TRAILS

Climb the 250 million year old rock strata. Under the canopy of gum leaves seen from above, there is a rain forest below, with many waterfalls.

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Online maps available before we got there were too limited. Even visiting tourist shops en route proved fruitless. We had to wait to stop in at the national parks centre in the region, but they were marvelous at providing maps, suggestions and advice. There are 48 walks on the ‘selection of bushwalks in the Blue Mountains’ sheet. Great detail is here, concerning grade, time, distance and features to be experienced. This was invaluable in planning our outdoor adventures.

4. VERTICAL CHALLENGES

Reported to have the steepest train ride in the world it is really more like a show ride and these days travels very slowly compared with what carried people 20 or 100 years ago.

Then there is the Cableway or the Skyway, with viewing floors and up to 360 degree views.

Or just descend the stairway to the Three Sisters or Pulpit Rock and feel suspended over more than time.

5. HISTORY

Around 1900 the population of this coal mining area was 4000! However, it was very popular as a holiday destination and in Summer the numbers would swell to 30 000 people. The sewage system was unable to cope at these times and it was not uncommon for Katoomba Falls to be dis-coloured with refuse. Erk.

People ride here, walk here, drive here and arrive by the bus loads. It’s easy to see why.

At one lookout a man had his drone travel the 2km gap as he watched the view below on a smart phone. Unfortunately the echo could be heard across the canyon as we travelled to different lookouts, beyond where we could see it.

Take a hat, good walking shoes and water. You may need a coat if the clouds are hanging low, but they can blow away quickly, too.

Safe Travels!

Sequel to Morialta

A rare event! Rain in Adelaide. So, with visitors from Western Australia in tow, we headed back to Morialta Falls and did the same trek. There’s no need to lead you through the same, but I’ll use photos to show the difference 10mm of rain can make to colour and effect.

 

 

IMG_4590 (2)IMG_4732Perhaps my first blog on this waterfall could have been Prequel to Precipitation at Morialta. So many more water shots could be taken, and you see both falls from more vantage points. The path was at times slippery.

Walk safely, with the map downloaded on your phone (although it’s only very general) and take water because even in the rain you get thirsty.

Waterfalls of Adelaide – Morialta.

So, I’ve decided to do a series on Adelaide Waterfalls, for three reasons: Winter is approaching, there are only three of them, and they’re accessible sights of Adelaide.

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Morialta Falls, like Waterfall Gully and Horsnell Gully Falls, is 10km from the centre of Adelaide, along good roads.

There are several carparks, allowing you to either walk long the creek to the main base, or to start from the latter. We had my niece with us, who has done two walks here, so we were competently led along the Falls Plateau Walk and returned via the Second Falls Gorge Track. If you were limited for time or had no desire for trecking, the direct path to the falls is very flat and takes about 10 minutes. There are warnings that it can get muddy and slippery.

The uphill paths are narrow but in good condition and the start was very steep for about an hour, which was only 2km! There were rest stops where you can also get some nice views.

Then it’s onward and upward, past xanthorreas, to see what the viewers ahead can see.

Escarpments, the lower track and the city of Adelaide in the distance.

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Parakeets dashed into the thicket, hid among ghost gums and xanthorrea.IMG_4508IMG_4510IMG_4511IMG_4515

Until, finally, the rugged cliffs of the first falls appeared below, nestled in a harsh ravine.

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You approach the falls from behind, almost on top of it, and the aspect is beautiful.

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Anticipating greater things, and an easier, more downhill climb, we headed for the second falls, which soon became visible.

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From one of  the many bridges and lookouts, we had great views.  The valley is impressive.

IMG_4552We were keen to see the Giant’s cave and face the first waterfall, so we took advantage of the de-cline, checked our route once more and made for the correct track, admiring the views along the way.

Within a short time we were at the mouth of the Giant’s cave, with its functional stairways and nooks for young and old to enjoy.  Our final destination was before us and the main path, here, is very wide and suitable for wheelchairs, prams, the not-so-ambulant and groups of people. It is a short walk, with steep natural walls and century-old constructed walls.

At last! We were facing the first falls. Or trickle.

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We’ll have to see it in Winter and compare the flow, but the sight was majestic, nonetheless. We made our way back to the car, but this time being a little more aware of nature. The park is quite well-known for sightings of wildlife and today was no exception.

If you’ve heard about ‘drop bear’, this is a close up of the culprit.

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looks harmless, right?

Apparently there were roos (kangaroos) but we didn’t see them. The entire walk took us 2 hours, with all of our stops and photos. A couple of Richmond FC players ran past at some stage and they definitely wouldn’t have taken that long. It was an overcast day and only about 23C but the demands of the first stretch did make us thirsty. So be prepared.

Morialta Falls is part of Morialta Conservation Park. You can download the maps for free on your smart phone and know exactly where you are (I discovered later). Morialta was the name given to the park in 1972. Prior to that it was a National Pleasure Resort in 1915, after being donated to the Government by James Reid Smith in 1912. He had purchased it in 1901, but in 1870 Angora goats were introduced to the area, following attempts at mining and grazing. It has an interesting history. The original owners are not named, but I think they would be the Kaurna People. Park management still works with Aboriginal people in the development and maintenance of the area.

For the driest State in the driest Continent, I think we’re doing very well to have waterfalls!

Why! I might just see the one near Victor Harbour and make it a ‘Waterfalls in South Australia’ series.

Safe Travels. Visit South Australia and bring water and a hat. Watch out for drop bears.

Can you do 4km uphill in under 60 minutes? The Waterfall Gully challenge.

Walk or run, it doesn’t matter. There are forums dedicated to people comparing their PBs and quoting both uphill and downhill times. Beginning at the carpark, situated at the base of the pretty, 18m first Waterfall, the medium difficulty track is quite steep in some parts and, with renovations going on at the moment, sometimes slippery with gravel. I had heard so much about this challenge and family members and work colleagues set themselves the task, so I decided to find out what it was all about.

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First Falls

From the carpark you can see the first falls in one direction and in the other, Utopia restaurant, described on http://waterfallgully.com.au/   as “…a beautifully preserved, century-old stone chalet which boasts the unique title of Australia’s last remaining heritage ‘tea room’, and the nation’s only restaurant set beside a natural waterfall.”

 

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Utopia restaurant

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It doesn’t open on a Monday, so I cannot give an account of the interior or menu from a first hand point of view. But it is certainly picturesque, as are the old pathways and buildings that I remembered from over 50 years ago.

Let’s hit the trail! It is incredibly steep at first, mostly stone steps, and I wondered what I had set myself. However, that only lasts about 50 m so push on. The lookout is worth a quick stop (unless you are going for your PB).

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The second waterfall is 600m from the lookout over the first. There is a setting where you can stop and admire the scenery before pressing on towards the mark, which is Mount Lofty Summit.

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second fall
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looking back down first creek, from the second fall

At this stage I considered the time and the unknown length of the rest of the walk. I confess, I headed back to the carpark. However, I have every intention of making it to Mount Lofty (highest mountain in Adelaide region – 710km above sea level?) and seeing the panoramic views of Adelaide. The Mount Lofty Summit restaurant and cafe is well-regarded and boasts amazing views – I’ve seen them. I just can’t take good photos of it!

Take the challenge!

Head for Cleland Conservation Park, 10 km from the centre of Adelaide. The falls are best in Winter and Spring when they flow fuller, but even in Summer, or at the end, as you can see, there is water flowing. If you make it to the top and then down again and have some energy left, why not visit Cleland Wildlife park, where for a fee you can be up close or interact with kangaroos, koalas and other native Australian animals.

There are seven waterfalls in Cleland Conservation Park, apparently, the largest being in Waterfall Gully. The Gully was declared the State’s first National Pleasure Resort in 1912, some 30 years after it was established as a popular recreation and picnicking spot.

Safe Travels. Rest when you need to. Take a hat and water.

Make a landing in Carnarvan

On the jagged north west coast of Western Australia, between Coral Bay and Monkey Mia, lies the town of Carnarvan.  We touched on its history and gardens, but only learnt of its links with space long after we’d passed the sugar scoop and parabolic disks.

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Residing alongside the jetty is the old lighthouse keeper’s cottage. It has been maintained and contains original artifacts, furniture, clothing and documents. We loved the view from the front door, when the back door is open, of the ocean beyond the back yard and we were fortunate to meet one of the family who had lived there. Just checking on things and collecting the gold coin donations, she told us how, as children, when the huge ships came in loaded with goods, she and her siblings would run barefoot down the jetty to watch them unload. They would spend all day at this, as the livestock and goods were loaded on to the tram, which went straight to town.

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The jetty itself was 1 mile long (1.6 km) and although it has been repaired and still has tram runs occasionally, it is shorter. There is a small fee for walking the jetty, which goes towards its maintenance.

We left the jetty and made for the River Gums Cafe, seeing good reviews on the internet and in brochures. It was an interesting drive and the winding dirt road entrance was picturesque. The attached caravan made it through the dips, no worries. We had freshly squeezed juice and an iced coffee, which were both very tasty, but the gardens we observed while we sat at our wrought iron setting, were superb. I have tried to locate the names of the plants I photographed, but I apologise, they were too many. If you know the names of any of them, please let me know.

Carnarvan is sprawled but the centre of town is like any big country town in Australia – wide centre median strip and two lanes on each side. As we moved easily out of town on the good highway, we saw the disks, or parabolas on the hill. My husband recalled something about space tracking.

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.DjHqg4rBt_zpJ25wErmK1gHaE8%26pid%3D15.1&f=1Carnarvon Space and Technology Museumfrom Carnarvan Museum.org.au

Well, the radar disks were involved in the Apollo 11 flight, tracking its progress and sending information across the world. Now almost inoperative, the disks are housed at the Carnarvan Space and Technology Museum and it is written about very highly. We should have done our research and given this town more time, as the waterways, views and museum, that we have since learnt about, would have been enjoyed.

We’ll just have to go back!

Safe travels! Take a hat, water and tourist information.

Beehive yourself

While walking with one of my friends along our regular path, in the north east of Adelaide, I was going slowly, uncharacteristically, trying to see the world from another angle. When I spied…

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… the most extraordinary beehive growing in a gum tree. So we approached closer and I took lots of shots. It was a sure shot for this week’s photo challenge – out of this world.

 

Safe travels and treks.