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.

Mt Wellington
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 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.

sdr

sdr
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.

cof
Botanical Gardens

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

sdr
subantarctic house
cof
conservatory
cof
well-designed
cof
lily pond
oznor
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.

oznor
The Drunken Admiral
oznor
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.

cof

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

cof
St David’s Cathedral
cof
interior, St David’s

St David’s Park

oznor

Flinders’ Square

sdr

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.

sdr 

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.

 

Enchanted

For this week’s  Photo Challenge: 2017 Favorites  I have selected one from our trip to Tasmania. It was the only State in Australia that we hadn’t visited and we kept putting it off, believing it would be cold. It was a stunning place to photograph and explore. As this photo shows, on the Enchanted Walk in Cradle Mountain National Park, it is truly enchanting.

WP_20170418_056

Even for an amateur photographer, using a phone, you almost can’t help but take a good shot.

See great things in 2018!

 

 

Waterwords

When I saw the theme for this week’s photo challenge, I delved straight into my Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) folder, as the Tasmanian gallery is filled with the unusual.

My final choice involved the piece that had an art ignoramus like me transfixed for the longest time. The backdrop is a high wall of what appears to be stone, with two side panels of the same material, creating a 3D frame. This transverses two levels and from a metal beam at the top, where lights are strategically placed, water shoots out at regular intervals, creating different words, that once formed, plunge to oblivion.

wp_20170421_148-e1500506577964.jpg

So, in order to take the picture, I had to practice a bit so that I could actually get the word and try to catch the effect. As you see, I finally shot ‘shooting’, which I thought was even more unusual.

The words seem to be unrelated to anything, but maybe if I spent the day there…And what do I call this – a water feature? water words? water wall? waterfall? word fall?

To get the full scale, I put another shot here ( I think the word is smash):

WP_20170421_146

Look, even if you are not into art, like me, you have to visit this place. So many extraordinary visions will stay with me forever. Tasmania is a picturesque place in itself – see one of my blogs on the Island.

Safe travels. Take a camera, but turn the flash off.

 

Tasmania’s St Marys, Cornwall and saucy Evandale

We had read so much and heard other travellers speak of St Marys and the quirky shops there, that it became one of our last destinations.

WP_20170423_012

While being very pretty, and sustaining brightly-coloured flowers, the opening hours of most of the shops did not include Sunday morning. So we had a quick stroll, took some snaps and made our way to Evandale.

There is a tourist paper that Tasmania makes readily available, Travelways, and this alerted us to an area called Cornwall, an old coal mining district still in operation and a family sauce-making business in Evandale. Cornwall was like so many mining areas in Australia – victims of the change in politics and environmental action. The history of the miners and the monument was very interesting and alluded to plenty of stories and local heroes.

The Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Company was an absolute treat. Easy to access and find, just off the main road, we were able to try about 13 sauces, I think. We bought home jam, sauce and pickles and were shocked at the low cost. I think the plum and pepperberry relish was the favourite and disappeared very quickly. We will be ordering online, for sure.

WP_20170423_021

So, if you get time, stop by these two towns (but check opening hours) and be delighted.

Safe travels.

Bicheno and Waubs Bay

It is an easy drive from Coles Bay and Freycinet National Park to Bicheno, where there are many accommodation options. We took a cabin in Bicheno Cabin Park, which had very good facilities and was a five minute walk to Waubs Bay. The sound of the surf at night was only just louder than the rain.

Of course, you cannot speak of Bicheno without mentioning the blowhole. We drove the short distance there and headed across sand and lichen-covered rocks to the attraction. You can hear it from the road, but don’t realise it until you have seen it. Shooting pretty high, it is the most accessible blowhole I have visited and fascinating enough to capture your interest for at least 30 minutes. I would be wary of taking young children nearby, as the waves from the ocean crash over the rocks that form the blowhole and it is not hard to imagine anyone getting swept out to sea.

There are a number of bakeries and eateries, a supermarket and a gallery. We tried to find the lookout but were unsuccessful and as the hour was late we couldn’t ask anyone in time to catch the view.

Waub’s Bay was a good spot for exploration and we saw a couple of young surfers in the water. Again, if I had young children I would keep an eye on them, with all the rocks and constant waves, but if you didn’t have a wetsuit I wouldn’t be heading in anyway.

Apparently, Waubs Bay is named after Wauba Debar, an Aboriginal woman of the area with a remarkable story. She and her family endured terrible things at the hands of sealers, yet she married one and saved him and another sailor during a storm, as she was an exceptional swimmer. When she died an early death in the mid-1800s, members of Bicheno raised funds to build a monument to commemorate her heroic deed. We did not have time to find her memorial.

Safe Travels.

On our way to Freycinet

With limited time to complete our dash around Tasmania, we left Hobart and faced a demanding day of driving, touring and hiking. Our main destination was Freycinet National Park.

Orford was prettily situated around the river and we were not deterred by the light showers that set in. En route to Swansea we stopped at Spiky Bridge, the aptly named way for cattle to cross the creek without being tempted to edge over the sides. It is quite unique, I believe, and just one of the many structures built by convicts in the early 19th century. As the two farmers who owned the adjoining paddocks told us – Tasmania (and maybe Australia) owed so much of its early growth to the convicts.

Swansea was, for us, a refreshment stop and short walk through the town. It is picturesque and has historic buildings and great eateries.

The way to Coles Bay is strewn with possible diversions and the one that tempted us was Devil’s Corner Cellar Door. We had heard of it, through another traveller who was doing a wine tour of the region and our brief stop and climb to the view certainly revealed many supporters of a nice drop. The view from the tower is soul-warming and if we visit this way again we will make time to taste the culinary delights teasing us from the compact, welcoming cellar.

Arriving at the Freycinet National Park Visitor centre we were well-informed about what would be suitable for us, given time and goals. We decided on the Wineglass Bay Lookout walk (3km return, 1 – 1.5 hours) and the Cape Toureville lighthouse walk.  The first was steep and a little slippery uphill, with more steps than the sign indicates in the last stretch, but the view is worth it and there is always the kudos once you return. Beware the suicide selfie tourist who plants themselves in the middle of all the best shots.

Some of the path is interesting in itself, with rocks and flora to satisfy everyone.

The lighthouse walk was very easy , with good firm paths and gave pretty views in all directions. There was a variety of geography.

Good walking shoes and determination are in order. Take water and read the advice to walkers.

We didn’t stay in the park, as it was Easter and everywhere was booked out, but we saw such a variety of accommodation options – campsites, cabins, tents, resorts.

Safe Travels!