April 25, 2016

Day 920 – Tasmania

I wanted to go to Tasmania for Easter but the fares were a little dear.  With most internal flights, the fares aren’t cheap which makes it very difficult to travel around Australia. The best way to go round Australia would be in a camper van. I would love to do that but it’s next to impossible when you have a full time job. So instead, I’ve been booking flights to cities I want to explore. I have two friends in Tasmania, Beth and Jo and this was another incentive to go.

For some reason there are no direct flights to Hobart and initially when I was searching for flights, many had a ten hour layover in Brisbane or Sydney. This was something I wanted to avoid so in the end I managed to book a reasonable flight that stopped in Sydney then Melbourne before hitting Hobart. I arrived at nine in the evening but I was happy I arrived on the same day. Jo picked me up and the first thing that hit me was the temperature. It is far colder in Hobart than in Townsville. Thankfully this time round I was prepared, unlike Melbourne where I didn’t pack enough layers. First up we went up mountain Wellington. This is one of the things I had on my list and many tourists make their way up the mountain for the stunning views.  Now when we were up there it was a little overcast and freezing. Going down however, we were able to see some amazing views.

The next day was all planned out, first up we hit the Salamanca markets.  Numerous stalls selling vintage books to fresh honey and jewellery. I love markets and this one was packed with both locals and travellers. Next stop was MONA (museum of old and new art). Entry for my friends was free as they are residents of Tasmania but for everyone else, we need to pay. I must say, I was rather impressed with the range of exhibitions and displays at the museum. Some were a little disturbing to the eye but for the most part it was interesting.  We then set off to explore Richmond, a quaint, little, historical town. This is a beautiful town where we managed to find a lovely local bakery. There is also a large candy store selling all kinds of sweets and ice cream which went down like a treat. Our final stop was Primrose beach because of course like any other city, a beach is never too far away. We walked along the beach, I collected a handful of shells and enjoyed watching all the dogs soaking in the beach. Driving back we stopped to catch the sunset and it was perhaps the best sunset I have seen since I’ve been in Australia, it was beautiful and the highlight of my day. I love sunsets and this one was exceptionally perfect with the red sky and two canonists below.

Next day we set off to Mountain Field National Park. Given it was a long weekend and given that they had a Fagan festival to mark 100 years, it was packed. It is a beautiful national park with many nature trails. We went up to see Russell Falls and then the Lady Barron Falls. Both beautiful and easy to get to. We also walked around Lake Dobson which was the highlight for me. The weather was good which helped immensely. We then drove to Strathgordon to see the dam. It’s a pretty big dam and we were able to walk along the top which was amazing. We drove back to town with the sun setting.  It was an action packed day that made me appreciate nature a lot more. I find myself edging towards the bush more and wanting to go on walks more than simply staying in the city. We ended the day with tea at Jo’s parents’ house. It was lovely to meet them and hear about their travel adventures.

Next day was Anzac day which comprises of a dawn ceremony. I would have gone and checked it out but I’m not a morning person, neither is Beth, Jo ended up going though. Beth had to work so Jo and I went to Wineglass Bay. I had heard a great deal about this place and friends recommended I check it out. It is a beautiful drive along the coast line, similar to the Great Ocean Road. We stopped in a few of the small towns along the way before hitting Wineglass bay. It was pretty busy given today is a national holiday. Whilst I’m no hiker, I tend to manage ok but given this hike was all uphill I nearly died. I’m no bushwalker but Jo is so it was a walk in the park for him. The views were definitely worth the hike, they are picture perfect from up there and I was able to marvel at something beautiful again. Lunch was fish and chips, well just the chips for me but it was great. Another great day appreciating natural beauty.

Today both Jo and Beth had to work so I was left to explore Hobart. I was keen to pay Port Arthur a visit so I booked myself onto a tour. We got picked up at half eight and we hit the road with twelve or so people. Our walking tour began at half ten at Port Arthur. We got an informative talk for half an hour about how convicts were treated and where they were from. We then had plenty of time to explore the site. Historical sites never fail to amaze me as I find it amazing to walk into a house or church where so many people walked through years ago. I explored the prison and the individual cells and tried to imagine what life was like. This is my fourth prison, I went to one in Dublin, one in Ushuaia and then to Robbin Island where Nelson Mandela served time. I feel that such historical sites have preserved the spirits of those that occupied the cells and not just the exterior building. Although sometimes morbid, these sites are moving and have a significant impact on people.  Port Arthur was also where thirty five people were massacred by one individual. It is also from here that boats go to the island of dead. There are also ghost tours that run later in the evening but I no desire to join such as tour. I was happy I got to explore and absorb a part of history whilst in Tasmania.

That bought my trip to an end, short but sweet. Four days flew by but I feel like I saw and did a lot so I got the best out of my trip. Hobart reminded me of home, both the weather and the architecture of the buildings could lead you to believe you are in England. There is no street art or tram service like Melbourne but it sure is beautiful. It is not a busy, packed, bustling city but it is one that has a lot to offer and in turn appreciate.