Community Highlights Oceania Hobart

Hobart - a hidden gem. We reckon the pace of Hobart is comparable to Perth 40 years ago - and we love it here. Cool, crisp weather; no peak hour traffic jams and plenty to see and do. Hobart Harbour is the centre-piece of a dramatic landscape built around a water environment - there are countless yatchs everywhere and we reckon 95% of the residential houses have a view of the water - such is the steep sided hills that overlook the harbour and the magnificent Derwent River.

Eight days is not enough time to see most things in and around Hobart, but we have deliberately left more to explore for our next trip sometime in the future. On our first full day, we set out for Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula. Although an eerie place, it is very rich in history and has, over the years, been magnificently restored. One cannot imagine what it was like to live here in convict times - we were there on a very bleak day weather wise - it really challenges the senses. However, whatever the brutal deprivation in the old days, TC and DC felt that the 1996 massacre of 35 staff and tourists has left an even heavier pall over this site - one we could palpably feel every minute we were there.large_E207CA182219AC681785FCCEA9596C5E.jpglarge_90_E20CCBD82219AC6817AEFC8A760BD875.jpg

While at Port Arthur, we took a short boat trip to the "Isle of the Dead" where over 1100 convicts, soldiers and others are buried. The stories, as told by a tour guide, were very interesting. It was amazing that they could bury so many people on such a small island.large_E45D1D2B2219AC6817DF9A0B64A8474C.jpg

After Port Arthur, we headed south west to the beautiful Huon Valley and the Tahune Air Walk in the Southern Forest. The air walk, in some respects, is similar to the Tree Tops Walk at Western Australia's Walpole. Done one tree walk - done them all. But Tahune was dramatically different - throw in an air walk that overlooks magnificent rivers, two fabulous swing bridges, a walk through lush forest to die for, birds and animals everywhere - and you have the ingredients of the best of the best adventure walks in Australia. We loved it. While Perth was suffering in 40 degree heat, we were strolling through magnificent temperate forest in drizzling rain. The experience refreshed our souls and we reluctantly left this awe inspiring region late in the day.

Best of all, a lifetime dream came true in the forest. How many times did our parents rebuke us about spending money by saying "money doesn't grow on trees, you know". Well, we have finally proved them wrong. There was a tree below the air walk with money attached everywhere - on top and strewn at its base. What a magical forest!!!!
During our time at Hobart, we spent a lot of it at the waterfront - whether eating at the Salamanca Market or simply taking in the sites. But we figured the best way of seeing Hobart and it's magnificent waterways was from the water. So, on Sunday, we boarded the brig Lady Nelson for a 90 minute cruise - one of the best decisions of our trip. Most companies charge up to $100 for the privilege. But money was not a consideration here. We wanted to SAIL the waterways without polluting engines and the Lady Nelson was ideal. The LN is a replica tall ship which sailed from Plymouth to Hobart in convict times. How could such a small vessel come all this way over such savage seas? Best of all, and not known to us prior to boarding, the LN is crewed by volunteers who sail the ship with a burning passion. And it only cost $30 for the experience. What a wonderful and relaxing way to take in the sights and history of Hobart. While on the water, we came across the menacing Sea Shepheard which is about to depart for the Southern Ocean to fight off those pesky Japanese whale killers and also the magnificent cruise ship Diamond Princess. Another cruise ship, Rapsody of the Seas, turned up the following day - what a boon for little old Hobart.

After our morning harbour cruise, we headed 27 kilometres north west of Hobart to the historic town of Richmond. Our wallets got a real workout there!! We also saw Australia's oldest bridge (1823) and oldest (Catholic) Church and graveyard. If you were good enough, you could capture both monuments in the one photograph!
Yesterday (Monday) we ventured down to Bruny Island, not really knowing what to expect. The Island is in two parts - north and south - divided by a small isthmus. The spectacular South Island is largely inaccessible by motor vehicle, or even walking tracks. So, we decided, being a rare nice day weather wise, to take a boat cruise down the eastern flank of South Bruny Island. We missed the 11.00 am cruise by a few minutes and were glad we did. The company took out three boats, each full to the brim with bloody tourists.

We took the 2.00 pm session and what a great move. Just 8 passengers. The boat takes off from beautiful Adventure Bay and heads down the rugged east coast. "Takes off" is no understatement - we were sitting on 900 horse power of Mercury engines - it went like a rocket and handled the (at times) choppy sea magnificently. We saw the most amazing cliff landscapes on this planet and plentiful sea life. Although we both felt a little reticent at first to undertake this adventure, we were glad we did and would probably put it down to the best adventure so far on this trip. It was outside our comfort zone, but we took up the challenge and were rewarded with one of the most exhilarating days of our lives.
Today (Tuesday) we reluctantly leave Hobart behind as we venture up the east coast of this beautiful island state.

Thanks for taking an interest in our travel journal. We hope you are enjoying our Great Southern Land Adventure.

This featured blog entry was written by TCDC from the blog Great Southern Land Adventure 2013.
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Posted Tue, Dec 17, 2013 | Comments