The Tasmania Mania (Part One)
People who travel to Australia make sure to visit New South Wales to see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, to Victoria for Melbourne’s celebrated European architecture, the Great Ocean Road and the penguins on Phillip Island, and Queensland for the Great Barrier Reef, stunning beaches and theme parks on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. I totally understand that. However, there is one state that yearns and deserves to be discovered and photographed as well.
Tasmania is home to Australian heritage sights and awe-inspiring nature. It has places that are quite rough around the edges, but its picturesque attractions surpass all its shortcomings. If you have at least 8 days to spare after ticking off the iconic places in the 3 more popular states in Australia, travel to Tasmania. I guarantee you a more memorable holiday.
Four wonderful days in Hobart
You’ll need at least 4 days to explore Hobart and its surrounds. Although it’s the capital
of Tasmania, you may find parts of the city to be a bit tired. Nevertheless, the city and the places you can visit from there have a lot to offer. Just in the CBD, you can go to the Salamanca markets for interesting finds, such as unique clothes, bags and accessories, trinkets, homemade cupcakes and cakes, pre-loved items, finger foods and drinks, a wide array of warm clothes to keep you toasty and others. Just a few steps past the markets, art galleries, good pubs and restaurants are ready to welcome you. As cheese is one of Tasmania’s most notable products, treat yourself to a platter. Oh yes, it’s usually listed under the desserts. Finally, if you like walking, shuffle your feet around Battery Point and feast your eyes on charming old houses, buildings and pubs built in
the 1800s. Hobart is also a strategic base if you’d like to go to Mount Wellington, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Port Arthur Heritage Site, Wicked Cheese and Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory.
We joined a tour when we went to Mount Wellington as we weren’t sure how icy and steep the roads were — not
an ideal combination for any driver. Moreover, changes in plans due to snow is something to consider if you plan to go to Mount Wellington in the winter. Because of heavy snowfall the night before, the roads were closed on the day of our tour. Luckily, we were able to re-book it with no hassle. At the pinnacle, the wet and icy wind slammed against us. I was literally hanging on for dear life as I took one challenging step at a time to reach the toasty observation centre from the viewing deck. I also made my own Olaf, which didn’t resemble the Frozen character in the slightest. It was also my first and only time to see snow and participate in a snow fight, making the whole experience imprinted in my mind. The tour also included quick visits to the remains of the Female Factory, which was once a female prison, St. David’s Cathedral and Cascade Brewery.
Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory was a bit of a disappointment. We drove there thinking we were to invade Willy Wonka’s domain, only to find out that there wasn’t any tour of the chocolate factory. We were instead given a talk on how chocolate is made, a taste test and a stash of Cherry Ripe and Turkish Delight, my two least fave chocolate flavours. Cadbury chocolates are sold much cheaper in the factory than anywhere else I’ve been in Australia, so people can’t help but indulge themselves. For this reason, I still think it’s a good place to visit.
On our way back to our hotel in the CBD from Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory, we stopped at Wicked Cheese, a superb cheese store and café on Richmond Road. I could’ve stayed there all day enjoying the variety of multi-award winning cheeses, pickled relish, chocolate and cakes, whilst taking in the freshest air. You can also do a taste test to assist you with the tough decision-making required. Not to worry because there’s a fantastic reward for your taste buds at the end of this ordeal.
Port Arthur Historic Site conjured so many vivid images of the 1800s for me. The place easily transports every visitor to the time when it was a convict settlement. We walked on muddy green lands and the heavens sprinkled water while we explored a mix of rubbles and well-maintained houses and buildings. Best of all, the tour guide had an answer to every question we had. Entry
tickets cost $39 for adults and $17 for children and that includes a guided walking tour and harbour cruise. Whilst waiting for the ferry, grab a quick bite and a coffee or hot choco in the café. For the braver lot, a ghost tour is also on offer.
For museum lovers, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) should be on your itinerary. It’s the ideal museum – it’s the right size with an eclectic collection which will leave you thinking about the exhibits long after you’ve left. The most controversial of which is the exhibit of private parts. I apologise for being a spoiler, but this is my way of warning you if you’re planning to take your children there. The ferry and entrance tickets cost $28 for adults and $25 for children.
Enjoy your first 4 days in Tasmania in the city of Hobart. If you’re fortunate to have more than 4 days to spare, check out my next blog for ideas on where else to take your itchy feet in Tassie. 🙂
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