Hi all! So yes, in terms of this blog the trip I have just returned from to destination Hobart, Tasmania was a bit of a surprise. But in fact I had it booked probably two months ago now. However, with snap lockdowns all the rage I didn’t want to write about my plans in case I was unable to go, which wouldn’t have surprised me in the least. And I think that’s one of the worst things if you love travel as much as I do, in terms of travel, with living in the pandemic. Here in Australia we have done undoubtedly a brilliant job of controlling the virus, but it’s been at the expense of a lot of personal liberties. And that meant for a time last year basically all state borders were closed, and for a much longer time borders were closed to Victorians as we battled with the worst this country experienced from the virus. Western Australia has been the strictest with its borders. Even now I am not sure if we would be allowed to go there.
On top of that we had a small outbreak last month in Victoria and saw borders shut and hard rules applied again, the harshest we saw last year in the state which were harsher than any other state in the country. Having said that, Western Australia a few months back had a snap lockdown for a single case of Covid-19 which I don’t think grew to any more. And last week we saw a case in Queensland and another in New South Wales and so it made for tense times. So when I booked flights and accommodation for Hobart, I had a lot of breath holding until I was, well out of the airport last Monday in a taxi to the centre of the city. I didn’t want to write anything about it lest I jinx us. 15 months without stepping onto a plane, for me of recent years, was a very long time.
But hey, I made it to Hobart and a proper holiday for the first time since late 2019 could begin. And so I’m going to write today about the first couple of days as over this and the next two Sundays I give you a run down of my time in the ‘Apple Isle’. It does look a bit like an apple when you look it. Or potentially something else…
A bit went into planning, I bought flights with Qantas as I had travel credit to use by April on my credit card and they were the only airline I could book with it, although it was their subsidiary company ‘QantasLink’ that took us here. I spent a fair bit of time working out the hotel to stay at. Frankly the choices were a little ‘ho-hum’, as they are in most parts of Australia and you have to be really careful what you book as the listings online can be really deceptive.
We stayed in the ‘Hobart City Apartments’, which appeared to be quite new and there will be a review of it coming up – but in a few months. Getting to the airport on Monday the 15th of March for the flight was stressful when I left something behind and lost over half an hour returning and grabbing it. Then at the airport it’s fair to say it was quite the surreal experience due to lack of people. Even in the domestic terminal for Qantas it was quiet as.
The flight over was around an hour, and even with almost no air traffic they still left 10 minutes late. Still it was a good flight over on a Boeing 717-200 and the best thing was flying south from Melbourne Airport, which is to the north of the city, we actually flew over our own suburbs – well almost, we could see our part of the city! Very cool indeedy!
We touched down at 645pm at Hobart Airport, a surprisingly small airport considering it’s easily the biggest city in Tasmania. We had to prepare online for travel with e-Tas I think it was declaring the usual round of stuff about Covid – no symptoms, no contact, no overseas travel. That was checked and the questions asked again at the airport, bags were already on the carousel and we were soon in a taxi. Check in at the hotel was easy enough, grabbed a bite to eat, we were in Tasmania!
Tuesday the 16th of March was on us before we knew it. And up and time to explore! So I had worked out I would do a walk to a place called the ‘Cascades Female Factory’, along a small river (i.e. creek) in Hobart called the ‘Hobart Rivulet’. This was a little hard to find actually Google struggled to tell me exactly where it started here in Hobart. But I saw a bit of the city – it’s small and hilly but also has some old buildings and amazing architecture. It’s I think the second capital to be founded in Australia behind Sydney, in the early 1800s which makes it older than Melbourne, obviously. It was founded on convict labour, so different again in that respect to Melbourne. But also there are a number of ART DECO buildings in Hobart which made me pretty happy!
Eventually I found the Rivulet and walked along it for several kilometres. It’s beautiful but it’s just incredible that a couple of kilometres from the centre of town it feels like you are out in the forest/wilderness. Much of Tasmania is wilderness too, a quite sparsely populated state. I walked along the Rivulet far longer than I should have, overshooting my mark by as much as 1.5 km.
Actually, I walked right past the Cascades Female Factory, took a photo of the statue opposite and admitted the wall but didn’t read the sign. Google said I was still a long way away. Little did I know I had entered the wrong location into the app! When I realised I had just passed the Cascade Brewery, another fine old building, and I hurried back and finally realised what I’d done.
The Cascades Female Factory, a strange name indeed, was where a women’s prison once stood. Ruins are all that is left today. Many women were shipped out in the 1800s because the colony ‘needed’ women. Many were sent here. I will do a more detailed post in the future on the sites of Hobart.
I returned to town for lunch and then down to the docks/marina area which is really beautiful. In fact, with almost cloudless skies everywhere was beautiful. Wandered around there taking snaps here and there before entered the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. It showcased the sad fate of the indigenous population in Tasmania since white people arrived. Also featured a lot of stuffed animals and information about the probably now extinct Tasmanian Tiger (not seen since 1936). It was a good little museum, and it was free.
I was able to head into the hills after that and have dinner with my cousin which was great. Little did I know that my microphone (I had been vlogging all day) had stopped working and so a lot of my videos do not have audio which is frustrating to say the least. This includes nearly all the ones from Port Arthur too, shot on the next day. I’ll have to work something out.
But tales of Port Arthur are for another day! Thanks for joining me, the next two Sundays will see me recount more tales of my Tasmanian Adventures! Thanks for reading – May the Journey Never End!