When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Once upon a time, just before COVID got the world on its knees, a trip to Tasmania was planned and successfully executed!
I wasn’t sure if I would get to complete my trip. But March 2020 got me a 5 day trip to Hobart, Tasmania.
A small island state of Australia, Tasmania is known for its natural beauty, fresh air and picturesque places.
Although I did list down places and tours to do, I stuck to Hobart as a safety precaution (Covid scare had just begun)
Tasmania can be reached by air and sea from mainland Australia. Sailing was a mode I was yet to experiment; therefore, a ticket for the Spirit of Tasmania was booked. The ship docks at Melbourne and Devonport. Hobart is a 3 hour drive from Devonport passing through vast grasslands, water bodies and forests.
Hobart – the capital city of Tasmania. A metropolitan city, having warm and cozy cafes and beautiful vintage styled streets. Hobart is also the central point in southern Tasmania and on the outskirts you will find breweries, vineyards, natural reserves, beaches and mountains.
The Pickled Frog is a haven for backpackers. The hostel is situated in the midst of Hobart town and is easily accessible. You cannot miss this hostel given its bright green froggy colour. Not only that, the artwork is the cutest I have seen with frog statues and drawings all over the place. It is well spaced with common areas, has an amazing bar and fireplace at the reception and music being played throughout the day. Pickled Frog also has the best deals for beer and cider. Another USP of Pickled Frog is their day tours on their very own mini bus. I missed this because the bus had been in for repairs and wasn’t back until my trip 😦
While at the hostel, I was introduced to Jin who took day tour trips on weekends and holidays. The day after I reached Hobart, I did the Bruny Island tour. And woah! It was a beautiful rugged landscape straight from the movies and Pinterest wallpapers . Long winding roads, beautiful mountain views, the sea and the rains.
Yes, it rained and so it was a cold and chilly week in Hobart.
To reach Bruny island, we took the ferry from Kettering which is a 20-30 min ride. Bruny Island is one of Tasmania’s most beautiful natural environment with plush wildlife and stunning mountain top views . Bruny Island has 2 islands – north and south and is joined by the Isthmus and this stretch is called – The Neck. The Isthmus is an important habitat for native wildlife. If you are lucky, you may get a chance to see fairy penguins. After climbing the timber boardwalk to the Truganini Lookout, I was treated to a spectacular panoramic view of the North & South Bruny Island. The view from the lookout was breathtakingly beautiful. A layer of mist and fog and the waves crashing. The sun and clouds playing seek.
The next stop was the Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co. for breakfast. After a tummylicious breakfast, we head to Cape Bruny Lighthouse situated at the southern tip of the island. An iconic attraction, first lit in 1838, today it is Australia’s second oldest and longest continually staffed lighthouse. Cape Bruny Lighthouse was commissioned due to shipwrecks around the southern Tasman Coasline. Standing on the cliff, gives a scenic view of the violent coastline that wrecked ships centuries ago.
As the weather starts getting gusty, we head over to the Bruny Island Providore and the Bruny Island Honey by the end of which we are super hungry and can hear Oysters being shucked. So off we go to ‘Get Shucked’ and enjoy some food. Get Shucked is highly recommended for the quality and pricing of oysters.
This was my only day tour in Hobart. After this all I did was walk around Hobart through it’s beautiful by lanes soaking in its heritage beauty.
Note: If you do have a longer holiday, stay in Bruny Island for atleast 2 days to take the time and enjoy famous local produce – like oysters, cheese, beer, whiskey and chocolate.
MONA – this is a modern art museum, located along River Derwent and cannot be described. It needs to be experienced. There are multiple views on this – modern, weird, provocative. Call it what you want to but it is a must visit.
The best way to reach MONA is by ferry, which departs from Brooke Street Pier and takes 30 min to reach. Passing through the industries on one side and mountains on the other; if you are lucky, you might meet a few dolphins too! The ferry has seats in the shape of sheep & tigers. There are regular ones as well, alongwith a VIP lounge area incase you prefer a pampering ride. You will easily spend 2-3 hours inside MONA, so plan your day accordingly.
The best of seafood is available in Tasmania and in Hobart, the Constitution Dock is known for it’s Fish & Chips. There are floating kitchens on small motor boats that sell amazing seafood and from these, Flippers is recommended. They are very reasonably priced for the quantity served.
Battery Point – Battery Point is named after the battery of guns which were established on the point in 1818 as part of the Hobart coastal defenses (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_Point,_Tasmania). Battery Point is adjoined to the waterfront of Salamanca Place.There is a whole list of cafes and restaurants one can go to while walking around.
I tried out Jackman & McRoss – the local bakery at Kelly Town. They are well known for freshly baked bread, pastries and pies
Kelly steps & Town and the Salamanca Market – Named after James Kelly, who circumnavigated the island in 1816. The steps were constructed from sandstone to create a shortcut between colonies in Battery Point (Kelly Street, Aurthur circus) and Salamanca Place. Kelly street is a small suburb with Gregorian & Victorian styled houses; Arthur circus is a ring of old cottages (inhabited by the then officers of the garrison in the 1840s) in the heart of Battery Point.
Hobart has a beautiful and serene waterfront with yachts and boats. A stroll along the docks will take you to Salamanca Markets which used to be a sandstone warehouse circa 1830s. Today, it has a variety of stores inside the building ranging from art and books to stones and ornaments and much more. The main attraction is the outdoor market held every Saturday. A huge number of stalls selling fresh produce, art & craft, homeware products, meals, etc.
While at the waterfront, another café I fell in love with was Dacci & Dacci. Although the location gives it an expensive look, this café fits into a backpacker pocket and they have a lovely variety of toasties, pies, sausage rolls and pastries.
Hastings Cave – Australia’s largest dolomite tourist cave, it is spacious, and well maintained with staircases around. Given its low temperatures (almost 9 degree Celsius all year round), you will not find a dank smell or bats. The caves are over 40 million years old but were discovered by timber workers circa 1917. Hastings Cave is a magical world of fascinating stalactites, stalagmites, columns and some beautiful labyrinths.
In the same vicinity, there is a thermal spring (with an all year round temperature of 28 degrees Celsius) and it is surrounded by a quiet & beautiful forest and barbeque stations. A short walk around the forest will get you to witness the merging of hot and cold water streams. Don’t believe me? You can dip your hand in the water to experience this!
Richmond Town – A vibrant town with sandstone structures, Richmond was a route between Hobart & Port Arthur in the early 1820s. The most famous landmark is the Richmond Bridge built in 1823 by convicts. It is the oldest bridge in Australia. A stroll through the town gives an insight into Australian colonial heritage. The Richmond Gaol is the oldest gaol in Australia, built in 1825, has still been preserved.
Some more food places that are definitely worth trying out:
Waffle On café – Hanging Garden – Best known for it’s sweet & savory waffles. Since I have never tried savory waffles and was super hungry, went for the Brisket Reuben with waffle fries on the side. I should have trusted the chef that Brisket Reuben might be enough for me. But the greedy foodie paid no heed.
Danphe Nepalese and Indian food – a small little restaurant on a busy Collins street. Craving for some Nepalese or Indian food, then this is the best place to calm those hunger cravings. On a cold chilly night, the Jhol Momo hit the right taste buds.
Pigeon Hole café – They use the fresh produce grown at their very own Weston Farm. Though they have a simple menu, trying out their daily specials is recommended.
Love for Cider
Never have I enjoyed Cider as much as I did with Pagan Cider. Prepared using only fresh fruits that are grown in the Huon valley and no sugar or cordials. Like literally! Pear cider has been my favorite and the next time I visit Tasmania again, visiting Pagan Cider’s cellar is on my list!
Although I did not visit all the places I wanted to, I fell in love with Hobart. And if this was magical enough, I can imagine what it must feel like to visit the other places in Tasmania which has in abundance – mountains, national parks, seas and oceans. Hobart was my perfect getaway for a quick holiday.