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Mount Wellington

Salamanca Market

Port Arthur

Maria Island

Bruny Island

The initial reaction I got from most people when I told them I was leaving for Tasmania on a getaway would be them telling me there was really nothing to see but trees and more trees.

Well, I am here to say that there’s a huge misconstrue going on. Sorry guys, there’s really so much more to it than just trees. And even if it is ‘just’ trees, the trees are situated at locations with backdrops so ethereal it’s unbelievable!

So why Hobart they asked?

Well… … Here’s why…

Top 5 MUST DOs in Hobart Tasmania. Let’s spiel shall we…?

 

Mount Wellington

Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

1 – 2 hours; depending on how many photos you want to snap, and how long you wanna’ amble on the metal platforms gawking at the magnificent bare view.

Admission Fee

FOC

Visitation Suitability

Everyone & Anyone

You cannot say you’ve been to Hobart without placing yourself at the summit of Mount Wellington. Nope you cannot, period! The sweeping view over Hobart City which towers 1270 metres above ground is the must-do-spot to be at!

If you are lucky, a single trip up on 4 wheels (car; for the families or people who have tight itinerary schedule etc.), 2 wheels (bike; for the dynamics who hanker for an adventure uphill) or 2 feet (for trekkers who enjoy longer ramble through cold dense forest) welcomes you to a sprawling peripheral vista of Hobart in a whole new light. I remember driving up there twice in a day with no luck at all, considering the fact that thick cold fog shrouded every inch of the area. It was pretty dangerous just impelling slowly up the narrow sinuous road.

Thank goodness, on our last day in Hobart City, the weather did clear up, and BAM! With minimal trekking of any kind to get views as splendid as these, no wonder it is the MUST DO in Hobart; spoken by the locals!

 

Salamanca Market

Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

1 – 2 hours; depending on how much food you can stomach.

Admission Fee

FOC (exclude bought goods)

Visitation Suitability

Everyone & Anyone

Operates every Saturday, all year round from 08 30 to 15 00 along Salamanca Place, this place is swarmed with locals and tourists all in for a piece of Hobart’s unique cultural experience.

With 300 odd stalls all in tandem along Salamanca Place, you better get there early on an empty stomach so you could try all the local produce and goodness. Not only does this place sells delectable foods, handy crafts and cute souvenirs are massively available for purchase. Some less perishable food items like nougats and honey are available in sample sizes for you to try before buying.

And if you are in luck (yes, I realised I do say that a lot, but come on, right timing is really fundamental, and you know it), live performances of song, dance and magic tricks will get the crowd howling for more. It is absolutely the time to reel off on a lazy Saturday morning!

TIP?

After ambling through the market, and soaked in the atmosphere of it all, take the food TO-GO! Head on down to wharf, just about a 100 metres away, for a nice ‘picnic’ with the view of Sullivans Cove!

I mean, come on, awesome food, perfect local culture experience, and brunch by the wharf overlooking the Cove? Rating is a definite 5 without a doubt; a total MUST DO in Hobart!

 

Port Arthur

Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

4 – 6 days; depending on how in-depth of the place you want to cover.

Detailed information on things to do at Port Arthur, click the URLs below for past articles.

Admission Fee

AUS $35 – $130; pricings are for adult tickets into the Historic Site

Detailed information on which pass package to choose?

Click: Sights & Sounds: Historic Site, Port Arthur for more details!

Visitation Suitability

Everyone & Anyone

 

Once a convict settlement, this area is now with rich history of how the convicts lived amongst the officials and their families. Ambling in the Historic Site during the self-guided tour, with the handy iPod commentary playing does make the entire experience come alive.

A suggestion would be to stay in the Site until dusk when it gets real quiet; just you, the ancient old buildings, and your imagination of how life was like years ago. Aahhh… Now doesn’t that sound like the perfect history lesson outside the classroom?

Well… at least that was how I like it- just me pretending I was in that convict era; imagining how the convicts were in the Penitentiary. Yup, no judgement please, I like to be in the moment okay? 😀

Other than wandering off in the Historic Site during the day, the GHOST TOUR is something you might wanna’ check out, for experience sake. I mean, you owe it to yourself to just lock those jitters in a box for one night and just do it! You are really in perfect hands of the adept ghost guides, they do these sort of thing on a daily basis, so I am confident it’s safe… … Right? 😀

There are loads to do at Port Arthur like visiting the Coal Mines Historic Site (which is FOC; by the way, and the drive there is quite awe-inspiring #justsaying) and trekking of course! Trekking up Cape Raoul was a beauty too!

Port Arthur is undoubtedly a MUST DO in Hobart to complete your trip!

Click on the links below for more detailed articles and pictures on Port Arthur!

Sights & Sounds: Tessellated Pavement State Reserve, Port Arthur

Sights & Sounds: Historic Site, Port Arthur

Sights & Sounds: Coal Mines Historic Site, Port Arthur

Treks: Cape Raoul, Port Arthur

 

Maria Island

Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

1 – 2 days

Admission Fee

AUS $12 – $123; pricings are for adult national park passes of different categories.

Click on National Park Passes for more information.

Visitation Suitability

Natural Lovers

The convict hold up before Port Arthur, this quiet island gives you the first hand experience of life as a convict during those times. Not exactly the ‘first hand’ experience, ’cause we all know that’s never going to happen, but it is as real as it gets!

Accommodation on the island would be the once Penitentiary. Yup! How wicked awesome is that?! Of course, this means no electricity, no room decorations, and definitely no room service! Toilets and showers are just a short walk away. It’s time to rough it out people!

For those who prefer day trips, that’s cool too. Mode of transportation on the island is either on foot or on a bike. Definitely choose the latter to cover more grounds on the island.

An imperative MUST DO is to take an approximately 2 hours return (4.4 km one way) stroll to the Painted Cliffs at Hopground Beach from Darlington. The sculpted sandstone cliffs boil in prominent orange in the late afternoon; definitely a moment to snap and remember forever!

A hidden gem just slight North-East, this is a thumbs up MUST DO in Hobart!

 

Bruny Island

Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

1 – 2 days

Admission Fee

FOC (exclude the cost on the vehicle ferry)

Visitation Suitability

Natural Lovers

Travelling to Bruny Island was my first experience on a vehicle ferry. Up till today, I am still somewhat fascinated by the whole idea of loading the car onto the ferry can being transported to an island. Sorry, but it’s not very often you get to drive up a ferry and enjoy the breeze while you’re at it!

There are many cruises and tours that bring you to the island, but I suggest driving there. Not only do you have a say on what you wanna’ do there, the luxury of time and space is just so crucial when on this serene island.

The Neck Game Reserve is a good stop to be at to have a symmetrical view of the sea divided by the isthmus of land. A nice tranquil drive on Bruny Island Main Road to the South of the island provides nice lunch options at the Hot House Cafe, and trekking options up to the Fluted Cape.

If you are lucky, spotting of a clan of wild wallabies is not a problem!

Click on Sights & Sounds: Food Hunt: Treks: South Bruny National Park, Bruny Island for a more detailed article on Bruny Island!

Loads of things to do on the island that captures the heart. An enrapturing island less populated, and very personal; it’s no wonder a MUST DO in Hobart!

So there, a list of Top 5 MUST DOs in Hobart Tasmania that I am able to say with conviction that you will bound to make the trip to Hobart all worth your ride!

Remember to Travel Whenever!

Dee

Bronze, Silver or Gold Pass?

Isle of the Dead

Lunch

Port Arthur Historic Site

Ghost Tour

 

Bronze, Silver or Gold Pass?

We were contemplating between which passes would make our experience at Port Arthur most fulfilling and memorable. At the crowded ticketing counter, as I recalled, in the Port Arthur Historic Site Visitor Centre, we were still indecisive. Finally we decided to settle on the Silver Pass (with Isle of the Dead Tour).

Reasons?

  1. The 2 differences between a Silver and Gold Pass are that there is Morning and Afternoon Tea, along with Point Puer Boys’ Prison Tour in the latter Pass.
  2. The difference in prices is AUS$30.
  3. With the limited days we had in Port Arthur, we felt that forgoing the visit to the Point Puer Boys’ Prison Tour, in exchange for more time to saunter through the Site and doing something else (like trekking) would be more worthwhile.

So what exactly is included in the Silver Pass (with Isle of the Dead Tour)?

Inclusions

 A 45- minute Introduction to Port Arthur guided walking tour The zealot guide on the site was just amazing. I could feel her ardent in her job, and it was really contagious. Very informative. 😀
The Isle of the Dead Cemetery Tour, including a harbour cruise aboard the MV Marana There are a few timeslots for the harbour cruise (cum The Isle of the Dead Cemetery Tour). Just bring your ticket to the jetty and join the queue. There are many approachable guides on Site to assist you if you do not know which to board or you are somehow just perplexed and inundated with the massive crowd surrounding the jetty.
Self Guided Audio Tour iPod + earpiece loaned to us as we self-toured the Site. Just return them back to the counter at the end of the day. The good thing about this is that, we could loan the iPod again the next day! ’cause the Site is just too huge to complete in a day!
Lunch on-site at the Museum Café or Port Café We had lunch at the Port Café (in the Visitor Centre).FYI, the Museum Cafe is located in the Asylum building adjacent to the Separate Prison.
Access to more than 30 historic buildings, ruins and gardens

 

Isle of the Dead

We spend 2 days soaking in the rich history of Port Arthur as a convict settlement. It was the time of my life. I love exploring old rustic ruins especially when they have so deep meaning. I was just venerated.

On the board the cruise en route to the Isle of the Dead was our first stop on that glorious morning. It was buzzing with loads of tour groups, school kids and individual visitors at the jetty as it was boarding time. Talk about perfect timing! We did not have to wait at all! We just got into the queue like everyone else (of course with the kind assistance from the guides on Site- as it was a major fluster then).

It is really heartening to see that Port Arthur has such a historic place for younger Tasmanians to embrace and have a school fieldtrip to greater understand their own history.

It was tranquil and hopeful onboard the mini cruise. The captain gave a little morning introduction while we enjoyed the breeze and fresh air on the upper deck. All that was lacking was a nice cup of hot mocha and maybe some marshmallows on top- sipping al fresco style. 😀

The captain explained about the seas surrounding Port Arthur, islands in the distance and what made it the ideal place to house convicts. What seemed like a real short while of embracing the morning with educational commentary, we alighted on a tiny island- Isle of the Dead.

Isle of the Dead is graveyard for anyone (I mean, anyone) who died in Port Arthur. Regardless of whether the person was an officer or a convict, they were all buried on that island. Our guide was really informative and I was imperatively enraptured by the place.

Was it weird that I felt more galvanised than lugubrious? After all, it is a graveyard. But I was absolutely intrigued by the details the guide was saying! And please tell me how not to start my wild imagination in my head when he was telling us stories about the people who were buried?!

According to the guide, a headstone can tell you lots about the person buried. Headstones with detailed embellishments were probably well respected people when they were alive. Officials, soldiers and their families have headstone situated on the high end of the island.

On the other side of the island (the lower end), convicts were buried. They were not allowed headstones. However, there were exceptions.

Every headstone has a story to tell. Alas, if only time permits, I really wished I could have the luxury of having some time to explore. To really read the headstones in detail rather than having to skim through them real quickly.

 

Lunch

After the harbour cruise, we went for the 45- minute Introduction walking tour. Again, we didn’t wait long at all. It was such perfect timing- one tour after another! I guess the management may have thought the timing schedule for tours through. Haha… 😀

We had, I would say, quite a scrumptious lunch. We weren’t expecting very much from the lunch that was included in the Silver Pass, ’cause well… … lunches that were inclusive don’t usually hit our expectations. But this time, Port Arthur amazed me.

The meal portion was big, and there were a range of beverages to choose from (regular coffee, latte, cappuccino, hot chocolate, and mocha). Usually such lunches would not allow one to choose a choice of beverage, so I was stunned for a spilt moment when the counter asked me to choose from the list!

We both were happy customers then. Our belly were filled and we were all ready for our next round of exploration!

 

Port Arthur Historic Site

The Site is really enormous. If you really want to ramble through the ruins, immerse yourself into the past, and read the descriptions bolted to the walls or on signages, then starting the exploration after lunch would need you to go back there again the next day.

The Convict Church was built by the convict builders. Officers and convicts all attended mass on Sunday in the same church. However, they would seat separate. The objective of this church was to use religion as a platform to reform convicts- making them better people spiritually.

Fun fact: In modern era, people actually come here to get married!

During the ghost tour, the guide warned us that creepy incidents happened here. On the left corner of the church near the church bells, a convict builder fell to his death, and from then on, his spirit haunted the church with his hefty footsteps. And on some nights during the ghost tour, you may actually hear those footsteps if you are LUCKY. Hhhmmmmm… …

Convicts with notorious behavior would be sent to the Separate Prison, where they would be stripped off their identity. Nameless; they would be labelled using numbers. Here, officers communicated with them using hand signs. Talking was strictly prohibited. Faceless; they were to wear cap-peaks when they left their individual cells from an hour exercise everyday.

The dingy ruins of the hospital can be easily differentiated from the others by its unique 3 arch “doors”.

According to the guide, no convict would want to be send to the hospital as medical treatments during that time was pretty bad. Convicts who went there never made it out alive. Hence, people prefer dying to be send to the hospital.

I reckon The Penitentiary should be the icon of Port Arthur Historic Site. It just beckoned me when I first entered the site. It was so marveling, as it was the largest/longest building that sprawled on the open field. To think that the main bulk of convicts actually lived and ate in there, is just reverent.

I just adore how the entire structure of the building is so lopsided, due to the many fires that happened ages ago, yet minimal construction is done to preserve most of the remnants.  Though it is not a complete structure, The Penitentiary is really put together through my eyes. 😀

We stayed on until sunset. The lonesome moments sauntering through the site is definitely a good way to embrace the past. No distractions, and noise. Just you and your iPod playing a short prelude of each attraction on the Site.

 

Ghost Tour

The ghost tour was definitely the highlight of the 2 days on Site. We never participated in such a tour before, and we were in it to see how it works and all that jazz. Like… were we going to be scared by people in costumes? Or were we going to be locked in a haunted house or something or that sort? Or were real ghost going to haunt us? We had no idea.

Of course the counter told us there would not be any people dressed in costumes to scare the living daylights out of us. But well… you never know until you are there…

Again, I have to rave about the guide on this tour. He was spectacular. Funny, and full of stories to tell. Just splendid.

Going on this tour really brings out the dark side to Port Arthur, literally and not. And as I recall now, it was pretty hilarious that people were scaring themselves more than the guide’s stories had intended. Haha… It’s all in the mind… It’s all in the mind…

In all, this was a pretty momentous tour. Good to experience if you have never participated in one. 😀

Hope this inspires you to go on a road trip to explore the history of an unknown! You never know what intriguing ideas the unknown may leech on you! 😀

So travel whenever!

Dee

Travel Tips: Sorell Township

Tessellated Pavement State Reserve

Eaglehawk Neck Historic Site (The Dog Line)

So here’s a little background prelude of my virgin road trip from Hobart city to Port Arthur. Exhilarating, I must say. It was filled with perennial anticipation and inundated with zeal. Why all that exaggerated feelings and emotions?

Well, I was the one who planned this mini road trip! It was strictly a BFF affair. As the ‘event planner’ of the trip, I would (obviously) be the first one (between the both of us) to see all the sublime vistas and rich historical ruins on my laptop as I did my travel research weeks prior to the trip.

Oh boy, how I wished I had a magic portal at that instant to teleport me into the glorious pictures I saw. I guess it was all the arduous planning that made this road trip all the more hopeful and meaningful. It was the feeling of satisfaction, that at long last, I could get to see the landscapes and ruins in real life! I could actually touch it!

Well, not literally touch it ‘course, you know, historical ruins are not really for commoner tourists like me to touch. Haha… 😀

As I dredged deep into the research, I found out that Port Arthur is a place of rich history- once a convict settlement. It is always invigorating to go to places with deep richness in history and culture. I adore nature, but sometimes, an infused educational cultural endeavour is really healthy for the soul if you know what I mean.

I felt so connected with the people of the past as I walked down, into, and through the ruins. I know how sappy this sounds. Like, what…? Connect with the people of the past? Talking and seeing wraith?! That’s totally insane.

I don’t know, maybe it’s the vivid imagination that I have or I’m just plain weird, but I would imagine myself as a person living in that era, doing the things that they did as I toured through the ruins. It’s really magically I’m telling you. I would get lost in a limbo of space and be in that moment as I skimmed through the descriptions bolted to the walls.

I knew immediately it would be imperative that I could gain a lot of insights about Port Arthur’s history on this road trip! I was fervent and really looking forward to this educational adventure! (#TeamNerd- don’t judge :D)

So here’s our itinerary for this trip!

(FYI, we spend 6D5N on this trip. Yup… no typo there. 5 nights (and it was still not enough). Also, this itinerary is not exactly in the order of events.)

 

Travel Tips: Sorell Township

Our road trip began from the city and as usual, we made stops en route. We all got to use the bathroom and eat right? We pit stopped in Sorell, just approximately 30 minutes or less from the city.

Travel tip? Port Arthur has no major grocery store, so I suggest you stock up on food and drink supplies here. There’s Woolworths supermarket. We stopped by for lunch and bought 5 days worth of food and drink supplies.

Sounds like we were all ready for a trip into the isolated wilderness. Don’t get me wrong, there are small cafes, and provision stores there too.

After lunch and a trunk stuffed with supplies, you can also pop by Sorell Fruit Farm for a nice stroll or pick a punnet or two worth of fresh berries and other fruits!

 

Tessellated Pavement State Reserve

Driving towards Port Arthur, you would pass the Tessellated Pavement State Reserve. So why not check this out before heading to Port Arthur town?

By the time we got there, the sun was already in its slight orange colour getting ready to hit the hay. The sea breeze was just splendid, and a jacket would suffice.

A 10- minute walk from the parking lot would lead to a welcoming placid plot of nature’s creation. Small waves were crashing onto the shores and hitting on boulders, but from my view, it was like in all chaos, there is a cosmos. It was really surreal, and no description would replace the experience I felt at that point of time. The view was absolutely impeccable. Everything just seemed to work together- they all complemented each other in every way. The waves, the naturally “craved” pavement, the seashells, and even the algae. It was marvellous.

In a nutshell, the Tessellated pavement is formed from sedimentary rocks modified by sand and waves crashing on them. The fracture of these rocks led to a unique formation of repeated polygonal units throughout the pavement. Hence, the name “Tessellated Pavement”. Definitely a good outdoor site for the learning of Mathematics, huh?

 

Eaglehawk Neck Historic Site (The Dog Line)

This site, like all the other historic sites in Port Arthur really, had swirled my imagination greatly. Located within the vicinity, is the Officers’ Quarters- a little long cabin with rustic exhibits bringing you into the era of the convicts.

As I recalled, we were greeted by creaking floorboards, spider webs and rusted doorknobs that gave an eerie cracking sound as you turned it to open the entrance door into the mini museum. Maybe my imagination had taken the surroundings to a new level of exaggeration, but oh boy was it enticing in every way! 😀

Imagine. Just over a hundred years ago, this cabin was alive. Occupied by officers to ensure convicts did not escape! And not to mention the pack of feral dogs that roamed the paths just approximately 100-m or less outside the quarters. The Dog Line.

The Dog Line is located along the Arthur Highway heading to Port Arthur town. A statue of a beastly dog and a lamp to showcase and remind us of the great obstacle convicts needed to overcome in order to abscond. As I walked through and passed the Officers’ Quarters and The Dogline, stories came popping up in my head.

So here’s one of the little stories that was plotted inside my eventful brain… …

“Okay, the coast is clear.”“Wait! Are you sure about this? Things don’t end well for people like us who try to escape. We could be thrown into the Separate Prison! And who knows if we would come out alive then. Remember Marcus… He… …”“So?! Do you wanna’ stay here and die in a foreign land, you coward?” James snapped.

I was in a predicament. I did not want to be eaten by the infamous feral dogs, neither did I wanted to go back to the life as a prisoner. In the end, my inner paranoiac and coward were defeated by James’ constant blabbing and assurance about a better life after we escape this wretched place.

To stay hidden from both patrolling officers and the crazy man-eating dogs, we dived low in the meadows, inching step by step, as slowly and as soundlessly as possible. Too afraid to be picked up by the razor sharp ears of the hounds. And who knows what would become of us then.

Oh curse those dogs for being so good at their job… …

As we crept through the tall grass, I began to ponder on how did I even landed in this situation. Sure I was a perpetrator, a depraved criminal. But everyone deserves a chance to redeem themselves first. And here I was- send to a far away land to be punished! For a crime I can’t even remember committing!

We waited on the muddy soil tucked low on the ground for what seemed like hours. Waiting. Waiting for the officers to reduce on patrol. Bedraggled and unkempt. My legs were all numb from the minimal movement.

Then I felt something wet and warm dripping on my thigh.

“Shawn… …”

“Is it drizzling already? Maybe the officers will take shelter and we can make a dash for it… …” I whispered.

Suddenly I felt a glimpse for hope. Finally, we could have a better life away from this. The freedom was just so close I could feel the frivolity!

I added, “We should both run separate, and meet again after. Remember the big oak tree… …”

“Shawn… … SHAWN,” James interrupted adamantly. “DO NOT. DO NOT move a muscle.”

I knew then and there that all hopes were relinquished in a split second. We were a dead goner.

Hope this inspires you to go on a road trip to explore the history of an unknown! You never know what intriguing ideas the unknown may leech on you! 😀

So travel whenever!

Dee