Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tassie Trip

When I shared with a friend before my trip to Tasmania, she commented "Tassie is the poor man New Zealand". I guess knowing that I have been to NZ, she just didn't want to set my expectation too high. Well, now that I've been, I think it is a richman's backyard! Why do i say that? Because many beautiful sceneries are just within half an hour drive from Hobart. It may be less touristy than Queenstown, but I trully enjoyed the trip to Hobart. Next time we will pick another season to visit Tassie like spring, it is VERY cold in Tassie in winter, especially the morning we arrived. After going back and forth with the rental car company about the existing damages on the rented car, we finally set off from Hobart airport at around 8am.

After dropping off our luggages, we head off to the famous Salamanca market. The $3.50 yummy bacon and egg roll and a cup of tea warmed us up immediately and with the sun coming out to greet us we breathed a sigh of relief that the day will get warmer. You can find heaps of stuff here at the market from locally grown organic fruit and vegetables, freshly cut flowers, fine Tasmanian arts and crafts, tasmanian leatherwood honey, hats and scarves, home made jam, chocolates and cookies, talented musicians entertaining you while you shop and an array of odds and ends.

After lunch, we decided to go to Mount Wellington to soak up the beauty of Hobart. The weather has warmed up and the fog has cleared, promising a great view of Hobart. Oh man it was freezing up there, but it was worth it!

Day 2

Tahune Airwalk is a place not to be missed too. The drive to the State forest was not too pleasant as I was experiencing carsick in the backseat of the rented Toyota Otis. I don't usually get car sick so this is quite a new experience .... thank God somehow I made it to the Tahune Airwalk ok, and from then it was fine. The air walk was worth the long journey, it offers a 'bird's-eye' view of wet eucalypt forest, culminating in a spectacular cantilever above the confluence of the mighty Huon and Picton Rivers.

photos below:
A common scene at the airwalk, many big trees have fallen on the path and walking on the swinging bridge.

You can experience walking among the treetops past rare species, some found only in Tasmania, such Celery Top pine, myrtle, beech, blackwood and sassafras. We decided to take an additional route which covers a pair of swinging bridges across the Huon and Picton Rivers. Definitely not for the fainted hearted :)

Our stomach was complaining loudly (with drums and all kinds of string instruments) after 1 hour plus walk. The food at the cafe exceeded our expectations (not just because we were starving), the chicken with peanut sauce was delicious, with a kick of spicyness. We enjoyed the food and the conversation over our late lunch so much we ended up missing visiting the Hasting cave!

Day 3

What a packed day on Day3 - Tessalated pavement, Blowhole, Tasman's Arch at Eaglehawk neck, Pirates Bay, Chocolate factory at Tarana (not Cadbury, but a family owned chocolate factory called "Federation Chocolate") and of course the Port Arthur Historical Site - former convict settlement.

Photo below: Tesselated Pavement
Tessellated Pavement is an interesting natual rock formation looking very much like it was man-made, due to the very straight and parallel lines in the rock formation. I saw a picture of it before this trip and it's one of the must-see for this trip. It did not disappoint. If only we could be there for sun rise to capture the beautiful colour as the backdrop.

There are two main types of formations in the Tessellated Pavement, with the pan formations being concave (ie, pan-shaped), and the loaf formations being convex like a loaf.

The day finished with dinner at Maldini Italian Restaurant at Salamanca Place

Day 4 - Ta Ta Hobart
Our travel partners decided to sleep in on the last day at Hobart. Hee hee, can't blame them, after the full activities yesterday they deserved some rest =)
So David & I went to Rosny Hill and enjoyed a stunning view of Hobart, Sandy Bay, Mt Wellington, The Tasman Bridge and Glenorchy. We also visited the oldest Australia's brewery - Cascade Brewery before meeting our friends and tour around the city.

Photos below: view from Rosny Hill and Cascade Brewery

After a leisure walk exploring Hobart City and lunch, we headed toward Richmond, a historic town along the Coal River filled with stunning Georgian architecture and has charming cobblestone roads.

Richmond is such a charming little town, it felt like being taken back in time to another era where time passes so much slowly and there's no sense of rush. We visited the Richmond Bridge built by convicts in 1823, St John's Anglican Church and a little lolly and ice cream shop to satisfy our tastebuds before heading to the airport and wave goodbye to Hobart.

So our 4 days/3 nights Tasmania holiday was over, but we brought back with us many good memories (and of course Tasmania leatherwood honey, chocolates, craft etc) and lots of photos too. Here are small samples of others pictures I took at Hobart which I like a lot.