Sunday, 3 April 2011

Travels to Tasmania

Wineglass Bay

After two months of no travel (which is a positive draught by secondee standards), we packed our bags and headed south to Tasmania. Instead of taking the ferry, which leaves from the pier at the end of our street with a 9 hour journey time, we chose to fly with Virgin Blue, who promise a 1 hour flight but with traffic en route to the airport, check-in queues and the obligatory budget airline delays, came in at around 4 hours in the end. We left on a Friday afternoon, and with a few emails left to send for work, I ended up sitting in the back of a taxi en-route to the airport with my laptop on my knees trying to connect to the internet via 3G. One day I hope Australia will catch up with the rest of the world and offer me the chance to send emails via a portable device that fits in my pocket, or at least my handbag!

With us for the ride were Sue and Peter, who unfortunately had been to Tasmania already, however unlike their first visit, this time we were lucky enough to be showered with SUNSHINE! At 29 degrees, our first day in Hobart was quite possibly the hottest day for the year for Australia’s most southern state, and we basked in the sun as we browsed Salamanca market , drank diet Coke and ate fish and chips by the water. I had no real expectations of Hobart, but soon fell in love with the small-town coastal environment, which felt really rather Mediterranean on this hot, late summer day.

My opinion of Hobart was in no doubt swayed by the luxurious and unique hotel that was our home for two nights - The Henry Jones Art Hotel. Forget TripAdvisor, because there won’t be a bad review in sight – this is one hotel that delivers on every front, and it’s unique to boot. The building was an old jam factory in the 1800s and is now home to over 50 rooms, all uniquely furnished and with a variety of art on display. Before I start to sound too much like the brochure, I’d also like to add that breakfast was CHEAP and the beds were really comfy!

After a day in Hobart, we jumped into the car for a drive up the East Coast, to the Freychinet National Park, home to Wineglass Bay. This part of our trip was all about fantastic scenery, breathtaking vistas and.... eating fried food. After three lots of fish and chips in three nights, it’s a good job that the Wineglass Bay lookout was a 45 minute uphill hike. Only today have I gathered the courage to get back in the scales – after two weeks of compensation dieting!

The pictures that I’ve come back with in no way represent the true beauty of Tasmania, and we were totally enthralled by the beauty of a state which is much-mocked by locals, but adored by tourists. Tom and I would love to find time to go back and explore the rest of the state, and maybe next time we’ll brave the ferry journey too. If you’re ever heading down under, Tassy is definitely one place that you should have on your list...

The Henry Jones Hotel

Hobart Quay, with Mures Fish & Chips in the background

Salamanca Market, chatting with a stall owner from the New Forest!

Salamanca Market

Salamanca Market

Tom at the peak of Mount Wellington
Mount Wellington, overlooking the cirt of Hobart

Hobart from Mount Wellington

Wineglass Bay

The amazing view from our balcony in Bicheno

Walking on the beach in Bicheno was heaven...

.. so much so I started jumping around!

Picnic lunch!

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