“Once a year go someplace you have never been.”
Was it really the Dalai Lama who said this? Or was it just a travel-obsessed individual who invented the saying just to have a reason to visit a new place every year? My bet is on the latter – and after my recent Tasmania visit, I’m the biggest fan of the popular quote.
With Australia taking a permanent place in my heart since 2006 (after living there for 4 years), I’ve had my share of Aussie getaways. Melbourne my second home, with its 4-seasons in a day weather and lovely coffee is a place I’m familiar with. Sydney, with its spectacular cityscape, the Harbour Bridge and Opera House is a wonderful sight. Australia’s capital Canberra, though I admit, is not my kind of place, and one day was more than enough for me. Perth certainly has its charms but it was Brisbane’s casual but cool demeanour pleasantly surprised me.
Tasmania was new territory for me. So when my friend Salina suggested it, I jumped at the chance to explore a new Australian state. Armed with a five-day plan, our initial research included Hobart, Launceston and Devonport. However, thanks to work and other commitments, we didn’t end up creating the ideal itinerary,, but instead, decided to wing-it for most parts.
And wing it we did!
After getting our car from the Hobart airport, it was too early to check in to our Air B&B at Sandy Bay, so we looked at the map and decided to see what the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens had to offer. A good spot for nature lovers, it was also the right place for Salina, Martini and I to decide on the plan for the next few days.
Port Arthur was first on the list. After getting settled in our ‘home’ for next 3 days, we headed to the 19th-century penal settlement situated on the Tasman Peninsula. The long drive was picturesque and we took a pit stops along the way to check out the views and lunch (fried seafood and chips) before we finally reached the historical site. With a few things to do, including going on a ferry ride, my recommended activity-to -do would be the guided tour of the place -and if you’re lucky you’ll get the entertaining-Liz, who gave us lots of interesting information about the place and lots of laughs too.
The next day, we decided to “conquer” Mount Wellington, the summit of the Wellington Range. About 30 minutes away from Hobart, the drive seemed windy and long, but the reward that waited for us at the peak of kunanyi (it’s official name) was truly worth it. I felt like I was above the clouds (well, almost).
After getting over the natural high, we went back to the city centre, with the idea of discovering Tasmania, past and present. We got more than we sought at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. While waiting for the free tour to start outside the museum, we discovered the Settlement Secrets, an entertaining and educating experience that spotlights the history of Tasmania through a one-man show of prominent personalities in its history.
We ended our last night in Hobart at Salamanca Place, a row of studios, pubs, restaurants, cafes, galleries housed in historical buildings. It is also the spot where the famous Salamanca Market happens every Saturday, which unfortunately we missed.
Coming soon…the adventure continues in Part 2.
*All photos taken on my iPhone6.