Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tasmanian reflections: Hobart and surrounds

This is the last Tasmania-focused post, with the exception of a cafe review that will appear at some stage.

Suitably, this Bite, which is rather a big one, also touches on some of my favourite sights and experiences from the trip.

After nearly a week in small towns or national park areas, arriving in Hobart in the afternoon sun was beautiful.

We headed straight to Salamanca Markets, which are held every Saturday in the waterfront area below Battery Point...

And enjoyed taking in the architecture that makes Hobart city so attractive...

Hobart also provided us with the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), which I had heard wonderful things about. It didn't disappoint. If you get a chance to visit - do. 

The entrance to MONA. The museum is built into the side of a cliff: enter at the top (through the black doors pictured) and descend down for art. It's bigger than it looks!

I wouldn't hesitate to deem this the best collection of art in Australia. For some inside shots, cityhippyfarmgirl presented a delightful summary a few weeks back. 

We also went up Mount Wellington, which overlooks Hobart, where I got very cold...

This photo doesn't show the wind. It was vicious.

...and visited a nearby wildlife park, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, where I got even colder. Intense, I think I might faint, I can't feel my feet cold.

At least the Tasmanian Devils were cute. Sadly, these were the only live ones we saw on the trip. The native population is seriously threatened by the currently incurable Devil Facial Tumour Disease, as well as traffic (we saw a number of dead ones on the sides of roads).

From Hobart, we visited Port Arthur, which was the largest penal settlement in Australia from 1833 to 1853. We spent a night there and absorbed culture and sad stories...

We also did the evening ghost tour at Port Arthur, which provided me with an opportunity to wear a large proportion of my clothes simultaneously. My outfit included tights under jeans, two pairs of socks, a long-sleeved thermal top, a long-sleeved fitted top, a zip-up sports jacket, another black jacket, my brother's ski jacket, gloves, and scarf.

I also wore the ski jacket hood. I'm sure I looked very trendy. But after the wildlife park experience I wasn't taking any chances!

Of course, Hobart also provided us with food choices. After self-catering and/or having limited eating out options, this was bliss.

Metz, in Sandy Bay (north Hobart), provided an amazing sweet blue pear, walnut & honey pizza. It would usually come with gorgonzola, but they helpfully omitted it for me - albeit after double checking that I really didn't want any cheese. I think the chef struggled to grasp the concept of a cheese free pizza :P

He did himself proud though.

It may have taken the Best Pizza Ever award.

We also ate Thai, Indian and Italian (no pictures I'm sorry), thereby navigating the world whilst skipping over Australia. I was disappointed to discover that Sirens, the acclaimed vegetarian / vegan eatery, had closed - apparently just in May this year. I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer to experience a dedicated vegetarian restaurant.

Jackson & McRoss Bakery in Battery Point, a 5 minute walk from where we stayed, went some way towards making up for the loss of Sirens. Bustling with customers and showcasing amazing breads and cakes, it was a delightful hybrid of bakery and cafe.

Of course, Hobart offers so much more than that mentioned here. But I think visiting is required in order to absorb it all, and that I would unhesitatingly recommend.

Previous Tasmanian posts: LauncestonCradle Mountain, and the West and East Coasts.


  1. A recommendation for your next trip to non-tropical places: Icebreaker. It's like a clothing revolution. CHANGED my life in northern BC, let me tell you--and it reduces the need to wear ALL your layers at once. Get a good base going on and you won't feel the cold. Also: real wool socks (like SmartWool) are also the stuff of legends.

    Last weekend I went for pizza with some friends, and I told them that though I'm off cheese right now while I whip my cholesterol into shape, I'd make an exception for pizza night. My statement was, "pizza without cheese is like sex with your clothes on." I guess you'd disagree... ;)

    PS: one red berry tart for me, please!

  2. I had to chuckle about your opportunity to wear most of your clothes simultaneously. If you are cold though, it just makes things miserable.
    Hobart is such a lovely city, so many hidden wonderful things to do.
    Tell me, did you like the Madonna singing in MONA?

    ...oh and that pizza looks delicious, why spoil it by putting gorganzola on there :-)

  3. My uncle works in a museum in hobart, I should've told you to say hi! I also remember having an amazing mushroom soup, multigrain roll, and brioche from Jackman and McRoss on my year 10 trip - happy days!

  4. @Stephanie @
    Lol...yes, I might :) Cheese is something I've never liked, from as early as I can remember. Macaroni cheese is pretty much torture in a dish. I think I'm in a minority though!

    Thanks for the icebreaker tip too - much appreciated.

    Speaking of chuckling, that's what the Madonna singing prompted for me :) Not because it wasn't good - it was - but when I zoomed in on the individuals and what they were doing, I just had to laugh. An impressive effort!

  6. @Hannah
    Are you another who can remember meals in detail many years later?! I'm glad I'm not alone! Or maybe Jackman and McRoss is good enough to make a lasting impression for anyone :)

  7. What! I can't believe that sirens has closed - I was there a few years back and it was great but I keep thinking I must go back to hobart to go there. Glad you found some other good food

    I'd love to go to MONA. Staying at port arthur sounds fascinating - it is such a sad place - though many years ago I went there on the ghost tour with a friend who was very cynical about such things - I think I still got scared

  8. @Johanna GGG
    I know, I couldn't believe it either - I was most disappointed. You should return for MONA though, even if Sirens isn't there to entice you back :)


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