Last week, I stepped foot for the first time in Van Dieman’s Land – land of apples, devils, muff shaped maps and a man named Derek Cragg. I was there on one of those short breaks, so loved by the middle classes and budget airways. We stayed in the port township of Hobart.
Coming from the colony of Melbourne as one cab driver put it, (I think there are 3 of them on the whole island with the routes being up, down and in-between) I found the place fresh and refreshing. I liked the way everything was situated looking down to the bay, as if its southerly outlook to the Antarctic was a symbolic turning of the back on mainstream Australia. I liked the way the battered their fish in bread crumbs, not batter. I liked the way everyone was super friendly and I especially liked the way they put my hipster Melbournite elitism to bed, with a contemporary take on food and fashion trends.
I didn’t like the Hotel Mantra. I do like King size beds, but apparently the Mantra don’t like to give guests what they rightly paid for. I did enjoy complaining the next morning, checking out with refund and heading to a much better and classier hotel. The Hotel Collins
was fantastic from the moment I stepped into the lobby. How can you feel anything but home when the in-house cafe is rocking Eames chairs and the menu sports a breakfast burrito?
We stayed there for 2 nights before checking out on our way to check out the Hobart surrounds. I hired a Suzuki Swift
, and after a little doubting quickly unleashed my inner Rally driver. Another plus for Hobart town is their love affair with 4 lane one way streets. A quick few laps of the street circuit and we were off to conquer the Mountain....Mt Wellington. Sitting 1.2km above sea level is the guy who works on Mt Wellington. Its a great drive upwards, taking in the great architecture of the homes of the Hobart hills, into huge gum forests before emerging onto a barren top complete with patches of snow. By the time we got up there the temp was 6c and very cold. We were literally in the clouds so couldn’t see a thing really. It was fun for a while as the whole place had a Bond villain lair feel, but Sara was far from impressed with me playing this out so publically. I agree I did go too far when I took a Swiss tourist as my hostage.
We screamed down the hill in true Suzuki rally style on our way to Richmond. Its an old town that attracts old people. We chose to have a picnic lunch by the river in the sun- very English but very nice. On the way back, we dropped into a winery to drop some opinions on what they called wine. I called it a good try, but passed on buying a bottle. We ended our trip on a beach in Bellrieve, marvelling at the fact we were freezing on the mountain not more than 4 hours ago.
Tasmania is an amazing place. You will get the mania. A mania that makes you want to pack up from the mainland, bring all the good folk in your life and re-settle in Hobart. We were sad to leave, but happy we were doing so with Virgin Blue and not Tiger Air. I understand Bogan’s need to fly too, I just didn’t need to understand it like that.