Steve and Mad's mini adventure travel blog

The "Diamond Princess" in town domination bid

Whatever floats your dog

The van says it all

Salamanca Market

View of Port Arthur from the ferry - not bad for a...

Messing around on the river


Today we set off to visit Port Arthur, an old preserved convict village just below Hobart. Again, it didn't look too bad on the map - highways all the way - but I guess we should have known that it would take ages and it did. What you have to take into account is that highways, at best, are the equivalant of UK B roads, mostly single carriageway and very very twisty! Anyway we did make it in the end and it really was worth the effort. It wasn't a convict village for that long and tourists started visiting almost as son as it was closed down in the late 1800's and in fact were shown round by some of the surviving inmates who got paid for doing the tours! It looks like life there was pretty harsh although it didn't have any walls. Inmates were told that the surounding bushland was infested with snakes and spiders and that the water was riddled with sharks so they would never make it. A few did try and got as far as EagleHawk neck which is a very thin strip of land surrounded by sea - however the guards had chained large alsatians all the way acoss the land so you couldn't get by and if you tried to swim you'd either drown or get shot. Our entrance fee included a guided walk around the area and also a short cruise round the bay. We could't spend as long as we wanted there as we had to get back to Hobart for 6.00 to check into our apartment and we weren't sure how long it would take (given past experience). Our Hobart apartment was very nice with kitchen, proper telly and a very nice leather (effect?) Chesterfield sofa. The only thing was it was a bit dark so got christend The Bat Cave.

Hobart

Had to hand the car in today, it was absolutely filthy from all the unmade roads we've been down and, apparently, we weren't insured to go down - whoops! Hobart town is nice but a bit like any other town really, what sets it apart is its stunning lcoation. According to the Lonely Planet it's the third most photogenic town in the world. First stop here was the tourist office where Steve booked a 'pedal & paddle' tour which involves cyling down the 1400m Mount Wellington and then kayaking around the harbour for a couple of hours. After that we headed off to Salamanca market which is absolutely amazing! there must have been at least 150 stalls there, with loads of interesting things to prod and poke. There were also lots of yummy looking food stalls so we had a coffee and a raspbery & orange muffin in the park before moving on to tackle the rest of the market. Yes, all we do is eat! On the way back we walked round Battery Point, the oldest and most scenic area. I thnk I have to agree it is very nice. Most of the houses are made of Blackpool style red brick with pretty iron terraces on the front. They remind me of old station cottages. Passed by the Shipwrights Inn for a couple of drinks and then back to the Bat Cave for eats.

The next day Steve went off for his pedal & paddle thing and I did the laundry (yawn) and he made my way into town via Jackman & McRoss Bakey cafe which is just the best place ever. I had goats cheese and basil quiche and a pot of Russian Caravan tea (again), which seems to be very popular here! Met Steve outside the fish & chip cafe and he pointed out a seal in the harbour who apparently is resident there as the restaurant chucks him odd bits of fish every hour or so. His name is Sammy. There is an absolutely enormous ship in the harbour today, the 'Diamond Princess' and she is towering above everything else. Went to the Tasmania Art Gallery & Museum for an hour or so before heading back to Sandy Bay for dinner. Someone on Steve's kayaking tour had receommended a pace to eat in sandy Bay but Steve had forgotten what it was called (doh!), apart from the fact that it began with P so we asked the guy on reception at the apartment and he recommended somewhere far better.

Apologies to all you proper cyclists out there - yes, the pedal and paddle was wonderfully lazy. Ferried to the top of the mountain on a bus and then given a bike to free wheel down. There were some excellent off road sections to go sliding around on, although the leader was a bit of a lunatic and he had the scars to prove it. The paddling was in fact sea kayaking around the harbour and out into the Derwent River. It was wonderful peaceful, albeit quite hard work. Got to annoy lots of rich folk by paddling around the yachts in the exclusive Hobart Royal Yacht Club.



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