Tasmanian Adventures begin

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February 16th 2021
Published: February 16th 2021
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After our trip to Darwin last year, we have been confined to Adelaide and with no good news on the horizon about overseas trips we decided to go "overseas" in Australia. Thus a holiday in Tasmania seemed attractive. I had driven around the island in 1965 during May school holidays with my parents and had only been back to Hobart for a weekend since. Fletcher has visited many times but mainly for Athletics meets in Hobart and Launceston, so a thorough exploration seemed necessary. We have planned two weeks, hiring a car but booking ahead for accommodation and some special sightseeing trips. Thanks to Claire at Top Deck Travel, this was organised superbly. Fortunately, Jetstar has a direct Adelaide-Hobart flight so no transitioning through Tullamarine.

We left Adelaide airport at 5-30pm on the 15th. The only uncomfortable aspect was having to wear a mask in both the airports and for the duration of the flight. My glasses kept fogging up but I eventually manouevered the mask until it was eventually more comfortable. After a very easy and quick flight we arrived in Hobart about 7-40 local time. It was a fairly painless transit through the Covid check with our QR codes, we collected our car and through my Google Maps app manged to arrive at our hotel very quickly. We are staying at the Rydges, North Melbourne, which is right next door to North Hobart Oval. This is housed in an old building, originally the Tasmanian Blind, Deaf and Dumb school for children, built in 1914. As such it is a sprawling complex, consisting of several buildings. We had Room 44, near the rear of the property. The furnishings are in keeping with the period, we having a four-posted bed!!

Once we had settled in, our thoughts turned to food. A Monday night, 9pm in Hobart, not much was still open. We drove into the city in search of sustenance. I googled and found somewhere called The Winston, which was a pub, still open and with food still available. We followed instructions to Elizabeth St and eventually found this friendly establishment whose waitress/barmaid welcomed us in and we had 5 minutes before the kitchen closed!! The chicken tacos and quesadillas sounded appealing so we ordered and had a Tasmanian riesling to accompany the food. The pub had a friendly atmosphere and the food proved to be excellent and plentiful. Having satisfied the hungry bugs we returned to the hotel and retired for the night.

This morning we had a great breakfast in the hotel and then headed into the city. We drove through the main centre but then headed towards Sandy Bay. We parked at Long Beach. This is a beautiful beach with parks and playgrounds and a number of people walking along the foreshore. We had driven past Wrest Point and so we walked towards that area along the beach and foreshore. It was a glorious day, with blue skies, moderate temperatures and very little breeze. There was much to admire and enjoy. We walked back to the car, enjoying the camaraderie of others greeting us on the track, and then drove into the city.

We parked at Salamanca and walked along the Salamanca Buildings and into the courtyard. Here they have revived the old harbour buildings which have been repurposed as shops and restaurants.There are interesting sculptures and decorations around the area. We chose an Italian restaurant, Maldini, which looked inviting. We had a great lunch. I chose the prima dish of quail salad while Fletcher had a spaghetti Marinara. Both dishes were delicious, as the salad that accompanied the quail had poached pear, gorgonzola cheese and walnuts making it super tasty!! We then walked over to the main dock area and looked at the sailing ships and found from where the Mona Ferry leaves.

We then returned to the hotel for a rest. We had walked a long way and I was aware that going from being very sedentary, to suddenly walking 6000 steps, put a load on the feet and back!! After an hour's rest we ventured out again. Not far from our hotel was the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens. Our host at the hotel had recommended a visit and as it was not very far we decided to see for ourselves.This garden is situated next to the main highway which skirts the banks of the river. We again followed my Google maps and parked near the upper entrance. This is a beautiful spot. We spent an hour or so exploring the various corners of the gardens. There was a Community Garden, growing pumpkin and corn and various vegetables. The Japanese Garden was very beautiful with water features and bridges sculpting a very attractive area. Further on was a sculpture paying homage to French explorers and a floral clock and an arch which celebrates the fact that this garden was established in 1818.

We drove back to the hotel and another rest was needed. We decided to have dinner in the hotel. This proved to be a good choice. At 7pm we went to the dining room. We both ordered the Seafood Chowder for entree. This was one of the best I have ever tasted and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. For main course I had the salmon which was the fish of the day while Fletcher had a Chicken Schnitzel. These were OK without being special. We finished with a shared cheese platter. Overall the offerings were good to excellent and we would recommend this place for other travellers.

Tomorrow we head west to Strahan and we are very much looking forward to exploring more of what Tassie has to offer.

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