Next Stop: Hobart, Tasmania
From Sydney, I took an early morning flight on Virgin Australia. I actually took a taxi from the city instead of the train since I was leaving the hotel at 5:15 am. Taxi cost about $30. When traveling overseas, I typically find airports to be a bit chaotic and strict on baggage but Sydney airport was not that way at all… very smooth. If you have the opportunity to go to the Premier Lounge, you won’t be disappointed with the full breakfast served.
Hobart airport is very small… literally one departure gate and one baggage claim so it’s impossible to get lost. Once I collected my luggage, I decided to take the SkyBus into town which cost $13.50 (compared to a taxi of $30). There is a kiosk at baggage claim to get your SkyBus ticket or you can buy on the bus. Highly recommend it.
Upon arrival into the city, it is quite picturesque by the harbor. It’s just quaint and a thriving little cosmopolitan city. I decided to stay at the Grand Chancellor Hotel right across the street from the harbor (see picture below). I’ve had a great stay at the hotel and the breakfast buffet was a great start to the day.
I greatly underestimated Hobart and only allowed two days to experience everything the area had to offer. As such, I jumped on the hop on/hop off bus for $25. It covers a lot of ground but you need to start early if you want to actually get off and see some of the attractions. Don’t plan on taking pictures as the bus doesn’t stop unless someone is getting on or off. After sitting on the top of the bus for 90 minutes, the chill from the wind definitely warranted a hot chocolate at nearby Grab Café.
At first, I really wasn’t impressed by the architecture of Hobart but as I started to walk around, the sun came out and that made all the difference. Hobart’s historical buildings are well preserved and the predominant architecture style is Georgian Colonial Sandstone. Once the sunlight hits the sandstone, it’s beautiful. A lot of the homes are historical and cost a small fortune for what you are getting. Many homes are well north of $1 million and not very big by American standards. Cascade Brewery (pictured below) is the oldest brewery in Australia (since 1824). They offer tours but I didn’t have time to take one… next time.
Spring Blooms abound in Hobart
There was no shortage of spring blooms in Hobart. Most of these pictures were taken in Battery Point just above Salamanca Place which is the place to go for boutique shopping and trendy restaurants.
Views from Mount Wellington
The backdrop to Hobart is Mount Wellington and offers spectacular views of Hobart and the many waterways throughout the region. With limited time, I decided to take a shuttle service to the peak using Hobart Shuttle Bus (cost $22). It was well worth it as the drive up was winding and I wasn’t ready to drive on the “other” side quite yet. Be sure to check the weather before you go up as it is much cooler resulting in ice on the road and cloud cover at the peak can ruin the entire trip. I was lucky with the weather and had great views.
The Rugged Tasman Peninsula
The Tasman Peninsula is quite spectacular. It’s a photographer’s dream to capture the cliffs, ocean, and wildlife together. At first, I didn’t think the weather was going to cooperate but in the end, the sun came out. This was one bumpy boat ride and thank goodness the skipper gave us ginger tablets to ease our stomachs. The Tasman Peninsula is the southern most point of Australia and where the Tasman Sea meets the Southern Ocean so the water is a bit rough. The red ponchos were so great to keep us warm and dry. Lots of sea caves, sea lions, and rock formations to capture. The iconic rock formation is the Totem Pole. You can see the picture of the Totem Pole from both sides – one sheltered and the other in open sea… what a difference. I did the expedition with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys (#pennicottjourneys). They were great with traversing the sea, pointing out the wildlife, and giving an overview of the geology.
Today was a big wildlife day, with a combination of wildlife at sea and visiting a wildlife sanctuary. The highlight was seeing the Tasmanian Devil and learning more about this animal. They are only found on the island of Tasmania and are only about 10,000 strong with a form of cancer quickly wiping out the population.
I also made peace with the kangaroos as the last time I visited Australia, I was chased by a kangaroo in a sanctuary until I just threw the food on the ground. These kangaroos were much friendlier and allowed you to pet them (without having to feed them). Kangaroos are very soft.
The birds are a treat to photograph as they can be very hard to photograph so it becomes “sport”. My favorite bird today was the frogmouth rosella and resembles an owl. Can you find the “joeys” still in the pouch of their mothers?
Check out the sanctuary @ http://www.tasmaniandevilunzoo.com.au