Day 175: Hobart

Mon 4th February 2013

Cruise ship in townTo begin to get an understanding of the layout of Hobart and its surroundings Graham and Chris took us to Mt Wellington. There is a short cut from Kingston down a gravel track, before we start to wind our way up to the lookout point at the top. The views on the way up are impressive but just before we reached the top we headed into cloud. Also the temperature had fallen by 10c over the climb of a 1,000 metres. We could not see a thing from the top so we looked around the displays and it was interesting to read about unemployed labour being used to build the road up from Hobart to the summit which is 1,270m above sea-level – a sort of job creation scheme.

Amazing view of Hobart - on a clear day!We caught more views on way down as we headed into town. With the sun shining it was quite pleasant wandered around Salamanca and the little shops before heading off around the waterfront with convict built warehouses now home to more shops and restaurants. We pass the fishing boats and a lovely tall ship which would be majestic with full sails up. Next weekend there is a wooden boat festival held in Hobart Dockside, where boats come from all over Australia and the docks are lined with food stalls and musicians. Sadly, we will be gone by then. However the enormous cruise ship Diamond Princess currently in the docks dominates the skyline and its passengers were easily spotted walking around town.

Abel Tasman statueThere are various monuments around the area, including one of Abel Tasman, who we had first encountered in New Zealand. On the sea front, as well as bronze statues of seals and penguins, is a scene depicting an early settler claiming the land. The current wharf was built on reclaimed land and we tried to identify where the boundary was between original and new.

Claiming HobartAfter failing to see the views from Mt Wellington we tried the lower viewpoint on Mount Nelson. We were able to see out to sea and the various islands and promontories. At the top of Mount Nelson is an old signalling station used to send coded messages across the water and relayed onto Port Arthur, the famous penitentiary housing British criminals shipped out to Tasmania in the 19th Century. Graham tried testing us on our signalling skills but we failed abysmally.

Kingston BeachWe thought we all deserved ice creams so we headed off to Kingston where there is a pretty, sandy beach. By this time the wind had got up and it was quite chilly (but that didn’t stop us enjoying the ice creams). We are quite a way south in Tasmania and so it is not as warm as in mainland Australia. Its not all downside though, as the reputation of a cooler climate means that it is not at all crowded anywhere. On the long sandy beach in this suburb not far from the centre of Hobart there were less than half a dozen people on the beach and even a few children swimming in the cold water.

We headed back to Graham and Chris’ place to enjoy the sunshine and chatted merrily long into the evening.

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