Words by Sonia Nazareth
Even if you’ve only been to Tasmania by armchair, you’ll know it as the heart-shaped island, 240- km south of the Australian mainland, with raw, compelling beauty. Easy to see how this image has gone down in the collective imagination as a place of romantic inspiration – with its heady mix of mountain ranges, dense rainforests, wild rivers and glacial peaks. But on an island where nature is top dog, it’s capital city Hobart, with it’s compelling waterfront and Georgian buildings, is much more than just a pretty face. Here’s how to make the most of your time there, without, of course, neglecting the wilder fringes.
Salamanca Place ”“ Old, sandstone buildings have been resurrected as boutiques, art studios, galleries and caf©s close to the harbour. And on Saturdays, this scene becomes the backdrop of a vibrant market driven with 300-odd stalls that brim with the freshest of food and local crafts.
Ways to get under the Skin of Hobart ”“A Segway Tour is a fun way to explore the city as you whizz past key city highlights. Nightly city Ghost Tours also gets your spirits going (pardon the pun).
MONA ”“ Designed around specific art pieces, with a water-covered gallery floor, and ever pushing the boundaries on the art it collects and displays, it is clear why pilgrimages are made here. Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca Professional – a machine which turns food into excrement sits comfortably beside artifacts from ancient Egypt.
Edible Hobart – restaurants around Hobart to sample nature’s abundance. Or embark on a Gourmania Food Tour (there’s a variety to choose from) that stops at select dining-establishments, giving you an insight into the main attractions.
Go Wild at Bonorong ”“ With it’s extensive breeding programme for endangered creatures, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is where you go to see wombats, quails and koalas. What has aficionado’s oohing is that you’re encouraged to engage with the orphaned or injured animals rescued from the wild (under volunteer supervision, of course!)
Port Arthur ”“ At Port Arthur, 90 minutes from Hobart, intricately-restored historic buildings, manicured gardens, extensive ruins whose stories are still being uncovered by archaeologists, and illustrate the life of both the convicts who lived here, as well as of the military personnel and free settlers.
Bruny Island ”“ A 45-minute car drive and then a passenger ferry takes you from Hobart to Bruny Island. Take a Bruny Island Cruise and see dolphins, colonies of fur seals rollicking in the surf, and water-birds, as well as picturesque crags, cliffs and rocks along the route.
The Wineglass Bay Sail Walk ”“ The Wineglass Bay Sail Walk takes you on an unforgettable trail that summits Bear Hill, winds along Wineglass Bay, treats you to champagne on golden beaches, poses a chance for you to photograph wallabies in their natural habitat and allows you to get absorbed in history on Maria Island.
Whether you’re sunbathing on the deck, or sailing through the night staring goggle-eyed at a starry sky, you realise that what Tasmania does best to all who visit – is let you savour life’s finest offerings, slow.
Words by Sonia Nazareth, images courtesy of Tourism Australia.