Monday, June 22, 2015

Sailing on the Derwent River.

JjThis morning we decided to go sailing, rather than driving.  The Lady Nelson is a replica ship of the original square rigger built on the River Thames at Deptford in 1798, used as a survey vessel around Australia; carried passengers, grain and coal at various times, and was burnt and sunk in Indonesia in 1825.   This replica was launched in 1988, and is used for a sail training and educational program, as well as taking paying guests. 
We motored upstream, and then turned around and came back under sail.   The crew are all volunteers, and  guests can help if they choose to. 

We are under sail....

The wind was bitter, but it really lovely on the water, and the views back to Hobart and Mt Wellington quite spectacular.

After a  scallap pie on the wharf for lunch, and watching a friendly seal who was obviously after the fish carcasses that we being thrown to him, we set off to spend some time with some of the family that live here in Hobart.   After a substantial afternoon tea, and happy hour back at the hotel, a cup of tea for dinner was sufficient.  An early night was in order in readiness for an early start tomorrow.

A very cold start, and not the nude swim !

It's a tradition here in Hobart for nude swim on the Derwent River to celebrate the winter solstice.  This morning 750 people lined up to jump in the water that was actually 11 degrees, all the while the outside temperature being 1 degree.   So it was warmer in the water than out of it!

  We didn't bother, as we didn't bring our nude with us, but instead got up before sunrise to head off "up the mountain" as Mum always called it....Mt Nelson, where she spent her childhood and early years.   She loved returning here on a yearly basis for most of her life, and had many wonderful memories of her life up that mountain.  There was a very heavy frost this morning, and by the time we reached the car park at the top, we were driving on it, and we're the first ones to do so.

The view from Mt Nelson is quite stunning really, I got this pic from the net.

These are a couple of was just 1 degree, but we figured the wind chill factor must have been around   -5.   Just having my glove off for five minutes whilst fiddling with the camera left me with a bit of frost nip, and a couple of very painful fingers for ten minutes.
Not only my fingers suffered, but so did the camera, I now know that the batteries don't like cold either, so I had to resort to my phone for some of my pics.

We found a nice tree to scatter Mums ashes, and said our final goodbyes, whilst playing "How great thou art " , one of her favorites hymns, on Kwongs iPad.

A quick whip back down the mountain in the peak hour traffic to Hobart, and we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at a French patisserie come cafe.   The cakes in that shop looked nicer than some we had seen in Paris, and they gave us a nice preview of what we might be choosing from in six weeks time whilst we are back in France.

After packing our cases, TRO and  I walked  back down the street from our hotel, and toured the replica of Mawsens Hut, built near the waterfront.  It was quite amazing, and incredible to think that a wooden hut could stand up to Antarctic weather. The  orginal is still down there, and is being maintained, weather permitting, in Antarctica.

Off to the airport after checking out of our hotel, and an uneventful flight home.

We plan to return to Tasmania in the next year or two, and explore some other parts of it.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Today we made an early start to visit the famous Salamanka Markets.  Of course, it was freezing again, and we went well rugged up, except  for the one  who does not feel the cold.  After a yummy breakfast at a local cafe, we trekked the entire length  of the market, which has over 300 stalls, many of which feature items just available here in Tasmania.  A coffee break half way through below.

After a light lunch in the old IXL jam factory site, we headed off to Mt. Wellington.  We could see the snow on it from our Hotel.  It's almost 13 years since we have been to the snow, and although we did not have snow gear, we thought we would manage for a short trip.  There was no guarantee we would even get to the top either.   We did, along with many other travelers.   It was so very, very cold!   Just 1 degree at the top, and  the wind chill factor we reckoned to be -10.   After about 30 seconds facing the wind, my face was freezing.

It was so very pretty, with a wonderful view overlooking Hobart.   This city really is a most delightful place.

Dinner time took us to the Drunken Admiral.   Again, just a short walk from our accommodation.  It's so good to wander around at walk around at night  with many other folk out and about as well; everyone rugged up to the nines.
Depending on what you ordered, a large sized bib was offered to protect your clothes.   RTO enjoyed a Yachties mixed Grill, which came on a sizzling plate. (With the bib).  Kath had "Hotrock Salmon", served on a hot stone, and mine was Sultans Wok Pot, prawns in a light satay sauce with Chinese veggies.  Kwong enjoyed grilled Hapuka.   An absolutely delicious meal, and worth coming back to Hobart simply to go to that restaurant again.

Another lovely day ends.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The oldest church, bridge and goal.

Today, after having a late breakfast at the Grand Chancellor Hotel where we are staying; and a long, leisurely  walk afterwards, we headed south from Hobart to visit the historic town of Richmond.
There is quite a lot to see around Richmond, and although the day was cold, it was fine,  and we were able to walk around this lovely little town.
Our first stop was the oldest remaining bridge in Australia, and the second most photographed.  Richmond bridge was constructed by convicts in 1823.

The seagulls are so comfortable sitting on the bridge, they barely flew off when TRO went up to shoo them away so I could photograph them in flight.

Our next port of call was the Richmond Goal.  It was the first goal built in Australia apparently.  It is almost in its original state, and the conditions both for the prisoners and the guards were simply horrific.   Solitary confinement in cells one meter  by two metres was common, both for men and women, floggings were commonplace, and the dietary rations must have barely kept inmates alive.
Bedding was simply a piece of hessian on the floor as seen below.  What a horrible place, I could hardly wait to get out of it.  Mans inhumanity to others is hard to comprehend.

Our next visit was to the Old Hobart Town, an historical model village built in the early 1990's.  This village depicts Hobart as it was in the 1820's, with its historical accuracy and authenticity  assured by using original maps and plans .  There are over sixty buildings and four hundred  period figurines telling the stories, often of hardship and cruelty of our pioneering forebears.  Some of the original buildings still remain in Hobart today.  We discovered that the land our hotel is built on is  reclaimed land. 

Our last first and oldest for the day was the Catholic Church.  The first RC church built in Australia, the foundation stone being laid in 1835.
Notice the worn concrete step into the nave.  Many, many of the faithful have used this step over the 180 years of its existence.  The church is still in use today, so one would,Ned to be a little careful when entering and exiting.

We the set off to the airport to pick up Kath and Kwong, got them checked into the hotel and set off into the cold night to help Hobartians celebrate DARK MOFO.  This is a festival of music, arts and food, that is sponsored by the of old and new art.   This particular function incorporates all three, it's called the Drak Mofo Feast,and we wandered around sampling the food, beer and wine.   There was some weird and wonderful food, just an enormous choice, ranging from profferjies through to full BBQ meals by famous chefs, whom we had never heard of.   We were thrilled to have a pulled pork bun from the Fat Pig Farm here in Tasmania.  If you watched the TV show..Gourmet will know what I am talking about.
Outside the building were many wood fires, and fires in 44 gallon drums.  Mostly they were surrounded by folk who looked as if they had been there for several hours, and had no intention  of moving.   There were lots of musicians, and several fire twirlers. All up, a nice evening with delicious food.  And as an added bonus, it was all in walking distance of our hotel !
An early night was in order, we crammed a lot into this day.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hobart is cold, lit up and red

Although it was cold when we arrived in Hobart, the skies were deceptively blue and summer like.  It was actually 8 degrees and later in the day when we went out for dinner, the temperature had dropped to 5.7.

In our hire care we found our way very easily into the middle of the city and booked into our hotel.  This capital city is so different to Sydney, which  we visited last month.  It's really like a big country town and the peak hour "rush" seems to be not a rush at all, and certainly not an hour!

The view from our hotel room in the daytime, we overlook the harbour.  This evening, as part of the winter festival, called Dark Mofo Winter Feast that is currently running here, there was a ship with a searchlight cruising around.

The searchlight was gradually sweeping the banks, and at this point, pointing almost directly to our window, which I might add, is on the 17th floor.

The lounge area outside the lift well in the hotel is alight with red, which can be seen from outside the building.

We enjoyed a fish and chip dinner at that building with the red/orange roof you can see in the day time view.  That's when it was down to 5.7 degrees, and I kept my coat right through dinner. As TRO does not feel the cold as much as me, he stripped his off.