A spontaneous trip to Hobart

I’ve been back in Sydney for three months now. I’ve moved into my new apartment, settled back into work life and have started to feel the start of the dreaded routine kick back in. Wake up, work, come home, eat, beers, sleep, repeat. 

When I came home from living in Japan I made a conscious decision to not let myself stop living ‘expat life’. I want to continue to have the same thrills of meeting new people, discovering new places, learning about different areas and trying various foods. So I knew what had to be done. I booked a ticket and went on an adventure.

This is what the next 11 hours looked like:

7pm: arrive home and start researching possible places to go (ticket prices are so expensive the night before!)

7:30pm: decide to go downstairs with the neighbours for a beer

9pm: come upstairs and have dinner

11pm: booked flight to Hobart

11:30pm: booked the most budget hostel possible

12am: packed and showered in bed ready to wake up in four hours

6:15am: on a flight to Hobart.

It was the best decision I could have made. First of all, I had totally underestimated Hobart’s beauty. Such a historically rich city with the perfect mix of harbour and hilly landscape this short 3 days away was the breath of fresh air I needed.

Second of all, it was so nice to have some time alone. Looking back a year and a half ago I would have never though I’d say this. But, now the thought of being alone is liberating rather than daunting. It was quite exhilarating to be on my own schedule, make choices based entirely on what I wanted to do, and had to only please myself.

And last but not least, Tasmania was one of the five destinations I promised myself I’d hit by 2016  if I moved back to Sydney this year.

It was undoubtedly an incredible experience, one I wouldn’t change for the world… except for maybe planning it in advance and not having to pay premium for last minute decisions!

Some of my highlights for a short trip in Hobart were:

Cascade Brewery Tour

On this tour you will learn the history of the brewery, which is actually quite impressive. The brewery was first constructed in 1824 as a timber mill, and in 1927 had the final stories added to construct the brewery it is today. There was a need identified by Peter Degraves after the colony members were dying from alcohol being made using water contaminated by human waste. He was actually in jail as a part of a 5 year conviction when he decided there was a need, but when he returned from jail he became very popular.

The tour not only talks about the process of making the beer, but also the factory life. Up until the late 90’s the workers were still allowed to consume as much beer as they wished during one of four breaks throughout the day. Now instead of this they have happy hour on Fridays and they get a case of beer each pay – sounds pretty good to me!

I would highly recommend the tour, it’s $25 for 1.5 hour tour and you have the chance to try 3 drinks at the end of the tour – you might even get some additional drink tokens if you answer the questions correctly! I used my drink tokens to try some of the beers only available in Tasmania, deciding that Cascade Draught was definitely a favourite.

Red Bus Tour

Who doesn’t love to be a tourist? And there’s no better way to be a real tourist than to jump on the iconic double decker red bus tour of the city. I found this to be a great way to see, and most importantly learn about the city without needing to research places myself.

The tour has its usual commentary telling you all the fun facts about the city, for example how Hobart has the second deepest natural harbour in the Southern Hemisphere at around 25 metres deep, or how the one bedroom houses on Davey street used to be convict quarters.

If you had researched beforehand and knew exactly what you wanted to see you could probably walk all of this route, or take local uses. The bus tour costs $30 for an adult which gives you a 3 days pass, or you can upgrade to include entry into various attractions like I did. Being a small city there is only one bus so you need to time your stops around the 90 minute loops.

MONA (Museum of Old and New Art)

Everyone I have talked to about Tasmania raves about MONA, and for good reason. I loved taking the time to wander the exhibits, taking each in without any time restrictions and enjoying quality time alone.  The variety of exhibits were fascinating… there were video exhibits which really made you question the thought process of the artist through to white libraries and hands on exhibits of counting rice and sitting in a sun chair with noise cancelling headphones on gazing out of a window.

The longest standing exhibition at MONA is definitely one which stops you in your tracks – Cloaca Proffesional. The exhibit mimics the human bowel system. It is fed twice a day and once a day at 2pm it poos. The machines actually produces a replica of human waste. And it just so happened that I was there for the 2pm session. Fascinating… and all in the name of art right?!

I caught the ferry to MONA which provided lovely views of the harbour and a fresh outlook on everything I have been mulling over in my brain…there’s nothing like a nice boat ride to help clear the head! It was $45 for the return ferry ride and entry into the museum, and if you have a bit of time left over before your ferry leaves you can grab something to eat from the MONA cafe and eat it overlooking the sea.

Salamanca Markets

First held on January 22 1972, Salamanca Markets has continued to grow and become an iconic attraction for Tasmania. Every Saturday the markets are open from 8:30am to 3pm and exhibit more than 300 stores. Every step I took I became more and more excited. From the food to the natural creams and oils to the fresh produce, it was such an uplifting experience to be amongst so many locals making their own products.

Deciding to go to Hobart was an incredible experience. It really helped to clear my mind, provided me with new experiences and overall was such a great adventure. It really hit home for me that by seeing new places and learning new things gives me a new way of seeing things. I think Henry Miller sums this up nicely..

“One’s destination is never a place,  but a new way of seeing things.”

                                                                                                            –  Henry Miller


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