You know it’s been a great getaway when you start Googling properties for sale at your holiday destination.
I flew to Hobart last Thursday with DD for a four-night escape from our real world and we’ve been staring longingly at listings ever since.
Mind you, we were a bit spoilt by the fact I have friends who live a house perched high on the hill in West Hobart with the most stunning 270 degree vista of the city and the Derwent River.
However, Hobart wasn’t our first port of call. When we stepped off the plane we headed east to Dunalley for a seafood feast at The Cannery, overlooking Boomer Bay.
A seafood platter for one plus six oysters was an amble feast for two, paired with delicious Lost Pippin cider.
After lunch we drove to former penal colony Port Arthur, where we roved around the grounds reading plaques detailing fascinating – and often harrowing – tales of prison life as we explored the ruins.
A boat tour was included with our entry ticket and gave a great commentary about the Isle of the Dead cemetery island off shore and the country’s first children’s gaol, Point Puer Boy’s Prison, which housed inmates as young as nine.
I decided against going into the church as my workmate Billy reckons he was grabbed by a ghost when he was there.
In broad daylight.
At closing time we headed to a waterside cabin I booked at Port Arthur Holiday Park, spotting an echidna along the way!
Our accommodation wasn’t luxurious, but it was well appointed and had the most amazing view from its balcony, where we sat sipping Tassie wine in the late afternoon sun.
The next morning was my 55th birthday, gulp, which we celebrated with a Pennicotts Tasman Island Cruise, a three-hour wilderness cruise along the spectacular coastline between Port Arthur and Eaglehawk Neck.
It was absolutely stunning, filled with dramatic scenery and wildlife encounters. Pods of dolphins frolicked around the boat, albatrosses swooped through the air and we pulled into coves crammed with seals and furry black pups, who poked their heads up between the rocks to check us out.
It was the most incredible way to celebrate my birthday.
In the afternoon we meandered our way to Hobart, where we raised a glass to my birthday and dined on seafood at Mures restaurant before heading to The Still for a nightcap.
Housed in the old Mercury Print room, The Still serves over 150 local spirits by the measure. I ordered the Old Fashioned, featuring Lark Symphony No.1 Whisky, mango, maple syrup and orange, which was very delicious.
Then we headed back to our hotel, which had a fairytale view of the Harbour and city lights.
The next morning we wandered down to the Harbour to explore Salamanca Markets and feast on a famed scallop pie from the Smith’s van. Thank you to my trusty hand model …
The sun defied the weather forecast in the afternoon so we drove up Mt Wellington, which towers impressively over the city.
The landscape at the top was so otherworldly and alpine-like, whipped by icy winds, but it was well worth braving them for the fantastic view.
On our way back to the hotel DD spotted a red hop-on hop-off bus ahead of us and decided to follow it. It was a genius move as it led us to the famed Cascade Brewery, where we sipped a couple of pots of cider in the late afternoon sun.
Dinner that night was in the nearby Urban Greek restaurant with my friends Dom and Emma, who moved to Hobart five years ago and adore the city.
I met Dom when he was a teenaged cadet journalist with my sister at The Newcastle Herald. We reminisced about the first night we met at the San Marco on the Park in Newcastle’s East End more than 30 years ago. Meanwhile, Emma went to high school with me. The world is too small.
After feasting on dips, mixed grill and seafood grill we all wandered back to the rooftop bar at our hotel for a glass of chilled red wine with another great view.
The next morning DD and I drove to Kettering to catch the car ferry to Bruny Island for the day.
Our first stop was The Neck Lookout, which gives a fabulous view of North and South Bruny Island, then we drove to the far end of the island to Cape Bruny to climb to the lighthouse.
I also talked DD into walking down to Cloudy Bay and clambering over the rocks to the headland. I absolutely love headlands and rock pools and crashing waves – it was glorious.
Lunch was at the picturesque Adventure Bay at Pennicotts restaurant. We were too late to join the 1.30pm cruise, but we ate delicious bread rolls and drank yummy Frank’s cider while admiring the view.
Sadly the oyster hut had run out of stock by the time we drove past, so we grabbed some chocolate from Bruny Island Chocolate Company and queued for a ferry back to the mainland.
A friend of DD’s is selling their acreage at Woodbridge nearby so we detoured for a stickybeak and I feasted on their blackberry bush before we headed back into Hobart.
Dom picked us up a little later and drove us up to their house and its spectacular view, which we enjoyed while eating Tasmanian cheese followed with pizza from their local Italian restaurant. In a lovely coincidence it turned out to be their 21st anniversary and we raised a glass in their honour.
The final day of our mini break dawned with unexpectedly blue sky so we made a dash to a gorgeous spot recommended by Dom – Russell Falls – followed by a punnet of fresh raspberries and a scoop of raspberry ice cream at Westerway Raspberry Farm.
All too soon it was time to head to the airport for our flight home.
We are already talking about booking our next Tassie trip – what a wonderful part of the world!
Bulk fun. Ten out of 10. Such a fabulous way to celebrate my birthday.
Dom and Emma – we miss you already!
Song of the day: Icehouse “Great Southern Land”
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