Finally getting to my notes on Tasmania! As you may be aware, Chris and I spent 10 days in Tassie in late Jan and early Feb 2012.
The overall experience was really amazing. We’ve taken in so much and have seen so many amazing places. However, I have also realised that the program was a bit too much and that led to stress and tiredness. I guess I wanted to make the most of the trip but went overboard a bit…
Hobart – Port Arthur – Franklin
The first leg of our Tasmanian journey started with Hobart. Our first full day saw us visiting MONA, the very new Museum of New Art. This architecturally beautiful site was recently developed to be a special space for new transgressive and inspiring art and to be the home for visiting artists and performers.
Many of the recent pieces (especially Wim Devoyne’s) managed to completely blow my mind! I’m still thinking about them. I would go down to Tassie just for MONA, it is that amazing. The Devoyne exhibition is on til early April, please go to see it!!
Next was Salamanca markets, which was bustling and awesome in a 30C day. We ended up eating a huge amount of beautiful food and rolled in the grass in a park, reading philosophy. I think we were really high on life at this point
Port Arthur was reasonably docile and quiet. We got there quite late so the whole place was nearly empty yet still sunny and warm (quite a treat even in summer, I think). The distances don’t look particularly large in Tassie but they are winding and slowish so getting around does take time. We walked in the ruins of the convict buildings and the beautiful gardens and on the way there looked at cafes, museums and a devil park that is completely free of tumor disease, the bane of the Tassie devil.
Franklin in stark contrast was the angry and sad yob cousin of Hobart: South of all of Australia it’s the arse end of Tassie for sure. The local towns subsist on aquaculture in the Huon delta, fruit picking in orchards, ships, wood and rudimentary tourism. The locals are insular, resentful and suspicious of anyone who doesn’t share their exact way of life and values. I guess these towns must be struggling, the young leave, opportunities decrease and most tourism has been snapped up by more enterprising and well established areas.
Everyone seems to wake at 5-6am and by 3pm nothing is open. This greatly clashed with my body clock and expectations. There was little hospitality to enjoy. Loved the Huon river though and enjoyed some nice food. Also stopped on the way in Cygnet (home to SBS’s Gourmet Farmer and several cute shops in the pouring rain) and sneaked into the National Park’s rainforest after hours which was both exhilirating (taking our chances that the early hours have robbed us of) and nerve wrecking as we had to contend with disgruntled locals chasing us. The cherries and plums were out of this world though…