Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Scenic Tasmania

For our final Aussie holiday we headed down to Tasmania and spent some time exploring the Tasman peninsula and the capital city of Hobart.  Tassie has a reputation for being the most natural state in Australia.  It's rugged coastline and convict past didn't disappoint.  Tasmania was gorgeous (But really, isn't all of Australia?  Like this, this and this).

Tourists are discouraged from driving after dark in Tasmania.  It didn't take long to see why. At least 4 dead wombats lined the Arthur highway on the drive from Hobart to Port Arthur.  So much marsupial carnage was difficult to see.  Luckily the kiddos were too busy poking each other in the backseat to notice the roadkill wonderland.

Our first stop was Port Arthur, the site of the convict settlement in the 1800s.  The landscape was beautiful, and the ruins were interesting.  When you see the historic site you just can't help but think about how miserable it must have been to be a convict at Port Arthur.  It was freezing, the wind was whipping and the rain pelted us.  I just kept thinking about how lucky the Sydney convicts were by comparison.

We spent the night in Port Arthur at the Stewarts bay Lodge.  I highly recommend the deluxe cabins there.  The setting and the views were so beautiful.  The cabins were modern and clean and spacious.  And dinner at their Taylors restaurant was the best meal we had in Tassie (Ok- it was the only decent meal we had in Tassie).   I wish we could have stayed more than one night!

After Port Arthur we did some exploring on the Tasman Peninsula.  The coastline is breathtaking.  We visited Devil's Kitchen, The Blowhole, Tesselated Pavement and the Tasman Arch.

We drove through Doo Town (which was so amusing it deserves its own post) and spent the night in a guest bungalow in Marion Bay.  The bungalow had a wall of glass looking out on the gorgeous Tasmanian coast.  It was so picturesque.  Freezing cold and pouring rain, but still picturesque!

Day three brought us to Hobart and the famous Salamanca Markets.  We handed each kid a $20 bill and set the free to shop for souvenirs.  The market was huge, with stalls hawking everything from gorgeous handmade Tassie wood products to cheap "made in China" plastic trucks and fresh produce.  Wanna guess what the little buddy bought?

That night our family had a private night tour at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.  We were the only people in the park, with a private guide who took us inside the enclosures.  Nothing quite like tossing a chunk of opossum leg to a hungry Tassie Devil

 We also fed this frogmouth and the little potoroos.


We all enjoyed getting up close with the animals at the sanctuary.  Although I did freak out a bit when a sugar glider plopped down on the face of my sleeping baby.  That was a little too close for comfort for me!

On our final day in Tasmania we headed up to the top of Mt Wellington where we found SNOW!  We were completely ill prepared but the kids didn't care.  They reveled in throwing snowballs at each other and the Little Princess (the only one with gloves!)  insisted on building a snowman while the rest on the family retreated to the warmth of the car. 

After all that snow play we stopped by the Cascade Brewery.

And then made our way to the MONA.

 There were some really cool things at the MONA, like the full size mack truck in a corridor, and the wall of paper panels seen above.  The kids loved the light bulbs that flicker in time with your heartbeat and the architecture of the building with its massive sandstone wall is impressive.  But there were also some really disturbing things at the MONA.  And much of the content is totally inappropriate for kids.  A staff member was stationed outside the most objectionable exhibits so they were easy to avoid.  But when we got out of the lift on level 2 and found ourselves staring at a wall of plaster cast vaginas we realized the MONA might not be the best place for our inquisitive little children.   So we quickly headed back outside to the expansive grounds and watched them run around with these giant bean bags.  (Which I think are intended to be used by adults as they relax and sip wine).

We loved Tasmania.  Even with the road kill, the freezing rain, the creepy art and the lack of decent dining options, it was an amazing holiday.   It was rural and green and rugged and simply stunning.  Tasmania really is like no place else on earth- and I'm so glad I got to see it.

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Tangles said...

This post was so lovely and funny! I loved the pics of y'all feeding the animals. I can't believe a sugar glider landed on the baby's face!

Tar Heels in Sydney said...

Great post and great photos! Maybe we'll have to add Tassie to the travel list...

'Cross the Pond said...

Wow! What a great post. The photos are amazing (that taz devil is scary!). You're a great writer. Love the blog!

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