Sunday, 20 October we are in an Uber on the way to Melbourne Airport before 5am when Jim sees a text from Jet Star saying that our 6:10am flight has been delayed until 8:10. Instead of turning around and going home for the wait we proceed on to the airport. We had deliberately planned this early morning flight so that we would have two full days in Tasmania. Our flight kept getting delayed until they finally found a working plane for us.
We wandered Hobart’s waterfront, Parliament square and Battery Point before checking into our Airbnb to “unpack” our meager 7kgs of luggage. The Airbnb is great, very bright three bedroom flat located over a closed chocolate shop in the Battery Point neighborhood. Many great restaurants very nearby.
We decide to drive to Port Arthur instead of visiting the “must see” MONA museum hoping that we can squeeze it in on day two. The road trip lasted about six hours total and we were rewarded with beautiful scenery along the way.
We stopped at Eaglehawk Neck for a short trek then decided to return to Hobart as we planned a longer road trip to Freycinet National Park tomorrow. We never made it to our intended destination of Port Arthur.
We headed out early as we have a long day of driving and exploring. Our first stop was at a small roadside cafe that was cute but not very satisfying.
Freycinet National Park, on the east coast of Tasmania, is comprised of a peninsula defined by Schouten Island to the south and a granite mountain range known as The Hazards on the north. We decide on doing a 1.5 hour round trip hike to Wine Glass Bay lookout. The track starts in the car park and almost immediately begins the 250 meter climb to the saddle between Mt. Amos and Mt. Mayson. It is a well groomed trail with many stone steps but at the top you are presented with sweeping views of Wine Glass Bay and its white sandy beach. We thought it was called Wine Glass Bay because of its shape but it actually owes its name to whaling. When the whaling stations operated here the water in the bay would turn red with slaughtered whales blood.
On the 2.5 hour ride home we saw some kangaroos, lots and lots of sheep as well as cattle and horses, spectacular scenery and a beautiful sunset. We were hoping to see the Tasmanian devil which is a nocturnal animal on our drive home that night but it is very rare to see these carnivorous marsupials in the wild. They are named devils by the European settlers because of their loud and ferocious screeching while feeding. In spite of all eyes peeled we never saw them.
Fortunately, we finally found an open petrol station and made it home well after dark. On Tuesday, our last day in Tasmania, we explored Hampden Road where our Airbnb was located. The road has many cute homes and great restaurants.
We had a great breakfast here, only a block away from our apartment.
After breakfast and the little walk around our neighborhood we returned to Hobart airport and boarded our plane back to Melbourne.
We would have liked more time to explore Tasmania. We missed the “can’t miss” MONA, Museum of Old and New Art. Dedicated to sex and death, pieces include Stephen Shanabrook’s “On the Road to Heaven the Highway to Hell,”which features the entrails of an 18-year-old suicide bomber cast in dark chocolate. The museum is also home to 151 porcelain vulvas sculpted from real women. Hated by some, loved by others, MONA has put Tasmania on the map, single-handedly bumping up international tourism in this sleepy Australian state.