Sunday, February 20, 2011

HOBART AND PORT ARTHUR

The Fletcher's home in Lenah Valley
Our Second Week of Holidays

We arrived in beautiful Hobart on Friday, 14th January and were picked up by our generous hosts Ken and Jan Fletcher.  They had a huge Lexus 4 wheel drive which was very appropriate due to the 3 large suitcases we brought with us.

Driving from the airport to the bridge that would take us to the city very much reminded me of driving on Hindmarsh Drive in Canberra driving from Fyshwick through to Woden.   Once we got to the bridge over the Derwent River I had my very first peek at Hobart City and it was beautiful.

Ken and Rob in the dining area
View from their deck

Ken and Jan drove around town giving us our first taste of the city and then drove us to their beautiful home in Lenah Valley.   Their home is high up in the hills and has the most fantastic view of the suburbs and river.  Absolutely breathtaking.   When we arrived we felt very much at home - thank you Ken and Jan!


Us at Salamanca Markets

Our first night we had dinner at home and just relaxed and chatted away ready for our day out on Saturday.  We went to the famous Salamanca Markets and they were amazing. 

 Not only was the area gorgeous but the quality of the merchandise that was being sold was fantastic.  Rob and I bought a lazy susan made out of different Tasmanian woods amongst other items. 
In Salamanca Square

We had lunch in Salamanca square then we went for another drive around the old parts of town which to me were the most interesting.  I absolutely loved seeing all the little old houses (which would cost millions to own by the way).  The architecture of these houses were beautiful



Outside the Casino
 That night we went to an old pub for dinner then went on to the Wrest Point Casino which was a real treat.  We had a look around and we sat outside while it was still light at 9.00pm - gee I miss daylight saving!!! - had a play on the pokies then had a lovely coffee.  As we left I looked back at the Casino and it had the most gorgeous lights dripping down the sides from the top to the bottom.  What a lovely sight.





The beautiful view of twilight at 9pm from our outside spot at the Casino




This Andrew looking over the attic
bedroom where he slept

 The next day we left early for our drive to Port Arthur.  Ken and Jan are lucky enough to have a holiday home there and took us there to show us Port Arthur.
Rob and I outside "The Shack"

The drive there from Hobart took about and hour and our hosts have a lovely "shack" which is extremely comfortable.  We relaxed all afternoon ready for our ghost tour that night!

The tour started at 9.00pm and we were rugged up to guard against the chilly night.


Our group was the last one through and it seems that the tour is extremely popular and we were sensible to book our places.
A 3D of Port Arthur at is was at its peak
Jan, me and Ken



The ghost tour took 90 minutes and for most of that time I was more interested in finding places to sit as my back was killing me.  I enjoyed the tour but couldn't wait to come back on the Monday for a daytime visit!
An iconic Port Arthur view


After a BBQ breakfast of bacon and eggs, Rob, Andrew and I went off to see Port Arthur in daylight hours.  Even though I had been there that night it is absolutely completely different as you can imagine.



Our first port of call was the ferry which took us around the bay area and around the island which was where all the convicts were buried.  We also got a view of where Jan and Ken have their holiday home from a different point of view!
The memorial to those who died in the massacre
This is where Jan and Ken's shack is
 
A view of the barracks with the Commandant's home

For those who are unaware of the history of Port Arthur, basically it was a place where the worst of the worst criminal offenders were sent for incarceration.

The only comparable place of the awful treatment of convicts is my home on Norfolk Island where unspeakable crimes against humanity were a daily event.

Port Arthur was a penal colony from 1830 to 1877.  The most horrific place for incarceration was the Separate Prison where those poor souls were imprisoned for many many years.  It was a place where the prisoners were unable to speak, see, touch, hear any other prisoner or guard and effectively lived in isolation.

Andrew and Rob in the chapel of the Separate Prison
It was considered, at the time, to be a worthy case of punishment without the lashings or physical punishment, however, the mental anguish on the inmates were not part of the equation.  Many of these prisoners went quite mad.

We were picked up at 3.00pm by Jan and Ken and we made our way back home via Eaglehawk Neck which, in convict times, was guarded by ferocious and hungry dogs that kept prisoners from escaping from Port Arthur and making their way onto the mainland
Andrew at the place at Eaglehawk Neck with one of the dogs.

On the way home on Monday afternoon Ken and Jan took us to many places on natural beauty - can't remember their names anymore but they were beautiful and I'm glad I took many photos!


Us near the blow hole
The blow hole

On the Tuesday, we had a drive to the lovely historical town of Richmond.  Richmond is full of lovely little shops all with different merchandise.  We had lunch at one of the pubs which was delicious before we wandered through all those little shops.
Having lunch at the pub at Richmond

Ken, Jan and I on the oldest bridge still in use in Australia

View from this bridge - I loved this house

That night we all went out to Mures Restaurant for dinner where Ken and Jan's son Brandon works on a part time basis.  It is a seafood restaurant which is extremely busy all the time, partly because of the lovely location but because the food is devine.

Andrew on the waterfront next to Mures

Ken outside Mures Restaurant with Rob and Jan in the distance

Andrew with his dessert
On the Wednesday we had a drive around town and we came along to the Cascade Brewery which I thought was a lovely building.  We eventually went to a mall where Jan and I had a great time shopping and then she and I went to the movies to see "The King's Speech" which was a fantastic film.  I miss seeing new release movies!!
The Cascade Brewery
That night Ken and Jan had the neighbours over for Wednesday drinks.  About four couples who live in the street get together each Wednesday and have a catch up and get together which I think is lovely.  Ken and Jan's neighbours are very charming and we enjoyed being part of their weekly drinks.


Rob and me at the top of Mount Wellington
On the morning of our last full day which was Thursday, Ken took Rob and I up to Mount Wellington which is this huge mountain that towers over Hobart.  The trip took us about 20 minutes to get to the top and it was amazing to see the difference in vegetation as you get higher and higher.  At first it is leafy and green then at the top you have tiny alpine shrubs with loads of rocks and that's it!  It is extremely cold up there even in January and thanks to Ken he made sure we all had coats to rug up in.

Rob and Ken at the top (note the concrete column)

Ken and Rob at the observatory
The concrete column from Ken and Jan's home

The view from the top of Mount Wellington
Later that day, Rob and me took Andrew to the Cadbury Factory which is to be a great treat - it wasn't!.  The "tour/talk" took 20 minutes and after buying some chocolate we left just 30 minutes after arriving.  Boring to say the least.  But, at least we could say we have been there.


Us outside the Cadbury Factory
On the Friday morning the 21st of January we left Hobart to go back to Melbourne for my Mum's 80th birthday celebrations which will be my next blog.

I want to say a big thank you to Jan and Ken for having us for that week and they really put themselves out to make sure we had a great time and ensured we saw the most we could during our week's visit.

So we are very grateful to you and we all had a fantastic time and we really loved our time in Hobart.  I, personally, think it is a great place to live as I love being near the water and having some history around the place.

We look forward to your visit to see us on Norfolk Island later this year where we can show off our island at its very best!!





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