What better way to prepare for Europe than to start with Tasmania – isn’t that what someone famous once never said? Well, they were right! Actually, I have no idea. I’ve never even been to Europe…
Nine Yaks whisked me away to Tasmania for a few days – a little bit of business and a lot of enjoyment. People have always told me how beautiful Tasmania is, how much like New Zealand it is, how much I should go. Well, I’ve done it, and I bloody wish I could have stayed for the weekend!
We didn’t even get to MONA (“what! You didn’t even get to MONA? That’s the one thing you must see!”). Sorry to disapoint – we saved it for next time.
We started our journey in Hobart, arriving early into the evening, leaving the airport late into the evening due to the in-depth analysis of the hire car quality (making sure we didn’t pay excess for someone else’s errors), arriving at our Air Bnb accommodation (https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/1489966?s=IFYl) after a crappy meal of the worst dumplings I’ve ever had (Dumplings World on Liverpool st). I suppose that once you get used to dumplings in Melbourne Chinatown, it’s hard to compare.
The following day took us on a short and sweet drive of 2 and a half hours to Launceston, arriving in what seemed like a small country town. A brief disappointment took us on our quest to find some retailers to stock our cashmere. Initially, the response wasn’t what we were after, although as the day wore on, we found inspiration to keep on keeping on. We decided to stay the night and head back to Hobart the following day. This brought us to the predicament of where to stay, so what to do? Let’s not concentrate on accommodation, that will come in it’s own time, let’s go to the Cataract Gorge! So, with the best of our own advice, we scooted off to the Gorge, enjoying the beautiful autumn colours on a sunny afternoon.
Over a Devonshire tea (why not!), we contacted a Couchsurfer and requested a space to sleep. Unfortunately, he didn’t have space for sleeping but he did have space at his table for dinner, so off we went, arriving at the door with two bottles of wine and a bag of cheese and crackers (which, as a vegetarian, I found myself consuming a lot of due to the plate of meatballs and rice that was for dinner – my own fault for not saying earlier..). We were greeted by Tiga and Baastan, the dalmation with a penchant for cheese and meatballs, a German, a French and an Italian couchsurfer!
We ended up being generously put up for the night in Tiga’s friend, Jonesy’s spare room before continuing on our journey the following day, filling up on delicious coffee and bombolino (the latter only available Thursdays) at Amelia’s Espresso on George st (http://ameliaespresso.com.au/).
We headed back to Hobart, enjoying the freedom of driving where we please, the friendliness of the locals surprising us as we compare and compare and compare with Melbournians. A brief interlude of business amongst pleasure, encouraging us to take a break and see Hobart – so off we went to Mt Wellington (similar weather patterns to Wellington, New Zealand). We were buffeted by the icy cold wind as soon as we stepped out of the car. Rugged up as much as possible, it didn’t help. Fuh-reezing! We survived only because we managed to find shelter…
The drive took us here and there and back, settling in to a delicious early dinner at the Brunswick Hotel (chosen because of its name and the crowd in the beer garden) on Liverpool st. The vego options are delicious – the Jack-o-Lantern parma amazingly delicious, washed down with a Lost Pippin cider or two.
That’s the end – squashed into the economy seats with my legs tucked up as is endemic in the budget side of economy flights – Tiger Airways did us well, getting us home on time with no mishaps whatsoever. A pleasant trip all round!
~~~ Megan Tingate 2014