Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Our days in Hobart, Tasmania

Hobart really is such a pretty place, and the many similarities found me likening it to the city of Wellington in New Zealand. Both cities are wedged between extensive mountain ranges, with older style houses and shacks sprawled along the hillsides, lots of hipster cafes and a bustling city market, with a stunning harbour and waterfront taking centre stage.
We loved Hobart, especially because we had five days there with our kids and we packed a lot in, well I certainly did. 
Hiring bikes seemed like a good way to get around and we ended up with electric powered bikes which just added to the fun. An exhilarating ride along the  bike track that follows the Derwent River, all the way to Berridale and the MONA(Museum of Old and New Art) was a great start. A casual lunch at The Source Bar and Grill was delightful. It was proving to be quite a hot day in Hobart, so an ice cold Tasmanian apple juice and the smokey bbq beef brisket rolls with a decadent cheesy sauce and pickled vegetables were a great choice, they hit the thirst and hunger spot after all that pedaling. 
We continued our adventure another two kilometres along the bike track to the suburb of Claremont, where we visited the Cadbury Chocolate factory.  The ride back was a little more exerting, pedaling against the afternoon breeze, plus Mr G’s bike battery went flat three kilometres from the CBD, giving him a whole extra workout. On returning the bikes we realised we had covered over thirty four kilometres throughout the day. The electric boost meant we had managed this easily without it being too wearisome.
On our third day, while the reader and the adventurer had a slow day at our apartment The Warehaus, the designer returned to MONA for a leisurely day exploring the museum in peace. I spent the day at The Agrarian Kitchen, a cooking school on a farm, forty minutes drive from Hobart in Lachlan. It was an inspiring day of learning with time spent gardening, cooking and eating, as well as the unique experience of milking a goat. Meanwhile Mr G went fishing in the Derwent River for flathead and caught some.
A wet weather day came next meaning pjs, pancakes and poker together, with a visit to the very comfortable and intimate State Cinema in Elizabeth Street for a flick in the afternoon.
On our final day I raced off for the morning to the Sally Wise Cooking School in Molesworth, a thirty minute drive from Hobart, to do a bottling and preserving workshop. Another time of learning for me and lots of laughter too, in a very relaxed atmosphere, again on a small farm. We bottled rhubarb, apricots, tomatoes, spiced cherries, beetroot and pickled zucchinis. Sally made scones before our eyes and baked them for morning tea served with farm grown berry jam and freshly whipped cream.
Early afternoon we reunited and all drove up to Mt Wellington, (well truth be told the adventurer drove up the narrow, winding road on his L plates) and although cold and windy at the top the views were sensational, really making this a ‘must do’ when visiting Hobart. A late lunch of pork and fennel sausage rolls at Sweet Envy and a simple dinner of fish and chips at the waterfront with friends that evening, completed a lovely day.
Another two worthwhile weekend activities in Hobart,(which we managed to get to the weekend before our kids arrived) are a visit to the very popular Salamanca Market which runs every Saturday and the Farm Gate Market on a Sunday 8.30am - 1pm showcasing Tasmania's local produce direct from the farmer. I loved this small but vibrant market best, we were fortunate to visit two Sunday's in a row. A delicious breakie BLT, leisurely chats to the farmers, growers and producers and the beautiful seasonal produce won me over!
What we couldn't buy from the markets we picked up from a wonderful local corner store, the type with real 'old fashioned' service. It was conveniently located just up the road from our apartment and independently owned, we loved Hill Street Grocer.   
Packing up and moving onto our next destination on the east coast, was our next morning’s activity. We sent the offspring away on a bus ahead of us (if you read the first post on our Tasmanian road trip, you'll remember we can’t fit them in the car in between destinations with all the camping gear we are lugging around). We then grabbed a late breakfast at Pigeon Hole CafĂ© before driving north along the east coast in search of the sun, the sea, hopefully a catch of black bream for Mr G and of course our off spring who were soon to be arriving at a friend's farm house. 

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