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to Hobart 7 day Trip
The city stretches along the banks of the Derwent River, bounded on one side by Mt Wellington, a dramatic presence occasionally dusted with snow. From its summit, views of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and coastline give context to Hobart’s maritime heritage.
The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, recognised as one of the world’s best small orchestras, performs regularly in the Federation Concert Hall, an innovative purpose-built venue close to the docks. And in galleries and studios dotted about the city, artists and craftspeople make bold and beautiful statements in pigments, glass, pottery and fabrics.
The cafes and arcades in the distinctive Georgian sandstone warehouses of Salamanca Place are at their liveliest on Saturdays between 9am and 3pm, when Salamanca Market brings together 300 stallholders selling arts and crafts of every description. Later, admire the historic homes of Battery Point and stroll around Arthur Circus, where whalers’ cottages form a colourful circle around a small park. Battery Point is also the home of galleries, art studios, antique and craft shops, restaurants, cafes and many national trust listed buildings, all carefully preserved as examples of how life was lived a century or more ago. One which is open to the public is Narryna Heritage Museum, which is also one of Hobart’s earliest colonial homes.
Take Kelly’s Steps back down to Salamanca Place. Behind the warehouses is sunny, sheltered Salamanca Square, home to Antarctic Adventure, an educational attraction that brings to life the world’s largest, coldest and loneliest continent with a lively combination of informative displays, travelling exhibitions and a range of experiential activities and rides that will appeal to adults and kids alike. Discover the secrets of life in Antarctica and its fascinating wildlife, wild weather and history, and learn about its special relationship with Tasmania. Discover Tasmania’s best view, only 22 kms from the city centre, and drive to the pinnacle of beautiful Mt. Wellington.
TheTasmanian Museum and Art Gallery has a thylacine exhibit and an excellent collection of Glover paintings. Other museums of great appeal are the Maritime, Transport and Allport museums and the Museum of Antiquities at Moorilla Estate.
OVERNIGHT SUGGESTION: Hobart
Approximately 25 minutes’ drive from Hobart is the historic town of Richmond, home of Australia’s oldest bridge and oldest Catholic church. Old Hobart Town is a carefully constructed model of Hobart as it was in 1820 and a fitting display for a town such as Richmond, with its village atmosphere, strong connections with its colonial past, antique shops, art and craft galleries and tea rooms.
On the way to the Tasman Peninsula, one-and-a-half-hours’ drive from Richmond, stop in Sorell and explore its many historic buildings. Stop, stretch your legs and enjoy a break at the Sorell Fruit Farm. The range of fresh berries is astounding - strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and many more, ready for visitors to pick there own. In warmer months there is also an extensive range of other fruit and fresh vegetables. Further down the road visit the Copping’s Colonial and Convict Exhibition, and its extensive collection of interesting artefacts. Take another break at Dunalley, where you can sample local produce, including fresh seafood.
Now follow the arrows on the Convict Trail deep into the past. At Eaglehawk Neck stop at the lookout over Pirates’ Bay - a magnificent beach bounded by dramatic coastline. Once down on the neck itself, walk the dog line near the Officers’ Quarters and try to imagine the degree of desperation necessary to drive convicts to attempt escape through this impossibly thin isthmus, guarded as it was by soldiers and 11 savage dogs.
Meet a Tasmanian Devil at the Tasmanian Devil Park at Taranna. The park now also boasts a new outdoor free-flight bird show, Kings of the Wind. Later take a ride on a steam train at the Bush Mill, a re-creation of a pioneer timber settlement.
OVERNIGHT AT: Eaglehawk Neck, Nubeena or Port Arthur
The Port Arthur site and its surrounds are an incomparable combination of history, heritage, superb coastal scenery and a broad range of visitor experiences. Traditionally the convict ruins themselves have been the major drawcard at the historic site, and the new visitor centre and extensive ongoing conservation work. It is best to allow yourself at least a full day to explore Port Arthur Historic Site. Between 1837 and 1877 an estimated 12,500 convicts, all multiple offenders, passed through this settlement. Those were times of great social and political upheaval, and Port Arthur underwent many changes in its 47 years of operation. One of the harshest reminders of convict life is the Model Prison. This was built to enforce a form of "silent" punishment introduced when flogging was discontinued. Each cell contained a solitary prisoner, and the only talking permitted was between a prisoner and a senior officer. The silent system was intended to give prisoners plenty of time to reflect upon their crimes, and it is reckoned to have broken many a stronger man than the lash ever subdued.
Entry to the Model Prison is nowadays via the Asylum, next door, where you can view audio-visual presentations and a museum of convict relics. Inspection of these two buildings is one of the highlights of Port Arthur for most visitors. A number of other buildings, including the opulent Commandant’s Residence, have been fully restored and furnished in period style and are open daily.
Don’t miss the Isle of the Dead Cruise, which departs from the historic site daily except for a short period in mid-winter. This island was Port Arthur’s burial ground during the convict era, and nearly 2,000 bodies are buried there. Massive slabs of stone, beautifully engraved but with many spelling mistakes, mark the resting places of free settlers. A small hut was built on the island to house its succession of sole grave diggers, the most famous of whom was a wild Irishman with an uncontrollable temper who caused authorities endless trouble. No wonder Port Arthur Ghost Tours are so popular.
OVERNIGHT At: Port Arthur
The Candlestick, the Totem Pole, Cathedral Rock, Cape Pillar, Hippolyte Rock, the Lanterns and Tasman Island are just some of the features that will impress you on your walks. There’s something for everyone, from families and first-timers to experienced walkers. Choose anything from a gentle stroll of half an hour to the sheerness of beautiful Waterfall Bay, to an extended three-to-four-day walk from Waterfall Bay to Fortescue Bay.
Heading out of the Tasman Peninsula, take the alternative route to the east coast along the Wielangta Forest Drive between Copping and Orford, where rare parrots flash through tall eucalypt forests. Allow two hours for the drive.
Go to beautiful Shelley Beach near Orford. Walk the clifftop track from East Shelley to Spring Beach for superb sea and island views, then meet the locals and savour east-coast seafood at the local and popular Orford fish and chip shop.
OVERNIGHT At: Orford
From Orford, Hobart is a comfortable hour’s drive away. Take your time meandering through the historic townships of Buckland and Sorell before revisiting Hobart.
The Female Factory Historic Site and Island Produce Fudge Factory and Cascade Brewery will tempt you with their tours and products. If your accommodation allows you to prepare your own meals, be sure to sample the fresh vegetables from the stalls of the Hmong community at Salamanca Market every Saturday.
Leatherwood, a native rainforest tree, produces a distinctive flavour in local honey that is unique to Tasmania. Try the bush and clover honeys too. Our locally grown asparagus, exotic varieties of mushrooms, raspberries, cherries and stonefruit are also irresistible. And of course, no visit to Tasmania would be complete without sampling a selection of the state’s wonderful varieties of apples - we pride ourselves on producing the best.
A short drive from the river, in the cosmopolitan North Hobart restaurant strip of Elizabeth Street, you can take your pick from Indian, Thai, Italian, Mexican and other international cuisines. The same enticing variety is a feature of the ever-popular Taste of Tasmania, held annually over New Year to coincide with the finish of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - fun, food, wine and music.
Indulge or unwind at the end of your day at the Hobart Savoy Baths, a full health spa complex offering spas, sauna, steam room, massage and beauty treatments. Afterwards, there is plenty to keep you entertained, from pub rock and Irish jigs to the bright lights and high energy of Wrest Point Casino.
OVERNIGHT AT: Hobart
The Huon Trail, beginning south of Hobart, leads you through the Huon Valley and D’Entrecasteaux Channel and over to Bruny Island. The section through Taroona passes the world’s oldest round Shot Tower, where it’s a mere 318 steps to stunning views of the Derwent and surrounding suburbs.
Just half an hour from mainland Tasmania, Bruny Island is a microcosm of history, wildlife, fresh air and beaches. Allow yourself a day to explore it fully. Its beautiful coastline can best be appreciated by boat, so perhaps charter a vessel and visit a seal colony, or just lie back and observe sea eagles, gannets, albatross, shearwaters, gulls and cormorants as they hunt in these abundant waters.
At the southern end of the island are the wild beaches of Cloudy Bay and Cape Bruny Lighthouse, all within the South Bruny National Park. View the spectacular cliffs overlooking ocean that sweeps uninterrupted all the way to Antarctica. Penguins can be seen at The Neck Reserve at dusk.
OVERNIGHT AT: Bruny Island
Return to Kettering and follow the D’Entrecasteaux Channel farther south. Stay close to the water through the picturesque seaside villages of Gordon, Middleton and Verona Sands, or turn right at Woodbridge and climb into the hills for superb views over the Huon River.
The district of Cygnet is a fruit and wine-growing area, and home to potters, woodcraftspeople, craft shops, antique shops and tea rooms. At The Deepings, at Nicholls Rivulet, you can watch a family of Deepings dolls being turned and hand-painted. Cool-climate wines and fruit liqueurs can be sampled at Hartzview, Panorama and Home Hill vineyards.
The commercial hub of the valley is Huonville, and items from its apple-growing heritage are displayed nearby at Grove’s Apple & Heritage Museum. Stop at a roadside stall, drop your money in the honesty box and try delicious berries and crunchy apples in season. Visit Doran’s Jam Factory, or explore Atlantic salmon farms on a cruise from Port Huon.
An hour’s drive south of Huonville are Cockle Creek and Recherche Bay, part of a magnificent coastal region of white sand beaches and deep blue water. This is as far south as it is possible to drive in a conventional vehicle. If you are feeling energetic the four-hour return walk to South Cape Bay takes you to exhilarating views over the Great Southern Ocean. On your return drive, you will pass the Tahune Forest Airwalk and Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs, but due to time constraints, visits are probably best left until tomorrow.
Accommodation available throughout the Huon Valley includes holiday units, colonial accommodation, host farms, B&Bs with welcoming hosts, hotels, motels and caravan parks.
OVERNIGHT AT: The Huon Valley
Visit the large limestone caves at Hastings, where it is also possible to swim year-round in the thermal swimming pool set in an attractive fern glade. Experience the adventure of wild caving on a three-hour or six-hour guided tour in King George V Cave.
At Geeveston, visit the superb Forest and Heritage Centre, which displays speciality timbers and quality woodcraft and presents information on forest practices, the Arve Road Forest Drive and bushwalks in the Hartz Mountains.
Head back to Hobart for a late afternoon departure. The driving time from Huonville is a comfortable 45 minutes.