Tassie Trip (Day 3):  Salamanca Markets to Launceston

img_3047Our Saturday started with an early morning visit to the world-famous ‘Salamanca Markets’.  What a coincidence that we just happened to be in Hobart on the day of the markets …. Ok, maybe a little bit of secret planning on Shelly’s part!

In 1974 local traders established the first Salamanca Market and this was taken over by Hobart City Council and really came into its own as a tourist attraction by the 1980’s.

Every Saturday morning, Salamanca Place comes alive with market stalls filled with fresh Tasmania produce and plenty of other goodies. The street is filled with about 300 stallholders setting up to sell their wares for the day.  There is so much variety on offer, including fresh fruit and vegetables, clothing & jewellery, toys, gifts & souvenirs and plenty of handmade arts of craft items.  Of course there is plenty of yummy food around for you to try as well.

Attraction InformationSalamanca Market is open every Saturday from 8am until 3pm at Salamanca Place, Hobart

After a morning at the markets it was time to head off to Launceston, our home for the next two nights.  We decided to head up the coastal road which took a little longer, but the views were definitely worth it.

On the way we called in to Bicheno.  This is a very picturesque town on the east cost of Tasmania, approximately half way between Hobart & Launceston, on the coast.  We called in here as everyone had told us how beautiful it was and how good the seafood was …… well the beautiful part we will agree with, but the seafood part we didn’t really find unfortunately.  Although George did enjoy an overpriced crayfish roll.


OK so now George was really wanting some decent seafood!  We asked at our hotel and we were recommended to go to Cataract on Paterson as it was probably the best restaurant in Launceston.  Luckily we were able to get a late booking for dinner, so off we went.  Wow, this place certainly didn’t disappoint …. the venue, the food and the staff and service was all impeccable, we couldn’t fault any part of our night.

Cataract on Paterson is located about 5min from the centre of the Launceston CBD.  The venue itself is slightly industrial inside, but still warm and welcoming with its quirky features.  The menu was a contemporary mix of Tasmanian produce with plenty of choice for all tastes.  They also offer their interactive dining experience that serves your meal cooking at your table on a 400 degree volcanic stone!  Neither of us had this, but our dessert did come on a frozen stone!

Attraction Information:  Cataract on Paterson is located at 135 Paterson Street, Launceston

Telephone:  03 6331 444

Website:  http://www.cataractonpaterson.com.au






Tassie Trip Day 2: Exploring

Located within the Tasman National Park you’ll find Tasman Arch, Devils Kitchen and The Blow Hole.  The coastal scenery found here is beautiful and reminded us of the coastline around Kalbarri in WA.   It’s the rugged beauty of these sea cliffs and the sheer drops that make this place so popular.


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Tasman Arch

You can’t have a visit to the blowhole without trying out the seafood from the “Doo-lishus” foodtruck which is conveniently located in the car park for the blowhole.  We enjoyed our scallops and chips, not cheap, but it was a pleasant surprise to find this in the middle of nowhere!


Just past Eaglehawk Neck we came across this quirky little village called “Doo Town”.

Apparently in 1935 an architect by the name of Eric Round started a tradition when he named his shack “Doo I”.  This apparently caught on and now nearly every shack in this seaside village has it’s own Doo name … Doodle Doo, Love Me Doo, Doo U, Xanadu, Dr Doolittle, Rum Doo.


Attraction Information:  Doo Town, Tasman Arch, Devils Kitchen and The Blowhole are about 1 hour or so drive south of Hobart.


We arrived back in Hobart after a long day, but it wasn’t over yet!  We had read about Street Eats which are held in the city every Friday night during summer.  Food trucks are spread around the park offering various types of food ….. tip, get there early as they do sell out as we found out!  It’s a great atmosphere though as people are everywhere sitting around on picnic blankets munching away on food and listening to the live band.

We then took a walk along the waterside of Sullivan’s Cove/Constitution Dock where the famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race ends.



There was a lot of activity around this area as it’s full of restaurants and bars that are now occupying the old historic buildings.


Tassie Trip Day 2: Port Arthur

We were both excited to visit Port Arthur and what better way to spend our 5th wedding anniversary!

The story of the Port Arthur Historic Site is a story of many people, places and moments.  It wasn’t only a prison for convicts, over the years it was also home to military personal and free settlers.


It’s had a very long history and one of many hardships, but to be able to walk in a place with so much history and so many stories is a privilege.  It’s a testament to the amazing people who protect and restore our heritage like this for us to enjoy.

Britain started transporting convicts to Australia from about 1788.  Most were sent here for very minor crimes by today’s standards, and these included many woman and children as well.  It was very rare that any returned home after their sentence.


The Pydairrerme people were the traditional owners of the land that we now know as Port Arthur.  The Port Arthur penal settlement began life as a small timber station in 1830, using convict labour to produce sawn logs for government projects.

By 1840 more than 2000 convicts and soldiers lived at Port Arthur and it was now a major industrial settlement producing many things, predominately boats and ships.

The last convicts left and Port Arthur closed in 1877.  From then the site was renamed IMG_0158Carnarvon and land was divided up with people taking up residence in and around the old site.

Severe fires in 1895 and 1897 destroyed many of the old buildings and gutted the Penitentiary, Separate Prison and Hospital, but the new residents were determined to create a livable township for themselves. Subsequently they built more buildings and amenities such as a post office, cricket club and lawn tennis club.

With the settlement’s later closure came the first tourists.  By the 1920’s the Port Arthur area had three hotels, two museums and guides, they were definitely starting to cater for the many tourists, nothing has changed to this day.


Ship Building at Port Arthur

One of the greatest problems facing the authorities of Port Arthur was balancing the need to punish the convicts against needing to make the station a profitable enterprise. Convicts could not simply spend their days getting flogged and rotting in a cell, they needed to be reformed through a combination of religion, education and trade-training.IMG_0199

Ship building was introduced on a large-scale to Port Arthur in 1834 as a way of providing selected convicts with a useful skill they could take with them once freed. Only those convicts deemed well-behaved and receptive to training were allowed to work at the dockyard. Up to 70 convicts were employed at the yard at its height, with the majority engaged in the menial task of cutting and carrying timber. The remaining convicts were the carpenters, blacksmiths, caulkers, coopers and shipwrights who actually built the vessels.

Fifteen large ships and over 140 smaller vessels (from whale boats, to rowboats and punts) were launched from the two slipways. These ships were known for their craftsmanship and durability, with one, the 270-ton Lady Franklin, enjoying over 40 years of service. The hull for a steamer, the Derwent, was even constructed at the Port Arthur dockyards. The yard was also used as a regular servicing lay-by for ships plying the busy east coast route, vessels often hauling in for refit and repair.

Though successful, the ship building operations at Port Arthur ceased on a large-scale in 1848. A growing colonial economy, recovering after a severe depression in the early 1840s, meant that private ship builders did not want to compete against a government yard producing ships at a cheaper rate and lobbied for its closure.

Today the site of the dockyards is a short walk from the main settlement. The original Master Shipwright’s residence still stands, as does one of the original slipways. A later building, the Clerk of Works’ residence, also stands on the location of one of the original dockyard sawpits and a later blacksmith.

Source:  This section was taken from https://portarthur.org.au/history/history-timeline/


Isle of the Dead Cemetery Tour

IMG_0172We chose to do this optional tour as, well when has Shelly ever turned down the opportunity to visit a cemetery!

A short ferry ride and you arrive on this small island which was the final resting place of more than 1000 convicts, soldiers and civilians who were buried there between 1833 and 1877.  This is a guided tour and you get a great insight into the life and death of some of Port Arthur’s residents.


Once on the island you realise that there are two very distinct burial sections.  The convicts were buried in unmarked graves on the low southern end, while the military personnel and free civilians were buried in marked graves with quite elaborate headstones.  These are all located on the top of the island, on the high northern end.  The story is that convicts were the lowest of the low and looked down on in life so it was only fitting that they were looked down on in death.  I’m guessing the only positive thing from this is that after 1850, some of the convicts were allowed to have headstones.  We really do have a very sad history.

It was a very quiet place and quite haunting in many ways as you hear the stories of these poor people who were buried in unmarked graves without a future thought.  The fact that there were so many graves on the island meant that we would have actually been walking over the top of people’s graves.  Very interesting tour and highly recommended, but a very somber tour as well.



IMG_0272Unfortunately one of the first things many people think about when you hear Port Arthur is not the tortured past, but the more recent horrific massacre and Australia’s worst mass murder that occurred there on Sunday 28th April 1996.  The events from that day will forever remain in our memories as we think of the many lives that were lost.  Within the grounds they have a small plaque mentioning the names of the people who lost their lives.  This sits discretely within the Memorial Garden to honour these people and the tragic events that unfolded that day.


Port Arthur is one of eleven historical places that form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property.  These sites are spread throughout Australia and together they tell the story of Australia’s convict heritage.

Attraction Information:  Your entry ticket includes entry to the site for 2 consecutive days, a short walking tour, a harbour cruise and access to over 30 buildings across the 100 acres of grounds.  You can also purchase separate optional tours such as the Isle of the Dead Cemetery Tour, Point Puer Boys’ Prison Tour or Ghost Tour.

Port Arthur is open 7 days a week.

Telephone:  1800 659 101

Email:  reservations@portarthur.org.au

Website:  www.portarthur.org.au

The good thing is that proceeds from your entry fees contribute to the ongoing conservation and development of the Port Arthur sites.

When you purchase your tickets you are given a playing card.  You can then go and find your matching card to read the story about one of the convicts.

I think everyone will take something different from their visit to Port Arthur.  As you hear about and feel the stories of the convicts, soldiers and free people you can’t help but immerse yourself into their history and situation.  They say that Port Arthur’s tale is told in many ways and it will stay with you long after you leave, and that’s definitely true.


Tassie Trip Day 1: Hobart & Surrounds

Wow, what a beautiful place Tasmania is.  We were both overwhelmed by just how stunning the scenery was.  From the historic towns and buildings to the green rolling hills, the wineries, national parks and large expanses of water ….. this place has such diversity and it’s natural beauty is breathtaking.  We may have only had 5 days there, but we saw a lot and it gave us a great introduction to this amazing place and we will definitely be back again for sure.

IMG_0132So, now we are back home and we will try to share a few blog posts about our adventures, starting now!

Day 1 was an early start to drive out to the airport for our flight.  Knowing what Sydney traffic is like, we left home at 5am, but we were still cutting things fine.  Leaving at 5am for a 7.35am flight nearly wasn’t early enough!

img_2937We arrived in Hobart and were welcomed by rain, not the ideal start to our trip.  And things were only about to get worse, we went to pick up our hire car only to find that it had two bald front tyres.  Now giving a car like this to someone like George who has worked in the tyre and mechanical industry his whole life was not a good move at all!  We won’t publically mention this particular company, but we can’t say we were impressed and can’t say we were overly happy with their service at the time.  Eventually we were given another car, in fact a better car, and we were on our way to start exploring …. Albeit a lot later than we expected.

We took a drive into the town centre (where parking cost us a whole $1.20 an hour!, we certainly weren’t in Sydney anymore!) and started exploring. Luckily the rain had disappeared and the clouds were starting to burn off for a hot and sunny day.

Salamanca Place is one of Tasmania’s best known landmarks and is renowned for its beautiful historic buildings and warehouses and there are certainly plenty of them.  Salamanca Place was established as a warehouse and storage area close to the existing waterfront in the 1830’s. Nowadays these buildings house art studios, clothing and craft stores, pubs, restaurants, cafes and galleries.

img_2951Next on our list was Willie Smiths Apple Shed  which is home of Willie Smith’s Cider, one of George’s favourites!

The main building is a large rustic barn which houses a mini museum featuring many relics from the past and lots of interesting information.  This building is beautiful and very well presented, the perfect place to relax with a meal or a drink, which is exactly what George did, trying out one of their tasting paddles.

They do run distillery tours which probably would have been interesting, but we didn’t have time to do one of these unfortunately.


Inside the main building you will find their infamous apple wall which contains over 390 varieties of apples – who knew there were so many different varieties of apples!



Attraction Information:  The Willie Smiths Apple Shed is located about 1/2 hour drive from Hobart and is open every day, check their website for opening hours.

2064 Huon Highway,  Grove 7109 TAS

Telephone:  (03) 6266 4345

Email:  appleshed@williesmiths.com.au

Website:  http://www.williesmiths.com.au

img_2958Of course you couldn’t have a visit to Hobart without taking a drive up to Mount Wellington, or as it’s officially known, Kunanyi / Mount Wellington, incorporating its Palawa kani name.  This mountain provides the perfect backdrop to Hobart.  There is a sealed road up to the summit and plenty of walking tracks as well.  The views from the lookouts along the way are pretty amazing and I’m guessing the view from the summit would be even better ….. not that we would know!  Below are our photos we took from the summit ….. yes there was a little bit of cloud around!

IMG_0137Although only about 30min drive from Hobart, the mountain is a 1270 metre alpine peak and does have extreme weather conditions at all times of the year.  The day we were there it was hot and sunny at the bottom of the mountain and cloudy, cold and windy at the summit!


This was our view from the summit …… down there below the clouds is Hobart!