Winter in Tasmania: Hobart

Last long weekend (we made it a 5 day weekend :), we went down to Tasmania, not sure what to expect exactly. We didn’t have any real plans, only thing we planned was a cabin at the Cradle Mountain Lodge, and four consecutive nights in Hobart (which I booked before the cabin, which meant we were going to forfeit one night there), making Hobart our hub to explore the island.

PlaneWe got up early Saturday morning (3:30 am) to fly with Virgin Blue to Hobart (passing through Melbourne). We arrived in Hobart around 10:15, and picked up our rental car from EuropCar. There was a queue because their computer system was down (tip ctrl+alt+delete :), so there was a bit of a wait. Not a happy start to our holiday. As expected, it was raining in Hobart, and from the forecast, it looked to be rain for five days.

But spirits were high, and we arrived at our hotel at “somewhere past 11”, too early to check in. But no worries, we could leave our baggage behind and park the car in the hotel’s garage. We went straight to the close-by Salamanca markets, which turned out to be the biggest, regular open air market I’ve seen  in Australia (true, haven’t seen that many markets here though). We had lunch at Tricycle (a crunchy BLT and delicious ham and pea soup). Because it was raining a bit, and the rest of the weather outlook, I bought some plastic pants at the local Katmandu, as an insurance policy as it were, just in case. At the Salamanca Square, there’s a salmon store which I couldn’t pass by without tasting some smoked Tasmanian salmon. At the same time, next door at Smolt, we made a reservation for dinner that night.

GardenIt was almost 14:00, time to check into the hotel, freshen up a bit in our room. We were staying at the LeisureInn on Macquarie Street. The room was small, but modern and decent, especially for the price of $79 a night. We got our rain gear on, and headed to the botanical gardens (something we try to visit in every city we pass), walking through the main Hobart shopping street. The Hobart botanical garden was a nice garden, nothing exceptional. Even in the rain, the Japanese garden looked great. We’d read about a ferry departing at the botanical garden, so we headed down to the water. Well, unfortunately it only goes out a couple of times a day, if it even still does do that, as we couldn’t see any reference to the ferry. Strange. Another thing to keep in mind is that there aren’t that many taxis around in Hobart. Kind of disappointed in this dreadful weather. So we headed back to the hotel on foot. (yes, we could have taken the car too, but then you don’t see that much of a town you’re visiting). Quick jump into the tiny shower, and then dinner at Smolt, which was pretty exceptional I’d say, strongly recommended!

Back in our hotel room, the (single glazed) window didn’t close (like a pinky wide gap). It is winter, and the hotel is on one of the busiest streets in Hobart with a lot of traffic, and it was Saturday night, and it was a long day for us, we weren’t to happy with this. And since it was the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, the hotel was fully booked and unable to give us another room, until the next day. We had to make a decision, stay here (it was cheap, decent rooms except the windows) or cancel. I started to look around for some options, though couldn’t decide yet. Next day we decided to cancel rest of our booking, which we had to do through Wotif. They ended up being very helpful actually!

Read on, day 2.

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