There are two things that top just about every other pleasure in the world – writing and travelling ( for me anyway). I have had a chance to do a little bit of both these past two years.
Two friends and I had been sitting on the idea of a graduation trip for some time. We finally decided to put it into action in September. We wanted an environment slightly different from Singapore’s, and Tasmania fit perfectly. Tasmania’s natural beauty and laidback lifestyle are a fresh change from the skyscrapers and hustle and bustle of Singapore.
We had deliberately timed our trip such that we would get a morning at the popular Salamanca Market – an outdoor market that is set up every Saturday. It had a variety of local produce and food, and we spent our morning sampling everything we could. We grabbed some coffee, German bratwursts and baked potatoes.
The afternoon comprised of a trip to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. I had assumed that this was similar to a zoo. It is actually a wildlife rescue service that is funded through the entry fee of visitors. The sanctuary aims to rescue and heal animals until they are well enough to return to the wild. All of the staff here were incredibly friendly and their love for the animals was obvious. (My favourite part of this was playing with the Kangaroos)
Our day ended with Fish and Chips, and some of the freshest Bruny Island Oysters at Fish Frenzy. I was never a huge fan of oysters but the oysters I tried here left me craving to come back for the rest of the trip.
Our Day two comprised of a trip up to Mount Wellington. We had planned on hiking down to the Cascade Brewery, grabbing some beers and lunch, and then heading up to Mount Wellington. Coming from Singapore and its mountains ( which really are just big hills), we hadn’t quite estimated the distance of the hike we were planning.
We started off our hike pretty well, came to a dead-end at an old closed off trail to the brewery and then ended up cabbing down to it 🙂 The Cascade Brewery is the oldest operating brewery in Australia. It provides a guided tour on the history of the brewery and the types of beers it hosts. We were really set on climbing Mount Wellington so we skipped this, grabbed a couple of pints and lunch and headed off. Aside from the really good beers, the restaurant serves really good food.
Our trek up to Mount Wellington wasn’t turning out very successful either so we cabbed up to the mountain as well. The journey up to Mount Wellington is absolutely stunning, and the views from the peak were breathtaking. We ended up waiting to catch the sunset before heading back.
My friends and I were really keen on taking a tour of Port Arthur. It looked beautiful in all the pictures we had seen and there was a nightly ghost tour (which we were really curious about). Our third day was set aside for this.
Port Arthur is one of Australia’s most important heritage sites. It was an exile colony for hardened British convicts in the 18th and 19th century. It is currently preserved as an open-air museum.
I have to say, I was pretty impressed by how Port Arthur managed to provide tours of the island while being respectful towards the convicts it had housed. Upon entrance, visitors are given a card each. Each card is matched to a drawer (as in the picture below) and when pulled out, the drawer details the life of the convict who had spent his or her time at Port Arthur. This was pretty cool and informative.
On the topic of our ghost tour though! It wasn’t the kind of creepy we thought it would be. There were tales of the lives of convicts and their hardships intertwined with spooky encounters people had had over the years, in the penitentiary or the church. It was eerie at that time of the night but it wasn’t scary.
Also, slightly before our trip into Port Arthur, we managed to fit in some other sights at the Tasman National Park. We had a really friendly Uber who showed us around the park.
We had another half day in Tasmania for breakfast before catching a plane to Melbourne. The three days there definitely left an impression though and I already want to head back.
On a funny note!
My friends and I had been expecting the spring season when we headed down and our beach clothes and light outfits were ready. There was a lot of planning on aesthetic pictures in the sun. As a precaution, we had thrown in a warm top or two, and a few jackets, just in case it got colder than we’d planned on.
There was, as in all trips with friends, just a slight hitch. Winter hadn’t quite passed Tasmania and the hottest temperatures in the days were at 15-16 degree Celsius. The temperature easily dipped 3-degree Celsius at night. Which was a pretty big shock.
But we eventually learnt to work around it by layering clothes and being back in by 6pm on most days.