Through my eyes: watching the sun come up over West Hobart, Tasmania

We were so lucky to have had the most gracious Airbnb host when we visited Hobart earlier this year; Anne was so kind, friendly and thoughtful, making sure every little detail was taken care of for us. Including the tip to set the alarm early, bundle up and enjoy the sunrise from the decking….

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Perfect, much?

Bream Creek Farmers Market, Tasmania

Bream Creek Farmers Market
Held at the Break Creek Showgrounds, 138 Marion Bay Road, Tasmania
https://breamcreekfarmersmarket.com.au/

If you’re lucky enough to be around Hobart on the first Sunday of the month, you’ll be wanting to hire a car and take a drive, with the Bream Creek Farmers Market somewhere on the itinerary. We discovered it completely by accident when we visited last month, on our drive from Hobart to Port Arthur; I saw a sign for a farmers market, so we turned and followed the arrow and ended up at Bream Creek!

It’s a gorgeous little market, with some of Tasmania’s best produce coming out to play every month. Even more impressive is the fact that it’s run entirely by a volunteer committee with a passion for supporting the local community.

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After a year of successful market (they started back in December 2012), they gained enough popularity and notoriety to produce a cookbook, full of incredible recipes from the growers and locals, which I noticed being sold everywhere in Hobart and Port Arthur- they were even selling copies at the gift shop at the Port Arthur Historic Site!

They also have a wonderful concept of the “community stall,” best explained in their own words:

We are aware that some producers may not have enough stock to require an entire stall at each and every market, so we welcome you to make use of the BCFM Community Stall .  You might have a few bags of lemons or some freshly picked veggies – so bring them along!

All you have to do is bag or bunch your produce, clearly label with a price and pop into the Community Stall on the morning of the Market… Spend the morning shopping, socialising, listening to our great live music, relaxing on the beanbags and having a coffee and some lunch, then pop back into the Community Stall to collect your money and any leftover produce.  So easy!

 

It was pretty hard restraining ourselves, knowing that we only had limited luggage space coming home… Husband took some hot sauce home, and I got a nice big jar or apricot and walnut jam (actually the best jam ever) from Crooked Enterprises), and that most magnificent almond croissant you can see below (which was devoured with tea, coffee, and live music in the background)… soft and fluffy and perfect enough to rival any Melbourne hipster bakery. So happy we stumbled on this little market – it was picture perfect in the most stunning setting, with such a great atmosphere and seriously good food!

Shop here: Kookaburra Books & Antiques, Hobart (old books & antiques)

Kookaburra Books & Antiques
113 Hampden Rd, Hobart, Tasmania
https://m.facebook.com/Kookaburra-Books-Antiques-246204455412440/

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With a window full of antique teapots and cups, it would have been just about impossible for this place not to catch my eye. It’s only small, but it is literally FULL of treasures! It had some great antiques and clothing/shoes, but the real pot of gold was the collection of books…

 

I’ve trawled through a LOT of second hand book shops, and I’ve ever before seen a collection that has even come close to rivaling this one. Beautiful books, old books, rare, collectibles, readables… Leather bound, hard back, full collections, just a few… Poetry, classics, history books and old children’s book.

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How I walked out with only two is an absolute miracle (actually, probably more to do with the exorbitant amount Tiger Airways would have charged for excess luggage). If you’re a bookworm, this is an absolute MUST visit in Hobart!

Salamanca Market, Hobart

Salamanca Market
Open every Saturday 8am – 3pm (except Saturdays that fall on ANZAC or Christmas Day – then it’ll be on the Sunday of that weekend instead)
http://www.salamanca.com.au/

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So, wisdom teeth removal isn’t so fun. Not the worst surgical procedure I’ve had (and I have had a few), but not particularly fun either. Mostly because I can’t really eat anything at the moment. And I’m really hungry. And not only that, but it’s Friday, AKA the day before brunch day, and I can’t even brunch this weekend. So sad!

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But the good news is that you guys can all go out and enjoy something delicious! If you’re in Hobart, I’d recommend setting the day aside tomorrow to hit the Salamanca Market. Because that is one hell of a place to spend the day.

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For people like me who live for markets, this was one of the holy grails on my to-visit list. Husband actually visited without me last year while I was in Tokyo, and was hell-bent on getting back there with me. Easy to understand why when we arrived; it was actually the market my dreams are made of. First up, obviously, the food. Wow.

You can very (too) easily eat your way around 10 times over. There’s everything from crepes and gozleme to fresh berries and pastries; you can eat your tiny pancakes there or take your bread sticks and jam home for later. Just don’t miss out; this is not a time for calorie counting. Eat as much as you can, and take home as much as you can carry – the preserves and sauces and peanut butter you can find are amazing!

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There’s shopping, too! I’m a bit of a vintage/pre-loved trawler, so I had a great time sorting through the old stuff. I picked up a great bargain, too – an old measuring cup for a few dollars, which is now sitting proudly in my kitchen alongside a few vintage teapots 🙂

There’s new stuff, too – a prize pick would have to be the Mongrel Socks stand (big thanks to my sister-in-law for directing me here!), where you can get the absolutely most luxurious knitted pure Merino wool socks on the face of the planet. I almost had a pair until I noticed they did deliciously warm headbands, too, and grabbed myself one of those to get me through winter… and next year’s mega winter adventure 😉  Still considering a pair of socks though – thank goodness for online shopping!

Other goodies purchased included Tasmanian truffle salt, The Art of Tea Tasmanian breakfast tea and homemade shortbreads, as well as a whole lot of food that was eaten too quickly to photograph! I can’t believe it took me so long to get to Hobart to see this market – now that I’ve been, I’m already looking at a quick weekend trip to Hobart with the express purpose of visiting the market again  : )

Stay here: Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Australia

Hotel Grand Chancellor
1 Davey St, Hobart
http://www.ghihotels.com/hgc/hobart/hotels.aspx

I was lucky enough to be gifted a voucher for a night’s accommodation at any Hotel Grand Chancellor in Australia by my very generous boss at work last year, and I knew immediately that I wanted to use it during our visit to Tasmania over Easter; their property in Hobart is the most popular one on their roster, and for good reason!

Sitting right on the water, the hotel may not look like much from the outside with it’s older brown brick facade, but step inside and you’re in a completely difference world. The 4.5 star stunner has views of the Derwent River out one side and Mount Wellington out the other, so you’re not going to be disappointed either way; we were lucky enough to get a room with a view over the water…

It’s in the best location, a stone’s throw from pretty much everything, particularly the great food and bar district at Salamanca Place. If you can’t be bothered, though, they also have a bar and restaurant on site, as well as a pretty well decked-out gym and indoor heated pool area.

We stayed in a harbour view spa room, which was big, beautiful, open, bright and everything you could possibly want to end a trip with. If you’re thinking about staying, some of the other perks you’d get to enjoy are:
– big, comfy king beds
– work desk/station
– mini bar
– tea & coffee station
– hairdryer (I know the men don’t care, but the ladies do!)
– Peter Morrissey toiletries
– dry cleaning and laundry services
– room service
– 24 hour front desk
– on site parking (charges apply)
– post and parcel services
– currency exchange
– there’s even an on site hair dresser and massage services!

While I wouldn’t have been able to justify spending the money on something this nice before we visited (lead in rooms started at AUD$189.00 per night), being a very budget-conscious traveller, now that I’ve actually been I’d have no problem expanding the budget a little if I visited again to treat myself to a night or two here. I mean, look at the view from our room as the sun went down…

Through my eyes: Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania

Australia was basically founded as one big convict colony island. Despite the fact that we’re a really quite a young country, there really aren’t many (any?) places left where you can see that side of our history.

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From the website, “The Port Arthur penal settlement began life as a small timber station in 1830. Originally designed as a replacement for the recently closed timber camp at Birches Bay, Port Arthur quickly grew in importance within the penal system of the colonies.”

And who was shipped off to Port Arthur?
“After the American War of Independence Britain could no longer send her convicts to America, so after 1788 they were transported to the Australian colonies…. The convicts sent to Van Diemen’s Land were most likely to be poor young people from rural areas or from the slums of big cities. One in five was a woman. Numbers of children were also transported with their parents. Few returned home.”

And walking through the remains of the colony, from the prison building itself to the church, the asylum, the staff and family housing and the beautiful gardens, you start to get a real sense of how different things were for the convicts as opposed to the officers. Looking out over Carnarvon Bay, it was honestly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. It must have been such a bittersweet feeling, arriving into this picture-perfect place, knowing that you’d most likely never see freedom again.

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You can read about the rest of the history on the website, but the thing that really surprised me about the site was just how beautiful it was; I had no idea. It’s been really well looked after and restored, but even if it had been left to fall to ruins, the stunning natural setting is something else, particularly in Autumn when the sun is still shining and the leaves are turning…

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Through my eyes: road trip – Hobart to Port Arthur

I decided to go with a bit of a theme for the next week; Port Arthur.

Unfortunately, Port Arthur gained attention for all the wrong reasons 20 years ago, in 1996, as the site of Australia’s worst massacre. For personal reasons, that’s not something I want to write about… Instead, I want to talk about what Port Arthur should be known for; it’s one of the absolute most stunning places I’ve ever seen, and the site of one of Australia’s best-kept convict colonies.

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More of that soon, but first we have to get there! We drove from Hobart, which is only about a 90 minute drive, but we decided to drag it out and stop off at as many sweet little towns as possible on the way  : )

We had quite a few stops, including…

Sorell
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Forcett

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Copping
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Bream Creek
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The Federation Chocolate Factory (!!!)

Pirate’s Bay

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Tasman Arch and the blow hole
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Honestly, this was one of the best parts of the trip. Having the car meant that we got to stop off whenever we wanted. Any beautiful photo op we noticed (and there were a HEAP of those!), we pulled over and captured it. Any beautiful scene we drove through, we stopped to enjoy it. Yes, you can absolutely get there quickly; hell, you can even do it as a day trip from Hobart if you want, but why would you when you can take the slow path and enjoy every step?!