The title of this post is a quote from the Tasmanian license plates, and I definitely feel like this is a place for exploration and adventures. I have only seen Hobart (the state capital) so far, but it seems so far removed from the rest of Australia… well I suppose it is 150 miles south of the mainland. It is so relaxed and feels slightly European, and also similar to New Zealand. I get the feeling I am going to like it… really like it!
High on my agenda for this trip to Australia are Tasmania and Western Australia, as I haven’t visited either of them before. It seems I may be able to tick these off my list. Yes!
Since my arrival from Sydney I have been staying in a hostel; exploring Hobart and making friends. I have also purchased a bicycle and all the gubbins that go with it, in preparation for my slightly adventurous (for me anyway) cycle tour of the state. The notion came to me when my boyfriend and I were driving around New Zealand recently, witnessing cyclists touring the country made me think, “I could do that”. So I’m going to give it a go, why not?!
Tasmania is 26,383 sq miles and has a population of about 500,000 people. Compared to other locations which are similar in size – Ireland’s population is a little over 4 million and Switzerland 7.5 million – it is quite under-populated.
Tasmania is similar geographically to New Zealand and is Australia’s most mountainous state. Much of the island is dense forest and because of its rugged landscape there are many rivers. It should be interesting.
I am not ready just yet to commence my cycle tour, I am going to a ‘help exchange’ family beforehand. This won’t be my first help exchange experience; I have been to 4 in the past and got on really well. I will let you know how this one goes. Tomorrow I set off for their house just outside of Hobart, near Mount Wellington.
Whilst in Hobart I have been out and about, visiting some of the “must do’s” (mainly the free ones) which include:
- MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) – a privately run controversial art museum which is a little pricey, especially if you get the ferry which I did, but is worth the pennies. It is an outrageous, quirky and fascinating experience (more about MONA below).
- The Domain and Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens – beautiful.
- Battery Point – old maritime village which is a tight nest of lanes and 19th-century cottages.
- Constitution Dock – on the Derwent River.
- Salamanca Place – old sandstone warehouses hosting cafes, restaurants and galleries (unfortunately I haven’t been here on a Saturday morning for the famous markets yet).
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery – it made me a little ashamed to be English after learning all about what they did to the Aboriginals when they colonised Tasmania. Barbaric.
- State Library of Tasmania.
- Elizabeth Street Mall.
So… about MONA. This is what comes up when you search for it on Google –
“Mona: a museum, or something. In Tasmania, or somewhere. Catch the ferry. Drink beer. Eat cheese. Talk crap about art. You’ll love it.”
For $50 AUD (£30) you get to travel “cattle class”, literally – with the sheep and a cow – on the ‘MONA-ROMA 1’ ferry and entry to “The world’s most far-out museum” (as quoted by CNN Travel).
Photos taken in MONA (WARNING – images of a sexual nature included) –
As you walk around MONA you press the ‘O’ on the handset you’re given, which tells you the name of the artwork and artist, and if you press ‘Art wank’ you get a little info about it, and if you press ‘Gonzo’ you get info from David Walsh (the museum owner) and his friends. You can also press ‘Love’ or ‘Hate’ depending on your opinion of the art. An interesting museum to say the least. Check out the website http://www.mona.net.au for more info.
Bye for now.