APT Royal Tasman Tour
October, 2006

Freycinet to Hobart

5th October, 2006
6th October, 2006
7th October, 2006

Thursday, 5th October, 2006

Spiky Bridge photograph

"Spiky Bridge" near Swansea

Drop Cap fter a spiffy breakfast we reluctantly bade farewell to the Freycinet Lodge and headed through Swansea to Copping, through a lovely forest on a dirt road which jerked the left hand mirror off the coach. We passed the "Spiky Bridge", a convict built affair with a peculiar spiky trim before arriving for a barely there coffee and biscuits at the incredible junk heap "museum" (which is really like any man's shed full of things he won't throw away - but on steroids!) at Copping.

Tesselated pavement photograph

Geometric Design of the Tesselated Pavement

Drop Cap fter this we had a brief photo stop at the Tessellated Pavement and Tasman Arch geological features. Unfortunately the fine weather broke today and we had to get out our raincoats and umbrellas. We had a look at Dootown, still there after 40 odd years, although Thistle Doo and Doo me Too seemed to have gone, before arriving at Port Arthur Historic site.

Tasman Arch photograph

Tasman Arch (geological feature) at Eaglehawk Neck

Penitentiary photograph

Ruins of the Penitentiary and Hospital, Port Arthur

Drop Cap e had a sandwich lunch here before our guided walk of the site, which was really just an overview. We saw the Penitentiary, the Asylum, the Model Prison and Chapel.

convict church photograph

Convict Church, Port Arthur

Drop Cap hen we strolled up to the Church, passing the Junior Medical Officer's, the Accountant's and the Parson's houses before walking back to the harbour to join our cruise around Point Puer and the Isle of the Dead.

Parsons house photograph

Parson's House, Port Arthur

Drop Cap t was all very interesting. We had been given a good brochure about Port Arthur and a playing card in the "Lottery of Life". These were coded with convict names and you could look them up. Mine was the three of diamonds which was a 13year old boy, transported for seven years for stealing a handkerchief. Mac had the Jack of Clubs, who was an embezzler, a "gentleman" convict, who the authorities regarded as a bad example and trouble maker. It was a very well done exhibit.

Massacre memorial photograph

Memorial to the Port Arthur Massacre

Drop Cap e saw the shell of the Broadarrow Cafe which had been at the centre of the Port Arthur Massacre ten years ago and was never repaired but left as it was with the addition of a memorial rose garden with a cross and plaque commemorating the victims.

Drop Cap e had a very filling dinner tonight. We both started with beef kebabs in a satay type sauce, then Mac had the roast of the day, pork, and I had the seafood platter: oysters, mussels, prawns, crumbed calamari and scallops, pickled octopus, smoked salmon, and a kebab of white fish all served on a caesar type salad. I couldn't finish it but they brought dessert anyway (it was a set menu). Mac had berry and apple crumble and I had brandy snaps (3!) filled with cream with passionfruit. Filled up to the gills - too much food lately. A light breakfast tomorrow, I think!

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Friday 6th October, 2006

Drop Cap e left this morning and did an optional detour to Remarkable Cave. On hearing there were 115 steps down, I passed and went to the lovely coastal seaview instead. When the others got back from the cave they told us that the access had been blocked off by a welded gate. Boo sucks! Some athletic member of the group hopped over it and took photos for all.

Richmond bridge photograph

Bridge at the Georgian Village of Richmond

Drop Cap fter that we had a pleasant run through nice country into the Georgian village of Richmond. We took photos of the famous bridge (oldest in Australia) backed by St. John's Catholic church, the oldest Catholic church in the country. We strolled through town, had hot chocolates and pastries at a lovely bakery (which put us off needing lunch) and saw the old gaol.

Bridge Inn photograph

The Bridge Inn at Richmond

Drop Cap hen we continued on into Hobart, through Risdon Vale, where Steve had his first church, then through Claremont, where we saw Claremont Primary School which Neil and Geoffrey attended for nearly a year.

We soon reached the Cadbury Chocolate Factory where we elected not to have lunch but sat and waited for our tour. Thirteen of us had chosen to go through the factory and it was very interesting with heady chocolate vapours wafting through. There seemed to be relatively few staff among the huge machines and enormous volumes of chocolates whizzing at high speeds along conveyor belts. We saw them making Freddos and Caramello Koalas, Favourites with huge amounts of caramels and turkish delights all going for a choc bath and great masses of cherry ripe rolled, chopped and similarly bathed. There was a huge robotic machine sorting and packing milk trays and if my knees and feet weren't about to give out climbing stairs I would have appreciated it more. They gave us all a box of Favourites at the end of the tour and Mac and I bought two large blocks of choc (Old Jamaica and Caramel Whip) much cheaper than the supermarket at their shop.

Japanese garden photograph

Rosemary at the Botanic Gardens, Hobart

Drop Cap hen we left we drove into Hobart to pick up the others from the Brewery and the walking tour and, passing the Hotel Grand Chancellor where we will be for two nights, drove to the Botanical Gardens. They were putting the final touches to their tulip festival and the tulips were just gorgeous! All colours and sizes. We strolled down to the lovely Japanese garden because I love them and it was gently tinkling with water features and little bridges, cherry blossom flying like snow in the wind. It was just a lovely sight.

Japanese Bridge photograph

Bridge at the Japanese Garden, Hobart

Drop Cap hen we came back to the Grand Chancellor and got our rooms. We have a wide view over downtown Hobart, a great desk with High Speed Broadband Internet Access (Geoff should be here, all that seafood and internet access as well!) We will be having a free dinner here tonight - most of the others are going out on "Dine Around" options but none of them appealed to us. So we are eating in. I'll report later.

Drop Cap ell, the "wonderful buffet" was full of seafood (which, to be fair, appeals to many people, just not Mac) and Japanese specialties like sushi etc, so after getting some oysters and sushi for an entree and Mac had a salad entree (both good, no problem) we both selected the roast beef carvery with roast vegetables and gravy. We were halfway through it when I asked the manageress for wine, as nobody had come to take an order and she was very apologetic and gave it on the house. It was a Western Australian Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, which I quite liked.
We both had lemon tart with cream and Mac doubled up with an apple and berry crumble and custard. Finished with strong coffee and a short walk along the waterfront just across the road.

Drop Cap omorrow, Salamanca Market, then Huon Valley. Hope the weather stays good.

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Saturday 7th October, 2006

St David's Park photograph

Colonial Tomb in St. David's Park, Hobart

Drop Cap e had a leisurely breakfast in our own time. Mac is not feeling too good, perhaps he ate too much last night.

We then trekked the three blocks up to Salamanca Place for the Saturday Market. This is very extensive, stretching the whole length of the Place. I bought two sets of very contemporary styled stainless steel salad servers as Christmas gifts and a little ceramic box for me, but resisted anything too expensive or heavy. I loved some of the boxes of Huon pine etc but they were pricey and I have a lot of them anyway. And I was tempted by the hand painted silk scarves but did not buy anything else.

We walked in St. David's Park for a while. This used to be a cemetery and still has some major tombs of colonial personages.

Semaphore tower photograph

Semaphore Tower, Mt. Nelson, Hobart

Drop Cap hen we walked back to the hotel, had some coffee and joined the coach for the climb to the Old Semaphore Station on Mount Nelson for a major panoramic view of Hobart and environs. It was interesting to see a "clacks" tower in real life.

Drop Cap hen off again to the Huon Valley, which used to be dedicated to apples, but no longer. Tony said it went bust when Britain joined the Common Market and stopped buying our apples but I remember when the Suez Canal was blocked for years, trapping many ships, some loaded with perishable cargoes of Tasmanian apples. This was a body blow to the industry, I heard.

Treetop Walk photograph

Tahune Airwalk Through the Treetops

Drop Cap e picked up a late, light lunch in Geeveston, gateway to the Southern Forests and continued through the beautiful forest to the Tahune Airwalk. Here we met Andrew, a Forestry guide, who told us lots about the various trees and took us on the Airwalk. This is a treetop walk through the rainforest, like the Valley of the Giants in Western Australia, but I think it is slightly more extensive. We walked among these huge trees and over the fast, white-capped Huon River, which gave us a very good look at the forest.

Huon River photograph

Looking Down on the Huon River

Drop Cap n the way home, we noticed quite a lot of smoke in the edges of the forest and wondered if Hazard Reduction was ongoing. But when we saw the Huonville CFA (or whatever it is called in Tasmania) heading for the smoke at speed under lights and siren, we agreed that it may not have been a HR.

Drop Cap ack to the hotel and we have to find our own meal tonight. I thought maybe Hogsbreath Cafe but Mac thinks it may be a bit raucous. We decided to try an Indian Restaurant, the Saffron, quite close to the hotel and it was very nice, tasty and filling as usual.

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