Hollywood Hobart on the Cold Coast
By Maggie Videan
This is the story I don’t want anyone to read. Please don’t visit. I would like to find Hobart the same; a quiet, mostly forgotten township oozing with mix of a historic charm and organic character.
Unlike its sun bleached vacation rivals of the northern states, Hobart is best visited when it is a bit nippy. It makes for an easy getaway, as there is enough to do over a weekend to recharge your batteries without wearing you out.
Nestled behind Australia’s second oldest city is Mt. Wellington which is 1,270 feet above sea level. Hobart has Australia’s first legal casino, Wrest Point. Near Hobart is the convict historical town of Port Arthur. It still holds the world record for the worst massacre by a single gunman. Thirty-six dead. Sadly, that puts them on the map.
Hobart is best known as the destination point for the Sydney to Hobart race. I imagine that standing along the harbour front watching those yachts turn in would be quite spectacular. So, for those of us not fortunate enough to herald in the race competitors, the harbour sights and activities are just as appealing.
If your budget can stretch to the Henry Adams Hotel in the old IXL factory, that would be the premium choice for a sleepover. It’s close to everything and it’s so very charming. No matter, if you decide the Grand Chancellor is more to your liking or any other place you find, you can still enjoy a pre-dinner drink in one of its cosy bars.
All points of interest can be easily accessed on foot. Start out by just walking around the foreshore. The Elizabeth Street Pier has a range of bars and eateries to choose from. There is even accommodation above the eating complex. A whole array of boats, some resembling old sailing rigs and a multitude of fishing vessels cruise in an out. Squawking gulls and fish loving birds congregate waiting for a handout. People saunter, sit or just stand and look out to the ocean. It does take some doing to slow right down to a Hobartian pace.
The Salamanca markets are a must on Saturday morning. Set in amongst a line of elegant 1840 sandstone terraces all in a row, the markets are a bustling, music filled and a happy place to be.
Even if you are not stocking up on your groceries for the week, the fresh, often home grown produce is a joy to behold. Bunches of wild flowers, bundles of lavender, fruit based products like whole fruit ‘straps’ and fruit cordials, sensational jams (of note- Gennaro’s Late Summer Apricot Jam and Gennaro’s Cherries in Grappa – fabulous to drop into a glass of champagne!), oils, hand spun wool items, are readily available as are funny antique and old ware sellers, and purveyors of all things kitsch and Tasmanian. Who could resist a hand knitted possum beanie or matching Tasmanian tiger and Tasmanian devil oven mitts.
Just behind the markets in a small square is a nest of little cafes, ideal to park oneself for a nice brunch before searching out the perfect wood turned Huon Pine salad bowl. The author found herself angling over the same wooden item as one K Rudd. There is however, no guarantee that your shopping compatriots will be as lofty as the PM!
In the evening, when market time is over, the street is returned to its original simple line of sandstone buildings that host great bars and restaurants. Take your pick, take your time and think about what you plan not to do the next day. Sunday, is of course a day of rest.