How deep is your port?

Trip Start Aug 24, 2008
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Trip End Jul 07, 2009


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Flag of Australia  , Tasmania,
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Back in Hobart we had two days to explore before our flight to New Zealand. On the first morning we went in search of bacon and eggs and found them in a very nice cafe. We devoured our breakfasts, which were delicious, and then went to catch the bus up Mount Wellington. Hobart is a port by the sea, surrounded by mountains, the highest of which is Mount Wellington. We took the bus to the top. Luckily it was a gorgeous day with blue sky so we could see for miles. The view over Hobart was amazing and we could see all the mountains in the distance. There was quite a lot of snow up there too so it looked a bit like France or Switzerland. It was so pretty that we took far too many photos. We took the bus back down and went for lunch in a cafe where we had pie. We sat outside in the sun by a giant chess set and watched all the office workers having lunch in the posh restaurants. After lunch it was our intention to go to the Cadbury Factory (sister of the one in Birmingham) but we were told by the lady selling us bus tickets that the factory was closed; only the shop was open. We decided it was not worth the long bus journey just to go to a chocolate shop so instead we walked to the Botanical Gardens. It was a long walk but the gardens were pretty with their Autumn colours. We saw a Japanese garden, a fountain made of trees and a room full of cacti. It was peaceful and pretty. We stopped off at the supermarket on the way back and made ourselves burgers for dinner.

The following day we had booked ourselves on a tour of Port Arthur, a former penal colony near Hobart. We were picked up by our crazy guide who spent the whole day cracking jokes. He also informed us that Hobart has the second deepest port in the world after Sao Paulo, hence the title of this entry. He took us to a view point so that we could look over the Tasman Bridge and told us the story of how it was hit by a ship in the 70s and the ship and the cars that fell off the bridge are still in the harbour, complete with the bodies. We then looked at a few pretty views, including a German 'castle' that looked more like a car park to me. We the stopped off in the town of Richmond, which reminded me of the set of last of the Summer Wine. It had beautiful countryside with orange and red trees all around it, and farms, sheep and cows grazing on the hills. We wandered around, looking at the beautiful Georgian buildings and sandstone. They looked like the house from Pride and Prejudice.We looked at the tiny church and the old jail and walked across Australia's oldest bridge. It was like a village in the Cotswolds. From here we travelled to the coast, stopping at some viewpoints to look over the beaches and cliffs. We visited the dogline, where a line of dogs used to stop prisoners escaping across this tiny strip of land that connects Port Arthur with the rest of Tasmania. Next we visited the Tasman Arch, a huge arch made out of rock and the Devil's Kitchen, another one where the arch had collapsed into the sea. They were very impressive, with great sea views. From here we headed to Port Arthur. We ate lunch by the fountain in some gorgeous gardens, surrounded by trees with golden leaves and a pretty fountain. Then we had a look around. Between 1803 and 1853 Port Arthur was used as a prison for convicts sent from Britain and Ireland, but it is now in ruins. It didn't feel like a prison because it was so pretty. It was surrounded by forest with the harbour on one side and beautiful gardens and little cottages. We looked around the church with no roof and some cottages full of flowery wallpaper, and then looked in the actual prison. The cells were tiny, and we were especially horrified by the pitch black soundproof confinement chamber that people could be sent to for 30 days. Most went mad within 3 days. We took a cruise around the beautiful harbour to see the island where they buried the convicts who died. Back on land we looked around the hospital and some houses belonging to guards. The asylum looked like a church so it was hard to imagine the terrible conditions that must have been there. We had a quick look around the museum and the gift shop, but soon it was dark and time to return to Hobart. We watched a documentary on Tasmanian devils on the bus on the way back.
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