Tasmania series: Hobart and Port Arthur

Fabulous Salamanca Markets setting

Fabulous Salamanca Markets setting

Alex and I have booked a ten day holiday to Tasmania, the most southern state of Australia with its city of Hobart just a short flight from our home state of Melbourne.

During our 10 days we will travel by car in an anti-clockwise direction from Hobart in the south, across to the west coast to Strahan, finally making our way in a north-east direction, finishing our journey in Launceston.

Some of the attractions we plan to visit along the way include:

  • visiting the Salamanca Market and Mt Wellington in Hobart;
  • exploring the Port Arthur Historic Site;
  • two night’s stay in the pretty port town of Strahan which will include a cruise down the beautiful Gordon River; and
  • walking the spectacular Cataract Gorge in Launceston. 

In our future I also see there might be a visit to both the Wrest Point Casino in Hobart and the Country Club Launceston Casino (not problem gamblers!).

We have pre-booked our flights, accommodation and hire car and are super keen to go.

Departing Melbourne on a Friday night, our holiday begins with a 1.5 hour flight to Hobart.  We pick up the pre-booked hire car at the compact Hobart Airport and make our way to the Mercure.

We hired a Ford??

We hired a Ford??

Our one bedroom apartment is well sized and includes lots of fancy stuff like bathrobes and a coffee machine.  In no time Alex has slipped into his crisp white bathrobe and is making us coffee… you are the best Alex, even in your bathrobe.

We wake to a bright Saturday morning and check out the view of Hobart from our balcony of the Mercure.

Hobart from the Mercure balcony

Hobart from the Mercure balcony

Downtown Hobart view from the Mercure

Downtown Hobart view from the Mercure

Saturday morning in Hobart for a tourist means one thing… a visit to the Salamanca Market. Given we are touring Tasmania, that includes us, so off we head to Salamanca Place to explore the market.

With Hobart being quite compact, we could walk to the market from the Mercure.  However, we take the car and in our defence, we drive there purely because we intend to set off to Port Arthur once finished exploring at the market.

The setting for the Salamanca Market is gorgeous. Its surroundings make the Salamanca Market the attraction it is.  Colourful gazebos literally spring up along the length of the original sandstone buildings along Salamanca Place.  These buildings also hold permanent shops, pubs and restaurants making it a popular meeting spot or a great place to enjoy a meal or drink (even after the market has disappeared).

The Salamanca Market is a straight up and down strip of market stalls selling a large variety of local produce and arts and crafts. 

Street view down the length of the Salamanca Market

Street view down the length of the Salamanca Market

Even with the market being set out in a single straight line, somewhere early along the strip, Alex and I become separated… I blamed Alex and naturally Alex blamed me…

With the market taking only a couple of hours to fully explore, including stopping for a bite along the way, we return to the car and head off for the drive to Port Arthur.

The drive of approximately 100km to the Port Arthur Historic Site takes us about 1.5 hours directly along the Tasman and Arthur Highways.

Port Arthur Historic Site is a former penal settlement and now historic site.  Port Arthur was where all the convicts from Britain where shipped to as punishment for crimes committed. Sometimes these crimes were nothing more than stealing food items to feed their family.

The site is located in a beautiful setting and is a fascinating and fun place to explore with more than 30 historic buildings to visit.  For more information about the Port Arthur Historic Site look at my previous post.

Building remains

Building remains

Alex and I arrive at Port Arthur early afternoon and look at the ticket options at the ticket desk. The tickets are quite expensive but we decide on a ticket which will allow us access for the afternoon, a ghost tour that night and a return visit the following day.  Our return visit tomorrow also includes a guided tour and 30 minute cruise around the harbour.

So with a plan in place we set off for the afternoon to explore the various buildings, ruins and grounds of the historic site at our own pace. 

Port Arthur Historic Site

Port Arthur Historic Site

Port Arthur is one of Tasmania’s most popular attractions and well worth even a brief visit.

Once done for the day, we head to our pre-arranged accommodation in a local “cabin”.  With our cabin located locally this gives us plenty of time to check in, have dinner at the local hotel and head back to the Port Arthur Historic Site for our night ghost tour.

Alex thought the ghost tour was really spoooooky and scary… aaaaahhh!!!!  Not really… ok…, maybe Alex got a bit scared but it was generally just a fun and cool thing to do and a different way to experience the buildings and grounds… in the dark.

It has been a big day and with Alex still reeling from the Ghost Tour we try and get some sleep back at our cabin.  Tomorrow we head back to the Port Arthur Historic Site for a guided tour of the grounds.[showmyads]

For previous Tasmania series post see Tasmania Australia from Hobart to Launceston via Strahan
For next Tasmania series post see Port Arthur Historic Site and Richmond Bridge