Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tasmania, Days 6-7


March 13, 2013

Tasmania has been a whirlwind week.  The crazy wild wind today is only a fraction of the wild weather this island state can get – signs blowing over, water flying out of the fountain, trees bending and leaves swirling like dervishes.  And of course on and off rain, because we’re just a small island in the midst of the Tasman Sea, buffeted by the weather.

Yesterday we went out to Bruny Island, a two-island island to the east of Hobart.  Actually, Bruny is one long island shaped almost like a figure 8 – large upper island, skinny isthmus, then large lower island.  We took the ferry from a town south of Hobart, drove all over Bruny (both North Bruny and South Bruny), and stopped at the penguin rookery.  This is basically a penguin colony site, but called a rookery.  Wandered along the boardwalks and looked into the burrows, but couldn’t find nary a 
penguin.  We did find some penguin footprints down on the beach, so the little guys are around – but either they were all out fishing, or inside their burrows sleeping and moulting.  None of them came out to say hello, despite our looking and calling (and pretending we could make penguin-like sounds).   

But it was a beautiful beach with headlands on both sides, and 
seemed to have a very low slope, so that there was quite a distance between the high-tide mark and where the water was when we were there (low tide).
We drove down to South Bruny, home of the famous Penguin Café – with penguins signs, penguin door, penguins on the menu (not to eat, silly – pictures of penguins), and penguin chotchkes all over.  Just silly and fun stuff, and penguin kitsch.  I think this is Bruny Island humor.  Or maybe Tassie humor.  But it was funny and unique, and we had a nice lunch there.

Once we saw the sign for a chocolate factory, we had to stop.  The chocolate was pretty good (we shared a small chocolate cat – at least, we think it was a cat, it was hard to tell) – but the penguin cutout was a must.  Again, just because it was so silly.

  The most exciting animal spotting of the day was on the ferry on the way back – there was a fin or flipper sticking up – as we approached, we realized in was a seal flipper.  Seals lie on their side or back and raise a flipper or two up in the air, to cool off.  This seal must have been quite toasty, because he didn’t move, just stayed in one spot with a flipper raised, waving at us as we went by.

Hobart has been an interesting place to visit – 
there seems to be quite a bit of public art.  I really liked these sculptures in the Salamanca Square area – just quick metal sketches of people going about their everyday tasks: rushing to work, waiting for a bus, walking a child to school, playing a guitar.  Almost like cutouts, where someone could put their face in the sculpture and take a photo – quick gesture drawings of every man and every woman.


North Hobart had a “pavement project” – 
artists and school children made ceramic objects and put them together in mosaic that were embedded in the sidewalks.  I’m not sure if there was a theme, but it was definitely a fun project.  Fun to see, too.

My favorite, though, was a small alley with tromp l’oeil murals – check out the photos, and try to figure out what is a real object and what is painted!



And there are the lovely Georgian, Edwardian, Victorian houses with addresses like Arthur Circus and Macquarie Street.  One house was actually dated 1840 - and it was for sale!  Can you imagine living in a house that is 170+ years old?  Wow!
There are quirky things, like the series of barge restaurants along the waterfront.  We ate at Mako, which was very good – Richard had fish and chips, I had fried shrimp and chips.  Fresh and tasty!

And of course, endless charming cups of tea!



  1. :D I never made it around to Bruny Island and North Hobart when I was there. The murals are amazing! Did you get to walk through Elizabeth Lane in Hobart? They had little inscriptions at the bottom of these granite slabs along the street and they were quite fun to read.

    1. Not sure if we went through Elizabeth Lane - there have been several places with inscriptions and quotations on the streets - Perth had long stories painted on stairs!