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Saturday, 23 February 2013

Two Tour Tassie, final part

SWANSEA TO PORT ARTHUR, HOBART AND HOME

The final leg

Leaving Swansea, we had another of those weird conversations in the car.  In NZ, the majority of private vehicle owners have towbars fitted for hauling trailers filled with garden waste, timber for home projects etc or almost inevitably for towing boats.  In Tassie, I noticed very few towbars and we had some amusing banter about the national characteristics of various countries.  Maybe we should have a towball on our national flag instead of the stars of the Southern Cross.  Jennie thought I was weird noticing things like that when we had all the beautiful scenery to look at.  Hard to argue with that comment, I s'pose.

Our next destination was Port Arthur, an ex-penal colony to which British criminals were sent in the 1800's.  On the way there, we had to pass through a region which had recently been devastated by a major bush fire in January.  The size of the burned areas were simply overwhelming and our hearts went out to the residents of Dunalley; many of whom lost homes, community resources and precious memories. 

Interesting patterns at low tide on Port Arthur road

Many of the penal colony buildings, albeit in poor condition, still exist.  On the day we were there in bright sunshine and well-tended grounds, it was hard to picture what a terrible and harsh place it must have been when in use in the 1800's.

View of the penitentiary and other buildings

Guard tower

Cells - a little over 1.2 metres x 2 metres

View from inside the penitentiary

Remains of the prison hospital

Tiny prison staff cottage from the hospital

The prison Governor's substantial residence - a chimney for every room!

Stunning view of the harbour from the Governor's front porch

The final full day of our holiday saw a return to nearby Hobart.  First stop was to MONA - the Museum of Old and New Art. Built largely underground in a vineyard and privately funded by a wealthy Tasmanian, it's a real "must", if only to see the scale of the place and the innovative use of space and technology.  When we arrived, we were given a device much like an iPhone which sensed the proximity to an exhibit and gave you information on it, either in written format or aurally through headphones.  Not only that, but if you inputted your email address, it stored every item you'd viewed and then sent a link to each item to the email address so that you could see them again when you got home!  Here are some photos of a very small number of exhibits:

One of a horde of pre-Christian Greek coins - fantastically lit

Fat Car - based on a Porsche Carrera rolling chassis

Massive underground wall of individual tiles depicting a snake

Egyptian jars, around 3500 BC

Egyptian pottery bowl, around 1500 BC

The final photo of the collection is a dynamic one!  There is a pipe carrying pressurised water with computer-timed jets along its length which squirt out Google's most-searched words!!  Incredible to see and hear it in operation!  The words are perhaps the best part of 2 metres high.  There's an excellent YouTube video HERE

Water words!

Being somewhat of an art philistine, many of the exhibits were way beyond my comprehension (and taste), but the place is a real tour de force and was one of the real highlights of our visit to Tasmania.

We could have spent all day at MONA but after a late lunch, decided to drive to the summit of Mt Wellington, which towers over 4000 ft above Hobart.  On a miserable day, it would be terrible up there but on this day, it was cloudless.

Hobart from 4000ft

 Views to Eternity
Top of the mountain - a Northern Territories bike and trailer
- complete with solar panels!

In the evening, we had dinner with a distant relative of mine and her family whom we'd not previously met.  Sue was descended from one of Britain's "deportees" to Australia.  Our ancestor had done his time and had apparently done rather well for himself after release. Sue and her family were absolutely delightful company and really hope that we can all meet up again in the future.  It was a fitting end to a wonderful holiday in Tasmania.

We've always enjoyed popping over the Ditch to Aussie and have had a great time wherever we've been.  As Australia has about 3/4 the area of the entire USA, you have to be quite deliberate in planning a trip or you can spend all your time travelling and not doing stuff.  Tasmania is small enough with sufficient variety in terms of scenery and things to do to allow you to get stuck in.  As a destination, it's a fantastic place to visit with people who go out of their way to make sure you enjoy it.

Hope you weren't terminally bored with all the posts!


18 comments:

  1. It sad when your holiday has to end but what a great way to end it on. Port Arthur is fantastic and the views from Mt Wellington are spectacular. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

    Now you can cry all the way home on the flight cause you didn't get to ride it. Hahahahhahaha

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  2. Oh ha ha! Trust someone who has ridden there to show no sympathy!


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  3. Glad you enjoyed the trip Geoff. Great photos too.
    On the tow ball thing, there are a massive number of rental cars in Tassie(for all of the tourists) and I am wondering if these were what you were seeing mostly as any Aussie, or Tasweigan as we call them, worth his salt has a towbar on every car he or she owns.....

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    1. Good point Dave and I guess the locals were concentrated in and around the major centres so may well have got a skewed view!

      Reckon there's enough in Tassie for a return visit but there are also other places on the bucket list too!

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  4. No way I could have been bored with all the posts .. they were all facinating. When we went to Tassie it was our honeymoon and we only had 5 days there so we didn't see very much at all. Port Arthur, of course, we saw and it was a fantastic place, beautiful but spooky all at once.

    We however didn't get to see much of what you've been kind enough to show us, and wow MONA looks like a place I have to visit .. I love art and while I may not get it like the profesionals do I get it in my own way ... and that's what art is supposed to be all about.

    I'm glad you had such a great time (even if you didn't get to ride) and meeting up with relatives you've never met and finding that they are great people would just be the icing on the cake!

    Thanks for sharing your holiday with us Geoff ;-D

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    1. Thanks Brenda!

      I can understanding you not seeing much on your honeymoon ;-)

      MONA is absolutely world class and the exhibits are always changing.

      It always seems like serendipity when things happen like meeting up with the rellies. Hope we can return their kindness in NZ at some stage.


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  5. Great series of posts Geoff - now if only you could get a tourism site to pay you to vacation and write about it, you'd be set.

    I find the penal colony pics the most interesting - considering I work for a criminal defense attorney I guess that is no wonder. It amazes me how prisons have changed over the last several hundred years. Although I am sure the inmates of today appreciate the fact they are treated better than those 200 years ago.

    Beautiful pictures from Mt. Wellington. I never knew Tazmania was so picturesque - thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hahaha now THAT would be most excellent if we could swing it!

      Port Arthur must have been a truly frightening place at the end of the world with physical punishment like flogging being commonplace. No wonder so many prisoners regard prison as home these days!

      Than you for looking at all the pics and ramblings!

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  6. I'm surprised Jennie didn't find some way to leave you at that penal colony. :)

    The island is beautiful. Thanks for sharing your vacation.

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    1. Lori,
      I'm sure it would have crossed her mind. There are so many ways of disposing of bodies over there without being seen :-)

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  7. Thanks Geoff, you've just added yet another destination to my bucket list. I'll have to live to 125 now!

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    1. Thanks Canajun - know just what you mean! Canada may well be a our next port of call in 2014 if things work out.

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  8. Thank you for sharing. The waterfall words are pretty amazing. Thanks for taking us along on your trip...

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    1. Than you Richard, that waterfall with the words was almost mind-blowing, so clever. So many great places to see in the world!

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  9. Thanks for the great series of posts Geoff ,I really enjoyed the pics and the write up as did all your followers .
    Steve K 79x 100
    ps . I seem to remember that the Triumph cylinder heads were sought after by the tuners for some reason ,perhaps they alloy when others were not ?

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Steve - it's always enjoyable to visit Aussie, no matter where.

      I don't know whether it's the major reason but Triumph alloy cylinder heads used to have quite a bit of metal between the stud holes and the inlet ports. This allowed quite a bit of scope for reshaping and enlarging when tuning. This feature was especially important on my drag bike as with a supercharger, I was trying to cram in as much fuel as possible.

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  10. Geoff, thoroughly enjoyed reading about and viewing your holiday snaps - that box Brownie of yours takes quite good photos! The scenery is stunning [there's that word again!] and the accommodation... superb! Thanks for sharing.
    Has taken a wee while to get through all of your adventure.
    Cheers, Mark

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  11. Cheers Mark - we get around for Old Farts :-)

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