We were scheduled to have our vehicle at the local Nissan Dealer so they could attend to some mechanical problems under warranty so on Thursday morning at 7:30am we were waiting in downtown Hobart for the dealer to open. After entrusting the vehicle to the workshop we head off in search of coffee and sustenance as it had been an early start and we had not had breakfast. The first place we arrived at was the Golden Arches of McDonald’s and as they do serve nice coffee we had a light (but probably not too healthy) breakfast and then walked on in to the Hobart CBD.
The Visitor Information Centre (http://www.hobarttravelcentre.com.au/) was our first port of call as we wanted to check a few things about sites we wished to visit and a boat tour we wanted to undertake. By the time we left the centre it was close to opening time for the Post Office and most of the retail outlets in the CBD area. The Post Office was handy and we posted the article we had to dispatch and then visited a couple of local retail shops browsing for bargains.
In order to record our trip to Tasmania we are on the lookout for a laminated map of the State about A3 size; the Tasmania Map Centre (http://www.map-centre.com.au/) is located in Elizabeth Street in Hobart and we had been advised that this outlet may be the place to source our map. Unfortunately the product we required was not available but we purchased a folding map as a make do.
In the meantime the car dealer had contacted us to advise that parts were needed for our truck and they would need the vehicle overnight; we needed a vehicle to return to the caravan park and to allow us some flexibility on our holiday so the dealership sourced a loan vehicle for our use. We returned to the dealer and picked up a new model of our Nissan Navara D40 Utility and by including our GPS unit we were able to find our way around Hobart once again.
One of the places we wanted to visit was the Hobart Botanical Gardens (http://www.rtbg.tas.gov.au/). After a period of disagreement with the ”bitch in the box” GPS unit where she kept wanting us to “make a U turn” we arrived at the gardens and decided to have a light lunch at the on-site restaurant.
We made our way to “the Vegie Patch” regularly featured on the ABC Gardening Australia program only to be disappointed to find the entire area has been destroyed for redevelopment. Where once ordered rows of vegetable gardens stood, deep trenches and mounds of poor looking soil peppered with tree roots now exist. We were very disappointed as this was the specific reason we chose to visit the gardens.
Leaving the gardens we decided to visit MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art (http://www.mona.net.au/) as it is close to the caravan park where we are staying in Hobart. The first challenge was to locate a parking spot as it is a very popular place and preparations were well underway for an event “Long Weekend at Mona” – Monday is 8 Hour Day in Tasmania and a public holiday.
The museum building is extraordinary and an attraction in its own right; the building is constructed into the face of a cliff on the riverside and from the surface you descend three stories to begin the tour of the facility. The museum offers devices to guide one through the exhibits and an audio commentary on various exhibits. There is more to the complex than merely a museum; there are accommodation units, a brewery, a winery, a café, a bar, and various exhibition spaces additional to the museum proper and many other ancillary facilities. The place must be popular as there is a parking space reserved for God and also one for God’s Mistress.
I can’t say that the current exhibition appealed to our tastes but I guess art is an acquired taste and what one may appreciate as art another may consider quite outlandish. Entry to the facility is free to residents of Tasmania but if you are non-resident an entry fee applies. Photographs may be taken in the facility so long as one does not utilize flash photography; but the resultant images cannot be displayed on any private website with the approval of MONA.
Friday was spent in retail therapy, haircuts and generally waiting around to recover our vehicle. It is very disruptive to holiday plans when mechanical failures interfere with the operation of one’s vehicle. Late Friday afternoon we were able to return our loaner and collect our own truck now fully recovered from its minor ailments.
Each Saturday throughout the year the famed Salamanca Markets are held. Hobart City Council (http://www.hobartcity.com.au/Hobart/Hobart_Events/Salamanca_Market) operates the markets which have become iconic and very heavily patronized. We were able to catch a bus directly from our caravan park (along with 50 other people) direct to the markets and this obviated the need to worry about driving and finding parking space for the day.
With over three hundred individual stalls the markets stretch for several city blocks; many Tasmanian made and designed products are featured at the markets along with a huge variety of fruit and vegetables, food, souvenirs, clothing, jewellery, perfumes, health and beauty products, woodwork, clothing and a plethora of other products. Of course the markets are patronized by thousands and if you don’t like crowds you will not be happy at the markets; add a little rain to the mix and life can become problematic in a very crowded market precinct. By 1:30pm we had had enough market and were happy to catch the bus returning to the caravan park.