Last weekend I took my new toy out for it’s first spin. It’s been far too long since I’ve been on a bike, but living in Tasmania is the perfect time to get back in the saddle. Life looks different from on a bike – it’s one of a handful of ways that I can really live in the moment without a care for my day to day life, and I love it. I’m expecting lots of our future adventures to involve these little beauties, especially with all the effort that’s going into developing places to ride in Tassie.
Last weekend found us at the Bream Creek Show, an iconic event in the Tasmanian calendar.
Attendance averages about 7000 people, which is about 16 times the usual population of the surrounding Kellevie district. Highlights include the giant pumpkin competition, the Blunnie (or Blundstone boot for those of you from outside Tasmania) toss, local musicians, and wood chopping competitions.
While I’d say the Show is an event more suited to families with young children than grown-up explorers like us, it was still a fun day out.
This weekend’s adventure took us up on to my favourite feature of the Hobart skyline, Mount Wellington. The mountain is covered in hiking trails, and we did a loop which included three trails and covered about 8km.
We started at the Chalet (a very grandiosely named lovely, but simple mountain hut), headed along the Organ Pipes Track in front of what has to be one of the most recognisable features of the mountain, up the Zig Zag Track to the Pinnacle, down part of Pinnacle Road, on to the Panorama track, and then back down some more of Pinnacle Road to find our car at the Chalet.
It was a glorious Tasmanian autumn day with temperatures on the mountain ranging between 0 and 3 degrees Celsius, but feeling much colder whenever the wind gusted past. The start of our walk even featured light snow. Like I said, autumn in Tasmania.
As always, the hike was spectacular – ranging through bushland, over rocky terrain and rewarding us with stunning views throughout. I love that this amazing place is right on our doorstep.
This weekend’s adventure took us to the Taste of the Huon festival. The festival is focused on food, wine, entertainment, arts and crafts from the Huon Valley, D’entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island regions of Tasmania (which all lie just south of Hobart). We lived in the D’entrecasteaux Channel region during our last stint in Tassie and it’s still where my heart is, even though this time around the place we call home is much closer to town.
Obviously there was no shortage of lovely food to try, but our highlights were:
Recently we spent a weekend at the historic Woolmers Estate in Longford, staying in one of the converted workers’ cottages.
Woolmers was a large pastoral property which was occupied by the Archer family from the early 1800s to the mid-1990s, a long stretch by Australian standards. In its early days it and neighbouring estate, Brickendon (owned by another branch of the Archer family), were staffed by the second largest number of assigned convicts in the Colony, peaking at 107 convicts between the two estates in 1833.
The property was opened as a museum in 1995, following the death of Thomas William Archer VI the previous year, and in 2010 it and Brickendon were jointly listed as one of the eleven sites that make up the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property.
Having been reduced in size significantly over it’s lifetime, the current estate is spread out over 13 hectares which houses the main homestead, a kitchen and servant’s quarters, a provisions store, bakers cottages, various farm buildings, and a number of former workers’ cottages which have been converted into accomodation. It’s also home to an extensive rose garden which contains examples of all of the recognised rose families, ranging from the earliest European and China roses through to the roses of the twenty first century.
It’s funny to think that at in its heyday, the property would have been a village in itself, housing up to 100 people at any one time.
The Championships are an annual event, attracting riders from all the east coast Australian states and New Zealand. Somehow when we were last here we managed to miss them every year, so we made sure that wouldn’t be the case in 2015.
The event was fabulous, with costumed riders, fast-moving impractical looking bikes, street performers, and a village fair. The weather was much warmer than the typical Tasmanian summer day so we spent a lot of time sheltered in the shade of a lovely old oak tree, enjoying the spectacle of riders flying past on the final corners before the straight.
Last weekend started with a lovely, rainy, Tasmanian summer’s day – perfect weather for exploring. So we pulled out our map, picked a destination, worked out our route, and set off off adventuring.
In the spirit of stopping in rather than passing by, our first stop was based on a sign we spotted for a museum at the Mount Pleasant Observatory, near Cambridge. Sadly the museum is only open by appointment, which we didn’t have, but we were able to peer at the two huge telescopes on site.
After a quick stop at the Wicked Cheese company, where we opted for chocolate over cheese (it was Valentines Day after all…), we headed through the hills and fog-filled valleys of the Southern Midlands, before arriving at our destination for the day, Oatlands.
We started our visit with a very damp exploration of the Callington Mill. Last time we were here this Lancashire tower mill was a beautiful, but inactive relic of Oatlands past. Happily it was restored to working order in 2010, and it’s now the only mill of this type operating in the Southern Hemisphere. It produces artisan flours from locally grown wheat, spelt and rye, which you can buy from the mill, online, or at several fabulous grocers around Tasmania. We then dodged the showers to peer at a wonderful rooftop sculpture of nesting storks, peek through gates at fabulous front doors, and over fences at lovely gardens before heading home.
It was a fun day, and I’m sure we’ll be tempted to return on a day when we can slowly wander the streets with cameras in hand, rather than dashing around in between downpours.
This weekend was a lovely long weekend with perfect weather, just what you want as a visitor to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. The festival is held every two years, and wandering around it suggests that there are an awful lot of people who agree with the Water Rat…
“Nice? It’s the only thing,” said the Water Rat solemnly as he leant forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolute nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,” he went on dreamily: “messing—about—in—boats; messing… about in boats—or with boats,” the Rat went on composedly, picking himself up with a pleasant laugh. “In or out of ’em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not.”
This weekend’s adventure took us to South Hobart’s Waterworks Reserve. The Reserve is at the base of Mount Wellington and features the two main reservoirs of the Hobart Mountain Water Supply System set in beautiful bushland surrounds.
The Mountain Water Supply System was first established in 1866, with further updates in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and still provides about 15% of our water supply. Most of the early structures were made from sandstone and many are still in place, although not necessarily in use.
It’s a beautiful place and a fairly regular haunt for us. The low cloud and constant drizzle of this weekend provided a nice backdrop for some rather atmospheric pictures.