My 2017: January

My January this year was the most amazing of my life. I went to Tasmania. The only connection I have with this beautiful Australian state is that my great-grandfather was born there and live there until he was in his thirties.

We arrived at the beginning of the month, just after New Year, and spent the whole time there – which meant I had a most wonderful birthday in the Central Highlands in Cradle Mountain-St Clair National Reserve. We did travel around, ten days from Hobart to Strahan, to Cradle Mountain, to Launceston, to Swansea and back to Hobart, but we spent most of our time in the beautiful state capital.

The trigger for this holiday was my great-grandfather, and one of the first things I wanted to see and visit was the synagogue his father and uncle were instrumental in building. It is small but beautiful, unchanged for over a hundred and seventy years. It was so thrilling to see the names of my great-great grandparents on  commemorative boards in the elegant old place of worship.

We also found the site of the magnificent mansion my family lived in from the 1840’s-60’s, only the name and the gate house remain, Boa Vista. This was not just a family pilgrimage; we explored Hobart, went on coach and boat trips, walked, walked, walked. There were so many places of beauty and interest and we met so many wonderful friendly people. Being foodies we really enjoyed the wonderful local produce, including, of course, wine, beer and whisky.

It’s difficult to pick out any highlights, every day was a marvel, everything we saw was interesting, engaging and fascinating. We were impressed with the amount of art we saw everywhere. We loved the museums and art galleries. We loved the guided walks, some of which we did several times. It was unbelievable to see wombats and pademelons in the wild, and to see Tasmanian devils and quolls in sanctuaries. It was an unforgettable experience to see dolphins swimming along beside our boat, leaping and diving, and to see flying fish and albatross… next time I want to see a penguin and a whale – more than one would be great, but one would be enough.

I feel a little at a loss to properly write about this marvellous five weeks we had… and I’m sure as soon as I post this I will think of something I want to add.

Here is just a random list

  • city rambles
  • coastal wanders
  • breath-taking views
  • stories from people we met
  • our ‘local’ the Shamrock
  • ironwork and tracery
  • MOMA – the Museum of Old and Modern Art, and riding on a sheep to get there
  • the settlement secrets tour of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery – I really recommend this theatrical experience
  • Mawson’s Replica Huts – a fascinating and moving experience; the small wooden replica hut hides an absolute trove of moving and fascinating history of Antarctic exploration
  • the sunsets
  • Travelodge hotel – a warm welcome and comfortable accommodation
  • the cenotaph
  • the Darwin River
  • the old houses
  • going to the top of Mount kunanyi – in the fog
  • the boats, ferries and ships
  • the pure air
  • the flora

I have to stop… the list would be endless…

  • the Hobart Rivulet
  • the Tench – the Hobart Penitentiary
  • hoping against hope a thylacene would be seen while we were there – not necessarily by us, but just to know some have survived

I can’t wait to go again… if we can ever afford it!

View from our hotel room

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