Tasmania is famous for its food, and infamous for its gene pool.
Within minutes of getting in a taxi a Hobart airport the driver cracked a joke about his ‘six fingers’, but luckily we just experienced lots of the wonderful food and less of the multiple digits.
A friend from tri-club, Kate, works for Tourism Tasmania and was super helpful recommending where to stay and what to see and do whilst we were there.
We flew into Hobart on Friday morning and headed straight to the AirBnB house we’d booked in Battery Point. The house was advertised to sleep 6-8 people but there had been some concern from the host over the size of our party. We had various e-mail exchanges which concluded that “if there are 6 that’s okay, if there are 8 that’s likely to lead to a party”.
So, now you know. I would argue that it very much depends on WHO the 6 or 8 are, and goodness knows what happens when there’s 7 of you….
The house could have slept about 20 people. It had three separate living rooms, THREE!!
We didn’t have much time to familiarise ourselves though as we’d booked on a 3pm ferry over to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). I’d been assured that if we made it into town from the airport in time for the 2pm ferry then we could switch our tickets, we were keen to do this as the last ferry back was at 6pm so we wanted to make sure we had enough time exploring the museum.
We booked the ‘posh pit’ on the ferry, which was $50 return and included snacks and unlimited drinks. The regular tickets are $20 return, and you do get to sit on sheep, but if you’re only there for the weekend and fancy a fizz I’d recommend the posh pit!
Not that we really needed snacks, since the first thing that we did when we arrived in Battery Point was to pay a visit to the bakery just across the road from our house for a spot of lunch.
The taxi driver told us that scallop pies are a Tassie special. Love scallops. Not so keen on the idea of a scallop pie. It became even less appealing when he told us that they are in a ‘curried’ sauce. Nethertheless, I am a sucker for trying ‘the local speciality’, and you can get a beef pie anywhere, so scallop pie it was.
It wasn’t dreadful, but now I’ve tried it I feel no need to do so again.
We spent the afternoon roaming MONA. One of the favourites was a trampoline up on the cliff-top looking out over the estuary. It was very peaceful. Unfortunately no tricks were allowed.
The museum itself is like a Bond layer fortress styled deep into the rock headland!
When I asked people about MONA they’d make comments like “oh yes, it’s quite something” and “It’s not MY type of art, but you should see it”…I think the air of prudishness comes from the exhibitions like the wall of 100+ clay vaginas, or the replica of the human digestive system which does a poo once a day.
Or the feature exhibition by Gilbert and George which had just opened and featured the 3Ps:
- Penises; and
Ben’s friend Andy, who is from Tassie and moved back a couple of years ago to set up his beef jerky company, KOOEE, told us a bit of background to MONA:
It’s privately owned by David Walsh, who is a mathematician who made his money through betting (Hobart had the first legal casino in Australia in the 1970s). Walsh had various dealing with the Australian Tax Office who originally said they wouldn’t tax his income since it was winnings, then retrospectively tried to tax him on it. Walsh won the court case but wanted to ‘give something back’ to the community so built the museum.
Later that night we headed to Da Angelo restaurant, also in Battery Point, which TripAdvisor raved about and only had a table free at 9pm…so it must be good right? We were a little underwhelmed. It had an authentic family feel and great service but the food was pretty standard!
Good job that we stretched our stomachs with pies and pastries and charcuterie boards and Italian dinner though because we had to be up early with hungry tummies on Saturday morning ready for our BRUNY ISLAND TRAVELLER TOUR!
Oh yes, I also couldn’t resist a ham and cheese croissant from the bakery before we set off on the tour :O
The tour was FANTASTIC. There were only 11 of us in our group and we had an awesome driver/tour guide called Tim. First we drove about 30km down to Kettering, where we could stock up on coffees and then drove onto the ferry over to Bruny.
We just happened to be going there on the same day as the Bruny Island 64km ultra-marathon. We considered turfing Ben out of the van to compete. There were tons of teams taking part and doing it in relay style, a few kms each at a time with the rest of the team driving along for support. It all looked fantastic fun and very unorganised, you could definitely have driven a sneaky couple of kms…not that that’s my attitude to racing…oh no, only cheating yourself…
Our first stop was the Bruny Island Cheese company, where we tried 4 cheeses and I added an enamel cup to my collection. I also bought a soft cheese wrapped in prosciutto which I have brought home and am supposed to fry. Yum.
Next we headed to ‘Get Shucked’ oyster farm, where we were given more oysters than we could eat (especially at 10am!)
We shook up our cheese and oysters with a walk up the steps at the ‘neck’…the narrow stretch of land that separates the North and South sections of the island.
Then it was on for morning tea at the Bruny Island Berry Farm.
It started to rain a little whilst we were here so we didn’t go exploring in the fields, although just as we were leaving Tim spotted one of the rare white Bruny wallabies. They are also victims of a small gene pool…there are about 10 of these albino wallabies living on Bruny, they have terrible eyesight, and I worry they might get sunburnt!
We went on a lovely drive around the island, and had the option to walk on the beach but all wimped out because of the rain. So it was on to lunch at the Bruny Island Vineyard. The food was fantastic, we had the choice between 4 mains, and then tasted 8 wines before deciding which we’d like with our meal. None of us were that wowed by the wines, which was a shame as I’d heard that Tassie wines are great, but perhaps the Bruny climate wasn’t quite right!
We weren’t done with the eating and drinking yet though…the afternoon took us to the chocolate factory and the House of Whisky.
It’s safe to say that we were well and truly satisfied by the end of the day.
The tour was an awesome way to see and taste the island, and even though it was only an hour away from Hobart it felt a whole world away.
That evening it was as much as we could do to have a couple of drinks with Andy and his girlfriend Suzie and hear about their stall for KOOEE at the farmers market the next morning.
Ben and I woke up early and decided to see a bit more of the city so went for a run along the river path.
Feeling newly virtuous and the previous days excesses forgotten we finished the run at the farmers market and tried some of Andy’s beef jerky – it’s very tasty!
On Andy’s recommendation we continued the pattern of fish for breakfast with some early morning sushi! There was already a queue at the stall at 9am, because the sushi chef was loving making every piece to order. He has a restaurant in Geeveston, and if the market fare was anything to go by I’d definitely recommend you go there if you get a chance!
All in all it was a fantastic weekend. I felt like we were gone far longer than 2 nights because of the amount that we packed in, yet we still came back to Sydney feeling relaxed (and full!)