Hobart, Tasmania, Australia – November 1 – 3 – Our arrival into Hobart is like landing into the English countryside, seeing rolling hills, sheep and cows, wooded hillsides and further away a wide river estuary with a large bridge crossing over into the compact city. All that dwarfed by a large mountain backdrop. The weather soon became ominously English too … from mild cloudy sunshine to persistent rain. After our very speedy efficient arrival, and quick exploration of our unusual hotel – Henry Jones Art Hotel, we were on a short city walking tour in the rains under bright red brollies. Hobart enjoys the deepest water harbor in the Southern Hemisphere. The town developed quickly.
Initially British convicts were sent to America, then on to Australia, and then later on to remote Tasmania. This large island is named in honour of its Dutch founder, Abel Tasman in the 1600s. Captain Cook also passes by in early 1700s. The island received very favorable reviews from early explorers but most of them were confused that it was attached to the Australian continent. Ultimately, fears of the British that the Dutch or French may ‘lay claim’ to Tasmania so British convicts were brought here to settle the island as a British possession /prison.
Port Arthur, named after George Arthur the Lieutenant General, was founded by the British as a penal colony / convict settlement in the early 1800s. Built on a peninsula and surrounded by water, it grew quickly as a prison to penal colony with ‘second time’ offenders of crimes as well as child criminals, young boys imprisoned on Point Puer. The location is in the far south on the Tasman Peninsula. We head down there by motor coach passing through historic villages and then through national forest land. Today it’s Tasmani’s top tourist attraction and a World Heritage Site. We start with a short boat ride across Norfolk Bay (in the rain) to hear stories of convicts escapes and to visit the Isle of the Dead where over 1600 convicts were buried in unmarked graves. We have a guided tour of many fascinating remaining buildings of Port Arthur. We also learned that it was here at Port Arthur was where they began the practice of Separate Prison System (isolation) rather than physical punishment.
Our second day starts bright and sunny as we stroll from our Henry Jones Art Hotel to the nearby ferry dock to catch our private museum ferry to renowned MONA (Museum of New Art). We’re in the “posh pit” on the ferry – an area up front exclusively for Lakani guests on this trip up the Derwent River to the museum. Located within the Moorilla winery, MONA was opened in 2011 by Tasmanian millionaire David Walsh. Built down into the ground the entire collection of the museum is underground. Several hundred pieces of art make up this unusual and eclectic collection. Following a museum visit, we enjoy a tour and tasting within the winery followed by an excellent lunch at Source, the museum’s excellent dining room.
A great pleasure of Hobart is the fine dining choices. At Lakani we know that fine travel includes choices of fine dining, and most of our guests enjoyed fine dining around town. We are lucky in Hobart to have so many choices. It’s been a gastronomique experience
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