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Tasmanian Tour

South East


A. Hobart City
B. Trips South

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2. Central North
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Worthingtons Workshop

Tasmanian Tour

5. The South East Region

A. The City of Hobart

Hobart, population 170,000, is found at the mouth of the Derwent River and the foot of Mt Wellington (1,270m). It is the second oldest state capital after Sydney. The city centre still retains its 1881 layout developed by Governor Macquarie, and many of the buildings are original thanks to the lower rate of redevelopment. The first stop should be the Tasmanian Government Tourist Bureau at 80 Elizabeth Street, to find out what this fine city has to offer.

Hobart South, from the foothills of Mt Wellington

Parliament House (1835-1840), with woodwork of NSW cedar, was originally built as a bonded store with convict stonework. Parliament began with meetings of the Legislative Council in 1856, and in 1939 a wing was built for the House of Assembly. The Town Hall (1864) is on the site of Governor Collins first residence. The architect of this stately Italianate building was the prolific Henry Hunter. Anglesea Barracks (1814), the oldest military establishment in Australia, still mounts a pre 1774 cannon.

Hobart Bridge, with the missing span on the centre right

Scots Church (1830) has fine detail and heavy battlements. The small brick building in the grounds was one of the earliest churches in 1824. St Davids Cathedral (1868) is built in the Gothic Revival style from Oatlands sandstone. Altar vessels include 5 gold pieces presented by George III in 1803.St Davids Park, the original cemetery, contains the grave of James Kelly, who in 1815 circumnavigated Tasmania.St Marys Cathedral (1866) was rebuilt due to faulty foundations and contained St Virgillus, the first Catholic church in Tasmania.The Synagogue (1843) is the oldest in Australia and the first in the world to be built in an Egyptian style.

Battery Point (1818) is a historical village 1km Southeast of the city centre. Arthurs Circus has a village green surrounded by a row of tiny sailors houses. Salamanca Place, now an open air market/restaurant area similar to The Rocks, contains the oldest terrace of sandstone warehouses in Australia.Van Diemens Land Folk Museum and the Maritime Museum are nearby.

The Botanical Gardens(1818) in the Queens Domain are 2km Northeast of the city centre. They feature a conservatory, a greenhouse and a fernhouse with exotic orchids. Walkways over the 13.5ha site feature convict built walls, flower beds and ponds. The Museum and Art Gallery is on the corner of Argyle and Macquarie Streets. Upon stepping inside you are greeted by a giant Muttaburrasaurus skeleton. The ground floor displays gemstones and Tasmanian wildlife, plus recreations of prehistoric marsupials recovered from the north coast swamps. When last there I saw 'Eric', the 2m long opalised Pliosaur. Upstairs are the Antarctic and convict exhibits. All are well worth seeing.

The Art Gallery is of a medium size and contains many pictures of colonial scenes. Across Davey Street is the Constitution Dock, where the Sydney-Hobart Race fleet ties up. The Cat and Fiddle Arcade has a pantomine carried out by the clock on the hour. Look around Bathurst, Liverpool and Macquarie Streets for shops; the department stores have displays of beautiful handmade furniture. Rent-a-Bug is in Murray Street. Cascades Brewery 3km west of the city has tours through the home of Cascade beer. Head further inland through Fern Tree and a return trip to the top of Mt Wellington. Be sure to take warm clothing.

Hobart North, with Mt Wellington in the background

Head south to the restaurants and arts centres of Sandy Bay. Wrest Point Casino (1973) was Australias first legal casino and contains a revolving restaurant in the tower. The smorgasbord lunches are affordable, with excellent views over Hobart. Further south in Taroona are the tourist traps of the Model Tudor Village and the Shot Tower.

The Tasmanian Transport Museum in Glenorchy (phone 002-341-632) contains seven locomotives and is open on weekends 1300-1700hrs. In Claremont see both the Cadbury Schweppes Factory, with its tour and three completely restored trains; and the incredible hand built O gauge models of the gigantic Alpenrail Swiss mountain layout at 82 Abbotsfield Road (phone (03)6249-3748).

Alpenrail - Swiss Railway models

B. Day Trips South of Hobart

Bruny Island is across the ferry from Kettering. Get there via Kingston where the Australian Antarctic Research HQ has a display open on weekdays. On the island half the roads are dirt, but the scenery is interesting. Places of interest include Captain Cooks Landing Place, Memorials To Early Navigators and Bligh Museum. Have lunch in the Alonnah Pub at Lunawanna. Fairy Penguins come ashore along the isthmus.

Return via Cygnet and see the Talune Woodturning and Wildlife Park. The Huon Valley is a worthwhile diversion down the Huon Highway, with its pleasant countryside of orchards and good restaurants. Ranelagh Motor Museum contains 40 cars including a 1934 Hudson Terraplane. Geeveston is the administrative centre for local government which encompasses Macquarie Island 1,300km to the south. The 58 tonne log in the town square contains 567 cu metres of timber.

Timber from surrounding countryside is pelletised at nearby Port Huon for paper production in Sydney. Turn off at Geeveston for a 50km detour over the Arne River road into the glaciated Hartz Mountains National Park with the Tahune Forest Reserve and Waratah Lookout. Dover contains Caseys Steam Museum, with its collection of 20 restored engines that steam up on Thursday and Sunday. The local hotel is the most southern in Australia. Three islands in the bay are named Faith, Hope and Charity.

Go inland from the collection of fishing shacks at Southport to the Hastings Caves and the 28C Thermal Pool. Past Lune River is the 2 foot gauge Ida Bay Railway. Either a Hunslet 0-4-2 or a Hornby Ruston diesel locomotive takes you on a 6.8km bush trip from the limestone quarry to a crumbling wharf. Cockle Creek 10km south is as far south as you can drive in Australia.

The Ida Bay Railway