Part 1 of my 'Winter in Tasmania' series.

So who goes to Tassie in Winter, I hear you ask? Only crazies, right? WRONG! Winter is an absolutely perfect time to visit the Apple Isle:

  • For starters, the night sky is crisp and clear and it's the prime Milky Way visibility window – perfect for night sky photography.
  • Then there’s ‘Dark Mofo’ – Hobart’s winter arts festival.
  • And last but not least …. us ‘northerners’ get a chance to air out our (meagre) winter gear!

Who could ask for more?

Hobart

 Hello Hobart!

Hello Hobart!

We arrived in Hobart just as ‘Dark Mofo’ was kicking off for 2015. Conceived by the team at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), the festival boasts an impressive line up of local and international artists and musicians. ‘A beguiling mixed-bag of music and art’, according to MONA. Never a truer word was said!

Now in its third year, the festival, which 'gets locals out and about' and brings tourists to town in the middle of Winter, coincides with the winter solstice and ‘celebrates both ancient and contemporary mythologies, through large-scale public art, food, film, music, theatre, light and noise’. I’m not sure I understand that, but the festival has become a winter tourism boon for Hobart.

This year’s show-stopper was the ‘Fire Organ’. This massive structure of old steel tubing drones and hums at low frequencies beneath harmonically tuned flame-throwers blasting fire and heat into the night sky, in other words a ‘fire-breathing, gas blasting musical instrument’ (Gregor Salmon, ABC News). It certainly got our attention – it sounded very much like what I imagine a 19th century battlefield did!

 Fire Organ warming up

Fire Organ warming up

 Let the battle begin! (Photo ABC News, Gregor Salmon)

Let the battle begin! (Photo ABC News, Gregor Salmon)

This was an interesting attraction. Hobart artist Jason James’ installation ‘Angry Electrons’ where 1000 light bulbs were set up and rigged with motion sensors to react to the movement of people within the long space. They generated a lot of heat, so this was probably a very popular attraction throughout the cold nights of the festival. I know we had fun with it!

 A lightbulb moment (© Jason James)

A lightbulb moment (© Jason James)

Then there was Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda’s Spectra light tower, which casts a 15 km-high beam of light into the sky. This light looked like it was flickering to music, but we were told it was to peoples’ heartbeats through pulse sensors.

 Hobart and Spectra from Bellerive

Hobart and Spectra from Bellerive

There were so many attractions, exhibitions and installations, it was impossible to see them all in the few short days we were there. I highly recommend a winter solstice break in Hobart. Keep an eye on MONA’s website for details http://www.mona.net.au/what’s-on/festivals.

Be prepared for some unusual, and sometimes confronting, sights! Certainly a few conversation starters here, but well worth the visit.

Sunrise, Mt Wellington

We headed up Mt Wellington in the pre-dawn dark not knowing if the weather and road conditions were going to co-operate and let us get to the top. But get to the top we did! It was a very cold, crisp, clear winter‘s morning. And what a view! It was a good opportunity for me to practice my ‘panorama’ skills. And look at that fog blanketing the Derwent River! It was a wonder to behold and I spent a lot of time just ‘looking’, enjoying and marvelling!

 Hobart, fog over the Derwent and a beautiful sunrise beyond

Hobart, fog over the Derwent and a beautiful sunrise beyond

We even had a marsupial visitor (and yes, that white stuff is SNOW, brrrrr!). 

 Skippy?

Skippy?

High Tea

One specially for the ladies - enjoy a traditional high tea at the beautifully restored Hadleys’s Orient Hotel. Located in the heart of the CBD, Hadley’s is within walking distance of Salamanca and the waterfront (where the boys can wile away the time).

 Originally built by convict labour in 1834, the recently restored Hadley’s is now one of the oldest boutique hotels in Australia (image courtesy Hadley’s Orient Hotel)

Originally built by convict labour in 1834, the recently restored Hadley’s is now one of the oldest boutique hotels in Australia (image courtesy Hadley’s Orient Hotel)

They offer a lovely selection of teas, freshly baked scones, finger sandwiches, pastries and indulgent sweets. It was absolutely beautiful, we loved it!

 A little history lesson too!

A little history lesson too!

 Try stopping at one! (image courtesy Hadley’s Orient Hotel)

Try stopping at one! (image courtesy Hadley’s Orient Hotel)

 Pumpkin Scones – the latest addition to their High Tea range (image courtesy Hadley’s Orient Hotel)

Pumpkin Scones – the latest addition to their High Tea range (image courtesy Hadley’s Orient Hotel)

Add a glass of bubbles, and you have ….

 Sparkling High Tea! (Image courtesy Hadley’s Orient Hotel)

Sparkling High Tea! (Image courtesy Hadley’s Orient Hotel)

What a wonderful way for you and your nearest and dearest to spend the afternoon in absolutely beautiful surrounds! I seriously can’t wait to get back there!

* Traditional High Tea is available at Hadley’s Orient Hotel Wednesday – Sunday, 2 – 5pm (except public holidays). Bookings essential: http://hadleyshotel.com.au/dining/high-tea/

Salamanca Market & The Waterfront

No trip to Hobart is complete without visiting the iconic Salamanca Market for a little ‘retail therapy’! One of the best known landmarks and top attractions in Tasmania, Salamanca Market is another good reason to put Hobart on your itinerary!

Every Saturday, approximately 300 stall holders sell fresh and gourmet produce, arts, crafts and handiwork from all over Tasmania, interstate and overseas, there are dozens of restaurants in the area, and make sure to visit the Tassal in Salamanca Square for a good dose of locally caught salmon at prices that will blow your mind!

 Salamanca Market – a Hobart institution! 

Salamanca Market – a Hobart institution! 

 Some boy toys at the waterfront!

Some boy toys at the waterfront!

MONA (Museum of  Old and New Art)

Be prepared for an ‘experience’ when you visit MONA. I believe there are two mindsets: those who ‘get it’, and those who ‘don’t’! Whichever mindset you are, you’re certainly in for an interesting few hours! MONA is one of Hobart’s premier attractions.

This installation takes words from media sites on the internet and turns them into drops of falling water.

 Water imitating art? Or art imitating water?

Water imitating art? Or art imitating water?

If you’ve been there, you’ll know what these are! If you haven’t, you’ll certainly find out! Enlightening …. and educational!

 Best not described here!

Best not described here!

Although you can drive there, we highly recommend taking the MONA fast ferry. It was such a nice, relaxing way to get there. It leaves from Brooke St ferry terminal at the Hobart Waterfront and travels up the Derwent.

 All aboard!

All aboard!

Allow some time while you’re at MONA to visit the wine bar and enjoy some lovely Moorilla wines and yummy food. It’s a great spot to look out over the vineyard, with indoor and outdoor seating options.

 Cheers!

Cheers!

So …. enough culture, time for some fun.

We headed north through the ‘midlands’ on a cold, wet, windy day – the worst weather of our whole trip! We’re sure it would have been more memorable had the weather co-operated, but it was not to be. Don’t let that detract you from this journey – the midlands was amazing and we saw some beautiful places and views, the weather just wasn’t right for us to stop and enjoy - maybe next time! Be aware, there are some unsealed roads on this journey.

Click here for Part 2 - North & North-West adventures.

The images in this post were shot with Sony a7R, Sony NEX5N and iPhone.

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