I could sense it within seconds of us reaching the outskirts of Hobart.
That feeling I get when I arrive in a brand new place and instantly feel at home.
I don’t know what causes it and it doesn’t seem to follow any logic. It’s happened with Ljubljana, Marrakech, Boracay, Koh Yao Noi, Kampot and Saigon… six of my favourite places that actually have very little in common with each other.
There’s definitely not a pattern (that I can see!) that I can use to work out what exactly a place needs to have for me to love it.
Sandstone buildings at Salamanca Place.
It was the same with Hobart. I fell in love instantly and for no real reason.
The city is beautiful. The sandstone buildings surrounding the waterfront are gorgeous, Salamanca Place especially. The streets were lined with art galleries, coffee shops and restaurants. The relaxed vibe had us wandering around the nearby marina for half a day, lingering in coffee shops and watching the world go by.
And yes, we had our now well-worn conversation about how this would be a great place to live for a couple of months someday.
Coffee at Hobart’s marina.
We spent an afternoon exploring MONA, The Museum of Old and New Art, which is not somewhere I would have usually visited had I been travelling alone — I tend to choose science over art. Nevertheless, I’d heard amazing things about it so happily accompanied Dave on his visit.
I was glad I did. MONA was unlike any other museum I’d visited before, the exhibits unique and thought-provoking. The common themes of violent sex, nudity, death and castration were at times overwhelming and I could definitely see this being a place that you either love or hate.
I loved it.
I was feeling good about Hobart. So much so, that not even a drive to the icy cold top of Mount Wellington could dampen my spirits.
On the ground we were in the grip of one of the hottest summers ever recorded in Tasmania, with temperatures were soaring well above 30 degrees Celsius. Given that I couldn’t see much of Mount Wellington due to the thick clouds surrounding it and the subtle warnings from Dave, I concluded that the cool temperatures at the top would be a welcome relief from the heat. I didn’t really need to bother with taking a jacket or changing out of my shorts.
The cool breeze would be enjoyable.
Our car slowly wound around the mountain roads, the air con doing a remarkable job at cooling me down. With one eye on the rapidly dropping temperature gauge on the dashboard and the other on the ridiculously beautiful views, I began to wonder if perhaps I should have taken a jacket… but I decided to keep quiet.
After all, I wouldn’t want Dave to think that he was actually right about something.
We pulled into the car park at the top Mount Wellington and before I even opened the door I could hear the wind howling noisily around us. The temperature gauge was now reading 1 degree. Cautiously, I swung the door open only to have the wind forcefully slam it closed within half a second.
Hmmm… that was unexpected.
Refusing to meet Dave’s eyes I struggled to force my door open eventually managing to get outside and then —
Oh. My. God.
It was SO cold.
The wind engulfed me, forcing me down towards the viewpoint. My hair whipped my face from all directions, the gale stinging every centimetre of exposed skin. As I struggled to adjust my camera settings with trembling fingers, Dave sauntered over to join me.
“How’s the cold?” he smiled knowingly, eliciting nothing more than a whimper in response.
My entire body was shaking violently now, my lips aching from the icy cold temperature, my camera barely able to stay in focus.
This was too much.
“I give up!” I shrieked loudly before turning around and racing uphill to the relative warmth of the nearby Visitor Centre. From there, I watched as people nervously clambered out of their cars, reacted to the temperature change, sprinted down to the viewpoint to take a couple of photos and then charged back to their cars.
I’d have found it amusing if my legs weren’t about to fall off.
The Visitor Centre was a balmy 5 degrees and wasn’t doing all that much to warm me up so once Dave had finished taking photos I was off again, this time heading back to our car. The next few minutes were spent with me alternating between wailing and laughing hysterically…
And then I took a deep breath.
“I…” I mumbled in Dave’s direction. “I think I should have worn warmer clothes.”
Where to stay in Hobart
Our partnership with Hostelbookers brought us to Tassie Backpackers — located just a five minute walk from the centre of Hobart. Dave and I stayed in a cosy private room, which was clean and spacious with a large bathroom. The staff were friendly and helpful, happy to offer lots of advice for things to do in Hobart.
There was a large outside courtyard/common room for socialising, which closes at 11pm. It got quite noisy in our room if we had the window open but was fine when we closed it — and there was barely any noise at all after 11.
Tassie Backpackers offers free wifi, which was wonderful for Australia… although it was pretty dire for most of the time we were there so I often resorted to using 3G on my phone instead.
All in all, Tassie Backpackers is a fabulous hostel, I stayed there again a week later before leaving Tasmania and will definitely be choosing to stay here if I come back in the future.