HOBARTAs Australia's second oldest city, Hobart is rich incolonial and maritime history. Hobart is also thesecond sunniest city in Australia, after Adelaide,contributing to its bustling café culture which isfocused on the waterfront where fishing boatsare berthed next to cruising yachts and a squarerigger or two. First populated in 1804 as aragtag collection of tents and huts with apopulation of 262, of which 178 were convicts,Hobart soon developed into a penal colony.Convict and early settlement history highlightsbegin with the diverse Salamanca Place and itsmany galleries, cafés and the extraordinarilyvibrant Saturday market, or you can venture up'Kelly's Steps' to emerge in the city's bestpreserved village area of Battery Point; so calledafter the defensive guns built by the British.Also worth including are the views from MountWellington, the serene parkland of the 'Queen'sDomain' and the harbourfront heritage area ofthe Henry Jones Jam Factory, established by itsrags-to-riches namesake who was, at one point,the largest private employer in the southernhemisphere. Hobart offers so much to seewithin its own boundaries, but it is also amarvellous base from which to explore thesurrounding area's diverse attractions whethertaking wildlife cruises or guided convict tours. Tasmania74Part and yet not part of Australia,Tasmania's southerly latitudes have ledto a distinctive landscape, climate andculture. Balmy weather caresses the eastcoast's beautiful beaches, encouragingwonderful arable produce and some ofthe best cool-climate wines in theworld, while the Southern Oceans crashonto the western side creating dramaticcliffs and dense rainforest. Diversehabitats and huge expanses ofwilderness ensure that unique flora andfauna have developed and flourishedand there is nowhere better to see sucha range of exciting wildlife in Australia.Colonisation took place during the 19thcentury, establishing the island asBritain's most feared penal colony. Thelegacy of this period is some of theoldest and most attractive colonialvillages and Georgian architecture inAustralia and a fascinating history ofpersonal strife and success against allodds. Tasmania is experiencing arenaissance and new-found assurance asmore and more travellers realise that itreally is a special destination in its ownright and not simply the small island offthe south of Australia.Battery Point GuesthouseBattery Point Guesthouse,HobartLocated in the historic old town of Battery Point, thisis the closest guesthouse in Hobart to the thrivingwaterfront area of Constitution Harbour and is justa two minute walk to the renowned SalamancaPlace Market. The listed building was originally thecoach house to the nearby Lenna Mansion and isnow infused with character and charm by hostsRoger and Sue. The six spacious and ensuitebedrooms are all individually decorated, includingthe Empire Suite which is a replica of that found onthe Titanic. After a hearty breakfast in theconservatory you may wish to simply lounge in thebeautiful garden or put your feet up in front of a logfire. For those that wish to head out exploring, youwill not find a better-located place to stay.
RICHMONDTwenty minutes drive north of Hobart will leadyou to Richmond, the first place that the 'CoalRiver' could be bridged enroute to Port Arthur in1820. The village is home to over 50 beautifulsandstone buildings including Australia's oldestAnglican Church. The municipal gaol is stillsplendidly intact, complete with shared andsolitary cells, warden's house and flogging yard.Richmond also boasts Australia's oldest bridge,around which many ducks and geese loiter onthe riverbanks creating an idyllic rural scenereminiscent of a Constable painting. The Henry Jones Art Hotel,HobartThis historic factory has been restored impeccablyand opened for business in 2004. Hobart's mostluxurious hotel is a fascinating and unexpectedcombination of old and new. From its original andbeautifully crafted staircase to the restoredmachinery and all-glass atrium, The Henry JonesHotel reflects the fascinating influences of its richcolonial trading history and every room is unique asthe existing historic structure has been preserved inits entirety. The beguiling mix of textures fromoriginal stone walls, ancient beams, polished floors,leather sofas and art covered walls will have youwanting to explore every corner of the hotel beforeeven venturing into Hobart itself.TASMANIAREGION |75Salamanca MarketMillhouse on the Bridge,RichmondJohn and Suzanne Hall own this historic propertythat is consistently voted the best bed & breakfastin Australia by both national and internationalpublications. It is a wonderful mix of hospitality andhistory, character and comfort. Set on the lovelyriverbank next to the famous bridge in GeorgianRichmond, the building was built by convicts in 1853as a steam mill and is now listed by the NationalTrust. The bedrooms are charming, while the loungeand breakfast areas are roomy and inviting. Whatreally makes it stand out though is the personaltouch with which the hosts treat their guests. PORT ARTHURDescribed by Governor Arthur as a "naturalpenitentiary", the Tasman Peninsula isconnected to the mainland by 'EaglehawkNeck', an isthmus only one hundred metreswide that was guarded by a permanent line ofsavage dogs, wickedly sharp man-traps andlegend has it, waters baited to keep them sharkinfested! Port Arthur housed 12,500 convictsbetween 1830 and 1877. For some, this was ahellish place, however most convicts would earntheir probation for good behavior, whereupontheir prospects were actually quite good onaccount of the skills learned in Port Arthur'sthriving industries. Convict labour enabledTasmania to become initially self sufficient andthen a nett exporter. You can take a short boattrip to the poignant 'Island of the Dead', whereprisoners and civilians alike were buried, often inunmarked graves. Not surprisingly one of themost popular evening tours around Port Arthuris the 'Ghost Tour' which is packed withghoulish stories and anecdotal evidence. Forsuch a history-focused day out it is well worthconsidering the use of a guide who will enthrallyou with details otherwise missed.Henry Jones Art HotelMillhouse on the BridgePort Arthur