Hobart. Australia’s second oldest capital after Sydney.
Blue sky, golden sunlight filtering through trees which are still holding on to their autumn raiment, sampling Tasmanian whisky at 10 o’clock in the morning at the Salamanca market, hearing French people chatting…Hobart turned it on for me, and I fell in love with it. Immediately. In that giddy sort of way, where there is a heightened sense of appreciation for life and everything just feels as though it has fallen into place. That’s what I felt in Hobart. I’m pretty sure I spent the whole weekend walking around with a big smile.
For me, Hobart was about all five senses. I felt as though I was constantly assailed by experiences which swept in, filled me up and left me feeling all the more rich for having had that experience.
I had my list of Things One Must Do When In Hobart and there was a lot of ticking going on.
Tasmanians feel a little like New Zealanders in their pride for the uniqueness of their state. The stunning landscape, the crisp golden light, the food and the wine are all reason to be proud.
Mark Twain, the American novelist, travelling through the colony on a lecture tour, arrived in Hobart in 1895:
‘Suddenly Mount Wellington, massive and noble like his brother Etna, literally heaves in sight, sternly guarded on either hand by Mounts Nelson and Rumney; and presently we arrive at Sullivan’s Cove – Hobart. It is an attractive town. It sits on low hills that slope to the harbour – a harbour that looks like a river, and is as smooth as one. Its still surface is pictured with dainty reflections of boats and grassy banks and luxuriant foliage… How beautiful is the whole region, for form, and grouping, and opulence and freshness of foliage, and variety of colour, and grace and shapeliness of the hills, the capes, the promontories; and then, the splendour of the sunlight, the dim rich distances, the charm of the water-glimpses!’
I wish I had said that. But Mark Twain got there first.