Thursday 27 April 2017

Australian Wanderings Part 19 - Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart

After we left our magnificent Airbnb digs on Mount Rumney for the last time on Tuesday morning, we had a few hours to spare before returning our rental car and flying to Melbourne for the night. We decided to visit the lush, welcoming Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart. Founded in 1818, the Botanical Gardens provide the lungs of Hobart - acres of gardens, trees, pathways, and manicured beauty - a gardener’s delight! Here are a few photos from our visit. Enjoy!

Norfolk Island Pine

Inspiration for Bill's dreds?

Air conditioning ducts at the subantarctic island plant house

Bill's lunch!

My lunch!

Australian Wanderings Part 18 - Freycinet National Park, Tasmania

Bill and I spent our last full day in Tasmania making the three-hour drive up the beautiful east coast of Tasmania to visit friends who own a shack (Tasmanian term for cottage) in Freycinet National Park. (Yes, this is wine country.) Charles and Jenny, both retired teachers, live in Hobart but travel frequently to their slice of paradise in the park. Charles is a Canadian who ended up in Tasmania in the 1970s. He fell in love with both Tasmania and his future wife and has stayed there ever since. 

Their shack is adjacent to many world-class hiking trails. They took us on one of the less demanding trails, a 2.5 km semi-vertical (!) hike to a viewing platform overlooking Wineglass Bay, reputed to be one of the ten best beaches on the planet. The views were absolutely stunning - and I’m glad my knees held out reasonably well. Bill and I did stop to catch our breath several times, however! 

After we returned to the shack, we had a Tasmanian-themed lunch overlooking the water. Absolutely perfect! The day was a little grey, so my photos don’t communicate the dynamic impact of the area, but I hope they give you a sense of how awe-struck we were. It was a fabulous way to spend our last full day in Tasmania. And thank you, Charles and Jenny!

Shells on a shortcut path through a neighbour's property.

There's no mortar on any of the retaining walls and bridges on the path.

A resident wallabee.

Charles posting out where we're headed.

Charles, Bill, and Jenny on the trail.

Wineglass Bay lookout

Wineglass Bay beach with my telephoto lens.

Bill and Larry.

Sunday 23 April 2017

Australian Wanderings Part 17 - Hobart/Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)

Today, we experienced an artistic treat: a visit to Hobart’s famous (some say infamous) Museum of Old and New Art - MONA, for short. It is wild, raucous, confrontational, delightful - and great fun! MONA is the largest privately funded museum in Australia - the $75 million (AUS) brainchild of  the wealthy businessman David Walsh. It opened in 2011 and, in Walsh’s words, it’s a “subversive adult Disneyland.”

We chose to take MONA’s camouflaged ferry (MONA ROMA I) from Hobart Harbour up the River Derwent to the museum, about a twenty-minute ride. Well worth the added expense, for those considering a trip to MONA. You get to see Hobart Harbour and neighbouring suburbs as well as the protected shorelines. As with everything that’s connected to MONA, it’s cheeky and more than a little off centre. In other words, just our kind of place.

The museum itself is excavated out of sandstone three stories below ground level. You start your tour by going down an elevator and then working your way back up to the surface. The best known installation in the collection is Wim Delvoye’s “Cloaca Professional,” an artificial digestive machine that produces poo at 2pm each day, complete with appropriate smell. Look at the photos and judge for yourself! I’ve included photos of other pieces as well - and I apologize for not recording their names or the artists’ names.

We have one more full day in Hobart and plan to visit friends-of-friends on the east coast in Freycinet National Park. We fly to Melbourne on Tuesday, and then on to Brisbane, Vancouver, and Toronto on Wednesday.

I hope you enjoy these photos of MONA and Hobart.

99 Stairs...

Non-recyclable garbage bin.

Not one of the displays.

Bar on the lowest level.

Stairs everywhere!

Cloaca Professional Poo Machine

Crowds awaiting the 2 pm poo.

The 2 pm poo!

A video tribute to Madonna.

Fat Car by Erwin Wurm

An amazing water falls that spelled out words.

No connection to MONA, but I liked the Tasman Police car!

Not sure this would inspire confidence!