We are starting the new year in Tasmania. There is a food/wine/beer festival in the
capital city of Hobart every year on the weekend nearest to New Year’s Eve. This
year New Year’s Eve is Saturday night!
There is a ferry that leaves from Melbourne every morning and evening for the trip
to Tasmania. It is a nine hour trip and I tried to make reservations a month before
our travel day. No chance of a berth. The ferry was full for the entire last two
weeks in December. I had made hotel reservations in July. I should have made the
ferry reservation then too. After all I knew the travel day we must use to get to
Tassie (as the locals call it) on time. There were several events happening at the
end of the year that I had not known about. A sailboat race from Sydney to Hobart
and a huge musical festival as well as the normal truck and car traffic traveling
to Tassie. So when we could not get there by land we went to a travel agent and booked
flight tickets and a rental car for the two weeks we planned to be there. And there
it is, our home for the next two weeks. We have borrowed a tent and air mattress
from Jeffrey and Helen, added our sleeping bags, blankets, clothes and toiletries
and we are back on the road.
After a two hop (Adelaide-Melbourne-Hobart) flight where we hardly got to altitude
before we had to descend and were served only a cookie and a glass of water/coffee/orange
juice we needed lunch. So we went to the oldest pub in Australia (does this sound
familiar). After a pint and lunch we looked up our hotel. I had reserved a hotel
room, even though we were planning on having the van because the nearest campground
required driving to get to the festival. And I planned to be in no shape to drive
after the fireworks ended shortly after midnight on Saturday night.
We dropped our gear in the room and went to wander. The ships are the original discoverer’s
fleet. The cartoon an irreverent take on Christmas in front of a pub.
We went to the oldest brewery in Australia where they had a Tasmanian Tiger behind
the bar. They are now extinct and not as well known as the Tasmanian Devil, which
Lastly we check out the festival grounds (it runs all week) and then saw this on
the way back to the hotel. A new building is being built but they have saved the
front wall of the second and third stories of the old building. I can only guess
that somehow they will become a decorative part of the new one. The white is a steel
girder system holding it in place while the construction goes on behind it.
On Friday we went to MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. It is in a suburb and has
been highly recommended by many friends and our guidebooks.
On the left is falling water that spells out words. That one says “threat”. Look
at the person to get an idea of its size. Right is “Unreadable”. A life size library
without a single word or letter in it.
Then there was the display of 77 casts of life size women’s vaginas. Each different
and taken from women 18-87 years old, virgin to prostitute, many different religions,
jobs and sexual orientations. They are displayed on a black wall 30 meters (100’)
long and individually spotlighted. On the right is a page showing one of John James
Audubon’s original “Birds of America” books. (These were not in the same room!)
A lot of the “Modern” art was just downright weird. Left is “Cloaca Professional”,
a defecation machine. They fed it twice a day and it pooped once a day. We were there
at the wrong time to see it.
We spent over four hours here. Some art was beautiful, others weird. I’ve chosen
to show you the more weird because the “Old” art you have probably seen in museums
or books. Paintings, Egyptian relics, statues, carvings, are all familiar to knowledgeable
In another same room were these, made by two different artists. Left, a steel frame
with hanks of rope on it. Right, bags of coal surrounding piles of coal (that you
had to walk around or trip over).
At the entrance was this laser cut sheet steel lowboy truck with a cement mixer truck
on the bed. A close up of the headlights is at left.
I think my favorite was “Lovers”. Two very stylistic motor scooters cuddled together.
As we left we saw these parking spaces right near the front entrance.
After walking and standing for several hours in this amazing and creative museum
we were done for the day. We needed lunch and a beer and back to our room.
If you look at the picture of the brewery above you can see a mountain in the background.
After lunch we decided we weren’t done after all and drove to the top of Mount Wellington.
It is a volcanic core that is fairly flat on top with protruding columns of basalt.
(Kathy is in the center.) Charles Darwin climbed it in the summer of 1836. It took
him two days because the brush and rocks were so thick he had to turn back the first
day. It took us about 30 minutes in a car. In the background and below is Hobart
on the side of the bay.
It is now, finally, New Year’s Eve. The “Taste of Tas” is having its big day. In
the park next door is the Saturday Market and we spent the whole day and half the
Besides the booths lining the inside of the huge building there are booths and music
and busker's outside. All the booths to the left are craft Tasmanian brewery booths.
The “Last Rites” was one of my favorites.
The theme seems to be “Angels and Devils”. I don’t know if that is every year or
just this year. Lots of people, guests as well as vendors, were wearing some sort
These two are in the same booth selling wine.
All of the food here is of Tasmanian origin. No matter if the booth was selling sushi,
Mexican, Vietnamese, or fish & chips themed food all of it came from Tassie.
The wines made here are very good and, like on the mainland, very inexpensive compared
to similar US product.
In keeping with the devil theme Kathy bought a set of Tasmanian Devil ears.
On the right is what can be worn when New Year’s Eve falls in the early summer!