Tasmania: Hobart (day 1-2)

Hi all, a bit over a month ago I went on holiday to Tasmania with my little family. This was the first time any of us had been to the tiny island state of Australia. We did an 8-day road trip to celebrate my Babymoon and O’s new start to the school year.

For this trip, I designed a road trip, which began and ended in Hobart. This took us to Queenstown, Cradle Mountain, Devonport, Launceston, Campbell Town, Oatlands, Richmond and Port Arthur. We stayed in different accommodations every night and saw a variety of different landscapes. Although this is only a snapshot of what Tasmania has to offer, this itinerary gave us a pretty good overview in a short time with a child in tow.

I really didn’t know much about Tasmania before planning this trip. I didn’t know what the landscape would look like or what the climate would feel like. We were travelling in January during the hottest time of the year in Australia. But I had heard from others that it can get pretty cold here. So we just packed everything.

Our first stop was Hobart, which is the capital city and the most populous place in Tasmania. It was founded in 1804 as a British Penal colony and is the second oldest capital city in Australia. We arrive at the tiny Hobart airport just after midday. After picking up our rental car and we made our way into Hobart. This was our first impression of Tasmania. It looked quite rural and relatively flat. The climate was quite a bit cooler than where we came from and very windy.

It took about 20 minutes to get to our accommodation, located in the suburb of Lindisfarne on Hobart’s Eastern Shore. It’s only about 6 km from the centre of the city, but you do need a car to travel across the water. This suburb didn’t seem very affluent, as the homes were quite small but they did have amazing views of the River Derwent.

We stayed in the Honeymoon Suite at the Possums Spa Apartments. It was quite private and relatively clean. For the price and it was quite reasonable, but it was a little dated. The bed was extremely comfortable, so I can’t complain too much.

We were eager to drive across to the centre of Hobart to see as much as we could before everything closed. We parked on Franklin Wharf car park, just adjacent to Elizabeth Street Pier. There are quite a few dining options here. We had a little look but then decided to keep walking towards the Salamanca Markets. We did duck into the Brooke Street Pier building. Inside there are a few small stalls selling Tasmanian produce and tourism operators. If you are wanting to go to MONA Art Gallery on the Berriedale peninsula, you can buy your tickets for the ferry from here. The ferry itself is highly recommended on Trip Adviser. However, the tickets for the ferry and the museum weren’t cheap, so we decided to give it a miss on this trip.

On our way to the markets, we crossed through the Parliament House Gardens. It overlooks the Parliament House of Tasmania, which is still used today and offers public tours on non-sitting days. The park itself is quite plush green space. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a playground, which would have been ideal for us. Between the gardens and the Salamanca Place, you can find the Tasman Memorial and Fountain (1988). It was designed by local sculpture, Stephen Walker and features a plinth of white rock with the Southern Cross overlooking a white concrete fountain with three bronze ships and a bronze sculpture of Abel Janszoon Tasman (1603 – 1659). Tasman was a Dutch seafarer, explorer, merchant and first known European explorer to reach Tasmania and New Zealand.

The Salamanca Market is located at Salamanca Place and operates on Saturdays between 8:30 am-3 pm. It is Tasmania’s most visited tourist attractions and features over 300 stalls of local Tasmanian fresh food and produce, handmade arts and crafts, clothing, antiques, beauty products, souvenirs and more. We didn’t have much time until closing, so we had a quite look around for some lunch. If you’re after something in particular you can see the Market map. We didn’t end up eating here today, but we did return for our lunch on our last day, which you will see in a few more posts.

Salamanca Place a precinct of Hobart and features a row of picturesque three and four-storey sandstone buildings and a square. These buildings were previously warehouses for the port of Hobart, but today it is home to a variety of restaurants, bars, shops, the Spacebar Gallery, Salamanca Arts Centre and the Peacock Theatre.

For lunch, I had planned to visit Daci & Daci Bakers, which is where we headed next. It is only a few minutes walk from Salamanca market. They have an amazing array of sweet and savoury pastries, cakes, bread, etc. Most of the menu is on display in the glass cabinets, including the breakfast and lunch dishes. Since I was pregnant I wasn’t about to order any of those. So instead I order the Seasonal soup, which was Black bean and vegetable soup and it came with house bread and farmhouse butter. Marco and Octavia shared a Croque Monsieur. After a bit of a wait due to some mix up, we finally got our meals. They were both pretty nice. My soup was exactly what my body needed and a good healthy start to this holiday.

Next, we wanted to visit Hobart’s inner-city laneways, which have been transformed into works of art. They were an initiative by the city council, called Love our Laneways. Many of these laneways are short cuts, which allow people a more scenic route, as they cut across town.

The first laneway we found was Harrington Lane. When we first arrived we didn’t see anything there, but once we walked around the corner a bit we came to this amazing Batman mural. Besides that there was a brightly coloured bird-inspired piece. These artworks were done by Tasmanian street artist and UTAS alum Jamin. He has produced murals across Tasmania, Australia and Internationally and won countless awards.

On our journey, we came across the little cafe Pilgrim Pies. This little slice of heaven offers pies, doughnuts and coffee 24-hour a day. We weren’t too hungry so Marco and I shared an Apple pie and O got a Strawberry glazed doughnut. Since the cafe was full, we went around the back to sit In the Hanging Garden. This area amazing little block is a beer garden with outdoor dining, bar and live music. There are two little restaurants offering Malaysian and Basque-inspired food.

Next, we visited one of the most impressive laneways, Bidencopes Lane. It was previously a favourite place for street taggers but was transformed during the 2018 Vibrance Festival by over 20 different artists. Here you can find work by artists Jamin, Tom O’Hern, and Brain Foetus aka Laura McMahon, Tom Gerrard, Lukan Smith, Jonny Scholes, Seven, Sam Dobransky, Ling, Mimi, and Stormie Mills. This is probably the longest laneway I came across with the most work, so definitely one you should visit. I realized the following day that I hadn’t seen the entire lane when I came across the other end on Liverpool street. You can see the rest at the end of this post.

Finally, we found the city, but unfortunately, everything was just about to close. We did visit the Cat & Fiddle Arcade, which had a clock that plays an English melody when the clock strikes the hour. To be honest the city centre weren’t that interesting. The store fronts were quite dated and there wasn’t many interesting things to see. It did feel a bit like I had falling back in time when I consider how far Brisbane Queen Street Mall has come. We continued to walk as far as Franklin Square, but that was about it. I may have had a better experience if my daughter hadn’t been complaining the whole time that she wanted a Tasmanian devil, like the one she saw at the Salamanca markets. She was relentless and besides a cheap one I found in a tourist store on the mall, we didn’t come across another one. She would eventually get one a couple of days later after exhausting us.

Along Murray Street, we came across some mural in a between Micheal Hill Jewellers and Routley’s. The right side was commissioned to the local artists TOPSK by the Antarctic and South Ocean Coalition. It illustrates the marine animals of the Antarctic ocean ecosystem. TOPSK also painted the left side which, depicting the bees, wombat and Tasmanian devil. He is known as one of the godfathers of Hobart’s street art and has had his work regularly exhibited. Unfortunately, someone had taken a leak in here, so I couldn’t admire the works for too long.

Not far from Murray Street is another laneway, Mathers Lane. This laneway on a pocket park, which is also known as Mathers place. This work was also done by Hobart street artist and UTAS alum Tom O’Hern called Terraform. It was originally a black and white mural, but he later added colour.

After our big walk, we headed back to our accommodation to freshen up for dinner. I took these photos from Lindisfarne of Hobart’s Eastern Shore. It was so picturesque and much more beautiful in this light.

Our last stop for the night was dinner at Urban Greek. I did a bit of research before choosing this place and found that it was said to be one of the best if not the best restaurant in Hobart. We absolutely loved this place and would come back to Hobart just to eat here again. It was definitely the best meal we had on this trip.

We don’t normally order banquets at restaurants, but tonight Marco and I were eager to try everything. The waitress was very accommodating and made sure that all the dishes were pregnancy-friendly.

So we started off with Pita with Pantzari (beetroot & yogurt dip), Cretan Hommus and Fava (yellow split peas dip). Next, we had the Meze Plate of Dolmades and dill yogurt, Tirokroketes (cheese croquettes), and Kolokithokeftedes (zucchini croquettes). We already ate half this platter before I photographed it and all of the 3rd course which was the Saganaki Cheese served with homemade jam. After that, we were had the Soutzoukakia (Greek Meat Balls) and Cretan Village Salad, followed by the Cretan style Lamb & Chicken with Lemon Roast Potatoes. While we consumed all this delicious food, Octavia enjoyed her child meal of Cretan style Chicken lemon potatoes, pita and yogurt, as well as a few bits and pieces of our meal.

For dessert, our banquet came with Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard pie) and Octavia had some complimentary ice cream. The cake was amazing and a nice sweet end to the night.

The next day we woke up bright and early and ready for breakfast. There are so many amazing brunch spots in Hobart. A place that is known as one of the best brunches in Hobart is Criterion Street Cafe. It was also one of the most reasonably priced. They offer a variety of breakfast and lunch options, including eggs, waffles, salads and sandwiches. Although they didn’t have a kids menu, they did offer half-size portions for little people or smaller appetites.

I ordered Aunt Mabel’s Porridge, which had rhubarb compote and apple crumble and Orange juice; Marco had the French Toast (three cheese, dijon mustard, caramelized onion, pancetta, roasted tomato and rocket and a cappuccino; and O had eggs on toast. My porridge was amazing! It was so creamy and decadent. Marco’s french toast was also out of this world, well the tiny bit he let me try. Octavia was the only unsatisfied one. She was a bit upset that there was pepper on her egg and was just in a general mood about not having a Tasmanian devil.

On our way back to the car I spotted some more street art just off 162 Liverpool Street. This actually linked to Bidencopes Lane, which we had seen yesterday. At the beginning, it features the Trapdoor by Jade Pollard, which was inspired by the 1990s TV show. There is also murals by Ling, Mimi, Sam Dobransky, Pichu, Rebak mail, Kreamart, Kannina Langford and more.

It was now time to leaving Hobart. We had to travel to our next destination of Queenstown, which is where I will take you on my next post. Hope you enjoyed getting a snapshot of Hobart!

8# Throwback Travel- New York: Grand Central, Central Park & 5th Ave (day 7)

Hi all! While I’m away on my babymoon to Tasmania, I thought I would continue sharing a couple of posts from my trip to America. These are from our last day in New York on day 7. There is just so much to see in New York, as you have seen from what we did. There is so much more I would like to do when I return one day. I am sure there will be many new attractions and delicious foods to try as well. On the last day we covered Grand Central Terminal, the MET, Central Park and made quite a few stops on 5th Avenue. We also dinned in a old-world Viennese cafe on the Upper East side and New York’s largest dinner.

So on my last day, Octavia and I began the day at the Piccolo Cafe, who are known for there authentic Italian fare and espresso. They have three locations, but I visited the little cafe is in Midtown on 238 Madison Ave. This location is quite tiny but was very popular in the early morning with locals. Their menu offers quite a range of pastries and panini with various fillings, pasta, gourmet eggs and salads. I ordered this delicious Salmon and Egg Sandwich, which was perfect to start the day.

Our first tourist stop for the day was the Grand Central Terminal, also commonly known as Grand Central Station. This iconic station is just stunning and a must-do if you visit New York. It was opened in 1913 and it’s retains its old-world nostalgia, due to its stunning Beaux-Arts architecture. Besides being a transport hub connecting Manhattan, it also offers shopping, dining, tours and other events.

After this, I visited The MET alone. Yes just right, I was by myself. I was not disturbed or rushed through my visit and I took photos of everything. I will do a separate post for this visit to show you all the amazing artwork that I saw.

Meanwhile, Marco, O and his mum visited Central Park. They took their time walking around and enjoying the gardens. I didn’t meet them until later and only got to see a fraction of what they saw. It was so hot this day and everyone wanted to leave. If we had more time I would have loved to do a tour of the gardens. This is probably not the best activity to do in the middle of summer.

For lunch, we stopped into a restaurant nearby on 5th avenue, within in the Neue Gallery. Café Sabarsky is an Austrian cafe, which was inspired by the turn-of-the-century Viennese cafes, which served as a hub for intellectual and artists. It’s headed by Michelin-star chef Kurt Gutenbrunner, who presents a menu with a modern take on Viennese traditional dishes. The dining room is relatively small but the interior is just stunning. The walls are flanked with dark wood, which is adorned with carved embellishments and there is a classic old-style bar. We each ordered a dish from the menu, including Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese, Bavarian Sausage with warm Pretzel & Sweet Mustard and Roasted Bratwurst with Riesling Sauerkraut, Roasted Potatoes & Dijon. The dishes were presently lovely and tasted very nice as well. They were rather small serves, but then for such a fancy place we probably should have ordered a bit more. Especially since I had to split my meal with my toddler.

After that, we took a walk from on 5th Avenue from the Upper Eastside to Midtown. This is a great walk to take in all the amazing architecture and high-end shopping scene. We made a few stops along the way. First, we stopped at the iconic Apple Fifth Avenue. To get to the store we had to go into a cube and down a spiral staircase. It was very crowded down there, just like every Apple store I suppose.

Next, we visited Trump Tower. Now, this was before the election, so I wasn’t so accustomed with the Trump name as we all are now. The interior is very grand, but also a little outdated. For me it’s reminiscent of the the grandeur of New York in the 1980s and 1990s. At the time we visited there weren’t any stores open. Since I had the pram, I had to take a lift to the first floor to get a view of the foyer. There was a doorman inside, who would only allow one customer or couple at a time. It was kind of nice to privately ascend up. While we were there we did get some ice cream from the Trump Ice Cream Parlor. It offers about 16 classic flavours. I believe I tried the Vanilla Honey Baklava, which I hadn’t come across before and it was pretty nice.

Next, we stopped at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This is the grand church we saw while in New York. This church is 140 years old and is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. The architectural style is largely Neo-Gothic and is truly stunning both inside and out. It is massive in size and can hold 3000 parishes at once.

Not far from 5th Avenue in Midtown, we also made a stop at the famous Magnolia Bakery at the Rockefeller Centre. This New York bakery is various locations within the city across the US, as well as in Asia and the Middle East. The brand was made famous by the ‘Sex and the City’ series and for its cupcakes. Their menu offer a range of cupcakes as well as speciality weekly cupcake flavours. Additional they offer pies, cakes, mini cheesecakes, brownies, bars, cookies and sweet breakfast muffins, scones and loaves. This particular location is rather small and doesn’t offer seating, so we had to grab and go. For me the cheesecakes looked the most amazing, so we got the Blueberry and Caramel Pecan Cheesecake. Oh my goodness they were amazing. They were so soft, creamy and perfectly flavoured and sweetened. I was in cheesecake heaven. I also hadn’t eaten cheesecake in 6 years, but I promise you they are great.

Our last stop was the American Girl Place, near Rockefeller Plaza. We don’t have these dolls in Australia, but I had heard about them. This store is two levels and features the American Girl dolls, Bitty Babies, Wellie Wishers and merchandise. There is also now a cafe on the bottom level.

I hoped to buy a look-alike doll for my daughter. Unfortunately, she was not interested in American girls or Bitty Babies. Instead, she rather wanted to play in the little house, that is set up for small children. Since they are pretty pricey and would take up a big place in my suitcase I decided not to get one for myself.

For dinner, Marco really wanted to eat in a New York American diner. I reluctantly gave in, since I wasn’t expecting diner food to be that great or healthy. He chose the Tick Tock Diner. It is the largest diner in New York and has a bright classic diner interior. The menu offers fried starters and sides, soups, mac & cheese, burgers, tacos, burritos, pancakes, french toast, crepes, waffles, egg dishes, sandwiches, salad bowls, pasta, pizza and desserts.

Marco and I decided to go with burgers. He got the Cheese Burger and Fries and I got the Turkey Burger and Sweet Potato Fries. To be honest we were a bit underwhelmed by both the presentation and the taste.

Well that’s my last day in New York. My post on the MET will be out soon and then we will move onto Washington DC.

4# Throwback Travel- New York: Lower East Side, West Village and High Line (day 4)

I’ve been a little unwell the past month but feeling better today. So I can continue with Day 4 in New York City. We were finally done with our tours, so now it was time to check out some of the hipster neighbourhood in Lower Manhattan. We did breakfast on the Lower East Side, lunch in the West Village, walked the High Line and did a low key dinner with a friend. It was a pretty low key day, but boy did we do a lot of walking.

Lower East Side

One of the places you have to visit when in New York is the famous Katz’s Delicatessen. If not for the movie nostalgia and its history, definitely for their pastrami sandwich. This historical kosher-style delicatessen was founded back in 1888 and has been featured by numerous food shows. I have never been to a kosher eatery, so I was pretty excited to see what they would have on offer.

We arrived pretty early in the morning and there really wasn’t a lot open on the Lower East Side. Katz’s Delicatessen was open, so we took our time reading about their history and getting accustomed with the menu. Its a pretty lay back place, so we didn’t feel rushed to figure out what we were going to have. The menu is massive, consisting of hot and cold sandwiches, traditional Jewish dishes, breakfast omelettes, soups, salad platters and cakes.

We ended up going with the classic Pastrami Sandwich, which was chock full of freshly cooked pastrami, with mustard on fresh bread. We also had a side of half-sour and full-sour pickles and plate of Potato Latkes with apple sauce and sour cream. I’m don’t usually like cold cut meat sandwiches, but this hot pastrami sandwich exceeded my expectations. The meat was so juicy and satisfying. The sour pickles really complemented the sandwiches and the potato latkes were nice and crispy.

After breakfast, we took to the streets to see what the Lower East Side was all about. The buildings on this side of town aren’t highrise, so it has much more of a neighbourhood feel. The area has quite a few contemporary art galleries and home to many artists and creatives. It is also known as a place for night life and live music, so we probably should have visited later in the day. At this time of the morning, it was pretty quiet. None of the shops were open and it seemed most people were still in bed. We did find a few coffee shops open. In Australia, coffee is a pretty big thing and our coffee is a lot different from American coffee. So we were hoping to find something more similar to what we were used to.

We visited Ludlow Coffee Supply and their coffee was pretty good. Their barista/server was pretty rude though and I am not quite sure why. I don’t quite understand why anyone would be rude when they relying on tips. In my country, we don’t get tips, but its still unacceptable to have a bad attitude. Anyway hopefully they have nicer staff now. Other then that, it has a pretty trendy interior and was a pretty popular place for locals.

West Village

Afterwards, we walked over to the West Village, which took about 20 mins on foot. For us quite a bit longer with a toddler and a grandmother. We stopped at a local park and let O have a bit of a play. It was so unbelievably hot, so we hung out here for a while. The West Village has so many amazing cafes and restaurants in this area, as well as vintage stores and galleries. Its was probably my favourite neighbourhood in New York.

Pretty soon it was time for lunch and we visited another one of my must-visit eateries in New York. I have been a huge fan of Chloe Coscarelli for years, so I couldn’t wait to visit her first cafe. I have already reviewed this By Chloe on Bleeker Street, which you can see here. The food was amazing. It looked and tasted just as delicious as the food in Chloe’s cookbooks. Unfortunately, since our visit, Chloe was ousted from By Chloe. You can read about it here. To be honest I am not sure I would want to return to By Chloe given the chance. It just feels wrong after the way they treated her, and continuing to profit off her name and food genius.

The High Line

After lunch, we walked up to High Line, which begins on the north-eastern tip of Greenwich Village and continues through Chelsea. The High Line is an elevated public park, that runs along a historic freight rail line. It offers great views of Manhattans West Side and Hudson River, and features art installations and 120 different flora species. It runs about 1.45 miles (2.33 km) and a great place to take a relaxing stroll.

Friendly Catchup

After all that walking on the hot sun, we took some time to rest in the hotel. For dinner we met up with a friend of mine, who was air hostess and stopping overnight in New York. I really wanted to go do Momofuku Noodle Bar or John’s of Bleeker Street. However, it was so hot and nobody wanted to go so far away. Instead, my friend suggested the Olive Garden near Time Square. Marco was much more keen then me to try this Americanized-Italian food and I was a little curious.

Olive Garden at Time Square is a huge restaurant and is extremely popular for tourists. We had to take a buzzer, but it didn’t take too long to get a table. The menu is also massive, consisting of pastas, meat dishes, soups, salads, desserts, etc. It was quite overwhelming, we kept it simple with the Bread sticks, Famous House Salad, Angel Hair with Shrimp (no cream) for me and Meat cannelloni with meat sauce for Marco. The meals came out and were just massive in size. Mine looked a bit better than Marco’s dish, which looked a mess. My pasta wasn’t too bad, bit also wasn’t really flavoursome. Marco wasn’t such a fan of the taste of his. On the bright side the salad was fresh and the bread sticks weren’t bad. This would have been the perfect place to take your family if they love lots of options, big serves and have no dietary restrictions.

That brings me to the end of day 4. Tomorrow we do a horse and carriage ride through Central Park, visit the Central Park Zoo, see a Broadway show and dine at the amazing New York Eataly.

3# Throwback Travel- New York: Lady Liberty to Uptown (day 3)

On day three in New York, we continued our Big Bus tours, cruising to the Statue of Liberty and exploring the fancy side of town. We lunched on the Upper East Side, at one of the most amazing and elegant vegan restaurants, saw a Broadways show and had a cheeky late-night premium burger in Hell’s Kitchen. All in all, a pretty great day.

River Cruise to Lady Liberty

We had to get up pretty early this morning for the NYC Sightseeing River Cruise, which was part of our 2 day Big Bus pass. For breakfast, I went to a little hole in the wall bagel store near our apartment, which I can’t remember well and didn’t photograph. From memory, it was a pretty average. After, that we took a car down to the South Street Seaport in the Two Bridge area, where we took the Hornblower Cruise. It appears that this has been changed to a port off Hell’s Kitchen now.

The cruise went for about an hour and took us along the East River, passed the end of the Hudson River and into the Upper New York Bay. We got amazing views of the Financial District, Brooklyn, Governors Island, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. During the cruise, there was a recorded commentary and we could explore the top deck and the inside cabin. There wasn’t anything very exciting to eat or drink, just snacks. So I happy we had breakfast first.