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!

Helsinki: Urban Green City (day 2)

Its day 13 on our Nordic Adventure and we are on our 2nd day in Helsinki. On this day we had enjoyed a sweet pastries by the seaside, made a few tourist stops, including the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress; caught up with some friends and strolled through the parks and ended the day with some much missed Italian food. Sounds pretty perfect doesn’t it!


This morning we were meant to grab some quick pastries on our way the Free Walking Tour that left from the Helsinki Cathedral. However, with a difficult toddler we reconsidered this idea and went to have a seaside breakfast at the Cafe Regatta. This cafe was on my to-do list for the night before but we were too exhausted to walk there.

Cafe Regatta is country style cafe located on the water in the city park, Sibeliuksen Puisto (Sibelius Park), in Töölö . It is open from 8 am until 9pm, so if your visited the Sibelius monument, this is the perfect place to stop in for some warm cinnamon buns or grill a sausages by the fire. This adorable cafe is set in a 115 year-old red cottage, which has an eclectic vintage interior. It is just so delightful and homely and is the perfect place to enjoy some hot coffee and homemade pastries. To drink they serve filtered coffee, tea, hot chocolate and hot juice (not sure what that is). To eat they have a section of cakes and pastries and savoury goods, including cinnamon buns, blueberry pie, croissants, broccoli pastry, Carelian pastry, quiche, salmon on bread. They also offer some vegan, gluten free and raw food options.

For breakfast we shared the blueberry pie, broccoli pastry and cinnamon bun, with a side of coffee and tea. Everything was as delicious as it looks and very fresh. I can’t decide what I liked the most out of all these things. So I recommend trying as much as you can, since the prices are pretty reasonable.

Tourist stops

After breakfast we didn’t have to walk very far to see our first tourist attraction. The Sibelius Monument is located with the Sibeliuksen Puisto. I wish we had visited the night before because its a very popular tourist stop. The monument is called Passio Musicae and was made in 1967 by female Finnish artist, Eila Hiltunen. It was dedicated to the Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius and was created for a competition organised by the Sibelius Society. It consists of over 600 hollowed out steel pipes, which were welded together to appear like a cluster of organ pipes. The piece on the side was also made by the artist and features Sibelius’s face.

Next we caught a tram to the Senate Square to see the Helsinki Cathedral (Hesingin Tuomiokirkko). This gorgeous Evangelical Lutheran cathedral is one of the most iconic sites in Helsinki. It was built between 1830-1852 as a tribute to the Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. Just like nearly every other cathedral I tried to see on this trip, this one was also closed. I have no idea why since it was a Monday morning. At least the outside was a gorgeous site to see. You can see some of the interior pictures here.

Just around the corner from the cathedral is one of the most famous markets in Finland, Market Square. This open-air market has been a trading site for hundreds of years. Today you can buy traditional souvenirs, coffee, fresh and cooked foods. If you are wanted to visit the Suomenlina Sea Fortress you can buy your tickets here, as it leaves from this port. It only costs 5 euro for a return adult ticket and last for 12 hours. It only takes about 15-20min to get across to the island, so you can make a spontaneous trip if need be.

Adjacent to the Market Square is the Old Market Hall. This the oldest market hall in Finland and was built 1888-1889. Prior to this, groceries were sold outside. However, with the new awareness of food hygiene and a need for organisation, market halls began to be built. Originally this hall had 120 stalls and 6 shops in the central gallery, which sold meat, eggs, butter, cheese and garden produce. However after WWI, Finland suffered four decades of scarcity, famine and rationing. Although this ended in post-war Finland, the market halls didn’t get a revitalised until Finland joined the EU in 1995. This meant that the forbid products, like unpasteurised cheese from France and cold cuts from Italy and Spain, could now be sold. Today, this Market Hall sells a variety of imported products, as well as many Finnish delicacies. As I was walking through I was blown away by all that delicious salmon and the variety of reindeer specialities. I had originally planned to have lunch here since its very inexpensive.

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

Suomenlinna is an mid-18th century sea fortress, built on a cluster of islands, just off the coast of Helesinki. It was built when Finland was under Swedish rule, to project the again a Russian explansion. In 1991 it became a UNESCO World Heritage site and is an iconic tourist attraction . Today, it has several musuems, restaurants, cafes and over 800 residents. It is free to wander the grounds if you want to learn a bit of Finnish history or have a picnic on the beach. There is a small fee catch the ferry or water bus, visit musuems or take a guided walking tour. We didn’t visit any musuems or do a tour today, as we only had a couple of hours. We did have the tourist map, which does point out all the important sites, which have some text panels for historical context. Also check out out the children’s map, which gives more information the cafes and restaurants, playgrond etc. You can also see a Virtual 360 map of the island which gives more information on its history.

Suomenlina consists of six islands, however only a few of them are available to visit all year around. The entry port is on the largest island of Iso Mustasaari, which is where we started our visit. If your hungry when you arrive I recommend Viaporin Deli & Cafe, which we visited at the end our visit (see below). You can find it here at the entry.

When you enter the main route into Iso Mustasaari you will first come across some old ornamented wooden houses. This is the Russian trading block, which was owned by the Russian garrison traders. They sold goods and services for the miliary and civilian residents and also held food incase of a siege. These houses were privately owned and built during the first stage of construction, in the late 18th century. They were originally located near the church, but had to be demolished or moved. These houses are special because they are unlike the other homes in the fortress or in Finland. They feature four-column verandas, high entrance steps, stone base and ornamental eaves and window frames. They are reminiscent of Russian folk architechture. This block consisted of shops, storerooms, a bakery, an inn, and a liquor store. The owners and their families resided in the yard outhouses and the attics. Today only six building survive and they are occupied by cafes, a shop, a photographer’s studio, a kindergarten and a cobber’s workshop.

Nearby is the Suomenlinna Church, built in 1852. It was originally a Russian Orthodox garrison church, but it was converted to a Lutheran church in the 1920s and the stylistic Byzantine-Russian features were removed. It also contains a lighthouse in its tower, which has been adding air and sea travel since te 1920s. It is also popular site for church weddings. The Church Park was designed in the 1850s and has been extended over the years to a more open Baroque style garden.

From there we passed through the Cromwell, playground, Manège of the Miltary Museum and large Suomenlinna Centre/museum, which had some nice snacks.

To get to the island of Susisaari, we needed to cross the Susisaaren Silta bridge (1982). We then made our way to the Great Courtyard. It was originaly built in 1750s, and is the middle of three courtyards inside the ring of bastions on this island. We first came apon the Bastion Höpken, which is the oldest part of the fortress. It was built in 1750 and is connected to the Commendant’s house. This house originally had 16 apartments. You can freely walk though this stone structure, but there wasn’t much information about it. Just outside in the middle of the Great Courtyard is the tomb of the Swedish military office, Augustin Ehrensvärd, who designed the fortress. Although he passed in 1783, the tomb wasn’t completed until 1807, which was 6 months before it was surrended by the Russians. hence the neo-classical style of the tomb.

Just nearby is the Dry Dock, which was built in 1747 by the Swedish for their Finnish squadron. The ships were built and stored in this dock. Under the Russian rule these dock fell into disrepair and was further damaged like most of the fortress in the Crimean war. However, in the 1920s and 1930s the Finnish forces built aircraft and stored submarines in the dockyard. Today you can view the Dry Docks from the observation deck, however there are plans to renovated it and add a new restaurant and a museum.

As we continued south down the island of Susisaari we came across Piper Park. This is the most important park on Suomenlinna. It was constructed under Commandant Petter Bernhard Piper under the Swedish rule. It was to have trimmed hedges, fruit trees, flowers, a summer-house and a pond. In the early 19th century there were also vegetable gardens. However, since the 1840s the whole area became a public park.

Lastly we visited the island of Kustaanmiekk, which is the most southern part of Suomenlinna. It’s name means ‘Gustav’s Sword’, after the Swedish Crown Price. It was the first part to be fortifed in 1748, but the earthworks and guns were added under the Russian rule. For me this was the most scenic part of Suomenlinna and if wasn’t so windy and cold would of been a great place for a swim and a picnic. There was a nice pizza restaurant, Pizzeria Nikolai, which was open, when we visited. But we decided to save ourselves for a cafe at the entry docks, so back we walked…