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Tasmania – Day 5 – Hobart

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Categories: Trip 2020, Tags: , , , ,

Starting the day off

..as we always seem to do – with an in-room breakfast.  It really saves big $$$.

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Itinerary – Hobart

Because we happened to be staying near Hobart on a Saturday (not a coincidence), I knew I’d be able to take everyone to visit the famous Salamanca Place markets.  You’d miss a lot in with COVID these days, but back in January personal space was a myth in Hobart.

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So after breakfast we bundled into the hire car and set west for the state’s capital.  We found a multi-storey carpark and left the car.  It was a few blocks away from the markets, and we went on foot – once we got our bearings.  I can’t say that I remember downtown Hobart that much from when I  last visited in 1990, but I have to assume it’s changed somewhat.

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As you can see from the photo, a lot of sandstone coloured heritage buildings, similar to the financial district in the Sydney CBD.  A mix, really, with late 20th century buildings blended in.  A confusing contrast at times, but memorable! The sidewalks nice and wide, and the area easily walkable.  The weather was simply superb, as you can see.  The city centre is nicely situated, and everything is within a reasonable distance, although more spread out that you might expect.  No, this isn’t the Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane CBD but it has its own charm.

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Salamanca Place is not hard to find.  Especially it would seem, on a weekend.  The market is massive, it has overgrown the plaza and runs up to the west.  When we arrived it was a wall of people as far as the eye could see – which obscured the stalls themselves and made life tough for our kids.  We took it slowly and calmly, trying to get a decent look at what was on hand.  It is an impressive city market, drawing stall holders from the greater Tasmania and beyond.  We did a complete “loop”, stopping where we could.

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Some fresh raspberries were procured for the kids (and gone in an instant).  There were some hopeful vinyl sellers, but their prices were.. as steep as Mount Wellington!  I later doubled back later on as there was a reasonably priced copy of King Crimson’s “Islands” (early 70s AU copy) which I picked up for about $40.  Toni bought some candles made from wax granules selected by all four of us (scented, of course).  We walked back into town to hunt for lunch, ending up at a place called Abel Land – a Taiwanese café of all things.  It hit the spot.

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Then we split up, as I wanted to check out a record store nearby.  So I went up to Music Without Frontiers on Liverpool street and wade through a number of crates of second hand records, coming away with a few.

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Music Without Frontiers

I catch up to the family at an underground EB Games, and then drag them up and over to another store – Tommy Gun Records.  A few extra LPs added from their back room of second hand vinyl (plenty of new stuff at the front).  The final stop   – for me at least, was the Soldas Music Shop, which had troves of second hand stuff.  Scored a VG copy of Cream’s Disraeli Gears – AU mono for $15.

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We hit Target on the way back to the car, as the kids were getting a bit grumbly about all the record stores…. and so in due course we returned to the road, and east bound back to Seven Mile Beach.  Here the kids and I laid waste to the resort’s pool as we rode the afternoon into the early evening.  We made dinner in-room (save money) and thought that would probably do us for the day – but the caveat emptor struck, and we decided not to be lazy, and take in a bit more of Hobart.  Back to the car.

We’re not done yet

We drove to the Rosny Hill lookout, to get a better view of Hobart from across the Derwent.

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With the sun already well into decent, we were battling the clock as we navigated the local area.  We went further south, keeping to the shore, to a place called Kangaroo Bluff reserve.  Here there is an excellent example of a publicly accessible fort from a bygone era.

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The boys played the daredevil role, scaling the tops of the mounds within the old fortress, to Toni’s chagrin.  We walked the length of the facility, inspecting old artillery and exploring the passageways.  I did stop and ponder how much my father would have enjoyed this, being a former Artillery officer and enthusiast of things that go BANG.  At any rate, we returned to the car to continue the adventuring through the area.  We went to Tranmere to find a playground for the kids, but it was a bit underwhelming.

We’d passed a slick looking playground near a football stadium at Bellerive (near the water), so we backtracked and gave the kids 20 mins of play time while Toni and I had a look at the beach.

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‘We really started to lose the light now, so with the objections of two kids ringing in our ears, we bundled back into the car and drove east back to Seven Mile Beach.

Once back, it was time to straighten up and get prepared for the next day – and to explore the sheer height of Mount Wellington.

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Day 5 – Rotorua

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Categories: New Zealand, South Pacific, Trip 2014, Tags: , , , , ,

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Our last full day in Rotorua was a slightly shorter day than our average.  As we had some prep work to perform to be ready to depart tomorrow, we time boxed our activities until 2pm, which means that we were back at the resort around 2:30pm.  Today was also unique for the fact that it was the only day we’ve spent exclusively in Rotorua/Mourea.

Route

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Today’s activities

We  started the day at our usual 8:15-8:30am timeframe, with all showered and fed by 9:30am although we didn’t get underway until just after 10am.  We arrived in downtown Rotorua at 10:30pm and to our first destination of the day.

Kuirau Park

It turns out that the park hosts local markets every Saturday, so we were blessed (unexpected bonus) and cursed (lots of parking/traffic issues).  The park is a free public space which also happens to be on top of more geothermal activity.  Although there are no hot springs which you can swim or bathe in, the park does feature a foot washing facility which is quite pleasant.

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Local Markets

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Geothermal park with sculptured gardens

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Enjoying the foot spa

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Sulphur comes from somewhere!

After the foot spa, the boys found a splash pool for kids and decided to enjoy it a bit too much – Damian in particular ended up soaked. 

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Kid’s splash pool located conveniently next to a geothermal area 

We spent an hour and a half at Kuirau Park noting that the time was fast approaching midday.  The boys were starting to get irritable, so we decided to drive a few blocks into downtown Rotorua.

Downtown Rotorua and lunch

The first logical stop was the Rotorua visitor’s centre to pick up some more detailed maps and a brochure on eating options.

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Rotorua Visitor’s Centre/Jake gets new threads

We decided to try a place not far from the centre, two blocks away.  We moved the car and eventually found parking – 90 minutes free.  As both Jake and Damian were still quite wet from the splash pool, and we happened to park almost directly opposite a children’s store which was having a up to 50% off sale, both boys got new shorts and Jake a new T-shirt.

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Capers Epicurean / Smoked Salmon omelette

We had lunch at Capers Epicurean which featured a kid’s room and plenty of space.  It wasn’t exceptionally cheap but it did have the ambiance of a boutique brasserie, and the food was pretty good.  Jake had an iced chocolate and some chips, whilst Damian enjoyed part of a crumbed schnitzel.

Once everyone was done, we did some window shopping up and down the street before returning to the car.  Our next destination was decidedly prettier..

Government Gardens

Occupying first rate real estate on the lake’s edge, the Government Gardens are home to the Rotorua museum, a theatre, an events centre and manicured gardens. 

You enter through a set of wooden arches which lead to to lawns and a roadway which takes you up to the impressive looking museum which looks suspiciously like the visitor’s centre.  If you turn your head to the left whilst looking at the museum you’ll notice a children’s play area, which is exactly what Jake did.

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Wooden arches form the entrance/Rotorua museum

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Jake charges the camera / roses in the Rose Garden

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Damian peeks through the play equipment

So naturally we killed about half an hour watching the boys scamper around the playground.  Jake in particular was fond of the multiple slides, shooting down each one in short time.  Damian is getting much more adept at climbing up to, and sliding down the slides as well.

By this stage, the weather looked ominous, so I decided to backtrack and get the car which was parked near a heritage hotel just outside the gardens.  I brought the car into the gardens and parked it closer to the lake.  Toni and the boys met me and we walked to the lake side.

Lake Rotorua

We didn’t linger too long at the side of the lake because the weather looked like it would turn at any moment.  We rationalised that we needed some quality time back at the resort to get ready for packing, so after a brief time near the water, we headed back to the car.

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Rotorua Lake

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Lake side

As we were on our way out, Jake noticed a sea plane preparing for take off.  At the same time I noticed an old riverboat steamer coming in to dock, so I put the car in reverse and we took a few minutes to watch the water craft.

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Maori boat

Toni spied a covered Maori long boat, so I stopped and got out to take some photos.  It was quite a magnificent specimen, very large and sturdy looking, inlaid with shells.  After taking a few shots and trading exchanges with an older foreigner who jokingly expressed a desire to move the bars around the boat cage, I returned to the car.  We drove back to the resort stopping by a Gull petrol station which featured car vacuuming and car washing facilities which we took advantage of.

Back to the resort

Once we were back at the resort, I downloaded photos onto the laptop.  Not long after, I proposed a swim and spa – Damian and I went down to investigate the water temperature and returned with a report of ‘acceptable’.

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The Resort

Pool and Spa

The whole family went down to enjoy some time at the pool.  There was a slide to one side for children 3-7 to launch themselves into a wading area, which Jake (and surprisingly Damian) thoroughly enjoyed many, many times.  In between, we took turns in the spa to warm up.

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Resort pool / Spa fun

We spent an hour in either the pool or spa before deciding to call it a day.

Dinner and packing

Toni cooked a lamb rack for dinner and Damian went to bed early after a day without a meaningful sleep. 

We have much to do to be ready to fly out tomorrow!

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