It is a pretty special day for a birthday too.
Anyway, this year we went to Hobart for the weekend. Not my idea - I'm all about NOT spending money at the moment, but Lauren had planned to go for the midwinter festival held there (Mofo) as her treat to herself for her birthday. She said I could tag along, so I thought - why not ?
We'd been watching the weather so were prepared for the cold and rain - and it was such a refreshing change to the dry dry dry climate in central Victoria. It hampered some of our activities, but we had rented a car, so managed not to get too drenched or be constant icicles.
We had an early flight from Melbourne, so we had gone on a shuttle on Friday night and stayed at the airport. Not the greatest Holiday Inn we have ever stayed in, but convenient. The weather on arrival was crisp, but the sun was out and the rain clouds looked far enough away to not spoil our exploring.
We had a little wander around the Salamanca Market 300+ stalls selling food, drink, bric-a-brac and handcrafts - most locally made. Travelling only with carry-on makes you a discerning shopper though.
We were pretty hungry, no breakfast because of the early start, and you might remember we have had hangry travel experiences before. So we found somewhere - with the perfect name, and as it turned out perfect food.
We managed to get almost all the way to the top of Mt Wellington - part of the road was closed - but we got to the lookout anyway. By the time we walked back to the car the rain had arrived. Only a fine drizzle. The cloud and mist hung about the hills, it's a long time since we have seen that ! Scotland; Wellington.
On the way down the hill we stopped by the Cascades Brewery for photos, not tasting and then the Female Factory. We wandered about in the mizzle thinking about the women who had spent time there, sent to the other end of the planet mostly for petty misdemeanours centuries ago.
We stayed in Battery Point which looks so English you could imagine just being transported back to Georgian times. It is just a 10 minute walk to the city centre.
I had coffee and cake with Christina Henri who is running a project to memorialise the 25000+ women transported to Australia as convicts between 1787 and 1868. It was wonderful to meet her and handover the bonnets I had made for the project.
Dinner was at the Winterfest on the waterfront - in the drizzly rain. Outside there were foodtrucks selling all sorts of deliciousness and inside there were more food and drink choices. Also inside was the seated banquet. Long, long tables adorned with candles and bathed in red light, people enjoying each others company. Such and awesome idea.
By now the rain had really begun to set in, so we braved the crowds to get some delicious donuts from Lady Hester Eats and an orange & vanilla hot chocolate to take back to our private hotel.
We'd thought about going to Bruny Island, so after a stop at the Old Kempton Distillery we carried on to Kettering. But it was late in the day, and the weather really was looking like a ferry trip might not be the most fun thing to do.
After a night time wander along the foreshore we found our way through the city to pick up pizza for dinner from Amici. Delicious.
Monday we went back to Solstice for breakfast because it had been sooo delicious on Saturday, then drove to Port Arthur stopping at the Tessellated Pavement on the way. The tide wasn't right but we got some photos anyway.
Port Arthur was a much larger site than I had thought, we wandered about on our own wishing there was a little more information on display. Pretty tricky holding an umbrella and camera while trying to read a foldout paper map. It is amazing that so much has survived there...but there is still potential to develop the experience further in my opinion; especially for independent visitors who don't want to join over-sized walking tours where you struggle to keep up or hear what the guide is saying. We didn't have time to spend in the visitor centre either as we had to get back for the flight home.