We arrived in Hobart on the 20th of June... and managed not to get a single picture of the city and only two from the city of the mountain overlooking. Our first order of business was finding a good fish and chips place on the docks. Where else are you going to get really fresh fish. I should add here: I had calamari 3 times in less than 2 weeks. So, once we had a satifying meal, we set out for the local car rental places. (Rub your eyes, re-read the sentence, it won't change, we did indeed rent a car!) We shopped around and got a very good deal, and picked up the car the next morning. And since I'm writing this a week later, you can be assured we survived driving on the other side of the road.
So the next morning we were off to Port Arthur. Most of you not being from Australia, I'll give a very brief idea of Port Arthur. In the 1700's and 1800's England sent prisoners to Australia because England didn't have any jails. Of those that got sent to Australia, some men and women commited a number of other crimes in Australia. Some of those repeat offenders were sent to Port Arthur, which was basically a lumber camp in an easily defensible area of Tasmania (it's on a peninsula). Port Arthur has 30 of over 300 original buildings still left standing. Being the lazy travellers we are... we left later in the morning, got halfway there and stopped at a neat little cafe on the side of the road. Chatting with the owner made us realize we should have ordered crepes (he makes really good crepes) and got us a few good tips and info about the Gold Coast. Then we took a side road to a lookout point, where we were able to see Cape Hauy, the walk we did the next day. Look close at the second picture and you'll note the little islands at the end of the distant land mass. That's Cape Hauy. We went to Port Arthur, got a couple great tours, had hot tea and soup in between to help warm up. We've always known how to bundle up for cold weather, but we didn't plan on really cold weather when we left for Australia, so we've been picking things up along the way. In order to keep warm, by this point we were wearing: tights, sweat/pajama pants, jeans, socks, runners, 3-4 shirts, hoody, jacket, windbreaker, toque, scarf, and gloves. So, walking around outside, fairly warm, we went on both the regular tour and the ghost tour of Port Arthur. Sorry, no ghosts... excellent story-teller though, I highly recommend the ghost tour. After all this traipsing around in the cold air, we returned to our well-budgeted accomodations. Sometimes budget isn't worth it. May as well have camped without a tent. We stayed in a bunkhouse with a 12 foot high ceiling, a single electric heater 9 feet off the ground on a 30minute timer, no bedding other than our sleeping bags, and three outside brick walls.Please note that we had two mattresses under each of us, full outdoor gear on in our sleeping bags, and had camped out under the heater (which is so high off the ground it doesn't even make it into the picture). It was a night we'll never forget.
Now take a moment and think... how would you, as a sane person, spend the next day? We spent it hiking (in runners, as we have no hiking boots.) to Cape Hauy, a reportedly 4 hour round trip walk. It was recommended to us by one of the ambulance attendants at work. We neglected to ask for details of the hike. We started out on a nice, easy trail along the shore. Then it went inland and started to get steeper uphill, with random "cheater paths" to keep us out of the boggy parts.It ended with quite the views... er, well, I'm sure it would have ended with some REALLY nice views if we had finished it. The first really steep decent and climb:and then there was a second, which we reluctantly braved... and when we saw the third and steepest yet we decided that we had seen quite enough. It took us 5 hours round trip, with many breaks to breathe/drink/eat. I don't think I'm cut out for climbing. But we were quite proud of ourselves for getting as far as we did. We were passed twice by a retired couple who ran the whole thing in an hour and a half, and told us we had stopped five minutes from the end. That would be an hour in our climbing style.After that experience, every climb was measured against that one. All walks so far have been classified as "easy" by us. I'll explain how we ended up on stage in the next blog I write.