(Continued from: Showing Friends Around – Part 3)
Our two German friends, from Bavaria, are on a tight schedule with just five weeks in Australia overall, and just six nights in Tassie!
What to do, where to take them in Tasmania? So far they have stayed at Olive’s Cottage (our property at Windermere), they have seen Launceston and toured the Tamar and they have visited Binalong Bay, Bicheno and Freycinet on the east coast.
To Swansea, Triabunna, Richmond and Hobart
Our friends have two days – a Friday and a Saturday – before they head back to the mainland. We had plans for them on both days including a surprise event for the Friday night in Hobart and a dinner invitation for the Saturday.
We are on the road from Bicheno around 9 am, aiming to reach Hobart by late morning, giving us time to drive to the top of Mt Wellington then get back into town to settle into our accommodation.
As we drive south from Bicheno to Swansea we stop for this view across to the Freycinet Peninsula (click to enlarge).
We pass by several east coast vineyards and have a brief stop at Swansea where our friends marvel at the quaintness of some of the architecture.
Further south we stop at Triabunna, home of Spring Bay mussels and scallops that are widely sought after in Australian and international restaurants.
We make good time, and decide to stop at Richmond on our way into Hobart. Nearing Richmond we see Mt Wellington in the distance, covered with snow. Our friends cannot believe that Hobart lies just below it.
At Richmond we visit the church and wander along the main street with its colonial architecture.
Approaching Hobart from the eastern side we have to cross the Tasman Bridge. As the bridge appears so does the city of Hobart with the mountain behind it. Our friends, so well-travelled, comment that it might be the most spectacular setting of any capital city in the world.
We don’t stop, driving straight through the city, but our friends do see some of the Hobart waterfront on the way and some of the lovely buildings. The trip up Mt Wellington is slowed because of the snow cover. The views from the top are terrific.
On the way back to the city we divert to Mt Nelson to view Hobart from a different vantage point. We have lunch at the restaurant there with its great outlook down the Derwent.
Our accommodation is set back a little from the Hobart Waterfront, just a 200 metre walk to Victoria and Constitution Docks, centre of activity for the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race.
We leave our friends to wander by themselves around the shops of Salamanca Place. We go straight to Gallery Salamanca: we need to purchase a present for a wedding on the mainland and we know they will have stocks of the fine hand-made glass work by Wendy Helleman.
Our friends wonder about dinner that night but we assure them all is in control. Late afternoon the four of us meet up with our Tasmanian friends who had loaned us their Bicheno house. That gave us the chance for a bite to eat, enough to see us through until later.
At 6.30 we return to the hotel to freshen up and change. Then we lead our German friends around to the Grand Chancellor Hotel for their surprise: a Beethoven concert by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, at the Federation Concert Hall. Time enough for a pre-concert drink in the buzz of the hotel lobby then inside to see Stephen Hough play piano concertos Nos. 1 and 4. The TSO is widely acclaimed as one of the world’s finest small orchestras but the ticket prices are not out of this world – so, if you are in Tasmania and the TSO is performing, just go, even if you don’t normally attend classical music concerts. (The following photo is from the TSO Facebook page.)
After the concert there is a complimentary wine tasting of local wines. We then head to one of the harbour-side bars for a light, late-night snack of locally made cheeses.
We walk up to Battery Point for a breakfast of quality breads and pastries at one of our favourite stopping points, Jackman & McRoss.
Our walk around Battery Point with some of the oldest buildings in Australia leads us to Arthur Circus – a circular street edged by cute historic cottages.
On to the Saturday market at Salamanca Place with its wide range of arts and crafts, food outlets, artisan products and organic fruit and vegetable stalls.
At midday we head to the MONA ferry for the trip up the Derwent to the museum. While taking lunch on board, with the snow-capped mountain as a backdrop, we pass by well-known nautical, historical and industrial sites along the river. The following photo is of the Tasmanian Governor’s residence.
The extraordinary MONA complex provides plenty of surprises for our friends, from the stunning architecture to the intriguing exhibits.
Our Hobart friends, both wonderful cooks, are expecting us for dinner early evening. The meal they produce is a Francophile’s dream: a tarte tatin of leeks, a braise of fennel sausages with lemony potatoes, and an amazing lemon soufflé! (We have many friends and family in Tasmania and we find that the cooking of all of them to be of the highest order – possibly due to a combination of access to quality produce and a keen, shared interest in food.)
Most of us are intimidated by having to cook a soufflé. Don’t be! Try the recipe that follows and start to experiment with both sweet and savoury variations.
For the recipe, click here: Lemon Soufflé
But the convivial evening can’t last. We four have to be up by 4.30 the next morning for early flights.
We fly back to Melbourne, our German friends fly to Alice Springs for a week visiting the Red Centre, followed by a week visiting the Cairns area and the Great Barrier Reef!
– Next, we meet up with them in Sydney for their last days in Australia.
Continued in: Showing Friends Around – Part 5