Wednesday, 17 May 2017

On to Tasmania

Events of Wednesday 17th May 2017

I'd never been to Tasmania so, whilst I was in Australia, I'd arranged to tack a couple of days in Hobart on the end of my marathon trip.

Before leaving the Hotel Lindrum on Wednesday morning to fly to Hobart, I'd intended to see a little more of the Melbourne, using train or tram. Although I started to get up when my alarm went off at 6.00 a.m., two things discouraged me from carrying out my planned exploration. Firstly, although I'd slept soundly, I still felt pretty tired - it had been a fairly intensive few weeks and I don't appear to have the stamina I once enjoyed. Secondly, it was raining and miserable outside. So, instead, I just worked in my room on the computer and watched the suburban trains go by, still impressed by the intensity of the service. I checked out a little before the arranged pick-up time of 10.30 a.m. and found the very professional driver to take me to the airport was already waiting outside with an immaculate Audi saloon. By this time, the rain had stopped and I had a very comfortable ride to Melbourne's Quantas Domestic Terminal where it was the usual do-it-yourself check-in.

The aircraft type was a Boeing 719 which I didn't think I'd flown before so not knowing quite where the seat I was allocated (23D) was, I left it unchanged - this proved to be a mistake.

The terminal was quite spacious without too many people travelling so, having browsed a few shops, I took a seat directly opposite the ramp where my aircraft was to arrive. The aircraft was delayed and frequent apologies were made over the public address. It was about 30 minutes late by the time it had shut down the engines and I amused myself taking pictures of all the different teams at work around the aircraft.

At last we boarded the Boeing 719 - a narrow-body, of course, but with it's two engines strapped to the fuselage rather than being wing-mounted. Seating in economy was 3+3 and, although row 23 had windows, the view was restricted by the engines. My row, row 24 only existed on the starboard side so my seat, 24D, was the aisle seat. The port side of the aircraft was completely obstructed with storage for catering equipment and there was no window on either side of the aircraft.

When 'Concorde' was designed, the passenger compartment originally had no windows - that solved an awful lot of engineering problems. But the response of people shown the 'mock-up' was so adverse that they decided to put windows in after all. I share that aversion so I was quite uneasy on the flight which, fortunately, was only just over an hour.

Once I got off the plane in Hobart, I felt much happier. My driver met me in the crowded baggage hall but we had a few minutes to wait for the bags to arrive on the single baggage conveyor. A sniffer dog and his handler, having first checked the arriving passengers, jumped repeatedly on and off the conveyor (yes, dog and handler) checking the bags as they appeared. Hobart was a much smaller airport and, having retrieved my bags, we only had a short walk to the car park and a waiting Mercedes saloon.

I think the journey into the city was about 18 km, on an uncrowded dual carriageway which passed through attractive, wooded hills. As we neared Hobart, we crossed the River Derwent on the impressive Tasman Bridge. This River Derwent is a broad estuary navigable by ocean-going ships, very unlike the Derbyshire River of the same name I'm familiar with. Rather like Melbourne, but on a smaller scale, the city is a mixture of old and new buildings. The older English-style buildings, often 're-purposed', I found very appealing.

We approached the harbour area, largely now a marina but retaining some working boats, and parked outside my hotel, which was formerly Henry Jones' extensive jam factory but is now an up-market hotel called 'The Henry Jones Art Hotel' (the hotel's website is here). Check-in at the hotel was friendly and I was soon in my first-floor room with views over the Victoria Dock.

In addition to being a hotel, it's an Arts Centre, based around the 'IXL Atrium', another part of the original jam factory. There are Studios, Galleries, various eating opportunities, shops and a bar. I didn't fully explore this interesting establishment as I'd promised myself a walk around the old dock area and the part of the town adjacent before it became dark. On my return, I had a snack and a drink at the Peacock and Jones restaurant before retiring to my room.

I'm very taken with Hobart and the hotel, although both are a tad 'arty' for my taste. But it appears an excellent location to end my marathom trip.

Related Posts on this Website

Next Post describing this trip.
All Burma-2017 Trip posts.
All Australia-2017 posts.

My Pictures

Hotel Lindrum, Melbourne.
Melbourne's Local Railways (2006 and 2017).
Melbourne Airport.
The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart.
Hobart, Tasmania.