Tag Archives: Museum

Tasmania | What to see & do when visiting sleepy little Hobart | Australia

14915668_10153918773132617_6088979687817940244_nTasmania is one of the most easily skipped parts of Australia for backpackers who are more often drawn to the commercialised party of the East Coast or the big city life of Melbourne and Sydney. Many know nothing about Tasmania, I certainly didn’t realise it was a separate island until I actually arrived in Australia. But I knew almost straight away that the West Coast of Australia and Tasmania would be real highlights for me when exploring Australia. Don’t get me wrong, there are some special sights to see along the East Coast but it is very much about partying and I think it is a shame so many never travel beyond it. When I returned on my second year visa, it was my absolutely priority to get myself to Tasmania as soon as possible, my tax back from the previous year was sitting in my account waiting to be spent and how better than on a month in Bali and a Tasmania road trip?14907078_10153918772997617_1715679100688056958_n

Flights and job-hunting

Flying into Hobart, I was excited for the crisp, clear air and the stormy skies after the last month in humid Bali and sunny Cairns. Flights to Tasmania are some of the cheapest I have found in Australia, I actually paid less than $100 for my flight from Cairns via Sydney, and landed in Hobart which I used as my base for the next few weeks. I originally arrived with hopes of finding work and staying over Christmas before returning to Melbourne, but friends I made in the hostel assured me it would be harder than expected to find work and I was best off just travelling then working in Melbourne. The farming season had been delayed in Tasmania due to the weather so those hunting for raspberry/strawberry picking work or cherries, were hanging around in the hope something would turn up. Hospitality work was hard to come by as there just weren’t enough jobs for those looking and it always helped to know someone who could get you in. I personally would really recommend just travelling Tasmania so you can get the most out of it as it actually costs very little to have an amazing experience compared to other parts of Australia.14955928_10153918765567617_1970551983302675658_n

Where to stay?

In my view there is only one hostel even worth mentioning in this section – The Pickled Frog. Within minutes of arriving it became one of my absolute favourite hostels ever, not just in Australia. It was full of the most friendly and relaxed travellers I have ever met and many of them were there long-term to work so they made the place feel like home. Some were just about to set off on road trips around the island, others had just come back, either way, they were a wealth of information about what to see and do. The hostel was a pretty old building with creaky floors and two huge dogs, it had charm and character and all centred around a huge living area with couches and tables to relax on and hang out with other travellers. The kitchen was huge and was a great place to meet new people and cook up a feast before sitting in the living room to play cards all night and drink beers from the bar in the reception.14993574_10153918765507617_1387576738760546505_nSituated at the top of Hobart city, you can’t miss the hostel which has been painted bright green and it is easy to get the airport shuttle to right outside the door. A bed in the hostel came to between $26-30 a night depending on the size dorm you went for – I always stayed in six bed dorms which were perfect as I wasn’t a fan of the bigger dorms downstairs. Even better, you get a lot of great freebies for your money as the hostel provides free trips to Mount Wellington, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary where you can see Tasmanian devils. Trust me, staying in this hostel will make your Hobart experience!14938406_10153918768517617_7172613571368688482_n

Top 5 things to see and do:

  1. Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) – it goes without saying that you HAVE to experience this freakishly fascinating collection, you won’t come out the same! Highlights include the wall of vaginas and the machine that makes poo.
  2. Mount Wellington – get the hostel bus to the top and take in the views before walking back down. It only takes about two hours to walk down and get the bus back to the hostel but it’s a lovely stroll through forest trails.
  3. Salamanca markets – packed full of local produce including fruit, cheeses and smoked salmon, and soundtracked by talented buskers and musicians, it’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.
  4. Discover the flavours of local producers by spending day visiting them by car/bus and sampling wines/cheeses/beers/ciders/chocolate. I actually had one of my best dates ever doing this with a guy I met down there.
  5. Walk around the city – it’s so small that you can easily walk the Tasman Highway bridge and make it to Battery Point to marvel at the quaint homes, antique stores and enjoy a beer all in one afternoon.

14908210_10153918782677617_2451994282789902280_n14907667_10153918782487617_5942243123635687414_n

Why I fell in love with Hobart

Hobart has a real charm that other parts of Australia lack, perhaps being English it was the quaint, older charm the city had that won me over. I loved the way everything had a real history and seemed from a time long before the modern skyscrapers of the cities. The solid wooden bars seemed like they had a story to tell, the musicians were quirky and brought unique talent to the table. The lifestyle was slower and more appreciative than the busy bustle of Melbourne or Sydney, less focused on partying and more on appreciating the great outdoors, and when it came to that, Tasmania had a lot to offer. Everyone knows from this blog that I am a total party animal, but there is another side to me, that country girl from the UK who loves getting outdoors and active. Tasmania was a perfect place to do this and so when I was in Hobart, I used my time to plan a road trip around the rest of the island – I’ll be blogging about how I planned my trip at a later date.14908393_10153918768602617_7371877092977412756_n14980664_10153918773242617_260356493879465716_n

Have you been to Hobart – what was your favourite part? Can you recommend any things to do/places to eat at?

image7-1-1

Heading to the Big Smoke for a trip through history…

First of all, apologies for such a quiet weekend but I thought I would give you guys a chance to miss me after posting so often lately. My boyfriend and I headed to the Big Smoke for a cheeky weekend away after I had managed to score us some tickets to see Major Lazer a few months before. Both very excited, we decided to plan a weekend around the gig and used it as an opportunity to go and visit the Natural History Museum and head to our favourite – Camden Lock Market. Both of us love visiting London and doing the touristy bits, but we are also both in love with learning about nature and natural history (both massive David Attenborough fans!).

I had never been to the Natural History Museum before, Mark had only been once several years ago, and we were both excited to see the fossils, animals and dinosaurs. After a train ride to London, we headed straight to the closest tube and arrived at South Kensington, just outside the Natural History Museum – it was very easy to find but navigating between the crowds of people was hard work. We decided to head to a nearby tapas bar we spotted – Casa Brindisa.

We had a delicious meal of patatas bravas, spicy king prawns in garlic oil, smoked chorizo on toasted bread and aioli on toasted country bread. It was incredible and accompanied by some delicious sauvignon blanc, all picked out by Mark who has very good taste when it comes to food. On nearby tables, others were enjoying mixed meat and cheese platters, more wine and pesto covered peppers, more prawns and omelette/quiche-style dishes. It all looked and smelled delicious and was freshly prepared in the open kitchens, which we could see from our table, by extremely helpful staff . The meal set us up for the afternoon ahead and it was lovely to have some time to sit, eat and chat about what we wanted to see. I wish I had thought at the time to take pictures of the food and restaurant, but I was too busy enjoying myself! As a big lover of tapas, I would heartily recommend this restaurant.

Afterwards, we headed into the Natural History Museum and started to make our way around the exhibitions – which I seriously cannot believe are free. They are incredible and I salute the people who put them together.

The Natural History Museum, London

 

Whale skeletons

We spent ages looking around the rock exhibit, I don’t think I have ever been interested in rocks before and will never be again, but the diamond display really got me excited. I did tell Mark that if he ever were to propose, that I wouldn’t say yes unless he got the biggest diamond in there and stuck it on a ring – okay, it would be too heavy, but it was so pretty I could just stay home and look at it!

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend..

I was fascinated by the reconstructed skeletons of pre-historic animals, dinosaurs and the charting of their existence alongside our own and that of the planet – it truly is incredible to realise how insignificant we really are in comparison to the planet.

Terry the T-Rex head

We saw so much that I will have to cut down the amount of pictures, but my highlights were the insect section and learning about swarms, watching the ants and picking out soldier ants as they walked across the branches, and seeing a scorpion pounce on its prey. I also loved the section with huge stuffed creatures that I will probably never see alive in front of me in their natural habitat, such as the polar bear, the black bear, the woolly mammoth and even the dodo!

 

The Dodo – the now extinct bird of my father’s home country, Mauritius

The polar bear

He’s behind you!

We also checked out the theory of evolution and work of Darwin in On The Origin of the Species – I found this part really interesting and it was great to see how man had developed over thousands of years into the modern-day visitor to the museum. Among this exhibition, we found the parts of the “Lucy” skeleton which, of course, I had to have my picture taken with!

Lucy and “Lucy”

Finally, just as we were about to head out, we discovered another section that we had missed which was all about marine animals and had lots of huge creatures and skeletons including the whales (pictured above) and mammoth skulls. They were amazing, such vast frames that made us look positively tiny  in comparison. It was incredible to see how such vast creatures had gradually shrunk over time. Sadly, after this, (we had already spent nearly five hours wandering around the museum) we found a whole other section on dinosaurs that we would have loved to have seen, but there was a huge queue and we had to head to our hotel to check in. But we will definitely be returning to check out that section. Instead we walked out through the gift shop and found some very cute toys we wanted, but knew we didn’t really need…

Me and my new friend

Explorer Wolfy

It was a great day and was only about to get better… check out my next post to find out why!