This week I'm in Tasmania, getting the most out of the remainder of my visa. I'm joining a tour tomorrow, but today I had time to try and do everything I possibly could in Hobart, the capital of the island.
The morning started with some coffee and a walk around the waterfront. Here you can catch ferries, feast on seafood, and catch some stunning views of the mountains behind the city.
Next up was the Penitentiary Chapel Historical Site. This is all that remains of what was once the barracks housing up to 1,000 prisoners at a time. It was a sorting house for convicts being sent into Tasmania as the labor force and awaiting work assignment. The gaol was closed in the 1960s and torn down. At the time, most people were embarrassed by their convict history and admitting to having any convict ancestry was taboo. Somewhere in the 1970s however, it started being more fashionable to have one in your family. Because the chapel portion was converted into the courthouses at the time, when they shut down, there was more desire to keep some of this history around. Tours happen 7 days a week, for times and prices check out their website.
I'm a big fan of whisky, so I had to check out a distillery while in town. Lark Distillery was the first to open in Tasmania. Back in the convict era, a law was passed closing all the distilleries and breweries (with the exception of Cascade Brewery) in an attempt to bring order to the territory. It remained unchanged for 150 years. When the founder of Lark Distillery realized Tasmania is perfect for making whisky things soon changed, however. I did a tasting at their shop in town, for $15 you can learn about the history of the distillery, whisky in general and try a few samples. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and the whisky was fantastic. If you have more time, they have day tour options as well. Their actual distillery is no longer in town, so you need more time to get out there. For more information visit the Lark Distillery site.
The final stop was MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). It's all the buzz in Hobart. To get to the museum there are a few options. There are dedicated MONA ferries and shuttle buses, each cost $20 round trip. If you're looking for a little cheaper of a journey, the city of Hobart has a few buses that head out that way as well. While the museum used to be free, sometime last fall they started charging. Tasmanian residents still get in for free, everyone else will pay $20 for an adult ticket. Check their visitor information site for more details on transport and hours.