We left our first note from the road on a cliff-hanger. There we were, stranded in Hobart with our car (and home on wheels) stuck at a local garage, waiting for some costly repairs.
Feeling glum and increasingly poor, we were forced to check into a Hobart hostel, Tassie Backpackers. Hostels are rarely our first choice, and this one was no exception, with Air BnB unable to cater for our last-minute homelessness.
Trying to lift our spirits, we dumped all of our worldly belongings at the hostel and headed out to explore Hobart.
The weather was beautiful with bright blue skies and a beating sun. We had been brainwashed to think that Tasmania’s weather was as unfortunate and unpredictable as the UK’s but so far we have had nothing but warm summer days, with the odd shower at night.
Hobart itself is a lovely town (I find it hard to call it a city, it’s titchy). Hobart is easily walkable, allowing you to soak up the old colonial buildings, busy cafes and splashes of street-art with ease.
Our favourite areas so far have been Battery Point and Salamanca Place. Both steeped in British history and clustered with grand stone buildings and beautiful English style cottages, complete with climbing roses and white picket fences. Walking around Battery Point was just like taking a stroll around a village in the Cotswolds, eerily so. The Saturday markets at Salamanca Place were another highlight, as well as the Twilight Markets at nearby Sandy Bay.
Luckily, one night in the hostel was all we needed. The next day we were able to pick up Martin (the car) who was now the owner of a sparkling new alternator and drive belt – leaving us $500 out of pocket. Two minutes down the road, the brand new drive belt decided to ping off which meant a quick crawl back to the mechanic to have it readjusted.
After this extra bout of drama, we were back on the road again. This scare had left us a little apprehensive about driving Martin. He has served us so well in the past 10 months and we have had barely any problems with him. After miles and miles of Australian bush/beach and bumpy dirt roads, a few crashes and having a tractor driven into him, is Martin finally throwing in the towel? We hope not!
Due to our fears, we decided to stay within the 15km free tow zone just in case Martin had another senior moment. We located a camp ground 10 minutes from Hobart, set 300m above sea level in the bush.
This campsite, Lea Scout Campground, has been one of our favourites yet. We pitched up, lit a fire and relaxed with just the sounds of birds and curious wallabies breaking the silence.
As night fell, we were joined at the camp fire by the cutest little Bettong (which look like a cross between a kangaroo and a rabbit and are only found in Tasmania). Over the following week, we would call this Bettong ‘Billy’ and train it to come and eat from our hand. We were also joined by a massive, rubbish eating Possum, ‘Mr Po’ but we didn’t get on as well…
We used the amazing location of the campground to explore Hobart and the surrounding area. In the mornings we would job hunt in the library, eat at one of the many great Asian cafes for lunch and then head off in search of adventure in the afternoon.
One of these adventures was a trip up Mount Wellington, which was stunning. The winding car ride up the mountain was a bit hairy but the views from above the clouds are worth it.
We also checked out Australia’s oldest brewery, ‘Cascades’, treating ourselves to a post-hike Pale Ale.
With the job search stalling and our feet itching after a week in the same place, we decided to pack up and head off again. Our last night was spent around the campfire, listening to our campmate and legend of the road Russ, singing old folk songs, playing guitar and exchanging travel tales under the stars.
We will be returning to Hobart, but now it’s time for a brief travel interlude. We’ve put our faith back in Martin and headed outside the 15km free tow zone- brave I know. We are taking some time out to explore the East Coast and Tasman Peninsula.
See you next week for the new instalment from the road!