Day 34 - Port Arthur and Mnt Wellington (Tasmani

Trip Start Mar 29, 2013
Trip End Aug 17, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Tasmania,
Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wow, wow, wow, amazing day! The little people were both on super form and Tasmania is truly a fabulous gem.

Happy 7 Months to our beautiful daughter. She decided to mark today with a very clear Dada directed straight at Rich. She also demonstrated her first movements forwards whilst lying on the bed using something similar to a breaststroke leg kick to launch herself forwards.

The sun was up and shining when we woke this morning so we decided a day trip was in order. Top of the list was Port Arthur, which is about an hour and a half's really scenic drive south of Hobart on the Tasman Peninsula.

From 1833, until 1853, Port Arthur was the destination for the hardest of convicted British and Irish criminals, those who were secondary offenders having re-offended after their arrival in Australia. Rebellious personalities from other convict stations were also sent here, a quite undesirable punishment. In addition Port Arthur had some of the strictest security measures of the British penal system.

Port Arthur is an unwalled prison site. The peninsula on which Port Arthur is located is a naturally secure site by being surrounded by water which the inmates were told was shark-infested. The 30m wide isthmus of Eaglehawk Neck that was the only connection to the mainland was fenced and guarded by soldiers, man traps, and half-starved dogs. Not too much chance of escape.

Aside from its interesting but dark history, Port Arthur is stunning and we got snap happy on the old camera. The first part of our tour took us on a nice big boat for a harbour cruise. It passed the Isle of the Dead Cemetery Tour where the convicts who died whilst in prison were buried, and the Point Puer Boys' Prison where boys as young as nine were sent.

After the boat tour we went straight on a walking tour of the area where we were given lots of information about what the prison was like, and the various buildings around the grounds. We were then set free to explore. Dylan spent his time exploring the Soldiers Quarters due to a model of all the buildings which took his fancy. He also liked the turrets which we called the castle.

We loved strolling around the grounds by the water in the sunshine and the children were a hit with the other tourists.

We took a slightly different route back to Hobart to take in even more scenery; such a pretty place. There is no sign of the 4 seasons in one day malarkey that everyone keeps warning us of, so we press on and up Mount Wellington once we arrive back in Hobart. Mount Wellington is Hobart's mountain and the city lies beneath it. It is 1,271 metres high. It's possible to drive right up to the top so this is what we do. As we climb higher and higher we get some glimpses of what the view from the top will be like, and, for about the thousandth time today, we are saying wow look at that. Many of the cars coming down the mountain have small snow mounds on them and, much more fun, they have little snowmen on their bonnets. It occurs to us that it might be a little chilly at the top and we watch the temperature gauge drop in the car. At the top there are traces of snow and it is really very cold. We, typically, are underdressed in our shorts and flip flops! We do have coats for all and warm hats for the children, just no solution for our twinkle toes. The only family member wearing socks keeps kicking them off and leaving them lying all over the top of the mountain. Several people comment that we must be British - ha ha! 

The views from the lookouts at the top are spectacular panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Iron Pot. Breathtaking and such a beautiful clear day.

The journey down is full of laughter as Em and Rich turn into a human juke box taking requests from the little man - we sing Alice the Camel, Climbing up sunshine mountain, She'll becoming round the mountain, and a Mouse lived in a windmill about 3 million times, cheered on by giggles from both children, cries of I want that one again, and that was a lovely song.

We stop at Constitution Dock to pick up some dinner from one of the punts selling fresh fish. We have a fisherman's basket with calamari, prawns, scallops, flake fillet, crab sticks and fish cocktail. Best fish and chips ever.

One of our favourite days so far.
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Grandma Lizzie xxxx on

Stunning sunny photos radiating your memorable day.
Happy Happy 7 months, Taya and good talking!
I love the dialogue about the pig - priceless.
Nothing stops the Kempton Four on Tour - even snow in flip flops!
Love & Hugs,
Me xxxx

Grandad Ian on

What a wonderful place. I can see why you are enjoying Tasmania. The views from the top of Mount Wellington are spectacular.

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