Friday, February 13, 2015

Australia - Tasmania / Melbourne - Day 3 (Part 2 - To do/see, to stay, to eat)

To do:
Salamanca Market
Ends/starts from Davey street

This market is only open on Saturdays and has a wide array of items from vegetables to accessories. I like the variety here compare to what we have back in Singapore where our focal point seems to be mainly on clothes and accessories. Somehow, it feels more vibrant and greater creativity here though there are stores selling the same things in this market. Like the Huon wood accessories. The operating hours for the market are 8.30 am to 3 pm.

This place is walking distance from our hotel, Travelodge Hobart, so we decided to walk there for the morning and explore the market and also have our breakfast/lunch there.

Interesting display of stores. So tempted by the goods there. We tried the coffee and food but couldn't muster up the courage to eat wallaby meat.

Tasman National Park
Blow Hole address: Blow Hole Road, Eaglehawk Neck
Tesselated Pavement address: 380 Pirates Bay Road, Eaglehawk Neck (its right in front of Pavement
restaurant of Lufra Hotel)

The Tasman National Park is located on Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas in south eastern Tasmania.

The 4 main point of interest are the Blow Hole, Tasman Arch, Tesselated Pavement, The Devil's Kitchen. The other locations are pretty straight forward with clear road signs. The only location we have an issue is the Tesselated pavement. We are going round in circles as our GPS is unable to locate the place. In spite of this, i think its still worth a go because it is a unique landscape compared to the other 3 geological formations.

The Tasman arch is what's left of the roof of a large sea cave/tunnel, that was created by wave action over many thousands of years. The pressure of water and compressed air , sand and stones act on the vertical cracks in the cliff, dislodging boulders and slabs. This arch will eventually collapse and another Devil's kitchen is formed.

The tessellated pavement is a inter-tidal platform. But here an unusual set of geological circumstances resulted in a rare landform.

Our Lufra hotel manager recommended us to take the waterfall bay walk and I was eager to try it out. Though the timings of the map indicated that its a short walk, we are advised to walk only a certain section as we most likely not able to cover the distance in the map. So we do a very short walk for about an hour to and fro as the sun is setting and is no one taking the same walk we did. And we are lucky to see a Wallaby! or maybe not so lucky as there should have been more.

From the photos you can see that a huge patch of tree trunks are blacken most likely from a bush fire. It looks quite eerie in the quiet forest walk That's when my imagination start to run wild. Will we get trapped in a bush fire??

To eat:
Daci and Daci Bakers - 3.5 stars, low range
11 Murray Street, Hobart, 7000

Daci and Daci Bakers
This is one of the places that started really early at 7 am. Perfect for those who wanted to start their day early. They also made very good lunch recommendations for savoury food as shown in the pictures. I personally preferred the free range egg bacon and tomato pie to the scrambled egg smoked salmon caramelised onion on broiche bun. All the cakes on display look so tempting that i have to try one even though i am really full. Their chocolate croissant is a must try!

Jackman & McRoss Patisserie - unrated
57-59 Hampden Road, Hobart, 7000

Doolish-Us Food Van - 2 stars, low-range
Blowhole carpark, Blowhole road, Eaglehawk neck 7179

This place is recommended online for its best fish and chips and so i insist to try it. I'm definitely dissappointed. Personally, I think this place is a little overrated. The fish has a fishy taste to it which i definitely dislike in fish and chips. Thus, the low rating.

Pavement restaurant - 3 stars, mid-range
380 Pirates Bay Road, Eaglehawk Neck

The view of the restaurant is perfect especially during sunset. The food is quite appetising and nice.
Especially the bruschetta which is quite favourful. Its so nice that finish the entire plate though we are still full from eating at Doolish-Us like 30 minutes earlier. The seafood chowder is creamy and nice that we drink up every drop of it. The potato soup is too starchy though.

To stay:

Lufra apartments - 3.5 stars, mid-range
380 Pirates Bay Road, Eaglehawk Neck

This consist of bedroom apartments with full kitchen facilities, lounge area, large screen TV, gas heating, reverse-cycle air conditioning, spa and patio/deck.

The room is so huge and the kitchen has everything that is required for cooking! Too bad i can only see a small stretch of the beach or else this place will get a higher rating. We stayed on level 1, there is level 2 which i am guessing will get a better sea view. But i am not too keen to carry the luggage up the stairs. 

It is a comfortable place to stay and i wish i have more time to laze in the room. But too bad are itinerary require us to move from place to place daily. :(

It is also 20 minutes away from Port Arthur which is our next stop for the next day.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Australia - Tasmania / Melbourne - Day 2 (Part 2 - To do/see, to stay, to eat)

To do: 
Bruny Island Cruises
Kettering bus pick up point, Oyster Cove Marina

To cross the river merely take 15 minutes. Bulk of the time is spent on waiting in line for the queue. All the vehicles are packed pretty closely so maximise the space. Passengers on the vehicle can alight and walk around the barge during the river crossing.

Payment for Bruny island cruises is on the day itself. All visitors must decide whether to add lunch on the menu. If you order when you return from the trip, there may not be food at all. 

The 3 hours ride in the sea is so so cold. Personally, i think that this ride is more suitable for older children as it can get pretty bumpy and somewhat like a roller coaster ride. The wind is blistering and my hands, ears and feet are frozen. 

On this cruise, you can getup close and personal to the towering cliffs, arches and blow holes. Towards the end of the trip, we are chasing dolphins. There are many of them and they seem so carefree and happy. With 3 boats, the dolphins do have a whale of a time surfing.

Mount Wellington
After the cruise, we made our way back to Hobart city and straight to Mount Wellington. We made it in good time after 6pm. Fortunately there is still sun and the city is still visible. Its a aerial view of the city. Feels good to have the city of Hobart below your feet. You're literally at the top of the world. 

To get to mount wellington summit, it is either a car ride up or you can stop at hike your way up (for the more adventurous). Not for me definitely!

The summit also house an observation deck. It is open on summer months from 8am to 8 pm and winter months from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. 

Word of caution, there are no street lamps on the way up/down the mountain. So be very careful when driving up at night.

To Eat:
Cafe after bruny island cruises - 4 stars, low range
Address: where you paid for the tickets

To reserve this is so important and crucial because there is practically no where else to eat unless you drive to the island. And because the weather is so cold there is no better place to get warm after the cruise. It is the most fulfilling thing to drink a bowl of hot hot soup. The best part it didn't taste too bad at all.

Get Shucked - 4 stars, low range
Address: Bruny Island Oysters, Lease 204, 1735 Bruny Island Main Road Great Bay, North Bruny, Tasmania 7150.

This is one of the very best fresh oysters i've ever tasted and priced for a steal! I bought half a dozen because my SO proclaimed that he will only taste one out of the 6. He end up eating half of the oysters and keep asking for more!

The oysters are so succulent and they taste so fresh that it reminds me of the ocean. 

Smolt - 3 stars, mid range
Address: 2 Salamanca Square, Hobart 7000

This is a very popular place to eat. In general, i find that most of the places near this restaurant is packed on Friday night. So i'm kind of expecting this to be super yummy due to the crowd and the online raves. 

Food wise pricing is reasonable and well presented but there is no "wow" factor and none of the dishes that impress me. Might be that i ordered all the wrong dishes. Though service here is far more superior then any similar restaurants in Singapore. 

Food ordered: (a) Roasted beetroot, asparagus, artichoke, roasted pumpkin puree, kettering grown hazelnuts, goat curd croutons salad, (b) pizza (c) spring bay mussels, white wine, garlic, parsley, dill shallots, saffron aioli. 

The one dish that I will order again will probably be (c). Because they are well cooked and the potato (not sure if it is but certainly taste like potato) is fried till golden and crispy.

Ice-cream is also highly recommended online but i've yet to try it myself. 

To Stay:
Hobart - Travelodge Hobart - 3 stars, mid range
167 Macquarie Street, Hobart City, Hobart Australia, 7000

This is a standard no frills bedroom but in a very convenient location with free parking. Most importantly its clean and neat. 

This hotel is within walking distance to Salamanca market. There is also no free wifi provided nor breakfast.