Friday, March 08, 2013

Off to Tassie for a Week

Wednesday: Flying to Launceston
We decided to leave early for the airport and lucky we did. The checked baggage line was almost the length of the departure hall. It took 45 minutes for Sue and I to reach the baggage check in - The flight only took one hour. We had a man behind us who continually kept pushing his bag into the back of my feet and two girls in front that soon became bored with standing patiently in line for the time it took - we don’t blame them.
Sue being one that hasn’t flown anywhere but to Paris and back to Melbourne was quite surprised to find that she had to walk across the tarmac to board our Jetstar flight to Launceston.

It took almost the same time to reach the end of the check out line as it did to fly from Melbourne to Launceston.
It is written somewhere in cyberspace that Launceston is supposedly the third oldest city in Australia. It most definitely was founded before Melbourne. John Batman from Tasmania is the recognized founder of Melbourne or Bear Brass as it was originally called. There were settlements beforehand at Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula and Portland to the west of the State.

The flight took us along the east coast of Victoria to Wilson’s Promontory, then south to Devonport and to Launceston. The flight was in bright sunshine and the two blues of sky and sea were a wake up call that I could relax for the next seven days.

Picking up the hire car, we were given an upgrade by six times to a lovely big executive Ford, not that we needed the space but it was very nice.

On reaching our serviced apartment, we discovered we had a view of the Tamar river from our balcony. There were yachts and power boats moored on the river with a backdrop of mountains on the far horizon. For those who are budget conscious, it cost us $100 per night.

The view from our apartment window.
Most of the day had been taken up with travelling and finding our apartment but we did take the time to randomly drive the streets of Launceston to acquaint ourselves with our new home for the next week.

Some Historical Notes on Launceston;
With a population today of over 100,000 people it sits on the confluence of the south and north Esk rivers where it becomes the Tamar river which is the one we look down upon from our apartment balcony.
Founded in 1806 it took its name from Launceston, Cornwall in the UK. It was the first to use anesthetic in the southern hemisphere - the first in Australia to have underground sewers and also to be lit by hydroelectricity.

Other than that, we discovered that it really is a very pretty city with the various ages of architecture on its hilly terrain.

These bronze figures depict the extinct Tasmanian Tiger that was slaughtered by farmers and bounty hunters to stop the farmer's animals being killed by the Tiger. Follow the link below to read more on the Tassie Tiger.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasmanian_tiger

The Wedge Tail Eagle overlooks the Tasmanian Tigers.
Thursday: Discovering Launceston CBD
Today we had in mind to pop into the CBD of Launceston, look at the shops, and generally get a feel for the city at the top end of Tasmania. It's a very pretty place, has a nice small city feel and the people are very helpful. We took a visit to the Info Centre and met a nice lady who told us where we could get good coffee. When we arrived she was already there. Funny about that!
Reaching above the Launceston skyline is a clock tower that was built to commemorate the centenary of the city. Launceston doesn't have much in the way of high rise - nice really.
We went to the building next door to the clock tower, the local Post Office. Its ceiling was glass and the clock tower was visible.
The Umbrella shop has been doing business since the early 1900s.
Launceston's architecture spans the beginning of 1800 to today.
After getting back in the car we took a nostalgic drive to the place we stayed at for our honeymoon. The B & B where we stayed was called Hillview House in George Street. Its still there and up for sale for $875,000. We drove further around Launceston taking in the sights before lunch on the old port site. The old port has been "modernised" these days with apartments and lots of moored motor boats and yachts.

Hillview house is the scene of our Honeymoon in Tasmania during 1984.
There is hardly a flat street in Launceston, well maybe there is - but mostly its hilly. This street reminded me of San Francisco with the steepness.
Our lunch was fish and chips with white wine on the deck where we met a travelling couple who had been in Tassie for the last three months. They travelled in a camper van with their little dog, Becky sleeping in caravan parks or just in the wilderness or beaches under the stars of the Island.

The new buildings on the Esk River contrasts with the historic architecture of the past.
We decided after lunch we would drive to the top end to a place called Beauty Point about 50 kms up the road. It had a very nice marina and looked out over one of the widest parts of the Tamar river. The drive along the Tamar Valley is the Foodie Heaven of Tassie. They make some great wines and produce many gourmet delicacies.

This place Sue found on the Internet before we left for Tassie. It has great produce and next door  there is a great cafe/bar. We've booked in for dinner so we will let you know in the next post.

It was a very relaxing day.

Friday - Discovering Historic Villages. That's tomorrow - Tune in.


6 comments:

  1. I want to visit Tassie too! What a charming little city Launceston is. 100,000 is very manageable. Have a wonderful time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nadege,
      We are warming to Launceston as a possible retirement city. It's friendly and comfortable as we draw towards the middle of our stay.

      Delete
  2. Launceston looks lovely! Have an excellent time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Launceston 's beauty I think is provided by two elements:

    1. The natural beauty of the water, boats and port facilities

    2. The preservation of the pre-Federation buildings. What is the two storey in your photo that looks like a fineItalian renaissance home?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hels - And thirdly it has a really friendly atmosphere and a foodie and cycling culture. Very important to Sue and I.

      Delete

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