The sheltered location must have been like a godsend to the first explorers
Hobart is the Capital and biggest City (population approx. 220,000) of the Australian Island State of Tasmania. Founded in 1804 as a british penal colony it is Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney.
The sheltered location at the foot of Mount Wellington with one of the largest and deepest natural ports in the world must have been like a godsend to the first Explorers when they arrived after having crossed the notorious Tasman Sea.
For us Hobart is above all the adoptive home of our daughter and sister Emilia who spent a year as an exchange student here in 2008/09. After she had finished school in Austria she returned to Hobart to study medicine. When we visited her for the first time in Tasmania in 2012 we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the Island and the extraordinary People who live here. Besides the wish to spend a longer time together after all of our relatively short reunions over the last years this was one of the reasons to spend a good deal of our round-the-world-year here.
I love Hobart – it’s like going back in time
At Sydney Airport we start to chat with a lovely, elderly lady. Her opinion on our destination: ‘I love Hobart – it’s like going back in time.’ We think there is no way to say it more appropriately in this brevity.
Arriving in Hobart around noon we are picked up with two cars by our lovely friends Kathy and Mark who take us to their home for lunch. They inform us about a hostage-taking that has been taking place over the course of this morning in Sydney’s ‘Lindt Café’, just about a kilometre from the hotel we were staying at. Numerous road blocks resulted in a total collapse of traffic within the CBD. We are shocked about the news and glad that we had already been on our way to the airport at that time. A bit later and we would have certainly missed our plane.
After lunch Kathy and Mark take us to Taroona, a suburb south of Hobart. Shortly before departing to New Zealand Emilia had found a house in a perfect location overlooking the sea and the eastern shore which we could rent for our entire stay.
Unfortunately the lower floor smells a bit musty. Emilia hadn’t noticed when she inspected the house because all the windows and the doors to the deck had been opened. We open all the windows to air out the place while we make ourselves at home. The upper floor is very light and friendly, with an open plan living area and kitchen. Emilia’s boyfriend Paul surprises us with flowers, chocolate and a carton of beer and we are very happy to see him again after more than two years.
The next morning we wake up at 6.00am by the sunrise. While having breakfast we turn on the radio to hear that police had ended the siege in Sydney during the night. The hostage-taker and two of the hostages had died.
it is just a matter of time before the water finds it’s way into the house
Kathy and Mark’s son Paul kindly offered for us to use his car as he is travelling through South America for the next weeks. This makes it a lot easier for us to run our many errands before we have our own car.
We drive into town to shop for groceries and open a bank account. Right after our return in the afternoon all hells break loose when a thunderstorm hits the area. Starting with a hailstorm followed by torrential rainfalls it is just a matter of time before the water finds it’s way into the house, streaming down from the ceiling lights and the window boards. The first fuse blows and I quickly switch off the main breaker.
We call the landlady and after a while her husband comes to take a look at the roof and clear the blocked gutters. An hour later the electrician arrives and soon after we are back in business.
The next day is car shopping day. I was browsing the Internet the day before and picked out a couple of suitable cars. Emilia joins me on my tour of the used car dealers. After four test drives we return to the first dealer to buy a 2007 Subaru Forester. This model is obviously one of the most popular in Australia and it should be not too hard to resell it in seven months.
Six months in a leaky house? No thank you!
The landlord sends us a builder to inspect the roof this afternoon. After a while he descends the ladder and shakes his head in disbelief. It was a nightmare that he saw up there. A phone call with the landlord makes things clear for us: they are not keen to get the roof fixed. Although everyone tells us that this sort of weather is extremely rare and happens only every couple of years we don’t like the idea of having to worry about a flooded house every time it starts to rain. After some internal discussions we decide to search for a new home. The next thunderstorm a couple of days later proves us right: the house is leaking again.
We start our hunt for a new home the very next day. Unfortunately we are not lucky with the first couple of houses, a short term lease for only seven months seems hard to find.
In one of Hobart’s oldest and most historic areas named ‘Battery Point’ we finally find what we were looking for. This part of the town is named after a battery of guns which were established in 1818 as part of the coastal defence. Right in the middle of Battery Point lies idyllic Arthur Circus, a circular Park bordered by a little street. Most quietly located but central enough to get everywhere in the CBD within ten minutes this house is one of Hobart’s oldest and was originally built to accommodate the officers of the garrison.
Famous Salamanca Market with it’s more than 300 stalls is just around the corner. This means we won’t have to miss a single saturday’s visit to the popular market.
We love this market because it’s almost exclusively local products that are sold here. You can find fruits and vegetables besides artisan craftwork and enjoy a buskers’ performance while having a snack at one of the numerous food stalls.
If you don’t like the weather – wait a few minutes
With an annual average of 626 millimetres of rainfall, Hobart is Australia’s second-driest capital city. The weather is very changeable, there is almost no day without a couple of hours sunshine. Rainfall comes mostly in just short showers. Anyway, don’t leave home without a jacket. Especially with a freshening wind from a southerly direction, straight from Antarctica, temperatures can easily drop by ten degrees Celsius within minutes.
As the locals say: If you don’t like the weather – wait a few minutes
After more than six months in Hobart we understand more and more why Emilia loves this place so much. And the lady in Sydney was right: it’s got to do with the feeling that time seems to be running a bit slower in Hobart.