Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tasmania, part 5: back in Hobart

Vacation is over. For the last few days we came back to Hobart and explored the area around it a bit more. The following is then not about landscape but about tourist attractions.

One day we spent at Margate. The Inverawe Native Gardens pictured above are not really a botanical garden in the strictest sense but a landscape garden run by a retired couple. Because it was raining all day, they looked somewhat surprised that they had any visitors at all.

As the name indicates, the garden has a focus on Australian native plants but in addition there is much information on early explorers of the area and on the earliest botanists. There are also timber samples, poems on nature and gardening to be read, and various whimsical pottery sculputures ranging from elves across the snails depicted above to weird hands sticking out of the ground.

Something for everyone I guess. We were of course mostly interested in the plants. The above are the beautifully spotted flowers of a Prostanthera (native mintbush, Lamiaceae).

Directly next to the gardens is the Margate Train, an old decommissioned train that has been turned into a range of shops: a bookstore, a speciality food store, a barber, an antique book shop, a gift shop, and a great pancake restaurant.

On a day with much nicer weather, we visited the model village of Old Hobart Town in Richmond. This is a miniature of Hobart as it was around 1820, with lots of informative signage on history and the changes that have occurred since that time. The plan one is given and photographs on the signs allow a direct comparison of the model with Hobart as we experience it today, for example where a body of water has now been filled in etc. The small clay figures of settlers, soldiers and convicts are very amusing, with some of them shown in engaging or funny situations, for example drunk, making out on a haystack, or stepping into a paint bucket. For the plant enthusiast, all the trees in the model village are live bonsai Nothofagus (southern beeches). All in all well worth a visit.

Finally, today we explored the famous Salamanca Market in Hobart, again bracing rain. Even found a few useful things. Tomorrow it will be back to Canberra.

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