Short Travel

Alexis Schwartz James Cook University, Australia


April 11, 2016

So you know I went to New Zealand. After I went on holiday back home to surprise my family and friends and spend Christmas and New Years with them. It was cold, I got sick, but I was happy I got to see them. After I came back I stayed in St Kilda (Melbourne) for a bit. To be honest I just wasn’t interested in the city so I don’t have much to tell you about it. But from there I was able to get super cheap flights to Tasmania, which I do have things to tell you about.

I was in Tassie for only a few days but it was so beautiful, and I stayed in a town called Hobart which is in the south. I went hiking, to an animal sanctuary, and to the botanical gardens. Hobart reminded me a lot of Townsville with the mountains everywhere and the city and beach being only a short bus ride away. But it reminded me of Melbourne when it came to weather because it was cooler and less humid than Townsville and it actually rained! Because of that, everything was green, blooming and alive - it was just beautiful. I could only hope that when I got back to Townsville, since it is wet season, that it would look like Hobart (dreams come true because it does).

The hostel I stayed at had a free shuttle to a few places and which is how I got around. I HIGHLY recommend looking at hostel pages to see if they have free shuttles anywhere, even if it’s just to the city, because they are absolute life savers and money savers. And even if you can’t find where the shuttle goes on the website you can just ask reception about where they go and if you have to sign up or just show up.

I hiked down Mt. Wellington after the shuttle bus took me and a few others from the hostel to the top of the mountain. It was incredible. At the top of the mountain is an observatory deck and where you are situated if it’s cloudy, you’re as high as the clouds. You could almost reach out and touch them. From the deck you can look down at Hobart, and from the mountain there are natural springs which the town uses for their water supply so as you hike down you can see little waterways and waterfalls from the spring. Because of that though, parts of the hike can be muddy and wet so it’s best to be careful; I slipped a few times. There were tons of different ways to go down the mountain from intermediate to expert, that took anywhere between two to six hours. I consider myself a beginner hiker and I took a track called the zig zag and I found it perfect for me so don’t be deterred from ‘intermediate’.

Though I’ve been to so many animal sanctuaries here, I never get tired of them. And I absolutely had to go to this one because it had Tasmanian Devils, which are only found in Tasmania now. Plus I got to see, feed, and pet a bunch of kangaroos again, and who doesn’t love that? It’s a small sanctuary but they have a lot of informational guides and little tours, it was really nice. And though they don’t have any, because they’re extinct, they also have information on the Tasmanian Tiger. And they had different animals like echidnas and birds and of course the devils that I hadn’t yet seen at different sanctuaries. There was also a peacock just roaming around too! Which I was honestly so shocked to see because I had no idea that peacocks lived here.

Another place I’ve been to tons is the botanical gardens. I love flora and the gardens are always quite the happy place for me. There were a lot of trees here and it made me so happy because it reminded me of home. Since I left home last July, the only evergreens I had seen on this side of the pond were in New Zealand. So when I came to Hobart and the garden was filled with evergreens, it was so nostalgic and comforting. I also saw my first tree that wasn’t green but a yellow color in Australia too! Sure there are “yellow” leaves here in Townsville, but that’s because they were dried up and dying and they were closer to brown than yellow. In Tassie they were that wonderful Autumn yellow color which I haven’t seen since the Autumn before I left for Australia. A lot of families and children were around the gardens as well. It was pretty lively and it was really nice to see such beauty being treated as a park and comfortable space.

I walked around the town a bunch just because it was so close and I wanted to explore a little. I definitely recommend walking around the town and city you stay in when you travel. You find a lot of interesting things and people, and it helps you get a good ground base for if you have a certain place to meet or go when you go out. I ended up finding a bunch of tiny parks and beach fronts that were really nice. I also found a ton of wharfs and even a dog park. I only stayed a few days in Tasmania but I’m glad that I did; it was well worth it.