Ho ho Hobart

I got to visit Tasmania this week for a 42-hour work trip. Thanks to Bugs Bunny cartoons, it’s a place I’ve always known about but couldn’t have found on a map until moving to the region. More recently, Hobart came to my attention via this amazing article about the Museum of Old and New Art.

The 17th largest island in the world, Tasmania was a timber-based economy for a long time. Now a lot of that land is given over to (legal) opium poppies. Hobart, the state capital, is about 230,000 people, slightly less than half the population of the whole island. If NZ ever starts to feel too crowded…

The part of Hobart I stayed in had a lot of great 19th century architecture and the best collection of door knockers I’ve found since the first time I ever really noticed door knockers in France.

It gets hot in the summer, but the ducks found a way to keep cool.

And I think people also have ways to keep cool, although I didn’t get the chance to experience a Pimm’s or G&T here myself…

Altogether Hobart looks like a perfect place for a long weekend. It’s likely we’ll be working there for the long term so I hope I’ll get to go back.

Anniversary weekend

Auckland Anniversary Day is yet another excuse to have a long summer weekend, and we took full advantage, of course including fireworks down by the waterfront. While there, we got to see this giant cruise ship pulling out.

I did my longest ever ocean swim, and another normal one the next day, and a bike ride the day after that. Other people took it a bit easier.

Get out of here you dirty hippie

Last weekend’s trip to the market netted us both mung bean sprouts and hemp seeds. Either one is probably OK, but together I fear they represent some sort of consumption turning point.

The predictive polling algorithms would probably identify us as Bernie Sanders supporters based on that single purchase (not correctly, as it turns out… I’m hoping for a ticket where Bloomberg gives his billion dollars to Buttegieg).

Fergburger

Everybody told us we had to eat at Queenstown’s famous Fergburger. But the lines at lunchtime were ridiculous. No burger is that good.

But if you’re willing to eat a burger at 9 AM, and we were, you can walk right in.

Apparently Fergburger has been around a while, but Lonely Planet named them as some sort of global best burger and it really blew up after that.

I still wouldn’t stand in a long line for it, but it was pretty damn good and we went back, again at breakfast, on our last day.

Arrowtown

Yesterday we took a bus trip to Arrowtown, which was a gold rush town in the 1860s and still has most of its original buildings. Super cute…

There’s a little museum, which we didn’t go in, and as many cafes and shops as can be crammed into the available space. Whilst we were sipping a beer we got to watch a good juggler practice in the park… nice.

It led me to think about hobbies and passions… I’m very susceptible to their siren song. But only up to a point. I can juggle, for example, but I’ve never had the focus to truly be “a juggler”.

This guy above, who was on the return bus with us, seemed to have gone all in on photography, although when I took this picture it looked like he was trying to find a YouTube video to help him use his camera.

But this guy below, taking a break from his construction job, maybe hasn’t found his passion yet… he needs a gold rush to come along!

What Goes Up

That stripe on the right is the Queenstown Gondola. It’s super-steep, and gains about 1500 feet of elevation.

The main reason people go up there is to come back down in some creative or exciting way. There’s one part of that wants to point out that you’d end up in the same place a lot easier by not going at all… but that would be boring!

Early in the morning, a lot of mountain bikers use the lift and barrel down. There’s a little luge-thing at the top, which we rode and which was a lot of fun.

But the best was the paragliders… I wanted to do that but it only goes certain days… next trip.

Our motel was right next to the landing field… here’s a video.

Queenstown Cemetery

Some pretty 19th century gravestones, mixed in with more current ones.

Lee didn’t know she was posing…

The verse on this next one reads a lot like a Burma-Shave ad…

Milford Sound tour, part 2

Some pics from the trip…

These crazy mountain parrots, called keas, have a thing for weatherstripping on cars… so they sit outside the entrance to a tunnel where cars sit and prey on people.

Milford Sound tour

Milford Sound, where you can take a 2-hr boat trip out to see the rocks and waterfalls, is (choose all that apply)

  • A 6-hour drive from Queenstown across countryside where not a lot has happened, ever, despite the driver’s heroic attempts at commentary
  • One of the wettest places in NZ with up to 30 feet of rain per year (Well, the driver said, you got to experience it the way it really is)
  • Breathtakingly beautiful, what with the steep mountains, glacial cataracts, etc, and probably even more so when not obscured by clouds
  • The most visited attraction in the country
  • Officially checked off our to-see list

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