Adrift in Melbourne

Happy New Year. I hope you managed to see your friends and family in real life over the festive period. Like many of us, it’s a privilege I won’t ever take for granted after being in lockdown for so long here in Melbourne. We were lucky to have two Christmas celebrations with family on both sides and a more subdued New Year’s Eve out on our deck with the gypsy friends we travelled to Greece with two years ago.

Art Deco building – Hobart

Part of my original travel plans pre-COVID had been to visit the Big Apple, which has been on my bucket list since I was in my twenties working as PR for global environmental beauty company Aveda (whose head office was in Minnesota but PR done out of New York). Instead, I’ve had to (more than) make do with a three-day getaway to the Little Apple with Mr Rosanna exploring the only state we’ve never visited – Tasmania.

Hadley’s Orient Hotel – atrium

I was incredibly lucky to pick up the last pack of five rapid antigen tests (RATS) at Chemist Warehouse in Heidelberg on New Year’s Day. They were rationing packs to one per customer and were kind enough to sell me the last pack of five after realising I needed a kit for Mr R as well. What I didn’t buy was a pack of N95 masks so if you can find some locally, I would do this next time to feel a bit safer while flying.

Miss Haidee shop window – Salamanca Arts Centre

We flew in to Hobart last Thursday morning and were given RAT kits on arrival by the Tasmanian government in case we developed symptoms while there, which thankfully didn’t happen. Given we only had hand held luggage, we exited quickly and cabbed straight to the RACV Hobart Hotel where Mr R had upgraded us to level 8. It was great to have a spacious self-contained apartment in a central location walking distance to everything. It’s surrounded by some very stylish hotels including the heritage-listed Hadley’s Orient Hotel, The Tasman and Henry Jones Art Hotel.

Mr Rosanna on the streets of Hobart

We had a good time just getting our bearings walking to the Salamanca Arts Centre admiring the magnificent CBD buildings along the way, ranging from Victorian to Art Deco and beyond. The weather was dreary when we arrived and as much as I’d packed warmer clothes, it was cold enough for people to be wearing puffer jackets and vests and goretex! Note to self for next time. Hobart has a beautiful feel to it – less globalised and commercialised and less developed but in a good way. I think it must attract a certain type of person who values nature and the outdoors.

Me at Charcoal Restaurant

The arts centre was a fascinating place to explore – there are a number of different levels full of interesting shops and artist studios. There are many art galleries, ceramic and glass artists and jewellers and we walked away with two handmade tea cups as souvenirs. We dined in at Charcoal Restaurant at RACV Hobart on our first night, which was very good and in fact, we ate well the entire time we were in Tasmania – the local produce, coffee and food were all excellent and the food scene rivals Melbourne. The CBD in particular has a huge number of cafes and I think coffee culture is just as abundant down south.

MONA ROMA ferry

We took the 20-minute ferry trip along the Derwent River to MONA (you can book online for both the ferry and entry to MONA itself) the next day which was a real experience! From the military-style ferry with its pink penises on the bow and sheep statues at the stern, which some passengers sat on – it makes for a highly entertaining, irreverent and slightly confronting day out and entry is timed. Nothing is off limits so be prepared to be a little shocked at some of the new art. I’ve played it safe and taken photos of a lot of the old art including pieces from Picasso and Egyptian artefacts.

Ceramic by Picasso

Wear your walking shoes and give yourself three hours there to see everything. Mr R and I had a lunchtime break and saw Mr Walsh himself (the gambler millionaire owner) while we grabbed a delicious bite to eat outdoors at the Moorilla Wine Bar. Our trip to MONA was made all the more memorable as the heavens opened up while we were waiting in the queue outside for the return ferry ride. While we had rain jackets on, they weren’t able to cope with the deluge of water that came down so Mr R and I looked like drowned rats by the time we embarked for the ride home. Be prepared if you visit in future!

We got takeaway from nearby Malaysian cafe Sawak for dinner and there are some fantastic-looking restaurants within walking distance including Dier Makr across the road from the RACV hotel and Peppina a few blocks away. Mr R and I were lucky to get a last minute booking on our last night at The Brooke Street Stock Market Restaurant + Bar (located on the ground floor of a heritage apartment building) sharing the $75 pp feed me menu, which was excellent – starting with oysters and moving on to wallaby (yes, it’s a thing down there), fish and lamb dishes plus dessert. Food is also served on handmade crockery from Ridgeline Pottery – topping off the lovely (literal) feel of the place.

MONA inside

The quintessential Hobart experience is visiting the Salamanca Market which was crowded even if outdoors. Mr R bought a small bottle of award-winning Spring Bay single malt whiskey for his dad and we enjoyed trying on hats and admiring the work of artisans – there were many woodwork, leather goods, ceramics, jewellery and food stalls too although we ended up walking up Kelly’s Steps straight into inner city suburbia entering the very quaint and picturesque Battery Point. We were hungry and it was drizzling – we were lucky to get a table at Ozus Coffee, which served some of the best coffee I’ve ever had, and we shared the Spanish and Greek-style brunch options. The bakery across the road had been recommended but had a queue out the front. The Japanese restaurant there also looks very enticing and we enjoyed browsing at Annick’s Antiques and later down the road at Kookaburra Antiques. We then walked back to the CBD where we discovered open air lounge In The Hanging Garden in the old Tattersall’s building encompassing an entire city block – full of hanging plants, a choice of Korean and Mexican food and live music on offer in the downstairs beer garden.

Battery Point bakery

On our last day on Sunday, we walked to the Farm Gate Market which was busy with locals buying their amazing looking fresh and colourful weekly produce and popped our head in at Stonewall Antiques, which had many beautiful wares for sale and was well worth the visit. Sunday was glorious weather-wise and we walked to the other side of the wharf we’d not explored going in to have a look at the Henry Jones Design store and our last lunch spent in front of the water out in the sun at Waterline Lounge + Bar on the Brooke Street Pier. It was a very relaxing and fitting way to end our quick getaway down south. Tasmania is very close and fast by plane and we’d definitely go back with the kids for a longer adventure at some future point.

Farm Gate Market stall

Needless to say we did a lot of walking while we were away and walking is good for you! I thought you might find these articles on walking, interesting. This one on the remarkable science of walking’s feel good effects by Jono Lineen and this other article by Liza Weisstuch which talks about the Dutch concept of uitwaaien (outdoor activity in the wind). While I have been adrift in Hobart, Robyn Annear has also written a book detailing seven different walks you can do in Melbourne with Adrift in Melbourne. It’s now my second week back at work and reality has definitely hit…lucky you if you’re still on holiday.

Enjoying the sun at Waterline Lounge
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Author: missrosannablog

I'm a marketer, writer, blogger and creative type interested in all things arts and culture in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia ranging from inner city to outer suburbia and beyond.

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