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Kate's departure from her Tasmania holiday

The Hutchinson’s come to Tassie, and Kate’s goodbye

Several weeks ago, my excited parents touched down Melbourne after travelling for almost a day from Manchester, United Kingdom. Keen to utilise their time there, they spent a week in the Victorian capital, before pulling on their thermals and flying over to Hobart. They had never met my boyfriend before so we picked the mutual ground of the Fluke and Bruce to appreciate a dinner, several drinks and a good old Yorkshire catch up. My dad being the pale ale enthusiast that he is sampled every one of the tap beers in pursuit of his required ‘bitter and hoppy’ beverage, and after finding it, we set to getting together a plan for their stay. After having such an overwhelmingly positive experience at the MONA museum myself, it was essential that we visited the newly opened Gilbert and George exhibition there. We spent our Sunday peering into their psychedelic canvases, laden with Great British signifiers and fragmented photographic representations of the artists. We wound down from our sensory assault with a drink from the Moo Brewery, and had the chance to star spot Gilbert and George themselves relishing a quiet moment at the Wine Bar on our return to the ferry.

It was a great start to their Tasmania Holiday, which had commenced in the typically busy, Tasmanian way. The parents of a great friend of mine are the owners of a beautiful Air BnB located in North Hobart, and through chance availability, my parents were able to stay in the gorgeously quaint two-bedroom cottage while they were here. Tranquil, with white-washed wooden floors and furniture, it proved to be the perfect base from which to explore the South of the state. I was delighted to visit places that had long been on my list including trendy T42 on the waterfront, which introduced me to the most sophisticated chicken schnitzel I’ve had, arriving on my plate drenched in an exquisite poppy seed sauce. We travelled to Richmond village late one afternoon to take a stroll along the serene streets and peer through the windows of tiny antique and artisan shops, which seemed to hold the after-hours mystery of a Christmas toy-store. I finally bared witness to the humbling views experienced at the top of Mount Wellington, and was able to splash my feet in the glittery swell of Kingston Beach.

Kate on a mountain walk

At the weekend I organised a stay for us at the Lufra Hotel in Eaglehawk Neck, whose rooms boast stunning views of the Tasman peninsula. Here, surfers can be spotted and geology buffs can embrace the natural splendour of the Tessellated Pavement, the Devil’s Kitchen, and the Tasman Arch. It was ideally located for us to visit the Port Arthur historic site the next day, located a mere forty minute drive away. Visiting the Port Arthur Lavender café en route to pick up a lavender ice cream, a pot of lavender grey tea, and a scone accompanied by lavender-infused cream for myself, mum and dad respectively, we arrived at the historic site eager to expand our knowledge of Australia’s convict history. The preserved buildings which we were able to explore independently provided great and often chilling insight into the lives of British convicts, who were transported into utterly alienating circumstances across the other side of the world. The silent site created a heightened sense of empathy as we tiptoed through the dilapidated mills, while Mine Konackci’s exhibition unified past with present through photographs of the descendants of convicts – in other words, ordinary Australians. We arrived back in Hobart to embrace our final few days of our Tasmania holiday before my parents flew to the Golden State of Western Australia, and it was then we became witness to a newspaper worthy moment! While walking off the palak paneer we had devoured in Saffron curry house by the harbour, my eagle-eyed father alerted us to the shark that was swimming lazily next to the floating Flippers restaurant! We relayed the news to anyone who would listen while disbelief clouded their faces, yet it was us that had the last laugh when two weeks later a newspaper article confirmed the sighting of several broadnose sevengill sharks in the Derwent estuary.

This unexpected sea-life sighting sparked the inspiration for the day trip I took earlier this week when I was lucky enough to exchange two visitors for another – my parents, for my best friend, Brooke. Three friends and I obtained the incredible industry privilege of embarking on the multi award-winning Pennicott Wilderness cruise at Bruny Island and we set off in glorious sunshine with a little too much confidence and definitely not enough layers! As four speedboats were loaded with passengers, we were told to put on mandatory red waterproofs down to the ankles, and were literally buckled in to our seats. This came initially as quite as surprise, as I deemed a cruise to be a rather sombre, slow affair, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. We were each handed two ginger tablets by our incredibly witty and supportive skipper, who revved the boat to bone rattling speeds and took us on what I can safely deem the most thrilling tour you could ask for in Australia! We streaked across the Tasman Sea with every single passenger – young, old and in-between – whooped, cheered and laughed themselves into stiches, as we hurtled and wound between 272m sea cliffs made out of ancient Jurassic Dolerite. A pod of twenty dolphins flanked our boat, showcasing their balletic abilities while diving, twisting and turning, as everyone desperately unshackled themselves from their seats and jostled for the perfect photo! With the wind whipping in our hair, we were taken to witness the breathing rock, which gurgled and expelled spray as if a satisfied giant sat underneath burping from his full tummy.

Kate's Tasmania holiday

As we made the approach to our destination of the Friar Rocks, we stormed into the Great Southern Ocean, which encircles Antarctica. Right on cue, hundreds of seals came into our eye-line, frolicking on the rocks. Brimming with personality, the teenagers practised to fight, while old timers leaned back lazily, groaning in the sun, and young pups showed off their diving skills, looking for our approval. The photo opportunities were endless, yet the beauty of the scene left me breathless, and I wanted to take it all in without compromising my view through a lens. We returned after three glorious hours out at sea, taking a route which allowed us to experience a feeding frenzy which was occurring. Hundreds upon hundreds of birds crashed into the water at devastating speeds, while plucky albatrosses circled the dolphins that had joined in the action. Our boat added to the cacophony of noise that was created, and as we sailed away from the scene we sat back, exhilarated exhausted and utterly content.

My trip to Bruny Island was one of many moments I have had in Tasmania which have led me deem this state to be very dear to my heart. I am now preparing to leave after three months as a resident, and I couldn’t have asked for more. It has been an unparalleled experience in every way, and I am particularly indebted to Jane, Calypso and of course Madison, whom if I had never met one night over a Savignon Blanc, I would have never had the beautiful time I have had at Travel with a Cause. I am looking forward to a new chapter in Melbourne, but I already know I am going to be back in Tasmania one day soon, next time, for even longer…

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