After an amazing week in Cairns I was a little bit exhausted but I was also eager to see what IES had in store for us in Tasmania. I arrived back to RMIT Village at 1 am only to pack up and head out again at 6 40 am. Chay was waiting for Mercy, Gabe, and I and we met Sarah, who studies at La Trobe, at the airport. After a short flight we stepped off the plane in Launceston to surprisingly nice weather and set off to meet our driver for the trip, a typical Tassie bloke who never stopped talking. After a quick stop at Coles to pick up food for the trip, we immediately began our adventures starting off with a visit to the Tasmania zoo. Of course, the main attraction was the tasmanian devils and we also got to see quite a few exotic birds, wombats, kangaroos, penguins, monkeys, and crocodiles. From there we stopped at a pub for some lunch and a game of pool and then we ended the day at Iluka Caravan Park where we settled into our cabins and headed down to the dock to watch the sunset and take some beautiful photos before eating dinner at the local pub together.
The next morning Sarah and I were fasting for Yom Kippur as we headed off on a half-day hike to Wine Glass Bay, a location unreachable except by foot. After a long and grueling morning we drove to Kate’s Berry Farm for afternoon tea, what Americans would just call a snack really. Sarah and I caved in and joined everyone for homemade scones, jam, and cream along with delicious homemade vanilla and blueberry ice cream. After we were all more than full we drove on to Port Arthur Caravan Park and relaxed in our cabin for a bit before eating a late dinner which included about ten potatoes worth of chips and wedges. Being the klutz I am I managed to squirt ketchup all over me which I then was informed is sometimes called dead horse in Tassie, weird I know. Next, we headed off on our late night ghost tour of Port Arthur, the site of the prison where convicts were first brought from England. Mercy, Sarah, and I were a little more timid but Gabe took up the lead for the group holding the lantern the whole way next to our guide. We were all sufficiently spooked by the end.
The next day we ate a hearty breakfast before packing up and heading on a fishing trip where Chay and I both caught flat heads. Unfortunately, Gabe got a bit seasick so we had to cut the trip short and wound up walking around for a while on shore. Next, we headed off to the Meadowbank Estate Vineyard where we dined on scallops, fresh oysters, and did a wine tasting. As we were eating, the famous chef Manu walked in and sat down for lunch too which was pretty cool! After finishing our delicious meal we drove the rest of the way to Hobart where we checked in to the quaint, if slightly eerie, Astor Hotel. We explored the streets of Hobart, Tassie’s capital before enjoying a huge sushi dinner. The next morning we headed to MONA, the Museum of New Art and spent several hours touring its unusual, and certainly not PG, pieces. After that it began to pour and we had a fun time running back to our bus. From there it was on to Cascade Brewery for a tour of the beer making process and an amazing beer tasting paired with foods where we got to enjoy fresh Tasmanian salmon, beer battered fish, terrine, spiced cashews, a mini meat pie, and stout flavored ice cream for dessert. With the bad weather we decided to head back to the hotel for a few rounds of Bananagrams and a quite afternoon.
The next day the bad weather hadn’t let up. We walked down to Salamanca Market and explored the stalls for a few hours before escaping to a cafe for lunch. Finally, we boarded a bus up Mount Wellington where the rain turned to snow! After a short snowball fight it was time to head back to the hostel and watch a bit of the AFL Grand Final game before we were off to the airport. Chay wasn’t too happy to discover that Sydney had won after we caught the last few minutes in the airport gate. We returned to Melbourne after five days packed with fun. Tassie was completely the opposite of Cairns, not just because it was an IES trip with Chay along for the ride and every day planned out. I also went from sun to snow and from McDonalds to fine dining. It was really great to get to experience two parts of Australia that are so completely different but both amazing in their own ways.