I never meant for this trip to find its way into this publication. It was going to be a week of spending time with my boyfriend Taffy while he sat house for his sister, and taking the chance to explore south Tasmania. But then the editor saw my Instagram posts and said I should share them with AM readers, so here are some of my favourite shots. They’re taken with my iPhone SE since I didn’t want to bring my heavy Canon. I had to pull off the riding gloves every time because my fingers were a long way from filling them to be of any use. And most of the time, it was really the case of shoot and scoot, and I was trembling from the thrill of the ride, so excuse me if they’re not up to scratch.
The blooming colours of Rosny in springtime
With Hobart as base, we would venture out whenever the weather permitted on Taffy’s Triumph cruiser (a beautiful piece of machinery, don’t you think?), then returning in the evening to walk the dog, feed the budgie, retrieve the mail and cook ourselves some dinner. And this we would wash down with wines that were ridiculously good for the price we paid, to an unfettered view of the Hobart waterfront shimmering in the setting sun. It was just perfect.
Descending into MOMA… an impressive subterranean space
Museum of Old + New Art, Hobart
I can’t say I’ve been on motorcycles much, so Taffy kindly chose a short trip to begin with and took us to MONA. It occupies a prime spot on the bank of the Derwent and although stunning to the eye, doesn’t look like it’d hold much. What I didn’t know is that it’s a subterranean structure and what I saw was the proverbial tip of the iceberg. MONA is in fact the largest privately funded museum in all Australia. The interior space is über-cool, at once futuristic and primal. It’s been called a “subversive adult Disneyland”, on account of its gallery of alabaster vaginas no doubt, but I preferred the exhibit that explored words: not so much the text fountain but the quieter one over the bar, where the words seem to fall off a page like grains of sand, then jostle to find their rightful places to make it possible to read what they’re about. I’m a word nerd.
The Cloaca exhibit, which reminds me of contraptions in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s La Cité des Enfants Perdus, was the result of a joke. Apparently the artist is mocking the fact that anything could be art, even a machine that makes poop. Jokes and grossness aside, it is a fascinating machine that took a ton of work to create. It mimics the process of digestion in the human body. No wonder it smelt funky
The Southern Coast
The weather the next day was fabulous and after a quick stop at Salamanca Market, known for its vibrant crafts, local produce, food stalls and street performances, Taffy took us down the southern coast.
The Trumpy growled along a meandering road, passing cherry orchards, lavender fields, sleepy hamlets, grazing sheep, doe-eyed alpacas, gleaming beaches, and oh, the occasional roadkill. At one point, we must have surprised a flock of white cockatoos for the birds took to the air in tandem, as though marking the start of an event like the Olympics. It was an awesome sight.
We got to Peppermint Bay in Woodbridge in time for lunch on a sun-dappled terrace perched on a cliff, and the food – fresh oysters, warm olives, grilled fish wings and lamb chops – was as spectacular as the view.
The viewing gallery at the top of Mount Wellington
Now that I’d got the hang of riding, Taffy pronounced I was ready for Mt Wellington. He couldn’t hear me for our full-face helmets but I was screaming “WOOOHOOO!” What I didn’t expect were the 40km/h force winds at the top. I hung on to a parked car to keep from getting blown away, much to the bewilderment of its occupants. I hung on to Taffy the rest of the time and managed to take a few quick shots at the sheltered viewing balcony. In the end, something did get blown away. If anyone sees a riding glove flapping in the wind, that’ll be Taffy’s.
Little girl feeding ducks along the Coal River that runs through Richmond and under Tasmania’s oldest sandstone bridge
We meant to go to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary for the Tassie Devils, but dark clouds forced a stop at Richmond. Making the most of things, we checked out the oldest bridge in Tasmania, said to be haunted by three ghosts. We took a scenic walk along Coal River and then Bridge Street, which is lined with cute boutiques. In one of them, I found some silver spoon rings I’d seen earlier at Salamanca Market but didn’t have time to look at properly. The history to them is that back in the 17th century, servants could not afford to buy wedding rings, so they would steal the silver cutlery and fashioned them into rings to express love and commitment. Taffy bought me one. We didn’t much feel like playing Harry Potter, so we skipped the Maze in favour of waffles and coffee at Sweets & Treats. It’s just one of numerous charming cafes in Richmond, and the place to be if you want to feel like a kid in the candy store.
Tasmania has magnificent cliff views aplenty. This was near the blowhole at Eaglehawk Neck
Eaglehawk Neck and the Tasman Peninsula
We headed to the Port Arthur Historic Site the next day. Although our guide was excellent and made our tour of the former penal colony truly enjoyable, the ride there was more than half the fun, offering plenty of stunning sights. I probably pushed Taffy’s patience to the limit calling for so many picture stops. I really wished we had more time to explore the Tasman Peninsula.
A seagull looks out to Pirates Bay for easy pickings
We went only as far down its eastern coast to the blowhole circuit, from which we enjoyed awesome cliff views and teased a seagull into posing for pictures with the greasy but very yummy squid ’n chips from Doo-lishus. If we had gone just a little farther down, we’d have found Patersons Arch and Devil’s Kitchen. And if we’d ventured all the way down to Cape Hauy, we’d have seen the spectacular stacks called the Candlestick and the Totem Pole, which have attracted top rock climbers from all over the world. Oh well, another time.
On the way back from Port Arthur, Taffy stopped around the west mouth of Denison Canal for me to take this shot. Just one out of lots of scenic views along Arthur Highway
Adventuring on Hot Wheels
Meet Taffy’s Trumpy, a handsome touring bike built by Triumph Motorcycles, cooling off in the charming historic village of Richmond while we had a ramble. It was the nimblest, coolest way to explore the mountainous geography of Tasmania. You can hire a bike from motoadventure.com.au. It offers a whole range of gleaming motorcycles, safety gear as well as ride-and-stay packages.
Taffy’s Trumpy cooling off in the heritage town of Richmond