Tasmanian Travels with Carol and Greg

It has been almost 6 months since the last blog and a lot has happened. So where do we start?

Hobart & ECHO Festival

Sydney friends Carol and Greg came to visit for a week. The blog will feel like it was longer than a week but we do seem to pack a lot in. Ostensibly, the visit was to join us at the East Coast Harvest Odyssey ECHO festival but then also bookended by some excellent Tassie experiences in Hobart and Southport.

On Wednesday soon after they arrived we checked into our favourite Hobart hotel, right on the harbour.

Hobart

We had two nights in Hobart before driving to Swansea for the ECHO festival.

Sunrise over Hobart harbour from the hotel room

As fate would have it on the night after after Carol and Greg arrived (Thursday) Maddy, Steve and Dave’s band, Free Live Sports, were playing a big gig in Altar nightclub in Hobart which, of course, we were going to however this left us free on Wednesday.

And so on Wed night, after much excellent research by Jenni, we booked into Dana Eating House for dinner.

Carol and Greg with the Dana fest.

This magnificent restaurant exists below the populist radar and outside tourist recommendation posts and seems to cater for informed locals only. It is a hidden gem for sure. We all agreed afterwards it was one of the best dining experiences we have had for a while. This trip started as it meant to go on, as an enjoyable gastronomic experience. As excellent as the food was the service was event better.

On Thursday day we worked a bit and shopped a bit and then it was time for the Free Live Sports gig. Altar was a short walk from the hotel.

The venue, Altar, is dark, moody and perfect. As this was the early session there were no heaving crowds.

Altar is owned by MONA and is part of the Dark MOFO festival
The excellent beer menu at Altar

They came on at 8:30.

Free Live Sport’s rocking the stage at AltarThen the

Free Live Sports we’re pretty amazing and the place was jumping. I’m glad it was so popular they had to put on an extra early show which was just for us old people.

https://roughskiesrecords.bandcamp.com/album/stay-grounded

You can preview their music and get some Free Live Sports limited edition cassettes here.

A couple of youngsters in love listening to Free Live Sports

Oh, and the Rolling Blackouts were playing there too. They were pretty good also.

And so, as we all headed off to bed, the bands had to do it all over again.

Suddenly it was Friday and in the evening ECHO festival began. We left Hobart happy and full and drove to Swansea on the east coast where a weekend of glamping and eating and drinking awaits.

East Coast Harvest Odyssey

ECHO before the crowds arrived
Grand bounty feast table and menu

What is ECHO? From their web site – “The East Coast Harvest Odyssey, known as ECHO Festival, has become known for weaving together immersive sensory experiences around the traditions of harvest, old and new. This boutique festival guides guests on a journey of exploration that encompasses all the senses – taste, smell, sight, sound and touch.

Jenni and I attended ECHO for the first time last year and vowed to return this year. Along with Carol and Greg we were joined by Sandee and Brian (again) whom we met same place same time last year.

Sandee and Brian joined us again at ECHO.
The Science Bar with some interesting sea themed concoctions

Fire pits everywhere kept us warm
ECHO is organised by Ange Boxall (left) seen here at the Welcome to Country ceremony.
Welcome to Country Smoking Ceremony
After the Welcome to Country the feast began. Carol, Greg and Sandee after the feast.

And so, the following day the festivities proper began. There was wine, gin and whiskey tasting.

Wine tasting and explanations by the most qualified and least wine wanker person I’ve met Joseph Burton
Exorbitant whiskey tasting hosted by Tom Rofe
Whiskey’s ranged from 40 to 75 proof. This festival is a marathon.
Warren Mason’s Tin Camp was a powerful experience. He is an exceptional and most humble musician

Southport

From ECHO we moved to Southport, Tasmania’s, and therefore Australia’s, most southerly settlement. Southport is quite remote but it does have a rugged and interesting coastline walk which, of course, we did.

From Aussie Towns website. “Southport is known as Australia’s southernmost settlement. It is now little more than a quiet holiday retreat and, looking at the shacks and small shops, it is hard to imagine that in the early 1800’s it was Tasmania’s second largest town and it was proposed as the capital of the colony. It was a bustling and dynamic convict station, whaling station, timber town and international port exporting timber to Europe. The modern appeal of the town lies in its away-from-it-all sleepiness. It is known for its excellent recreational fishing and the journey to Roaring Beach and Lady Bay rewards the traveller with beautiful white sand beaches and bull kelp near the rocky headlands.”

At the start of the coastline walk, Jenni and Carol and a Whale Sculpture.
Most of this trail was unmarked and along the beach
The scenery on the trail was pretty epic
Practicing my minimalist landscape photography, inspiration from Thomas Heaton.
We did expect to see a lighthouse at the end of the trail which we sort of got. Here is a light…
…and here is a house.
We stopped for lunch break on our way back. Carol and Jenni were very relaxed.

Tahune Airwalk

We had a few hours between checkout from Southport and check in at Snug, next place.

At the start of the Tahune Airwalk. River flood levels and fire have taken it’s toll on this place.
Now for persons with a dislike of heights, Jenni and Carol for example, the walk was going to be an exciting adventure.
However all trepidations were overcome and we have proof they made it to the great overhang.
And eventually we all made it back to solid ground safe and sound

Wille Smith’s Cider House

On our way to our place in Snug we stopped for lunch at one of my favourite places in Tasmania, Willie Smith’s Apple Shed.

Snug

In our lovely place in Snug we were immediately visited by some locals.
I must say we were all pretty impressed with the views from our place. Sunrises were pretty amazing.
The evenings were just as enjoyable

We had had such a great time during Carol and Greg’s visit it was with some reluctance we left our place in Snug to drive them to the airport. But, as we had some time before their plane left, we got one more short walk in. Snug Falls.

At the start of Snug Falls walk.
Guess what this waterfall is called?
So while Greg and Carol enjoyed the amazing sight…
…Jenni took the time to relax.

It was time for our visitors to go back to the North Island and for us to return to our cosy home.

Our next blog will be from our trip to the UK and Ireland.

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