Tuesday, March 11, 2014

There's WAY more than 20 reasons to visit Hobart - from a local

[ed: I realised all the links were messed up, so i've fixed them - along with some of the text!]

Recently a number of colleagues and I read this article about Hobart and found it disappointing in places , with some out-of-date information or simply inaccurate suggestions.

For example: restaurants - Ethos is not in North Hobart; Piccolo has been re-named, together with some real highlights simply ignored.

Don't get me wrong - the article got lots right about our beautiful home town, too.

But I felt compelled to give something of a counter, a more local viewpoint - with some personal favourites.

So here goes, in no particular order (except the first, to make a point about the other article)....

1. Mt Wellington (and I'm NOT opening with a gratuitous comment about some South African mountain here - because guess what? It's Tasmania, not RSA): for the beautiful drive/ride/walk up the mountain, and the stunning views of the bush all around you, and the alpine rainforest as you get higher up; when clear weather, the gorgeous shining Hobart city below from the lookouts; and the stunning 360deg panorama at the pinnacle. Kunanyi has a definite 'spirit of place' about it and engenders a special kind of emotional bond for locals - especially when you see it for the first time after an absence. (if you don't want to go all the way up there you can still get a great view of Hobart from the Mt Stuart lookout).

2. MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Berriedale. Its effect on Hobart and the tourism industry generally has been nothing short of startling, transformational. everyone is talking about it. Quite apart from the art and the owner's story (and the mystique surrounding David Walsh), the thing that will stop you in your tracks is the sheer beauty and innovation of the construction itself. MONA is a must-see. Get the ferry: a brilliant way to see Hobart from the river.

3. Cascade Brewery, Woodstock heritage house, Cascade gardens: a glaring omission in the Fairfax piece among some glaring omissions, the oldest still-working brewery in Australia runs engaging (and tasty) tours. Severely damaged by wild bushfires in 1967, the iconic stone facade which has adorned so many great beer labels sits next to the great brews' water source, the Cascade Rivulet - also known to harbour platypuses! The nearby gardens are a lovely place for a picnic.

4. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (aka TMAG for locals). Hobart's public museum has just had a brilliant refurb and is absolutely worth a visit Separately, the Narryna Heritage museum housed in the 1830s building is fascinating

5. Get there (and plenty of other places) on a free hired ArtBike from Arts Tasmania Elizabeth St Hobart. You need a credit card and ID. You can even hire ArtBikes overnight or for weekend for low prices. If you're really keen you could ride or walk (or bus) to MONA via GASP - Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park (with free bbq sites!)

6. Battery Point Sculpture Trail - interpretative and interesting walking tour of one of Hobart's earliest colonial districts It's a fantastic insight to the history of early Hobart.

7. Hobart's parks - from significant spaces like the Botanical Gardens and St David's Park to smaller recreational parks really suited to young families like 'The Boat Park' at Long Point ('Sandy Bay Beach') and historical parks like Arthur's Circus in Battery Point - Hobart has some lovely parks.

8. Hobart waterfront & Salamanca Place - a self-guided tour of the locality will find you discovering a range of points of interest like the historic Hunter Street, the School of Fine Art campus of the University of Tasmania; fresh and cooked seafood outlets along the Sydney-Hobart-famous Constitution Dock; beautiful King's Pier and Waterman's Dock, and then over to Salamanca past well-loved pubs like the Telegraph, Customs House, and historic Knopwoods ('Knoppies') and cafes like Retro and Zum (with the famous market on a Saturday) iconic tourism experiences from Pennicott Wilderness Journeys and Tasmanian Air Adventures seaplane trips that take off and land from the waterfront itself!

9. Farm Gate Market: hugely popular with locals - produce market at Bellerive on a Saturday and Hobart Melville St carpark on a Sunday. An extraordinary range of fresh local produce, artisan and fine products, free range meats, dairy products, some really interesting food-to-go or eat there

10. Bruny Island and the D'Entrecasteaux Channel: the SMH got this partly-right. No trip to Hobart should miss a drive through the enchanting Channel (or way, waaay better - by boat!) and a ferry (check the timetable!) over to Bruny. It's a very special place with a swag of things to do and see - including a history littered with visits from explorers like Cook, Bligh and the Frenchman Captain Bruni D'Entrecasteaux himself (There's a small museum about Bligh at Adventure Bay). Bruny also has a strong Aboriginal culture and history and abounds with stories and dreamings. Some of our favourite spots are Barnes Bay, Conley's Beach, history-laced Adventure Bay and the Lunawanna Hall where last Friday of every month, Hoppy's Jamboree happens.

And the best pub meal South of Hobart is at Dave and Rachael's Hotel Bruny at Alonnah. The free range Nichols chicken parmie is big and delicious, and there's heaps of local produce on the menu (sometimes local free range pork which is awesome) and they have Tassie ciders in the fridge, including the astounding cherry 40% apple 60% Cerise by Pagan Cider

11. Cathedrals: again, a glaring omission from the 'other' list. St David's (Anglican) and St Mary's (Catholic) are fine examples of 19th Century design and engineering.

12. Theatre Royal: take a guided tour of this charming space: Australia's oldest working theatre.

13. State Cinema North Hobart: a meeting place for so many Hobartians, 'The State' has been born again in recent years with wonderful additions including a licensed cafe-bar, bookstore and rooftop cinema/bar !
Check out the North Hobart precinct before and after your movie. It features a wide range of restaurants, bars and cafes along Elizabeth Street. The Republic Bar (previously the Empire Hotel, delicious irony) Cnr Burnett & Elizabeth Sts features live music all nights of the week @republicbarcafe

14. Blundstone Arena: (Bellerive Oval) a world-class sporting facility featuring international cricket matches and, during the winter hosting top-class AFL home games for North Melbourne. It's going through a really exciting development phase at present. Roos supporters - come to Hobart and watch the team play at their home-away-from-home. @NorthKangaroos

15. Great Tasmanian wine: half to three-quarter an hour's drive from Hobart there are many fine wineries, most providing tastings and cellar door sales. Some favourites are Frogmore Creek and Clemens Hill (Coal Valley) Stefano Lubiana and Derwent Estate (Granton) and Home Hill Wines and Kate Hill in the Huon Valley. Cool Wine is a terrific wine store providing a real level of personal service and advice right in Hobart's CBD. What Tim and his team can't tell you about their products probably isn't necessary. Grape (Salamanca) & T42 (Elizabeth St Pier) are really nice wine/spirit &food bars with a comprehensive list of wines many of which they will serve by the glass. The 9-11 bottle shop at the Gasworks has a strong Tasmanian wine range too.

16. Burgeoning cider sector: Couldn't believe the SMH missed this one - the tiger in the local food and beverage manufacturing economy. Tasmanian cider is growing strongly, with new producers and products popping up everywhere. And Hobart venues (and their patrons) are fervent supporters too, like The New Sydney Hotel and West End Pumphouse; and Jack Greene at Salamanca. Willie Smiths organic apple cider a French style cider from the Huon Valley is now being served in Hobart's traditional Athenaeum Club. Local producer Dickens has recently opened a dedicated cider bar in Salamanca @DickensCH Follow Tassie's cider trail

17. Hobart's cafes: Hobartians are really passionate about their hot drinks! There's some great cafes around - some of my personal favourites are Raincheck Lounge (North Hobart) Pilgrim, Kara (CBD) Zum, Tricycle (Salamanca) and Georgie the barista at The Deep in Mures Lower Deck on Constitution Dock makes fantastic coffee, too...(ok I'm her dad, so I'm a tad biased).

18. Food: Hobart has a great range of good quality food from moderately-priced to higher end. Cargo Bar in Salamanca has a well-priced and yummy wood fired pizza menu. Written On Tea on Sandy Bay Rd has simple, delicious Chinese meals (byo bottled option!) the pan-fried dumplings are popular. I like Charcoal in the city for lunch; West End Pumphouse is a vibrant venue with an exciting menu. My favourite Hobart restaurant is Smolt in Salamanca - with daylight between it and others. The location, the room, engaging dishes with small plate options, a broad exciting wine list - always good service. Smolt is an absolute standout reason to come to Hobart.

19. The Wolfe Brothers: one of Australia's most promising country rock acts, The Wolfe Brothers, is from Hobart. Come and experience the region that has inspired Nick, Tom, Brodie and Casey - who rock, by the way.

20. Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO): Resident in Hobart’s purpose-built Federation Concert Hall, the TSO has a full complement of 47 musicians and really is one of the world's best small orchestras.
With more than 60 CDs in its catalogue the TSO is known and heard nationally and internationally.



Monday, July 8, 2013

Reflections on Dark Mofo 2013

After visiting MONA on the weekend to see my friend Tony Brennan play a MoFolk gig in the Void Bar on the lower ground floor of the Museum (brilliant, Brian Ritchie) it struck me I'd written very little about Dark Mofo. What a fantastic debut winter festival. It has simply redefined this part of the year for Hobart - and has set SO many people talking about "what is possible". That one attribute is, in itself, of dramatic value in terms of our own city's self-deprecating internal discourse. As opposed to "omg - that project/idea/proposal is just stuck in red tape/can't get through {insert stultifying organisational acronym here} etc " Instead of the negative mantra, I've heard all over the place: "What if...? Could we...? Would this work...?" I absolutely cannot wait for the next Dark Mofo. How exciting, sweet antici........pation. Leaving with one of the most amazing installations I've been lucky enough to witness: Ryoji Ikeda's Spectra Light Tower. Quite astonishing. And our beautiful Hobart and Mt Wellington in the background

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tourism Tasmania campaign beats a new tune

Tasmania - Go Behind the Scenery Fantastic new campaign by Kath McCann and her team at Tourism Tasmania with a creative partner, Sydney's JimJam. The 60 second TV ad reveals the extraordinary effect David Walsh's Museum Of Old and New Art (MONA) has had on so many levels from within Tasmania, and from without (parts of it feature in the advert) The digitized, dervish Luhrmann-like sequences with their rotating points of view and 3D optics rush at you and the overall effect of the advert is so energized in comparison to previous beautiful, but static, wilderness powerpoints. This really *does make you stop and think about "what is behind" the front bit; the quirky, engaging, cultural, and outright weird and wonderful. People, across all segments, are so "up for it" like never before. They'll have a go - they want to get around it, and have a look at Tasmania - from all angles, at all times of the year, and not *just the shiny well-known bits. And the thing is, this mew campaign absolutely captures this dynamic shift that has occurred in the market since MONA's seismic start-up. The heads-down, furtive secrecy and 'oops I shouldn't look' persona has given way to a prevailing sense of cultural glasnost since the opening of the magnetic, compelling, consensual, adjective-robbing, parallel universe of wonder and awe perched out there on the banks of the Derwent in #Hobart. (I'm only sorry Nolan's Snake is moving out of the exhibition for a while - it's the most captivating work I will ever see, I think). The melding of art and culture with "the spectacular views" and "food and wine" as foundation and fundamental elements of Tasmania's tourism value proposition has never been clearer than in this campaign. Of course, it's writ large in massive black texta now in the shape of MONA. But the growth of the festivals subculture - like the magnificent Ten Days on the Island, on right now - has built the platform as well. It sure is a different take on a well-tried set of product and stories - but brilliantly captures the shifts. Great production, congrats TT. I tweet @VinceTaskunas

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Still alive, thank goodness

I'm ashamed to say that I haven't updated my blog for nearly a year. This correlates almost exactly with the period in which I discovered an affinity for Twitter, personal and professional-wise. Whilst I haven't blogged here at all, I've micro-blogged plenty via Twitter. It really is a fascinating platform: especially for an Enneagram 7 like me.
free enneagram test
If you haven't had a look at Enneagram personality types, you should. The Institute website says: The Enneagram uses numbers to designate each of the [personality] types because numbers are value neutral— they imply the whole range of attitudes and behaviors of each type without specifying anything either positive or negative. Unlike the labels used in psychiatry, numbers provide an unbiased, shorthand way of indicating a lot about a person without being pejorative. The types analysis has been very valuable to me in my development as an executive in a large (small) multi-business lines organisation, and I have used it extensively in my understanding of others, and self. It's just a touch ironic that the last time I wrote here was about Sydney, and rugby union. We've just come back from four days in Sydney. The rugby was poor standard, even though it WAS Bledisloe Cup, Aust vs NZ, at ANZ Stadium. The All Blacks won (of course). It was my first (and my wife's first) live Wallabies match so that, ln itself, made it exciting. Afterwards, we went to Barbeque King - Chinese. Fabulous food. Good collection of comments here

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sydney's beauty

I managed a lovely little mini-holiday in Sydney with some of the family recently.

It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful our biggest city in Australia really is.

Yes - it is a BIG city, and everything that comes with that. But the location, around Sydney Harbour, is startlingly attractive.

In particular, the magnificent open public spaces in and around Darling Harbour are a real highlight for visitors.

Light fittings, Wildfire restaurant, Overseas Passenger Terminal Circular Quay

Evening, from Newtown rail station

Reflection off King's Wharf, Darling Harbour, Sydney

The Sydney Opera House at night from Wildfire restaurant, Overseas Passenger Terminal Circular Quay

Sunday, October 23, 2011

All Blacks Win It: French just fail to close out an All Black #RWC2011 choke

Roll on Rugby World Cup 2015 !!

I've had such a good time watching the Rugby World Cup finals - except the one the Wallabies lost to the All Blacks, of course...

Last night's decider really was one of the most exciting rugby finals I've watched in a while, despite the low scoring and the ball-handling errors (although nothing will beat Wilkinson vs Australia in RWC 2003 for a long time....)

It serves as a reminder why I get so excited in the lead-up to this compettion every four years. It is just sensational sports viewing: the greatest game in the world.

It has to be said: the All Blacks are deservedly Rugby World Cup Champions for 2011.

Just like TV's Survivor - they've outplayed all comers, outlasted huge scares like the one Les Bleus gave them last night, outwitted opponents (the Australians, devastatingly, in particular) by playing them at their own game and winning the battle of tactics, over and over - and out-muscled, out-bustled, and out-rugbyed every opponent they faced.

They've even out-choked their own traditional choke - and put that choke around the throats of their opponents through a consistently tough and altogether ultimately undefeated defence.

Once and for all, the All Blacks showed that making and holding tackles wins the big games.

As Wallaby scrum-half Will Genia said back in August after the Wallabies were smashed by the ABs at Eden Park:

"No matter how long you hold that pill for they’ve got a good enough defensive system to hold you out and they showed that. It was very, very hard."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans agreed, saying: “They scrambled defensively very well and those sorts of qualities will be important come World Cup time.”

Quite prophetic, in fact, Robbie.

The last half of the 2011 RWC final was exactly like that. As the pressure built on the All Blacks to hold onto their slimmest of leads at 8-7, it was clearly becoming waaay too much for some NZ tweeters who were including references to holding their breath, various types of coronary care and nervous breakdown in their increasingly-feverish tweets (these, at least, provided some light relief on the side).

It was tense and it was exciting. Despite the fact that the French had most of the possession, the All Blacks held them out. Denied them.

Towards the end, the All Black defenders looked completely dead on their feet, battered and sorely tested after dozens of phases put together by heroic waves of Bleus led in the loose by their incredible captain Thierry Dusautoir and a dominant platform in the lineout via Imanol Harinordoquy (a lineout reliability factor the Wallabies desperately needed - nay must have had, and sadly couldn't consistently deliver - if they were ever to challenge for the title).

But the time evaporated and the New Zealanders kept finding something, managing to keep "scrambling" in defence, covering huge overlaps out wide being created by a magnificent final charge of wide-running, hugely-brave French backs. Led by the efforts of scrum half Dimitri Yachvili, tough tackle-breaking centre Aurélien Rougerie and fullback Maxime Mèdard they gave it everything they had from the first minute of the second half in a desperate attempt to break the All Black defensive line.

They just couldn't beat the choker-hold of the strongest-willed All Blacks defence we've seen for quite some time.

Former England and British Lions hooker and now UK Telegraph rugby writer Brian Moore said this morning that "The French refused to play their role as biggest underdogs ever" but that "the All Blacks' defensive wall ended brave France's hope of a breakthrough."

Moore went on to write that:
"In the end, it was pressure that told for the French; not that imposed by attacking pressure, rather an enormous rearguard defensive display from the All Blacks in the middle period of the second half."

It's quite a good commentary actually - and from an ex-front rower, which makes it all the more sensible and realistic. Worth a read.

Let's be very clear here. I don't like the All Blacks.

I do not have a strange attraction to their regularly-infringing (but rarely-penalised) forward pack, led by the all-time unpenalised infringer in Richie McCaw.

And I will not succumb to the sickening media fawning that is occurring across all channels right now.

In my heart I was going for the French (as much as I don't like them, either).

But after yesterday's grinding win against a tough, brave, committed Les Bleus who fell desperately short of their own glory, it is utterly impossible to not respect the best rugby team in the world right now: the 2011 All Blacks.

Congratulations to the All Blacks.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Visit to Bruny Island

Went to Bruny Island on Tuesday - it really is one of our family's favourite spots.
Unfortunately, couldn't find a fish to catch, but it was nice to get away and spend some relaxation time.

The D'Entrecasteaux Channel

Tinderbox in the distance - looking up along Nebraska Beach, North Bruny Island

Nature's sculpture - the rocky outcrops at the end of Nebraska Beach, Denne's Pt North Bruny Island

Nebraska Beach

Nebraska Beach

Nebraska Beach

Looking across the Channel to North-West Bay/Margate from Nebraska Beach - North Bruny Island

Going home: approaching Kettering at sundown, from the Bruny Island ferry