5th April 2007:
Having just left the sprawling Sydney airport, Hobart airport was "cosy" in comparison and if anything resembled a large room. So, conveniently, the baggage carousel was meters away from customs and the baggage carousel was next to the shuttle bus pickup area. The position of power for arrivals security was handled by a Beagle dog who sniffed the bag of each and every passenger as they passed for dangerous contraband items: I'll never look at oranges and bananas the same way again.
The shuttle bus cost about $12 and the ride into the city took about 20 minutes. I was sharing the bus with a seniors athletic team who mischievously tried to convince me that I had the wrong address for my hostel. They were messing with the wrong tourist though(!) and once I whipped out my GPS sat nav'd pocket pc showing the route we were taking with the exact distance in meters to my destination, they had to give up and concede defeat.
The sweet sense of victory was short lived though, as looking outside the window of the bus I noticed something unexpected. People were wearing coats & scarfs... My coat and scarf was 17,000 kilometers away (in Ireland) as based on my bible for all things Australian, the Home and Away TV show, there is never a need for anything warmer than a t-shirt in Oz. I had packed a Sydney jumper which was probably designed to keep you warm when its 20C and realising that the next stop south of Tasmania is Antarctica, I suddenly felt somewhat unprepared....
My preparation for finding accommodation, on the other hand, worked out rather well. I am staying at the Central City Backpackers hostel in a private room and as the name suggests it is smack bang in the center of Hobart. Hobart itself reminds me of Cork in Ireland: all low-rise buildings in the city center and you could walk from one end of the shopping district to the other within ten minutes. The city itself has a population of about 250,000 people and is based around the mouth of a large river.
The girl manning the hostel desk was very friendly, although in hindsight she may have been just bored as the hostel seemed quite quiet compared to others I have stayed in before. She did ask what I planned to do in Hobart and once I described my little list of activities she responded: "You plan to do WHAT?! We don't get many active people here...", which left me wondering just what, if any, people do come to Tasmania?
The rest of the day was spent wandering around the shopping area (I thought I did rather well, lasting 20 minutes before shopping-boredom set in) and then I popped down to the harbour area. The highlight here was a ship that was rather hard to miss: it was painted bright orange and was an Antarctic Ice Breaker: cool!