In my wildest dreams I never once thought I would ever end up traveling to Tasmania, but here I was arriving into the port of Hobart, Tasmania. In case you didn’t know, Hobart is the capital of the Australian island state of Tasmania.
Founded as a penal colony in 1804, Hobart is the second oldest capital city after Sydney, New South Wales. It was British convicts who built and developed the infrastructure of what is now Tasmania. The population in the greater Hobart area in 2013 was approximately 217,973, nearly half of Tasmania’s entire population. If you visit Hobart, you’ll definitely notice Mount Wellington looming over the city at 4,170 feet, but that won’t be all that you’ll get to see while in Hobart.
On this day filled with grey skies, I didn’t know it then, but the rest of the cruise we would have pretty much the same weather following us all around New Zealand as well. We followed the directions to get off the Celebrity Solstice and made our way into Macquarie Wharf No. 2 Cruise Terminal building.
TasPorts operates this terminal and you’ll find not only signage and information about the port, but also a small market with vendors selling local goods.
I decided to check out what was for sale upon my return to the port, but first I needed to find the meeting place for my day trip. Since it wasn’t an excursion organized by the cruise line, the port of Hobart is quite strict with not allowing tour operators not appointed by the cruise ship to enter the port. An employee in the port directed me outside of the cruise terminal building (Macquarie Wharf No. 2 Cruise Terminal), out of the port, and over to the Brooke Street Pier to finalize my arrangements with GrayLine Australia.
Walking through the cruise terminal building takes all of a minute and we were quickly outside and headed toward Brooke Street Pier.
This was the only sign we saw as we exited the building, but don’t worry. If you know which building you need to walk to, getting there is a straight shot. If you want to walk into town and explore, you only need to walk straight out of the building and it’s right there.
Did you know that Hobart serves as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations? The Port of Hobart is one of the best deepwater ports in the world. This thriving commercial port offers access to both large and small vessels: Cargo vessels, naval ships, cruise ships, and antarctic research and support vessels.
Walking out along the water, we had our first glimpse of Hobart. While you could walk, like we did, if you didn’t want to walk, you could always grab a taxi and head into town. But I wanted to see as much as I could on foot instead of by car.
During my walk along the port, I noticed this metal structure. Was it a sculpture? What was it? I later saw more in town and noticed that they were being used as bike racks. They turned an otherwise ugly necessity into a piece of art. Love it!
But I also loved the “Bratwagen” that was near it!
This port is too quaint and cute for words. I couldn’t resist snapping pictures at every turn.
When I first spotted this statue, I didn’t know what to make of it. But it turns out it’s a statue called “Self Portrait, Louis and Joe” that was installed in 2002. The statue depicts Louis Charles Bernacchi (1876-1942), an Antarctic explorer with his dog, Joe, posing in front of an old-style camera. On the front of the statue is this inscription:
THE BERNACCHI TRIBUTE
“SELF PORTRAIT” LOUIS AND JOE
TASMANIAN LOUIS BERNACCHI (1878-1942) WAS THE FIRST AUSTRALIAN TO WINTER IN ANTARCTICA. LOUIS GREW UP ON MARIA ISLAND, ATTENDED HOBART’S HUTCHINS SCHOOL, AND FROM HIS EARLY YEARS WAS A STRONG ADVOCATE FOR AUSTRALIA’S INVOLVEMENT IN ANTARCTICA. A SCIENTIST, PHOTOGRAPHER AND WRITER, LOUIS LEFT HOBART WITH THE BORCHGREVINK ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION ON THE 17TH DECEMBER 1898. THEIR VESSEL, “THE SOUTHERN CROSS’ DEPARTED FROM THE POINT WHERE THIS TRIBUTE NOW STANDS.
LOUIS LATER JOINED SCOTTS 1901 -1904 ‘DISCOVERY’ EXPEDITION AS CHIEF SCIENTIST, TAKING HIS FAVOURITE HUSKY “JOE” WHO HAD BEEN WITH HIM ON BORCHGREVINK’S EARLIER EXPEDITION.
Here’s some more information about the statue from the Monument Australia website:
Bernacchi voyaged from Plymouth to Hobart as a seven year old and was educated at the Hutchins School in Hobart before studying astronomy, magnetism, meteorology and physics at Melbourne Observatory. He became a physicist trained in astronomy and terrestrial magnetism. As a member of Borchgrevink`s 1898-1900 Southern Cross expedition he endured the first winter on the Antarctic continent and collected a complete set of magnetic data over an annual cycle. He became the first Australian to work and winter in Antarctica.
Bernacchi also took the photographs that illustrate his book and Borchgrevink`s “First on the Antarctic Continent”. The results are really the first comprehensive collection of photographs of an expedition that was not ship based and portraying continental Antarctica.
Later he was recruited as physicist for Captain R. F. Scott`s British National Antarctic Expedition (1901-04); he was regarded as a tireless and energetic observer and a `cheerful and loyal friend` to all the party. His scientific writings and Scott`s published views testify to the value of his work, and he was awarded the Royal Geographical Society and the King`s Antarctic medals as well as the French Cross of the Légion d`honneur (1906)
Did you notice that the statue included not only Louis and Joe, but seals and penguins, too?
I did a double take when I thought there was another penguin statue in the water, but that’s no statue. That’s a real penguin!
I’ve only seen penguins in captivity, like in an aquarium or in photographs or in movies. But to see one roaming free in Hobart was so exciting.
I stayed and watched it for a few minutes to make sure it was real and it did move although staying on the rock in the water. Perhaps he was thinking of the 5,112 km trip to Antarctica and was hoping he could hitch a ride to New Zealand with us. Regardless, Phil the Penguin was such a cutie and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to chat with him while in Hobart. Well, it was more of a one sided conversation, but that’s not the first time that’s ever happened to me!
As we continued onward, I continued snapping pictures, including this one that shows the Drunken Admiral Seafarers Restaurant. Keep in mind that as a vegetarian I don’t eat seafood, but hey – maybe you do! This iconic Hobart restaurant is a popular seafood restaurant offering fresh Tasmanian seafood in a vibrant maritime atmosphere.
17-19 Hunter St. Old Wharf, Hobart Town, Tasmania, Australia
It should be no surprise that the port area is lined with seafood restaurant options. Here’s another one called Fishy Business, which is a small takeout restaurant on the docks. They offer fish and chips, fish mix, seafood skewers, and other affordable options.
Constitution Dock Hobart TAS 7000
This bright blue building caught my eye and it turns out to be Mako Seafood. Whether you choose to dine in and enjoy the views of the water or take your meal with you, Mako Seafood offers a wide variety of seafood choices for your enjoyment. From fish and chips, to oysters, to fish baskets, feasts, plates, or platters, you can enjoy fresh, seasonal fish right on the docks.
Constitution Dock, Hobart 7000, Australia
After walking and searching out Brooke Street Pier, we finally found it and made our way inside the building. There’s always been a pier of some kind here, but after several years of discussions, a new and more permanent structure was towed into its current location in November 2014.
While its primary purpose is that of ferry terminal, inside the building you’ll also find The Glass House restaurant, Adrift café, and Bright Eyes espresso bar, as well as a large market offering Tasmanian produce like seafood, cheese, ice cream, wine, whiskey, and soap, too! Of course, this is also where we found the desk for GrayLine Australia.
Once we had our tickets in hand, we were escorted outside and shown where we would have to go next. The coach was waiting at the next building already, so we hurried on to avoid missing it.
The entire distance from the cruise ship to Brooke Street Pier is only about 650 meters and shouldn’t take more than 8 minutes to walk. That is, unless you stop to take lots of pictures and talk with the local penguin. Up next, our morning tour of History, Gardens, Pie, and Beer.