Border restrictions and lockdowns in other states and territories within Australia are having big impacts on our hospitality and tourism businesses.
However, Tassie folk are enjoying our beautiful island without the crowds of tourist and are doing our best to support local business. The State Government has helped with a $7.5 million Travel Voucher scheme. Anyone could register to receive $200 towards accommodation and $100 towards attractions. All entrants were put in a ballot and we were fortunate to be successful.
So last weekend we went on a road trip, staying in Launceston to explore the northern part of Tassie.
We stayed at Peppers Silo Hotel, an unusual building repurposed from grain silos built in the 1960’s. The hotel overlooks the city, the Tamar River Basin and the North Esk River and Riverbend Park.
We explored the city on foot, appreciating the architecture, the history, art and culture in QVMAG (Queen Victoria Museum and Gallery).
We drove to a couple of vineyards, tasting the wines in on the deck on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
We also visited Beaconsfield Gold Mine and Heritage Centre. Gold was first discovered here in 1847. Underground mining began in 1879 with considerable investment and expansion. However, the mine closed in 1914 due to constant flooding. Many of the original buildings now in ruins. In 1980 work began to reopen the mine and the first ore production occurring in 1998. It remained operational until 2012. A 2 week rescue mission to reach 2 miners trapped after an earthquake induced rock collapse made international news in 2006.
Another point of interest, in 1953 Beaconsfield was the first town in Australia to add fluoride to its water supply.
The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens reopened this week as lockdown restrictions begin to ease. Only outside areas were open “for exercise”. The shop, café and kiosk were closed. Also the Conservatory and Antarctic House.
It was a perfect autumn day to visit. Feet of all sizes had fun scrunching through the fallen leaves.
I joined lots of people for a delightful walk around the gardens. Everyone was sensible and respectful, keeping social distance, waiting to pass on narrow paths and bridges over the lake.
It was pleasing to see the autumn colours.
Many of the maples in the Japanese Garden have finished their display. There were a few still putting on a show.
Also to see what is happening in “The Patch”, as seen on Gardening Australia. Local charities maintain some beds.
The gardeners have kept busy while the gardens have been closed.
We enjoyed the views from the Sky Tower. We did not bungy jump or walk around the outside!
We visited the Auckland Museum at the Domain, a fascinating building with exhibitions arranged into Peoples, Natural History, Warfare and Memorial.
Thank you New Zealand for a wonderful holiday. We took a while to plan the trip, didn’t try to fit too much into the time available. We met up with friends, relaxed over delicious meals, enjoyed the local food and wines. We walked city streets, sandy beaches and bush tracks. We saw tourist sights and local hidden gems. It was a true escape from our everyday lives.
The road around the Coromandel Peninsular takes you close to the water, over the hills, through a gorge. The towns are picturesque, but were busy on the weekend closing the Christmas and New Year holidays. We struggled to find a parking space.
We had some blue skies but on Sunday 5th January the skies turned an eerie orange, due to the bush fires in Australia, over two thousand kilometres away. These photos are straight from my iphone, no filters, no edits to the colour.
Rotorua is an extraordinary place. A geo thermal area with geysers, bubbling mud, pools of boiling water, steam rising into the air. There is an underlying smell of sulphur but you soon get used to that.
We toured a Te Puia, a geo thermal park with an interesting guide. But we also found steam, boiling water in cracks in the earth, whilst strolling around the city’s streets.
Maori culture is on show here. Buildings, such as Maree meeting houses, food stores. canoes, totems. Traditional crafts are taught, such as carving and weaving.
The Church on the Lake has beautiful Maori carvings and a memorable glass window with Jesus etched, walking on the water. The bodies in the graveyard are interned above ground level due to the heat of the earth.