DM's Hobart 2017 Diary

Day 7 - Taste of Tasmania and Battery Point

Thursday, 28 December, 2017

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written next day

We got up late and had a lazy breakfast, before setting off down the hill into Hobart for the Taste of Tasmania food and drink festival. We stopped at Daci & Daci again so M. could get a coffee, a take away cup this time as the bakery was full and very busy. While she was waiting, I check what time the Taste of Tasmania started, and found it didn't open until 11:00, and that it stayed open until 23:00.

Since we had an hour or so to kill, we walked over to the waterfront, where the yachts that had finished the Sydney to Hobart race were berthed. We saw the big four which were leading the race: Wild Oats XI, Comanche, Black Jack, and Infotrack. Wild Oats had finished first last night at about 21:40, with Comanche crossing the line 26 minutes later after being overtaken in light winds on the Derwent River. However, Comanche had lodged a protest against Wild Oats over an incident at the race start in Sydney Harbour, and that was still to be heard by the international race jury. (We later heard, tomorrow, that Wild Oats had been penalised an hour, and so Comanche was declared the winner of the race.)

Wild Oats XI
Wild Oats XI, at Constitution Dock

Either way, Wild Oats XI was berthed in a prime position and crowds of people were gathered on the docks to look at the boat, plus the others that had arrived. Besides the big four there were a handful of others berthed in nearby locations at floating docks, and the walkways were all open so the public could go out and get close to every boat. Crews were working on some boats, doing maintenance, and some were chatting with onlookers. It was all very open and friendly and it was great to be able to get right up close to these famous yachts and their crews.

Wild Oats XI at Constitution Dock
Another view of Wild Oats XI, at Constitution Dock

The day was getting hot and the sun was beating down, so it was good that we had lathered on the sunscreen before leaving this morning. At 11:00 we made our way across to the Taste of Tasmania, where there was a Cancer Council stall with a free sunscreen station, and also selling hats and sunglasses. Fortunately much of the Taste festival was inside a large pavilion, although there were also many stalls outside in the sunshine.

Monkey and Taste sign
Taste of Tasmania

We entered the pavilion and found two long rows of stalls selling food and drink, with rows of tables with benches in between. There were a lot of people milling about, perusing the stalls, buying food, and sitting to eat, but it wasn't so crowded as to be uncomfortable, and every time we sought a spot to sit during the day we managed to find one without much difficulty. The whole thing was really well organised, with plenty of rubbish bins, and staff going around cleaning things up. We saw several children with stickers on them saying "If I'm lost, please call ..." followed by a mobile phone number written in pen. Although many of the stalls were selling beer, cider, or wine, the atmosphere was very family oriented and there were lots of activities outside on the shady lawn for kids, including craft stalls, face painting, story telling, sand pits, a portable skate park, cooking lessons, and other things.

Taste of Tasmania
Taste of Tasmania, inside the pavilion

Inside, we grabbed a Nutella crepe from a place making them fresh to order. The man making them had obviously just been hired for the festival, and a lady behind him had to instruct him on how to make the crepe. His crepe was a bit more ragged than the more experienced guy next to him, but it still tasted great.

Taste crepes
The inexperienced crepe guy

A bit later we got a cup of apple cider from Lost Pippin, sharing it, while I bought a snack of fried cheese curd balls from a dairy product stand nearby. After this brief break we continued exploring all of the stalls. There were all sorts of things. Besides the many breweries and wineries, there were seafood stalls, cheeses, fresh berries, lamb roasts, burgers, falafels, paella, pancakes, ice cream, chocolate, bread, cakes, coffee, curries, and many more.

Cider and fried cheese curd balls
Cider and fried cheese curd balls

As we wandered around, we saw out the eastern side towards the docks that there were tables there under large umbrellas, along the waterfront. And as we watched a huge cheer went up as all the people seated there gave voice. We went out to look and saw that a yacht was just coming in to dock. It was Celestial, which I looked up and found to be the 12th place getter in the race. Throughout the day, there were announcements over the PA system at the festival whenever another yacht had finished the race and was coming in to dock, and each time as the crew sailed past they were greeted with loud cheers.

Table decorations
Seating at Taste of Tasmania, with unusual table decorations

After more wandering, we found a seat on a bench outside the pavilion but on a well covered verandah area, shaded from the hot sun. There we had lunch, with M. getting a grilled salmon fillet and salad, which was a green salad topped with coleslaw and then crispy fried onion pieces. I got a rösti topped with smoked salmon and a mustard mayonnaise sauce, which also came with salad. With these we had a pear cider from Little Pippin. After this I tried a "Vivien" ice cream from a stall called Silver Spoon, which had small tubs in several different flavours named after old time movie stars. The Vivien was a chocolate ice cream with raspberry sauce. It was good although a bit too frozen and would have been nicer if a touch softer.

We passed much of the day relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere of the food festival. A brewer was selling a “Christmas ale” on tap and I excitedly ordered one, thinking it would be fruity and spicy like others I have tried before, but it turned out to be a rather normal type of bitter ale, okay though. We also tried another apple cider, from Frank's Cider, which was offering half price of your name was Frank and you could produce ID to prove it.

Monkey and Frank's
Frank's Cider

Later in the afternoon we walked back over to Salamanca Place adjacent to the festival to spend some time looking through the shops and galleries there, to keep out of the hot sun. Then we decided to walk down to Battery Point to see what was there. We didn’t quite know the geography of the area or what to expect, and ended up walking right down to the waterfront at the southern end of the point, where there was nothing but a CSIRO office and a strip of park along the water. We saw the finish line for the yacht race set up there, with a small observation booth where race officials could sit. Unfortunately there were no likely looking yachts in sight, and checking the race website on my phone I determined that the next yacht to finish was probably about half an hour away. A ma walked past and said he’d seen the previous boat come in and it was spectacular, probably because it would have been accompanied by a flotilla of spectator boats.

Old house, Battery Point
An old house in Battery Point

The weather had changed, turning from calm and hot to windy, with a very chill breeze dropping the temperature from around 30 to 20 in a very short space of time. So we didn’t dawdle on the windy waterfront, but trekked inland and up the hill, through expensive looking historical houses in excellent repair. We wondered what was so interesting about Battery Point, if it was just historical houses or if there were shops and cafes. But eventually we reached a short string of shops, including the cafe Jackman & McRoss, which M. said was recommended by her work colleague as a place to go and get a scallop pie. It was closed today, but would open tomorrow, so we pledged to return.

Narryna, 1836
Narryna, Battery Point

A bit further along we ran across the historical home of Narryna, which was open for looking in. The sandstone-fronted brick house had a fountain in the front yard. We walked in and discovered a woman who took $10 each from us for the visit, then proceeded to explain the entire history of the house to us, beginning from when the land was first acquired by a Captain Haig in 1824. He owned the block of land all the way from the hill we were on down to the water at Salamanca Place, and he built the first two warehouses there, which still stand to this day and are now restaurant/bars. Unfortunately, Haig went bankrupt and had to sell off parts of the property, which then passed through a series of hands. The house was used as a boarding house for girls at one point and then as a hospital for women with tuberculosis. In the 1950s the house went up for auction, but a petition of locals lobbied the government to acquire and preserve the house, and it had been a historical museum ever since.

Narryna, drawing room
Drawing room of Narryna

As she explained all this to us, another couple came into the house and listened to about the second half of it. Then when she finally finished she turned to the newcomers and said, “Well you’ve heard half the history of the house, would you like to pay the entry fee to look around and hear the rest?” We grabbed one of the laminated multi-page guides which described each room and had a map of he house, using it to navigate around and understand the rooms. On the ground floor were a dining room, which the guide described as decorated in a masculine style, and a drawing room, where ladies would withdraw while men had port and cigars after dinner, which was decorated in feminine style. Behind the dining room was a breakfast room, and across the hall behind the drawing room a guest bedroom. Out the back was a kitchen and scullery. Upstairs were the master bedroom and two adjoining rooms which were used as nurseries since the Haigs had eight children. The master bedroom and one nursery were being used for temporary exhibitions, currently of 19th century women’s fashions, mostly morning and day dresses, plus Quaker fashions as the house was at one stage occupied by a Quaker family.

Narryna, kitchen
Kitchen of Narryna

A small back room off the main staircase landing was a dressing room, and a door led to the servants’ quarters, in a low ceilinged room above the kitchen. The servants were assigned from the Cascades Female Factory, which we’d visited earlier. Apparently they weren’t treated very well because one ran away and when she was caught gave testimony against the Haigs.

In separate rooms outside were a pantry and laundry on a stone flagged courtyard. Behind this was a garden area which was used as a kitchen garden, and stables and a coach house. The coach house had a loft where the outdoor male servants slept. The guide said that one of the grooms was at one point charged with “while intoxicated, illtreating a horse” and sentenced to six days confinement.

Monkey Brand soap
Old advertising sign in the laundry of Narryna

We spent so long looking at everything that the other couple who came in after us, as well as some more visitors after that, had gone and we started hearing the caretaker lady locking the place up! We poked our noses in to say we were still here, and she said she knew we were there but an was just getting ready to close up. But she’d locked the laundry which we hadn’t looked in yet and we asked if she would mind opening it again so we could have a look. She was very nice and said it was no problem, so we managed to see everything and then left just a bit before 17:00.

We walked back down to Salamanca and then over to have another look at the racing yachts, to kill some time before 18:00 when the Greek restaurant Mezethes opened. We’d seen this earlier in the week and decided it looked interesting, so we wanted to try it.

We went in and I just ordered a drink and said we'd order food in a while. They had no cocktails on the menu but I asked for a Negroni and the waiter took the request to the guy behind the bar who mixed one up without any problem. After a bit we ordered some dolmades as a starter, followed by spanakopita for M. and the special lobster trio for me. This was a half lobster plus a large coconut prawn and some lemon pepper calamari, with Greek rice. It was all good, with the calamari being the stand out item. We spread our courses out and the lobster took some time coming because the chef apparently couldn’t fit it in the oven, as the waitress reported, but it was fine, as we needed time to work up an appetite after all the food during the day.

Lobster trio
Lobster trio at Mezethes

We left about 20:30, avoiding dessert so we could go across to the nearby Honey Badger Dessert Cafe. Here M. had a dark hot chocolate while I tried the specialty of the place: a "panookie", which is a cookie covered in various toppings. I chose the black panookie: a choc chip cookie with marshmallow, nuts, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate sauce. It came in a small cast iron pan on a wooden board, and I tried grabbing the handle to move the pan, but it was hot and I burnt my fingers. I didn’t expect it to be hot at all, and the waitress gave no warning that the pan was dangerously hot. It was all delicious though!

Black Panookie
Black Panookie at Honey Badger Dessert Cafe

After dessert we walked back up the hill to the motel. By now, the wind had picked up and it was really quite chilly, with dark grey clouds pouring over Mount Wellington. I checked the rain radar but it was clear so we walked home and made it without any issues apart from the chill night air.



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