Monday, 11 January 2010

Tassie Day 6 – Lake St Clair and Hobart

Today was the biggest driving day of the trip – about 5 hrs worth of driving, most of it on twisty, windy roads that twist and wind for no apparent reason! We broke the journey up with a stop at Lake St Clair, where we did about an hour or so's walking through the rainforest and then around Platypus Bay (sadly no platypus to be seen) before walking along the side of Lake St Clair for a while, one of the most beautiful settings I've seen - the water is deep, royal blue, Mount Rufus rises in the background like an old king and the lake stretches out for miles and miles with white sandy beaches at its shoreline and barely a sound to be heard. Blissfully peaceful. Lake St Clair marks the end of the Overland Track and it must be quite a relief to be able to drop your pack and drop into the lake for a cooling swim after 6 days hiking!!

Onwards from Lake St Clair to the big metropolis of Hobart. Well, it's not exactly New York, but after a stretch of time in the peace and quiet of national parks, anything feels like a metropolis! Hobart's the capital of Tasmania, with a population of around 200,000 (Tassie's total population is about 500,000). It's celebrated for its well-preserved colonial era architecture and it's relaxed-yet-cosmopolitan way of life. Hmm, I'm not sure about that, but we were lucky enough to be there for the two big events on the Hobart calendar – the end of the annual Sydney-Hobart yacht race and the Taste of Tasmania food festival, handily located at the waterfront next to the yachts.

After checking into our hostel, we bussed it into town and headed pretty much straight for the 70 food and drink stalls that make up the Taste festival. Clearly, there's only one way to go with food festivals – sheer gluttony. I think we 'sampled' a good 5 or 6 things, all of which were very tasty indeed. The evening's entertainment was provided in a side tent where various performers had slots for the evening, including an all girl hip hop group and a unicycling juggler – “eclectic”!

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