Food and art oa­sis

Tas­ma­nia’s cap­i­tal is a charm­ing blend of old and new

Central and North Burnett Times - - TRAVEL - BY Letea Cavander

IF BEER, wine and cheese is your thing there is no need to sell your first-born for a flight to France. We have our own food­ies’ haven just a few hours’ flight south of Bris­bane. Ho­bart is a mecca of craft grog and lo­cally pro­duced food.

It is also a haven for artists thanks to gam­bler David Walsh, who poured mil­lions of dol­lars into his cre­ation, the Mu­seum of Old and New Art. Here are a few of the many things to do in the Tas­ma­nian cap­i­tal.

Eat the food

Tas­ma­nia is so much more than the Ap­ple Isle, though they sure know what to do with that fruit.

From fine-din­ing eater­ies to great pub grub, Ho­bart re­ally does have some­thing for ev­ery taste­bud.

For the best chips in the coun­try, head to Jack Greene on Sala­manca Place. Once wharf ware­houses, the row of sand­stone build­ings is now the heart of Ho­bart’s en­ter­tain­ment district.

Sit among the sand­stone, un­der a heat lamp in win­ter as the icy wind straight from Antarc­tica whips up, and tuck into the potato that is dou­ble-fried and fin­ished with the chef’s se­cret sea­son­ing.

The bar also has a large num­ber of craft beers to choose from, plus tasting pad­dles so drinkers can im­bibe a few different Tas­ma­nian brews. Jack Greene is just the start of the foodie mecca. Sev­eral eater­ies on Sala­manca Place and in the wharf district serve amaz­ing dishes that hero Tas­ma­nia pro­duce like salmon, ap­ples, pota­toes and qual­ity cuts of steak.

And be sure to visit the old­est op­er­at­ing brew­ery in the coun­try, Cas­cade Brew­ery.

◗ DE­TAILS: dis­cover­tas­ma­nia.com.au

Visit MONA

It took three trips to the Tas­ma­nian cap­i­tal be­fore I vis­ited the much-lauded and equally de­rided MONA.

I was scared the hype around the mu­seum had overly height­ened my ex­pec­ta­tions.

Opened in 2011, the mu­seum has courted con­tro­versy for its take on what makes art, art.

When I vis­ited last month, in the mid­dle of the city’s Dark MOFO fes­ti­val, the mu­seum made head­lines for sup­port­ing Aus­trian artist Her­mann Nitsch’s per­for­mance in which a freshly slaugh­tered bull’s en­trails were used by per­form­ers dur­ing the art show.

My fears of the mu­seum proved un­founded.

Walk­ing down a spi­ralling stair­case into the belly of the mu­seum was like go­ing down a rab­bit hole.

From di­nosaurs made from old cas­settes, to an en­larged and bloated Porsche, to a ma­chine that makes poo, to a wall of plas­ter cast vagi­nas, MONA pushes the bound­aries on ev­ery level of its gallery.

I loved it. And bet­ter yet, there were no de­scrip­tions on the art­work. In­stead, vis­i­tors are given a de­vice with an app on it that tracks where they are in the gallery and what art­works are nearby.

Sim­ply push on the photo of the art­work to learn more about the artist. Or be free to in­ter­pret the work with­out an ex­pla­na­tion.

◗ DE­TAILS: mona.net.au

Take a walk into the past

Run your fin­gers along the grooves in sand­stone, made from con­victs’ tools more than 150 years ago, at Bat­tery Point.

Some of the grand­est homes in Tas­ma­nia were built on this hill due to the ocean views and close prox­im­ity to the wharves, and re­main there to­day.

Whale oil mer­chant Alexander McGre­gor trans­formed the orig­i­nal Lenna cot­tage on Run­nymede St into a grand home that is now a ho­tel.

Drink­ing cof­fee in what I imag­ined was once the home’s for­mal sit­ting room, watch­ing rain fall through mas­sive bay win­dows framed by blue vel­vet cur­tains, was a high­light of a pre­vi­ous trip.

Or check out Arthur’s Cir­cus, where work­ing class fam­i­lies once resided. The cot­tages, crammed to­gether like a semi-cir­cle of wonky teeth, can now sell for more than $1 mil­lion each.

◗ DE­TAILS: bat­tery­point­walk.com.au

PHO­TOS: LETEA CAVANDER AND THINKSTOCK

The Ho­bart wharf district is now a food and grog lover’s haven; top right, Cas­cade Brew­ery is Aus­tralia’s old­est op­er­at­ing brew­ery; and bot­tom right, di­nosaurs made of plas­tic and cas­sette tapes.

DIS­COV­ERY: The is­land is named af­ter Dutch ex­plorer Abel Tas­man, who first sighted the state in the 1600s.

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