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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Tassie

From Hamilton Island we flew to Tasmania, an isolated island state off Australia’s south coast.

Simple yet valuable map of Australia from Gold Coast Australia Travel Tips.
Tassie is known for its rugged wilderness, much of which is protected land. We spent our time in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. Though occupied for thousands of years prior, Hobart was founded as a British penal colony in 1804. There is so much history in this city!

Our first full day was quite cold but that didn't stop us (too much). We explored Salamanca and took a carriage ride through that part of town.

The five of us that went for the carriage ride loved it! The man with the horse allergy opted out.

The boys got a quick turn at driving!
Our tour guide / carriage driver / all around awesome human told us some great history about Hobart and even pointed us towards some American history in town. Nani and I went for a quick exploration and, sure enough, found the stone marking of what used to be a US Consulate in Hobart!

Little connections to "home" are so valuable to us!


On day two we were supposed to go to Port Arthur but the weather didn't cooperate so we instead went to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Bonorong was super cool! They offer 24/7 wildlife rescue service and have an eclectic collection of animals.

For example, they came into a few koalas, but never meant to. They actually started with one, who they quickly learned was expecting! They plan to continue to care for them until they pass. With a lifespan of 20+ years in captivity, they'll (hopefully) have koalas for a lot longer.


There are Tasmanian Devils (of course!). These critters have been through the wringer IMO, and are quite misunderstood (they can also be vicious, no sugar-coating here). They've been hunted for many years and often fall victim to roadkill (while they're eating other roadkill...). For the last 30 years, the wild population has been impacted tremendously by devil facial tumour disease (DFTD). The Tasmanian government is working around the world to help breed healthy Devils that can one day be returned to the wild.



Randall the echidna lost a fight with a dog and had to have a leg amputated. He happily trots around Bonorong now!



There are HEAPS of kangaroos hopping around the grounds and there's kangaroo feed available to brighten the 'roos day!

M feeding a 'roo!
Papi feeding some 'roos!

Love this mum and joey!
Day three was meant to be MONA but E got sick so he and I stayed back. The crew that went was...intrigued. MONA was founded by David Walsh, an eccentric Australian gambler who hit it big and founded the Museum of Old and New Art. I guess, why not?

One of Nani's pics from MONA

M enjoyed the ferry ride to get to MONA from downtown! And yes, he's sitting on a cow statue.



On our final day before heading to the airport, we did a tour of the Hobart convict penitentiary (aka the 'tench'). Another winner that kept us all engaged and interested!


The tench was the convict prisoners' barracks for Hobart Town. Most prisoners lived at the tench but worked around Hobart for the government. They had some freedom to move around, have a beer after work and buy their necessities at the local shops. They had a curfew and rules - including mandatory church on Sunday.

If you look closely at the bricks that form the outside of the tench, you'll see some imprinted with the Broad Arrow; this meant these bricks were government property (leading to a decrease in theft). Today, these bricks are incredibly valuable and collectible!

Much of the original buildings from the tench were torn down; several courtrooms inside the penitentiary like this was were still used until the 1980s!
M had a go at playing piano in the chapel.
E learning about capital punishment from the days of the tench 😨
We all enjoyed the tench tour. It was fascinating to learn a bit about daily life for the convicts and gave us interesting insight into Tassie's history.

From Tassie we flew to Melbourne, where the cool weather became a distant memory...

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