Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hobart, Tasmania - Voyager of the Seas Cruise Dec 2012 Day 3 - Part 1 Port Arthur

Tasmania, abbreviated as Tas, is also known as Tassie to the Australians.  Tasmania is located 240km south of the Australian continent, across the Bass Straits.  Slightly over 500,000 people live in Tasmania.

Tasmania was named after Abel Tasman, the Dutch explorer who made the first European sighting of this island.  This was in 1642.  Tasman named the island "Anthony van Dieman's Land" after his sponsor Anthony van Diemen who was then the Governor of the Dutch East Indies.  Later on, it was renamed Tasmania in honour of the European discoverer.

One of our cruise stops was the city of Hobart on the beautiful island of Tasmania. Our cruise departed from Sydney at 11pm on embarkation day. We would have one day at sea before arriving at Hobart, on Day 3 morning of cruise. To get here, we would have sailed the Tasman Sea.
The plan today was to get off the ship, pick up the rental car, and drive ourselves to Port Arthur! This would be the first time in my life that I am driving in Australia. A first for me! It would be a fun day ahead.

The view from our aft balcony as we were sailing into the docks.

Before that, we had time to get some breakfast in the Main Dining Room. One of my kids liked pancakes.

The other kid preferred fried eggs over easy.

There we were, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. The island of Tasmania is quite large and there is quite a lot to see here. Some tourists take a driving holiday, about 7 days, to drive around the island. For us, this was a rather short call, 10pm to 6pm. So we had to maximise our time.

We were getting close. Excited.

It was a bright and sunny day, not too cold, which was nice. Once the Voyager of the Seas was docked, many cruise passengers got off and made our way to the port gates. I didn't see many tour coaches for cruise organized tours. Maybe I missed them.

I did see a large number of passengers walking out.

This chap was staring at us. Haha. Tasmanian Shipping Supplies. Wonder if he was here to resupply the Voyager.

The following pictures gives you a good idea how far the walk was from the ship to the port gates. Look at the direction of human traffic in this picture. We were all heading to the far end of this pier.

From the same spot, I turned around, and took this picture.

I did the same from this point. Camera facing the port gates.

Turned around, camera facing the ship. As I said, there was a large number of us walking out.

We have left the port now and we are trying to find our way to the car rental.

Some pictures taken along our walk.

Traffic looked rather heavy. I hope that I wouldn't be caught in a jam!

The walk from the cruise ship to car rental would take about 20 minutes.

We finally reached the car rental company. There was a line! Next time, we should set out earlier and try to reach this place more quickly. It took about 1/2 hour to get our car for the day. We got a complimentary upgrade to this SUV. However, to my dismay, there were no GPS sets available, even though we had pre-booked them. The counter staff told us that all GPS units had been rented out. Oh dear. Were we stuck?

I had a paper map, but no backup GPS. Oh, whatever, we will try! Fortunately, I had studied Google Maps quite carefully before the trip and I had, more or less, memorized the way to drive from Hobart to Port Arthur. The route was very straightforward. I figured that I just had to follow the signs and we should be able to make it. So, let's go!

Some pictures of the car. A Ford Territory SUV, pretty new.  This car had a diesel 4.0L engine.  Very powerful, nice and big and a car that I would never get to drive in Singapore as I can't afford such a big car. Even if I could afford it, I wouldn't buy one in Singapore. Car prices are crazy here. A reliable and inexpensive car would suffice here.
Yes, now I recall the Ford Territory was Diesel powered. I didn't know the Engine Capacity though. The guy in yellow was helping us install the car booster seats for our kids. These seats were mandatory under Australian law.
And, we begin the drive! Within 15 minutes, we were out of Hobart City. This was on the Tasman Highway (A3). The distance from Hobart City center to Port Arthur was 95km.

It was a gorgeous day!

Hmmmm, why was I driving on the wrong side of the road? Must have been passing (overtaking) a car.

Ok, this looks better. This car could move!

Yes, these pictures were taken by my wife. I was busy driving. My hand position was rather strange though. My driving instructor would fail me.

Two lanes, two way road. So, lookout for oncoming cars.

There were parts where there were 2 lanes, for passing. Good.

It was very easy to drive. Bright, clear, sunny, absolutely gorgeous weather.

As we had some distance to cover, and we were rather short on time, I did pick up speed during these long stretches. This car could move.

Alright, drive cautiously through the town. That's only common sense.

What town was this?

Remember, I was driving without a GPS. I was following the road signs.

A school!  The building looked quite new.  Didn't see any kids though.  School holidays, maybe.

I think this was the town of Sorrell. This road is part of the Tasman Highway. We noticed a supermarket and we would stop here on our way back to stock up on some water.

A red light! This is the junction of Gordon Street and Cole Street, Sorell. You can find this junction on Google Maps. We had to make a right turn here to get onto the Arthur Highway. It was still another 70km to Port Arthur.

Arthur Highway - Alright, we continue on the Arthur Highway, after leaving Sorrel.

Looks like we were driving into the wilderness. It started to look more rural.

The roads got a bit more curved as we headed along.

Some stretches were rather straight and long. These were good!!

These were not as good. Slow down. Can't tell what is beyond the bend.

More bends. I wasn't driving very fast now, though not very slow either.

This was fun. I hope no wild animal dashes out.

Beautiful day.

Hmmmm, wonder what that place was. Lots of sand?

Port Arthur - Cafe
We have made it to Port Arthur. Parking was quite straightforward. It wasn't too crowded when we got there. We bought the tickets and decided to get something to eat in the cafe before visiting the attraction. Standard food available in the cafe. I think we had some fish and chips and pizza.

A model of the Port Arthur historic site. Quite a lot to explore, if you wanted to.

Port Arthur - From timber camp to prison settlement. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There was an indoor museum. We briefly toured this museum before going to the outdoors. The museum was rather interesting as it gave a good insight into the convict settlement.

Surgeon Superintenent? British Naval Surgeon assigned to the convict settlement. Hmmmm, I don't think this was a choice posting for a surgeon.

The menu. A far cry from what we get on the cruise ship. Junk (salt beef), bread, duff and hog (salt pork).

What was daily life like? These exhibits give a good idea. Conclusion, not fun at all. The prisoners got to go to school.

No, that wasn't our cruise ship cabin.

A couple of records of real convicts sent to Port Arthur. This boy was only 12. His crime was stealing razors.  Wait a second, Van Dieman's Land?  Yes, up till 1856, Tasmania was known as Van Diemen's Land!

This boy was 13. Life was tough. His crime was stealing a handkerchief.  Sentenced to "transportation", what is that?  Did transportation mean jail?  I did some research and the answer is as follows.  Transportation or penal transportation is the sending of convicted criminals to a penal colony.

Now, imagine this.  13 year old Peter Brannon's punishment for stealing a handkerchief, was 7 years in a penal colony!

Times have changed right?  What punishment do 13 year olds get for stealing these days?  Probation and community service for a week?  

Looks like a replica of some court.

This caught my attention. He was sent to Port Arthur because he was a lunatic. Oh dear.

Now this chap sounded like he committed a far more serious crime. Attempted murder!

Another young chap sent to Port Arthur. He stole 21 umbrellas.  Anyway, this is a great place to bring your kids and to scare them out of their wits.  

Life imprisonment for this deserter.  Well, I guess harsh punishment for desertion is to be expected.  No issues here. 

The Bible is quoted. "He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame but whoever heeds correction is honoured."  (Proverbs, 13:18)

The King James Version of the Bible records this verse in a slightly different way:

Proverbs 13:18, "Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured."

Looked like some store room exhibit. Pretty basic materials.

Yes, the store.

End of settlement. Looks like it became too costly to run this settlement. This place was shut in 1877.

 We spent about 30 minutes in the museum.  Rather rushed, but we did not have too much time.  There was still a lot to explore outside!   We start our walk to the grounds. 

Very bright and sunny day.  The weather wasn't too cold.  Very nice for an outdoor walk.

Those buildings look interesting.  

We walk there. 

Help!  We are in jail!  Not fun.

Some preservation and restoration work has been done to keep the building standing.  There was this wooden platform that allowed visitors to walk through, to see the insides.

The largest edifice in the colony. 

Clear skies.

The Penitentiary was roofless and floorless, only the walls standing.

We walked through there.

There was a large kitchen.

Some wall behind.

Yes, there was a Police Station.  It was open, but we didn't go in.

The Law Courts.   The Prisoners were to be judged?

The Military Barracks.

The Guard Tower

Looks like some tower!

Military Officer's Quarters

Our tour ticket included a cruise around the lakes.  There was a Catamaran for this purpose.

The waters were still and the winds were blowing gently.

Many chose to stand outside, to enjoy the views.

The ride round the lake took about 30 minutes or so. 

That's the Catamaran.  Some passengers were still getting off, while others were waiting to get on.

Port Arthur Massacre.  A very sad episode.  You can read more about this on the Internet.

End of our Port Arthur visit and on our way out of the attraction.  Managed to take these photos of the various Entry Passes.  My family took the Bronze Pass.  There are even Night Tours (Ghost Tour!).  From the looks of it, this place would be very eerie at night.  Not for the faint-hearted.

Head on to Part 2 of the visit to Hobart, Tasminia.


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