Travelling for festivals can be an amazing experience and India offers an incredible range of festivities throughout the year that draw travelers to their spectacle.
This post has been contributed by our friends at Ticking the Bucket List, Sonia and Ankur, on a Hindu festival that is huge in their home city of Mumbai.
Most people know about Diwali - the festival of light, which is now celebrated around the world and has just ended, and the colours of Holi feature on the covers of many a guidebook, but our feature today is probably less well known in the West, but no less spectacular - Ganesh Puja.
Ganesh Puja is a ten day festival culminating in major events on the final day, which is known as Ganesh Visarjan.
Nowhere other than Mumbai and Pune is Ganesh Puja celebrated on such an enormous scale - so if you are interested in this spectacular event book your ticket to Mumbai for September 2015!
Their article has inspired us to cover some of the less well known Indian festivals in more detail in future...stay tuned.
Our thanks to Sonia and Ankur for the words and photos.
Ganesha is an interesting looking God, with the body of a man and the head of an elephant. He is dear to most Hindus. In Hinduism it is believed that no task can be accomplished successfully unless Ganesha is first worshipped. He is also the first to be worshipped before any religious rites commence. Ganesha is also my favourite as he has a sweet tooth!
The Mythological Background
Lord Ganesha is the son Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. One day, while Shiva was away, Parvati made a little boy out of sandalwood paste and gave him life. This was Ganesha. She asked him to stay guard while she took a bath. When Shiva got back, he wanted to see his wife. When Ganesha continued to guard his mother, Shiva was so furious that he cut Ganesha's head off. When Parvati saw this, she was enraged.
Shiva promised to get her son back and ordered his followers to find a suitable head! They came back with the head of an elephant. Shiva gave Ganesha's body the head of the elephant and breathed life back into him. However, Parvati and Ganesha were upset at his 'different' looks, believing he would not be respected.
To ensure that Ganesha is respected and worshipped, Shiva granted that Ganesha's blessing is a must for commencing any and every task. No task would be successful unless Ganesha's blessings are sought at the beginning!
When does the festival occur?
The festival typically occurs in the second half of August or first half of September. The date is decided as per the Hindu lunar calendar. The festivities last for over 10 days, with the last day being the Ganesh Visarjan - when the main events, including the processions throughout the city occur.
In 2015 Ganesh Chatuthi ((also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, Vinayaka Chavithi or sometimes Vinayagar Chaturthi) will occur on 17 September.
What really happens during the festival?
During the Ganesh Puja, Ganesha's idol is set up in houses and in community pandals. It is worshipped for the entire duration of the festival. It is said that during this time, Lord Ganesha is on Earth to grant the wishes of His devotees. There is celebration all around - loads of good food, flowers, music and festivities. There are idols as big as 50 feet that are set up by communities to enjoy the festival as a communal event.
After 10 days, the idol is taken to sea and immersed in water asking the Lord to revisit us year and hoping that the year goes by soon, blessed with prosperity. The immersion procession water is a very big event and the whole city comes out on the roads for processions.
Tips and Pointers:
- The best place to witness the festival is Mumbai or Pune. The festival is typically celebrated in the Western part of the country
- Traffic is chaotic on the 10 days. Leave your car at home and use public transport.
- Dress modestly. Loose fitting clothes that cover your shoulders and knees are ideal.
We are lucky to be able to share a new itinerary courtesy of one of our favourite globetrotters - Alok's sister and Blue Lamingtons blogger Archana Mishra.
The Mishras moved to Anchorage, Alaska two years ago and have been making us jealous ever since with stories and photos of pristine lakes, mountains, forests and of course, moose! It has certainly inspired us to take a visit to this gorgeous place.
Read more of Archana's escapades around Alaska in our Alaska Overview, and check out her wonderful blog Blue Lamingtons. Did we mention Archana is also a published author? Her book A Fortunate Child is out now!
Two years in Alaska: 10 things I want to say, and show!!
Almost six years ago, my husband had an opportunity to relocate to America from Australia. Potential locations included Anchorage, Alaska, and we got super excited. However, due to logistics and timing, we moved to Midland, Texas instead, and spent over a year there. We loved our brief stay in which we explored a large part of the country before moving back to Australia.
Even though we were perfectly happy in our home base of Australia, the desire to live in Alaska never left us. So when the opportunity arose once again, in 2012, we grabbed it with both hands.
We didn’t know what to expect from our life in Anchorage. Our move meant me leaving a great job and starting afresh in a new world, with a completely different environment, both culture and weather-wise. We knew it was in America and that it was going to be cold. With that as our basis for what was to come our way, we landed in the 49th State.
In the past two years, every moment has taken our breath away. What we see and experience on a daily basis can only be described in pictures. A glimpse of our daily life in Anchorage, and highlights from travels around the state in the last couple of years are captured below.
1. Our urban wilderness
We work in downtown and live in the hillside area of Anchorage which lets us enjoy the unique wilderness. I spend my office time looking at Cook Inlet , the Alaska Range mountains, and Mt Susitna, also known as Sleeping Lady. I come home to the Chugach Mountains range with O’Malley Peak and a local favorite, Flattop Mountain. We frequently find moose, bears and lynxes roaming around in our backyard, as well as ducks in our lake and bald eagles in the trees surrounding them.
2. Sunrises and Sunsets are amazing
There are many places in and around Anchorage that could easily beat any sunrise and sunset hotspots in the world. Don’t believe me? These pictures will show you what I mean.
3. Seasonal shows by Mother Nature
The change of seasons and the surroundings in Anchorage are nothing I’ve experienced before. The extra-long days in summer, and very short ones in winter keep us busy and make time fly quicker than usual.
4. Last Great Race on earth
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual long-distance sled dog race, run in early March from Anchorage to Nome. Mushers and a team of 16 dogs, of which at least 6 must be on the towline at the finish line, cover the distance in 9–15 days or more. The Iditarod began in 1973 as an event to test the best sled dog mushers and teams, but evolved into today's highly competitive race.
5. Travels around the State
Alaska is so big that it’s impossible to see in just a few years, but we would love to share a glimpse of our trips so far. There are a variety of things to see and experience in this great state, for sure.
Where the Road Ends and Life Begins!
And Stubbs the Cat is the Mayor.
We stayed in Susitna Lodge, watched Denali from the frozen Susitna River, and ate at Talkeetna Roadhouse and the Flying Squirrel. Highly recommended!
Denali National Park
A six million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road!
During our 9 hour bus trip into the park, we saw the relatively low-elevation taiga forest give way to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America's tallest peak, 20,320 feet Mount McKinley, also known as Denali-the Great One.
The largest island in Alaska, and home to the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge!
We drove on 85 miles of paved and gravel road, flew in to the extreme wilderness in a float plane and saw Kodiak Bears gorging on salmon in Frazer Lake. We highly recommend taking a guided tour by Kingfisher Aviation.
Chena Hot Springs
A quaint little resort where you play outside when it’s -35F in a natural hot spring and eat great food.
Our trip to Chena Hot Springs and stay at Chena Hot Springs Resort was a perfect one. We explored the winter wonderland, soaked in the amazing outdoor hot spring, visited the ice museum and watched the magical Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). The food was surprisingly great (some fresh from the resort’s own greenhouse), even for the vegetarians like us!
Matanuska Glacier Hike was undoubtedly one of the most amazing things we’ve done!
Nestled between an unbelievably pretty surrounding, this glacier is simply amazing and invites you to explore and appreciate its many interesting characteristics.
One of the most beautiful sea-side communities of South-East Alaska, where culture and nature coincide to mesmerize the visitors!
We stayed with friends on an island home, joined our daughter at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, and imbibed the memorable offerings from Sitka’s natural and cultural offerings.
We visited Sitka National Historic Park /Totem Park, Sheldon Jackson Museum, and Alaska Raptor Center, to name a few.
Imagine a little town nestled on the shore of a glistening bay; glaciers and mountains rimming the shoreline and active volcanoes looming in the distance!
We made this trip to the ‘Halibut Capital of the world’ into a hiking, beach combing, foodie and art vacation, and loved it.
We stayed at Driftwood Inn and ate regularly at Two Sisters Bakery and Fresh Sourdough Express. An afternoon hike in the Wynn Nature Center trail, and a visit to the Pratt Museum made this a dream family vacation.
One of the most gorgeous places situated on the confluences of the turquoise waters of Kenai River and the clear glistening water of the Russian River!
We stayed at Gwin’s Lodge, hiked up to the Russian River Falls where we spotted a bear eating fish, floated on the Kenai River and saw the fishermen catching and releasing rainbow trout in the water filled with red (sockeye) salmon toward the end of their life cycle.
Glacier sight and hike: Prince William Sound Cruise and Matanuska Glacier Hike
A fascinating trip watching abundant sea life and calving glaciers in the waters in Prince William Sound!
We took a 26 Glacier Phillips Cruises on Klondike Express on a bright sunny day and drank refreshing water with glacier ice. We witnessed the 2014 race, both its ceremonial start in Anchorage and the real one in Willow.
6. Parks and trails are unlimited
Anchorage has 10,946 acres of municipal parkland; 223 parks with 82 playgrounds; 110 athletic fields; 5 pools; and 11 recreation facilities. It has 250 miles of trails and greenbelts linking neighborhoods with surrounding natural open spaces and wildlife habitat.
Anchorage Park Foundation and Parks and Recreation Department deserve recognition for what they do.
7. The coffee here is unbelievable
Anchorage is crazy about its coffee, and just like people in Australia, is only satisfied with the best. Luckily we have Steam Dot, Kaladi Brothers, and lots of roasters, brewers and servers to keep us happy.
8. Extremely diverse and international population
Anchorage’s Mountain View was named the most diverse neighborhood, and East, West and Bartlett were named the most diverse high schools in the Country.
9. The sense of community is heartening
People in Anchorage are the friendliest bunch, who look out for each other, and are always ready to lend a helping hand. I’ve met a lot of tourists who won’t stop praising the ‘friendly locals.’ I am proud to be a part of this community.
10. But there is something I’d like to point out, too:
· The breakup and meltdown time is supremely ugly
· Drivers here are not the best
· Nicer downtown buildings would be welcome
· Driving on days of freezing rain is not fun
· Running into wildlife is both exciting and dreadful
So you see why I love living in the last frontier and not willing to trade this life with any other. I invite you to visit this great state and, fall in love.
~ Archana Mishra
Author, The Fortunate Child ; Read about the Book here , Author Video here and The Book Video here
One of the lovely, unexpected things about starting our website is that we have already connected with so many like-minded people and discovered some amazing travel blogs. And it was with much delight that we were contacted by Sonia and Ankur from Ticking the Bucket List blog to advise that they had nominated us for a Liebster Award.
Who doesn't love awards? Thanks so much Sonia and Ankur.
And now for a little confession - I had never heard of the Liebster Award, being rather new to the blogging scene, but a little googling cured that.
I discovered that the Liebster Award is actually a lovely gesture between bloggers - it is given by bloggers to other bloggers - and works on a pay it forward concept...you answer eleven questions about yourself, give eleven random facts about yourself and your blog and nominate at least five new blogs for the award. It helps new blogs like ours get a little boost.
In the spirit of the award we have duly shared a few bits and pieces below and have also gone on a little hunt for some new and exciting blogs.
And now to answer Sonia and Ankur's questions...
1. Are you a full time travel blogger or does another profession take up part of your time?
Our website is just for fun - though we dream of travelling and blogging more! We both have day jobs.
2. What is weirdest food that you have eaten and where?
Alok - was tricked into eating frog curry once in Singapore - but it really did taste like chicken.
Cara - once ate camel, crocodile and emu and a bunch of other Australian critters in Alice Springs. Quite tasty.
3. How do you prefer to stay – luxury hotels, budget hotels, B&B, hostels or camps?
We like a mix of experiences. We try to stay in places that reflect something of the culture and spirit of the place we are travelling, which generally means budget hotels and B&Bs tend to make up the bulk of our stays. Big chain hotels are generally not for us, but we do like to splash out occasionally.
4. If there is one place that you could rush to now, what would that be?
Cara - The Maldives
Alok - Alaska
You can see we have a problem here.
5. Have you attended any local festivals while travelling? If so, which one and where?
We were also fortunate to be in Tokyo for the brief mayhem that is cherry blossom season in April. Cherry blossom parties in Yoyogi Park were amazing people watching and great fun.
6. Which has been your most memorable trip?
Alok - Europe ticked off a lot of childhood dream destinations for Alok and he wasn't disappointed, especially by Germany - Berlin and Bamberg were his favourites.
Cara - Likewise for me, Japan was one of those trips that was a long time in daydream mode - but the reality far exceeded my expectations. Some of the best food of my life, enjoying hot spring bathing way more than expected, and beauty in the small details - I would go back any day.
For Australian trips we would both say Tasmania - great food, abundant wildlife and spectacular natural features make Australia's island State a very special place for both of us.
7. When travelling, what is it that makes you uneasy?
We hate rushing for flights/trains etc. - sometimes (or rather, oftentimes) we cut it a bit fine for comfort.
8. How many countries have you been to? How many more do you intend to touch in the next five years?
In the next five years our list for top new destinations would be - The Maldives, USA, Canada, Greece, Turkey, China.
9. Roadtrip? Sailing? Rail trip? What do you prefer?
Depends where we are, but we both love rail trips - we have done India, Japan and Europe by train and it has been great fun - it is usually quite relaxing with some lovely scenery and opportunity to chat with fellow travellers.
Within Australia, road trips are the easiest and best way to travel - our Far North Queensland and Tasmania itineraries couldn't really be done any other way - and both places were spectacular drives.
We have never done a cruise or multiple day sailing - I think we are too impatient for cruising - but maybe one day we will give it a go!
10. Mountains or deep blue seas - what’s your choice?
Ooh tough one. Since Australia is surrounded by deep blue seas and is a bit lacking in the mountain department (especially on the West Coast!) it is a bit of a novelty for us to visit mountain areas.
In the last few years we have become quite keen snorkelers - the Great Barrier Reef and Thailand have inspired us to turn our gaze underwater more frequently.
Whether we become avid mountaineers also remains to be seen!
11. What has been your worst travel experience?
Alok - visited Vijayawada in Andra Pradesh, India, in the middle of the Indian summer. In May temperatures reach 47 degrees celcius with humidity up to 80 per cent. He instantly knew it was a mistake when putting his face out into the corridor, and feeling like he had stuck his head in a steam oven. He and a friend went for a drink at 8pm at night on the beach - and the coldest beer felt like a cup of tea after the second sip.
Cara - any of my past travel companions will tell you I'm not the sunniest person on midnight flights home from anywhere. I become a very different, and mostly unpleasant, person.
11 Random Facts about us
1. Neither of us have brothers - only gorgeous sisters. We met via one of them!
2. Our style of travel can best be described as 'on-the-go' - we don't especially like sitting on the beach for longer than 30 minutes. We are more relaxed at home than on holidays.
3. Our website started in 2014. The photos are Alok's and the writing is Cara's.
4. Alok has lived in six cities (Bokaro Steel City, Pune, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangalore and Perth) and Cara in three (Perth, Canberra and Bristol).
5. Our first holiday together was to Kerala, Chennai and Pondicherry in India - great memories of beautiful Fort Cochin, tea gardens and house-boating on possibly one of the most unseaworthy vessels in Kerala...and great French food in Pondicherry.
6. We are both reformed vegetarians and love to cook - Alok's speciality is lamb biriani and Cara's is pavlova.
7. Alok can eat unlimited amounts of chilli, Cara can eat unlimited amounts of hot chips.
8. Alok's favourite movies of all time are Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and The Shawshank Redemption, Cara's is Amelie.
9. TV series that we can recite at frightening length are, for Cara - The West Wing, and Alok - Breaking Bad.
10. Alok's most memorable meal while traveling has been Schlenkerla, Bamberg - meat, potatoes and (smoked) beer never tasted so good. Cara's favourite was the Thai amazement at Nahm in Bangkok.
11. Our greatest achievement is our daughter, Little Miss O.
But enough about us - we have been hunting for new blogs and have found seven crackers...our nominations go to -
Wheels on our feet
Emma's Travel Tales
The Travel Chica
Mark's travel notes
Check them out! It is up to them whether they choose to accept the nomination or not, but if they do here are our 11 questions for them...
1. How would you describe your style of travel?
2. What trip or experience gave you the 'travel bug'?
3. What has been your most memorable food experience while travelling?
4. What is your next destination and for how long?
5. Have you ever had to change your travel plans suddenly and why?
6. What is your best piece of travel advice to offer fellow travelers?
7. If you had visitors to your home town what would be the top thing(s) you would show them?
8. What is your ultimate dream destination?
9. Is there any place you have been to which you would not return?
10. Has travel to any place inspired you to move there? If not, is there a place you have been on your travels that you would like to live?
11. What has been your best surprise while travelling?
We would be interested in our readers' responses as well, so do leave us your comments!
While I was writing our Rajasthan itinerary, it occurred to me that many places we have visited are tourist attractions based on their colour.
Many people would probably bypass Jodhpur, in Rajasthan, were it not for a rather spectacular fort and for the citizens of one of the city's districts painting their houses a distinctive shade of blue. Other main tourist cities of Rajasthan are similarly colour-coded. It may seem like a marketing tool to some, but it takes only a tiny imagination to see why they call Jaipur is the pink city, Jaisalmer the golden and Udaipur the white.
In the cases of Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur - it is the raw building materials that give these cities their distinctive hues. Not the case with Jodhpur, where citizens themselves follow the long tradition of painting their homes blue.
Similarly colour revolutions have been quietly waged by communities elsewhere. The clever and evidently artistic people of Burano, and island near Venice in Italy, attract a sizeable chunk of Venice's hefty tourist population to their little island with nought more than the colours of their houses as the main attraction.
Of course the famous La Boca area of Buenos Aires is a tourist magnet for its bright colours. And while looking for other colourful cities I discovered the brightly painted houses of Bo Kaap, in Cape Town - both places are on the to-do list...
And although I haven't been to Tirana in Albania, it warms the cockles to see that a lick of colourful paint has brightened many of its Soviet era buildings.
While all these places no doubt make for pretty photos, maybe we are also drawn to these places as it might also say something about the communities that are prepared to colour their environment so deliberately and vividly - whether it be about tradition, about starting something new, or just to brighten things up.
I might start a movement to get my suburb painted orange, but people seem to be so attached to grey at the moment, I'm not sure how successful it's going to be!
Maybe 'regret' is the wrong word...but bearing in mind that we tend to learn more from our mistakes than our successes...what are the biggest 'lessons learned' from holidays you have been on?
1. Destination Regret
I was going to write that there aren't any places we regret going, and that may be true - certainly we are very fortunate to be able to visit the places we do. But there are certainly places we wouldn't go back to.
I love Vietnam with a passion but our visit to Hue was just miserable. Nothing went right. Our hotel was as soggy as the weather, the sightseeing didn't do it for us, we ordered inedible food at a couple of restaurants and a spa visit to set things right did anything but. I'm not saying most people won't enjoy Hue or have a good experience. And I don't blame the city - which is famously rainy. We probably just had two days of bad luck, but I won't be going back any time soon.
Likewise the stars didn't align for our visit to Langkawi - which for many people is a tropical paradise.
Keeping your sense of humour, traveling with people you like and good planning go a long way to helping everyone make the best travel experiences wherever they go....but sometimes those are just the breaks. Places, like people, don't always 'click' - but at least you'll have some good stories and maybe save a friend from that restaurant that gave you food poisoning or choosing the dodgy part of town to stay in.
2. Planning Regret
Readers of our itineraries will probably have guessed that one of the temptations we always fail to overcome is the tendency to cram too much into too little time. At best, this can mean honing your priorities...at worst you have traveled an awfully long way to a place you might never go again - and miss out on an important experience because you are too tired or it just becomes logistically impossible.
Sometimes this is the result of misunderstanding the time required at a particular destination. Our trip to Sikkim was a case in point. Many sights required considerably greater travel time than we had factored in...so we missed a lot of sights including the Rumtek Monastery and Changu Lake.
But it's something we do - time and time again. Why? Because time is always limited. And somehow I don't think the solution is thinking 'O drat we shouldn't go there because we only have three days instead of four'.
Rather, the best way I have found to mitigate the perennial problem of limited time at a particular destination is to maximise the time we have available with the best planning and research we can possibly do, and to have realistic expectations that not everything will turn out perfectly.
3. Food Regret
Ah, food regret - it's the worst isn't it. And it's often the destinations where we expect the most, that we are the most disappointed.
Despite our best research efforts to avoid the tourist traps in Italy - though almost unavoidable in major tourist centres - we have had some real shockers. Of course we have had great meals in Italy too, as well as bad meals in our home city - but somehow it hurts all the more thinking you have foregone some magical pleasure of one of the world's great food cultures for a plate of soggy pasta that you would have done better to knock up yourself at home.
What is the solution? It can be hard to plan your way to great food all the time - and as soon as a place cracks a mention in the guidebook, you can be almost sure said establishment is on the way down in the estimation of locals.
Speaking of locals - they are, of course, the best resource for everything. When stuck in a shop in Ho Chi Minh city due to rain, we began chatting to the shopkeeper for her best restaurant secrets - they were absolute gems. And our taxi driver in Penang took us to the best char kway teow place on the island. Makes sense of course, but these kind of chance encounters don't always happen when you are hungry.
The local versions of restaurant ratings like Urbanspoon can sometimes be helpful, but if there is a local online press and reviews dedicated to particular cities - like the wonderful Broadsheet for Melbourne and Sydney - then so much the better. In Japan I used Bento to find some amazing places to eat. It can take some time to hunt these types of online publications down, and we will pop them in the resources section when we find them, but if all else fails I usually go to Time Out for cities featured by those magazines.
And if when in Italy you are so unfortunate to suffer a bad meal, the solution is always - gelati.
Tea is a bit of a theme in our travels.
From the tea growing country of India to roadside chai stalls to afternoon tea time in London hotels, there is rarely a wrong time for a good cup of tea.
We have a sister blog where our family and friends offer write-ups of their visits to various far-flung and closer-to-home afternoon tea offerings. Visit the High Tea Inspectors blog for a peek.
Our top tea experiences…
If you want the source, the mother of all tea destinations has to be Darjeeling, India. When it is standing in the middle of a tea garden or taking a deep breath amid freshly plucked leaves in the Makaibari Estate’s tea processing centre – you know you’ve come to the right place for tea.
2. Afternoon tea
Nowhere does afternoon tea quite the same way as London – whether its old school posh at the Ritz or Claridges or with an edgier twist at places like the Modern Pantry – we wouldn’t travel to Blighty without a good sit down and a scone.
Of course there is no need to head to the mother country for clotted cream – the best dainty sandwiches of my life were less daintily gobbled down at the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur, and likewise I remember some pretty spectacular scones at the Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong.
3. Chinese tea houses
When the heat or shopping or just plain exhaustion has become too much when in Singapore, it is the best thing to sit down with a pot of Osmanthus tea at Tea Chapter in Chinatown. There are a number of other traditional Chinese tea houses in the vicinity and we have done a similar thing in Hong Kong, but for sheer nostalgia value (we first went to this shop many years ago) Tea Chapter is a favourite for me.
4. Green tea and sweets in Japan
Although foamy green tea might not be everyone’s idea of the perfect snack – it is the loveliest way to take stock and regroup after a visit to a garden, temple, geisha museum, hot spring – whatever. While a more elaborate tea ceremony may be an experience for another visit, it can’t better some of the memorable places we have enjoyed a bowl of brew.
On our wish list…
1. A stay at Ceylon Tea Trails in Hatton, Sri Lanka
2. Traveling tea country in China
3. Working our way through every place on this list
What about you, dear reader? Do you have a theme or something special that you search out on your travels?
Current ‘hot destination’ Hobart is a gorgeous, small city with attractions enough to fill a very pleasant weekend. Girt by sea and the Derwent River, with historical quarters preserving the city’s convict and pioneer heritage, Hobart is a great city to explore on foot especially around the docks, CBD and Salamanca Place.
For the city itself, three days is probably the minimum and if possible one of those days should be a Saturday, so you can spend the morning at the lively Salamanca Markets, with its great food, local crafts and buzzy atmosphere. Another half or full day can be devoted to the incredible Museum of Old and New Art in Berriedale – about a twenty minute drive from central Hobart, or take the MONA ferry from Constitution Dock.
If you choose to make Hobart your base for a longer holiday, the city is within striking distance of a number of smaller towns and other attractions that make for excellent day or half day trips.
Must Do in Hobart
1. Salamanca Market
Every Saturday, rain or shine, Salamanca Place overflows with stalls run by producers from all over Tasmania. No need to eat breakfast or lunch – you will find both amongst the market or the cafes around the market.
Some of my favourite purchases from this market have been unique jewelry, Tasmanian native wood crafts, kids clothes and even a brightly embroidered leather ‘rug’ from Rajasthan, which takes pride of place in our library.
Not in Hobart on a Saturday? Salamanca Place has lovely cafes and shops open every day, which are a great place to pick up souvenirs. Some of my favourite shops in Salamanca Place are –
Rebecca Roth jewelry – jewel-like resin pieces make great gifts for the girls.
A Common Ground – Full of delicious artisan produce curated by local food authors/chefs/celebrities/producers Matthew Evans and Nick Haddow -
Nant Whisky Bar and Cellar – although the distillery is a short drive away in Bothwell, enjoy a nip or grab a bottle of Nant’s superlative whisky. Share it with someone special though – these bottles do not come cheap – but make a very impressive give for hardcore single malt lovers.
2. Museum of Old and New Art
Even if you aren’t an art lover, MONA is a spectacular building and its contents are unlike any other, the experience of which can be sometimes titillating, sometimes profound. Friends and family who have visited are always divided on what they liked and didn’t about the art, building, the set up, the whatever – and the mere fact that everyone has such different experiences and reactions to the art and the building makes it a must do on anyone’s itinerary.
3. Mount Wellington
Bring seriously warm clothes to the summit of Hobart’s presiding mountain – even on sunny days in the height of summer, it is absolutely freezing up here, but there are some fantastic views and a great way to see this lovely city from above.
Plan your visit if you can around some of Hobart’s lovely events – the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and Taste of Tasmania are two of the premier events that can be enjoyed simultaneously on about the 27th/28th December – depending when the boats come in.
Also consider some of the island’s fab music festivals like MONA FOMA, Dark MOFO and the Falls Festival.
5. Botanical Gardens
Near Bellerive Oval, Hobart’s Botanical Gardens command jaw dropping views and are full of surprises. Pack your picnic and wander the Japanese and other lovely themed gar dens.
6. Food and Drink
Hobart is quite the gateway to the foodie paradise that awaits on your travels around the rest of Tasmania.
Restaurant of the minute is Garagistes – we had a great night here sharing communal tables and conversation with other travelers and indulging in shared plates of ‘local produce made art’. Be sure to reserve in advance if you are keen, or try out sister bar Sidecar.
Also worth a try - the Lark Distillery or Nant in Salamanca Place offer tastings of delicious whiskies and liqueurs produced in boutique quantities and served in cosy surroundings.
Cara and Alok like planning travel itineraries. We like it a lot.