Australia! March 2014

I was visiting Hobart for a conference, the IGS symposium on sea ice in a changing environment. This trip had a lot of firsts for me: first time in Australia, first visit to the southern hemisphere, longest flight I’ve even taken; so of course I took the opportunity to take a holiday while I was there.

I spent a day exploring Melbourne on the way out. The first shock was the heat, I’d not only come down from Tromsø where it was quite firmly still winter, but come straight off the back of a cruise in the Arctic Ocean where we experienced temperatures down to -28, so +28 was something of a surprise. The next shock was how large Melbourne is & how busy a large city can be, I’ve become very used to small town life! I had an enjoyable day walking around, I walked down to the beach and back admiring the wide tree lined streets and old style houses, then ambled along the river. Melbourne is full of sculpture, and on a saturday lots of street artists & musicians, so it felt very vibrant, very alive.
Hobart itself was lovely. Really hot, and it felt really humid (this may be another Tromsø effect – the air up here is super dry). I had a few days holiday either side of the conference to explore but I didn’t get so far out of the city. I had explored Mt Wellington quite throughly by the end of the week, walking, running & cycling. Mt Wellington is beautiful & the trails there are well set out & signposted. As a bonus there was a really tame platypus living near the conference centre!
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I also visited Mona, the museum of modern art, which was quite overwhelming – I think the end of an intense conference week might not have been the optimum timing for this! The ferry ride down to Mona & back is really refreshing.

The only out of town excursion I went on was an organized coach & boat tour to Bruny Island. I don’t often shell out for these things, but I found the public transport made doing anything independently pretty difficult – you probably can get to most places in Tasmania independently IF you have an infinite amount of time to allow for the fact that buses might only run twice a week or whatever but in the time I had available I couldn’t make anything work. Anyway I had a really good day & would totally recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to see a bunch of nice cliffs & lots of seals. We also encountered a huge flock of Albatross, & had pretty great weather, only a couple of showers.

I spent four days in Adelaide on the way back, catching up with a good friend from my Reading days who emigrated quite some time ago. Stuart & Katrina did an amazing job of showing me everything thats great about Adelaide & surrounds in three short days: we went to a wildlife park, we went for a great walk in the wilderness, we saw the town & the coast line & went wine tasting. I was even included in a family birthday party which was just lovely, they are such a nice clan to hang out with!
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