Driving to Australia’s hotel of the year

by Monday, October 8, 2018

You may recall that we joined guest traveller Patrick Walden for a trip across Bass Strait aboard Spirit of Tasmania. Now, Patrick shares his driving holiday in Tasmania. Over four days, he saw a large chunk of the island; resting his head in Hobart at “Gourmet Traveller’s” Hotel of the Year ‘MACq 01’— 5-star, thank you very much!

Sampling the local sparkling at the hotel of the year

Hotel of the year

It was no surprise that “Gourmet Traveller” selected Hobart’s MACq 01 as its hotel of the year! After a couple of hours on the road, we were very grateful of an early check-in; time to freshen up before exploring the nearby Salamanca markets. Our room was HUGE and everything from the mini-bar to the artwork had a strong connection with the local area. And the hotel has done a fantastic job at remembering the history of the area – listen out for the stories that greet you in the lift morning and afternoon.

Discovering Hobart: a foodie’s heaven!

We started exploring Hobart at the renowned Salamanca Market. From its modest beginnings in the 1830s, when it was simply a storage area for the waterfront activity at the time, it’s become an experience to be seen and felt—where to start?! We had no problem understanding why this weekly market is so popular. Locals, tourists and interstate visitors are drawn to the harbourside’s bounties, skilfully-made art and crafts, antiques, fresh gourmet food and local produce. Along our way through the area, we discovered a bottle shop, hidden in a Hobart arcade, called Drink Co. Later that night, we sampled some of the amazing restaurants in town! We were spoilt for choice, trying all manner of cuisines, including BBQ from Argentina at Frank Restaurant and delicious Asian at Suzie Lucks.

Say cheese!

Finding ‘Rosehaven’

Huon Valley was our destination on day two. We explored the South of the island driving towards the town featured on ABC TV’s award winning comedy “Rosehaven”. Sadly, we didn’t see the characters from the show, so, instead, we satisfied ourselves by wandering through the town trying to identify various locations. After spending the day exploring the lush countryside, seaside inlets, farming properties, and spacious fields of green, we stopped by Australia’s only organic sheep cheesery, Grandvewe Cheeses.

Exploring the art of the nation

We visited the ‘must-go-to’ establishment in Tasmania – MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. You need a full day to truly take in and appreciate the works housed there. There is a permanent exhibition, as well as regular changing of art – so they’ll always be a reason to visit many times! It’s a campus of artistic and cultural activity, with food and wine to sustain your artistic eye.

Hearing about the incredible art at MONA

Driving to the top of the mountain

On our final day in Hobart we drove the 1,271 metres above sea level to the peak of Mount Wellington. What a sight! It’s amazing to think that visitors have been able to drive to the top of this mountain for more than seven decades. And it’s well worth it because the view of Hobart from the top is spectacular! It’s from that vantage point that you see and feel the quiet sophistication of the place.