Tues 9, Day 7:
Drove down the Lyell Highway through Queenstown and back into the lush ferny forests of the Wild-Rivers Area. Zoom, zoom, zoom.
Stopped just after Derwent Bridge to check out the new 'Wall in the Wilderness' which is a barn-sized private gallery for an expert wood carver. The main work is going to be 100feet of 15feet tall wall panels showing colonial life of the area. It is astounding - a must see. He specialises in carving totally perfect clothing out of wood. Never seen so many 'Do not touch' signs in my life. Check it out online. There is an astoundingly cool rusted metal sculpture of a cyborg eagle out the front. It looks like a cover illustration from one of the Iain M Banks Sci-fi novels about The Culture that I read years ago.
Lunched near Tarraleah power station.
We got mobile reception for the first time in days a short distance out of New Norfolk where we were staying the night. Caroline texted her daughters to assure that we were both alive even although I didn't deserve to be.
New Norfolk is on the Derwent River and the last town before it flows into the flooded river valley that leads about fifty kms away to Hobart.
We were staying in another pub I'd chosen - the New Norfolk Hotel. I'd rejected the two other suggested by the Lonely Planet as not up to Aunt-friendly standard, and even congratulated myself on how far off the Highway it was. And it was cheap too, so I'd booked one of the two ensuite rooms for the Aunt.
Wed 10, Day 8:
Now, they always put these ensuite rooms at the front of the hotel to maximise the impact of passing traffic. I slept well in my $35 single room at the rear of the hotel and woke early all excited because Ellen was meeting us in Hobart in a few hours time.
I made two cups of tea and took one to Caroline's room.
She had slept for fourteen minutes and three seconds.
A horrible night.
"Dear God!" she groaned, "He's in a good mood!"
I leapt in, spilling tea liberally, and coaxed the old girl into action.
No, I didn't. I left her to it because, for once, she actually did look like the Wrath of God.
We parked in Salamanca Place in Hobart at about ten, otherwise known as morning coffee time. In her efforts to get a cheap and early flight from Melbourne Ellen had woken at 4am or something stupid like that.
After their caffeine hits, both women had resumed human form and pleasant temper, and they were more than happy to wander round all the little jewellery shops, art galleries, book and gift shops of Salamanca Place. It's a gorgeous little spot. We ate lunch in an Italian restaurant and drank great wine.
Then it was time to check into the flash serviced-apartment Caroline had booked for us on one of the piers in the harbour. A wooden sailing ship was moored next door.
We ate and drank and ate and drank and ate in Hobart. It is a gourmands' paradise.
We had spectacular Greek at Mezethes; found an awesome deli called Wursthaus where we splurged on delicacies for lunch; and ate the second night in the Drunken Admiral. We were on a mission for seafood and passed up two places on the wharf and tried the Drunken Admiral at my suggestion.
The place is kitsch. The entryway looks like one for a themepark. It is crammed with nautical crap including mannequins dressed as pirates, barrels hanging from the ceiling, rear ends of boats and over all this a reasonable sized antique shop has exploded. The Aunt looked profoundly dubious but the place was packed, so the food must be ok, right?
The food was great! The wine was Pinot Gris. Very happy with that.