January 20 - 22, 2015
Days 187 - 189
An occasional rest-day is a necessity for the long-term traveler; I intended to make the most of this one. After a bit of research, I discovered that there was a daily bus from Devonport to Hobart. I also got into contact with Greg, whom I had met a week earlier. He confirmed that I could spend a night at his home in the small town of Deloraine. I also bought bus tickets and found a CouchSurfing host in Hobart. My shin was still swollen, making it painful to walk, but I figured it would be fine if I took it easy for a few days. Back at the campsite, I got everything organized and was ready to leave in the morning. Fortunately, my tent hadn't accumulated any mold from being wet for a week. Unfortunately, it rained all night, and my tent was soaked, yet again.
I took the bus to Deloraine the next morning. Greg, his wife Kate and her daughters Kym and Menon, along with Menon's husband Jason and their children were also there. It was quite a large family gathering. Unfortunately, Menon, Jason and the kids had to fly back to the mainland that afternoon, so we didn't get to talk for long. Before he left, Jason showed me some pictures of him and his son, walking on part of the Overland Track. The photos showcased snowy mountains, dark green forests, wide open grasslands and happy people. It was as if he and I had visited different countries entirely.
Kym and I went for a walk around Deloraine in the afternoon. The town was quiet, with a few outdoor sculptures and art shops as its main attractions. A river ran through the middle of town, and there were mountains in the distance. Many tourists were staying in a caravan park next to the river. Greg and Kate had moved to Deloraine to retire, and I could see why. It was a peaceful place, with plenty of nature to explore nearby, and it had a milder climate than most places on the mainland.
We had a lovely dinner in Greg and Kate's outdoor garden, and a long chat afterward. I learned that Greg had recently published a memoir (available on Amazon here), so it was exciting to meet a fellow author. Jason was also an author, and he was putting the final touches on his latest book. Our discussions that evening were quite interesting, and I was ecstatic to have gotten the chance to stay at Greg and Kate's place.
The next day I caught the bus to Hobart. The hilly streets, outdoor markets and harbor full of yachts reminded me of San Francisco (even though I've never been there). Navigating the hills on a bum leg proved painful, but luckily the downtown area was compact enough for me to get around without a monumental effort. There was far less hustle and bustle in Hobart than in Melbourne.
I CouchSurfed with Dane, a lifelong Tasmanian and a fellow traveler who was well-connected to the city's nightlife and art scene. Over a glass of wine on his backyard patio, we discussed what to do in Hobart. Without a doubt, the biggest attraction in the city was MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. In fact, nearly everyone I had met in Tasmania had recommended that I check out MONA. I decided to go there the next day.