My very first road trip in Australia was to the island state of Tasmania. Sophie, my travel buddy at the time, was originally going by herself. After learning about the extraordinary art displays, incredible National Parks, and alluring history I couldn’t resist joining her. Our journey began in Hobart, headed north-west to Launceston, and then back down south ending in Hobart once more. There was nothing but the gravel road in front of us, our car with a tent attached to the roof, and two and a half weeks of exploration ahead of us!
Once settled, we decided to take a steep drive up Mount Wellington to take in the first of the breathtaking views. Even when visiting in December at the height of summertime, the weather was still brisk and chilly, but withstanding the cool temperature was worthwhile for the view.
My favorite interactive museum in Hobart is the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). The display that really stood out to me consisted of two metal handles and a ceiling lined with light bulbs. You begin by placing your hands on the handles. The machine would measure your heartbeat and record it, and then sync it with all of the previously measured heartbeats. In the end, each light bulb blinked in unison and apart displaying a beautiful light show of heartbeats. First it showed the pattern of your individual heartbeat, then it would show the rhythm of each individual who recorded their heartbeat previously. For me it showed how we are all connected.
The Bridestowe Lavender Farm is breathtaking! A tour of the farm allows you to learn about the production of lavender and how lavender can be made into a collection of diverse products such as: essential oils, ingredients in foods, soaps, and lotions. My favorite of these products is lavender tea and cookies.
My absolute favorite small town in Tasmania was Sheffield. The town is full of murals that illustrate the history of the town and the special accomplishments of the townsfolk. If you go to the information center, you can purchase the audio tour that includes a map of where to go and which murals to visit. The story about the town of Sheffield captured me the most. The town was secluded and not very many people visited. The town was about to go bankrupt, but they came together and came up with a solution. The solution was creative and artistic, “Why not display our accomplishments, traditions, and stories of inspiration with a sequence of murals?”
This mural depicts Senior Constable Harry Clark, one of the longest serving policemen in town. He played a part in solidifying and improving the operations of search and rescue missions in Cradle Mountain Lake – St. Clair National Park.
Each year the town holds an art competition that allows artists to present their murals depicting ideas and messages. The top ten people who are chosen, travel to Sheffield and paint their murals for the whole town to watch. The winners collection is displayed next to the visitors center. It is the perfect way to keep up a variety of artwork so that each experience is different for the visitor depending on when you go.
I love the resilience the people of Sheffield have. They turned a possible bad situation into an opportunity to be creative.