Port Arthur is one of the most famous ports in Tasmania and is even listed as a world heritage site. I was very disturbed by this place, let me explain why. Imagine a cute little english village, with green mowed laws, willow trees, cute cottages and beautiful fountains. surrounded by flowers. Now imagine that right next to a prison. Doesn’t make sense right? Well that is Port Arthur for you. The picturesque essence of the place makes it hard to imagine that convicted felons once walked those grounds.
We went to see cape Raoul, where I saw the largest crashing waves ever. There is such an awe inspiring power to the ocean that I always admire. On our way to Port Arthur we had stopped at a little viewpoint with a beach and met a lovely America mother and her child who took a photo of us with the view. Now here comes the crazy part. After having eating a very small dinner for a very large price (we later discovered it was one of the most expensive restaurants in Hobart), and filling the remainder of our half full bellies with the free spiced nuts they set on the table, we went for a stroll on the waterfront. While passing by a restaurant, who do we see through the window? The Americans! Tasmania is too small.
The next morning I was driven up to the top of Mount Wellington to see the sunrise over Hobart and the sea, highly recommended! Just make sure you take a warm sweater, wind breaker and beanie! My host was kind enough to take me to the MONA where I ran into the Americans again and spent a few hours feeling very artsy. JC, my second lift down to Hobart, was driving back up to Devonport so obviously I hitched a ride. I had a plan in mind to get to Cradle Mountain that night because I had found a couch-surfer who could host me and I also now wanted to see the sunrise over cradle mountain.
Now let me explain cradle mountain; the closest town is an hour away, people stop driving there when it gets dark. So here I was, miraculously in Sheffield (the nearest town), after having been dropped off in Elizabeth town by JC, when I finally realised I may have been too optimistic. So, I took out my wonderful 3G phone and looked at couch-surfing for Sheffield. I found a couple who seemed nice and send them a message, they had last been online around 4 days ago… It’s a small town, people probably know each other, so I decided to go and ask someone if they might know the couple (they had put their name and last name in their profile). Here I was at 8pm asking a random stranger if he knew where people I had never spoken to and were not aware of my arrival lived. I swear I had some good karma because he knew where they lived and dropped me off. A man with a massive grin on his face opened the door with a slight look of confusion on his face but the moment I mentioned couch-surfing he lit up even more and invited me in. This family I stayed with for the next two nights in Sheffield was truly a blessing. They thought it a wonderful idea to see the sunrise over cradle mountain so took me the next morning so they could see it too. We enjoyed a wonderful cup of hot instant coffee prepared with a speed boiler (or something like that).
Sheffield is a must-see in Tasmania, especially when its the week of the mural festival (which the town is known for). We were able to see the last day before the judging of the murals would occur, so the artists were still doing the finishing touches. The mural competition happens every year. There is first a contest for a poem based on a certain theme, the poem is then used as the inspiration for the murals. Anyone can submit their mural idea for the competition and then around nine finalists are selected to actually produce their idea on a around 3×2 meter mural. You can check it out here: http://muralfest.com.au/