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Sea Day, Hobart, and Friend Tours are Better than Bus Tours. Queen Elizabeth Cruise 2020

Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ship docked at Hobart. Photo from Mt. Nelson.
Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ship docked at Hobart.
Photo from Mt. Nelson.
Our second full sea day onboard the Queen Elizabeth Cruise ship was largely an exercise in passing the time before arriving in Hobart, Tasmania, the following day.

If you're new to TET Life this post is the continuing story of my partner and I's cruise on the Queen Elizabeth that we took for a week at the end of January, start of February 2020, just a month prior to the world going into lockdown thanks to Coronavirus (at the exact time the first cases of the virus arrived in Australia).

If you would like to read all the available posts in this series (in reverse order) click here.

Day 4: Sea Day, Gallery, Shopping, Pub, and Hollywood

Afternoon cocktails and scones while we  lounged on the Pavillion Deck.
Afternoon cocktails and scones while we
lounged on the Pavillion Deck.
After a late breakfast in the Lido restaurant (a real challenge at that time of day just to find a table) I went to the ships art gallery for a talk about a history of sculpture, specifically focussing on Bronze Sculpture and Cold Cast Bronze Sculpture.

The talk itself was quite interesting and those present even got to handle many of the smaller sculptures on display in the ship's gallery. It's not something I'd normally attend despite my interest in the arts but I did find it engaging and learned a thing or two as well.

While I was at the gallery Enigma spent time at the ship's shopping mall checking out the stock liquidation sales. Despite some items being up to 50% off prices we're still quite premium for her tastes and I don't think she came across anything she just had to have from the selection of clothing, jewelry, and other stores.

For lunch we wanted to try a different restaurant and opted for The Golden Lion Pub - which is meant to be an old style English pub on board the ship. The place proved to be very popular and difficult to get a table since it was something of a mad dash to a free table if you saw it before anyone else noticed.

Enigma and I ended up coming back a little later, after watching part of a talk in the theatre about The Bounty and Captain William Bligh, and were able to nab a table for two. It was worth it though as we both had the Pie of the Day (Beef) with a side of chips, which I noted in my journal as having been very nice.

During lunch we caught the tail end of a show by singer/guitarist, Andy Foster, who was very good playing some easy listening style tunes.

The rest of our sea day afternoon was spent on the Pavilion deck lounges. Enigma sleeping and me writing my journal and sketching.

On our way to dinner we had our photos taken by the ship's professional photographers, something you can do as often as you want with no obligation to buy any photos. This was actually our second time getting them done, and we thought, why not, since we were once again dressed up for Gala Night (not that we ever attended the formal functions on those nights but you're expected to look your best anyway for dinner).

Hollywood Nights. "A roller coaster ride through the history of the silver screen."
Hollywood Nights.
"A roller coaster ride through
the history of the silver screen."
After our usual dinner in the Britannia Restaurant we headed off to the ship's theatre for the Hollywood Nights show. This was billed as a history of the silver screen, though it seemed mostly a mashup of songs from various films (maybe?) that I wasn't all that familiar with. Based on the costumes and the fact that the end seemed to be set around the 1960's I guess it was mostly early Hollywood being represented. I did enjoy the performance despite being a little lost in terms of the time periods.

Day 5: Hobart, and Late Night Comedy

If you're ever on the Queen Elizabeth it pays to remember that breakfast is only served on the lower level of the Britannia Restaurant. On this morning we unknowingly thought the restaurant had closed a half hour early because we tried to enter on the second level (where our table for dinner is). 

One of several tugboats guiding the ship into port at Hobart.
One of several tugboats guiding the
ship into port at Hobart.
We realized later what we had done. Fortunately we'd had no trouble finding a table in the Lido restaurant. Which was actually a good thing because we were seated right near the windows and could watch the tugboats as they guided the ship into the dock at Hobart.

Hobart

Enigma has two friends in Tasmania's Capital, Hobart, that we wanted to meet up with. One, who we could only meet briefly because, for her, the day was a regular work day. However this was someone Enigma had been talking to online for nearly twenty years but never met in person. Her office was just up the road from the ship so it would have been crazy not to at least stop by (which we did first).

Enigma's other friend, who I'll call 'W', is also a longtime friend who Enigma had met up with a few times before, on an earlier vacation, that both try to take each year. They tell me it's a 'wellness retreat' where they go to meditate or something but then they party hard afterward, once the retreat thing is over, I suspect.

Anyway, W is a Hobart local and offered to take us around to see a few sites in her van - which is a wonderfully lived in van with modern comforts like windows that open and close, front seats (no back seats), and even a steering wheel. Not unlike a slightly bigger version of my own Frog Van.

Mount Wellington (almost)

The park at the base of Mount Wellington.
The park at the base
of Mount Wellington.
After a brief stop in a local cafe so W could get some breakfast while we called in on Enigma's other friend we headed up to Mount Wellington, Tasmania's tallest peak. Unfortunately we were also on this cruise off the back of what had been (and still was in many parts of Australia) a catastrophic Summer fire season.

Tasmania was no different, and they weren't taking any chances in their very dry national parks. Mount Wellington was closed to all traffic and visitors.

We stopped for a moment at a small park that was near the road leading up to Mount Wellington, opposite the Fern Tree Tavern, while we considered our sight seeing options.

Tyndall Beach

Tyndall beach.
Tyndall beach.
It was a particularly hot day (hence why the mountain was closed) so W decided to take us for a walk along the very dog friendly, Tyndall beach. The beach is on the edge of the River Derwent at the base of Bonnet Hill.

There's actually a walking trail going up the side of the hill to various lookouts that'll take you about three hours (round trip) to complete. We didn't have that kind of time so we walked along the beach, Enigma and W enjoying wading in the water. We were in the off leash area so we also got to enjoy seeing various dogs and their owners enjoy the location too. We particularly got a kick out of the 'Dog Stick Library'.

The 'Dog Stick Library', Tyndall Beach.
The 'Dog Stick Library', Tyndall Beach.


Mount Nelson, Signal Station Brasserie

Milkshakes at the Signal Station Brasserie, Mount Nelson.
Milkshakes at the Signal Station
Brasserie, Mount Nelson.
Since we couldn't go up Mount Wellington W decided to see if Mount Nelson was accessible. Fortunately it was. We stopped to take photos from the Signal Station lookout (which is where the photo of the Queen Elizabeth at the top of this post was taken from with my 12x Zoom lense).

Just across from there is the Signal Station Brasserie who serve extremely nice milkshakes. For lunch we ordered bread, meat, and fish platters of local produce to share while enjoying the view from the restaurant.

As we were leaving the tour bus from our cruise pulled up. Which meant we had timed lunch just right to avoid the crowd.

Princess Park, Salamanca Place

Princes Park.
Princes Park.
It was starting to get late in the afternoon and we had arranged to meet up with Enigma's other friend after she finished work, so we headed back towards Hobart's CBD. Stopping on the outskirts so W wouldn't have to deal with finding parking.

This meant we could walk through Princes Park, which is one of those small, manicured, green spaces that councils provide for apartment dwellers and lunchtime office workers. Still, it's a nice park with plenty of shade and an amazing playground if you have young kids.

Gillie and Marc. 'Happy Birthday Mr President XO' - 2014. Bronze sculpture outside the Media School, Salamanca Square.
Gillie and Marc.
'Happy Birthday Mr President XO' - 2014.
Bronze sculpture outside the Media
School, Salamanca Square.
Salamanca Place is home to a street market held every Saturday that is apparently one of Hobart's most visited tourist attractions.

Unfortunately it was Thursday so we had to settle for a wander through the courtyard, enjoying some photo opportunities around a fairly impressive fountain installation, and some drinks in a Cafe opposite the Media School (which also had a rather interesting bronze sculpture out front worthy of a few photos).

It was here we parted ways with W but you can see, compared to our rushed bus tour of a couple of locations in Adelaide, how much better it is to know a local who can show you around at a more relaxed pace.

The Cat and the Fiddle

Cat and Fiddle Clock from the lower level food square.
Cat and Fiddle Clock from
the lower level food square.
To finish our trip to Hobart Enigma wanted to show me the Cat and the Fiddle, an animated clock that springs to life on the hour every hour. Located in the Cat and Fiddle Arcade just off Elizabeth Lane, the clock and arcade were inspired by The Cat and Fiddle Inn which was located nearby back in the year 1817.

We made it to the arcade at 5:20pm. It looked like most of the surrounding shops were closing for the day, however we asked at one of the food court vendors in the square below the clock if it would strike again? They said it would at 6pm. While we waited we bought some drinks and biscuits and settled in.

Finally, when 6pm came around, the clock chimed and... nothing happened, initially. Once through its chimes the animation sequence of a cat playing a fiddle, followed by a cow jumping over the moon, and a plate running away with the spoon, all kicked into gear as the tune for the famous nursery rhyme played. Lasted about 30 seconds.


For tourists, seeing the animation for the first time, it's fun but a little too short. I imagine for anyone working in the arcade it's probably a little too long.

Something tells me this isn't
actually a military vessel.
From here it was a short walk down the road back to the boat. On the way we stopped to photograph the Franklin Memorial statue and fountain and some interesting boats, one of which wasn't exactly what it seemed at first glance.

Back on the Boat, Comedian - Darren Sanders

We were back on board the Queen Elizabeth somewhere between 6:30pm and 7pm. It had been a long day so we stayed mostly in our room until dinner at 8pm.

On our way to the theatre Enigma sat down to do some more jigsaw at the mid ship board game area while I listened from the balcony to Cocktail Pianist, George Gazsi, playing some tunes in the Grand Lobby.

Comedian, Darren Sanders.
Comedian, Darren Sanders.
The theatre performance was comedian, Darren Sanders. You may have seen him doing anything from hosting his own late night chat show to appearing in movies and TV shows. I remember laughing a lot though many of his jokes were very ship themed humor relating to the advanced age of your typical cruise guest.

---o ---o--- o---

Hobart was a pretty full day. As good as Darren's comedy was I was fighting to stay awake towards the end (baring in mind we were at the late, 10pm show). Next post will be another day at sea as we head north to Burnie for our final full day on the cruise.
 

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