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Hobart: Next Door Cafe, Blowhole

A few weeks ago, Melbourne was abuzz with talk of MONA Hobart's major winter event, DARK MOFO. Sadly it is over now, but I hazard a guess that a good 50% of attendees were Victorian, being such avid lovers of culture and all. (CLEARLY arts and culture don't exist anywhere else in Australia. We're so CULTURIST.)

Part of MOFO's publicity drive was a rather exciting competition with QANTAS, offering $100,000 worth of free return flights to Hobart for the exhibition. All you had to do was enter your details and divulge what you were like after dark. Since "I am your worst nightmare" (ahem), it made total sense that I was a lucky recipient of flights. Housemate was happily rung in for Hobart-ing, and interstate trip was born.

Can I just say, I totally understand the appeal of red-eye flights when you are buying your own, or want to have more time in your destination, or are doing a fly-in-fly-out day trip, or are an early riser (weirdo), but I never, EVER choose a flight (or anything, if I can help it) that requires me getting up earlier than 7am. So it was a HUGE DEAL that we rose at 4.45am - YES, 4.45AM - to get to the airport in time to check into the officially-a-group-booking-so-you-can't-check-in-online but kindly-provided-by-MONA-and-QANTAS flight. Although it was most excellent being a winner, and also great motivation to actually go to Hobart when I'd been talking about it for yonks, when you take into account the amount of time I waited to find out when my flights were allocated, plus the cost of my housemate's flights and our accommodation, food, entrance tickets, etc. ... frankly it would have been easier and cheaper to buy my own flights (and control my own flight times). </endrant>

So 'twas that, at the ungodly-ish hour of 8.15am, we alighted at the charming Hobart Airport to a balmy ten degrees, picked up our hire car, and trustingly relied upon Siri to get us directly (18 mins via the freeway) to Next Door Cafe (149 Collins Street, Hobart) for a more humane start to the day.

Doors and Mark at Next Door

Next Door is funkily decked out with custom-fitted recycled doors (geddit?) and overseen by the affable Mark. It is also widely regarded as one of Hobart CBD's superior coffee destinations, and my much-required caffeine hit did not fail to disappoint: 

So necessary. And made with Heart

Housie and I ordered the same thing for brekkie, which we devoured whilst picking the brains (not literally, I don't like zombies) of staff for suggestions on what to do for the day.

Scrambled eggs and other stuff on a cool plate

Since we had a car at hand, and it was too bloody freezing to traipse around the harbour or go mountain-biking up Mount Wellington (ha!), we decided to make the most of Tassie and road-trip it down to Port Arthur, approximately 1.5 hours out of Hobart. This meant navigating some delightful Tasmanian coastline (thanks again, Siri), and we detoured via Blowhole Road, part of the Tasman National Park (just). Surprisingly enough, at the end of Blowhole Road is a blowhole:

Blowhole, sort of blowing

It wasn't in awesome blowing mode that day, but it did sprinkle a bit of mist on some unwitting international tourists, which was rather amusing.

Up the path a bit was a lookout to this awesome rockface thing, where there was some serious white-water-crashing-over-rocks happening:

That rock in the middle is like ten metres tall

It was so cool, I even took a l'il video (I know, I'm a nerd):

On the other side of the lookout was this purty view:

Hello Tasmania

And this was the view from the car park. Doesn't it look like the cars are about to float away?!

The Blowhole stop-off was actually really neat, not least refreshing. As a first-time Tassie tourist, it made a great impression on me and set a solid standard for the rest of the weekend.

Next up... Port Arthur.

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