This is one of the many privileges of living in Melbourne.  Tasmania is a mere one hour plane trip away making a day trip there more than possible.  So, one would suspect that, having not been to Tasmania before, we would plan to use our few hours in Tasmania wisely to make the most of our time there.

Well, that just ain’t the Holt style.  We left home in the wee hours to be at the airport with plenty of time for our early flight with Tiger, leading to a relaxed check in which was followed by a really lovely flight.

As we landed in Hobart, we didn’t really know exactly what the day had in store for us.  As we went through the airport, we grabbed every brochure we could find on things to do in Tassie.  We hired ourselves a car, drove out of the airport and had no idea where we were going.

Pretty soon, as we chatted about the day ahead, it became clear that we were both really keen to see Port Arthur.  With a little one year old in tow, the long drive out and back would work well for us.  He could sleep on the journey there and back and then, hopefully, wouldn’t be too grizzly by the end of the day.

So, onward to Port Arthur we went.  Firstly, we went in the wrong direction.  Hobart’s roads had us a little confused, but eventually we were on our way, enjoying the most glorious scenery.  Mountains everywhere.  Crystal clear blue water.  Wide open spaces.  Absolutely beautiful!

Port Arthur will go down as one of my all-time favourite family experiences, I’m sure.  We decided to take the walking tour and then the cruise to make the most of our time there, with a plan to leave early enough to get back to see more of Hobart.

Before our walking tour departed, we had time to have a look around through a display that outlined the life of those who lived at Port Arthur.  We received cards that represented a particular person whose life we could then follow as we walked through the display.  The experience of connecting with an actual person’s story made this all the more impacting.

The walking tour, as it turned out, didn’t actually show us very much.  It was, however, very informative, and for the immature minds of us Holt’s, quite amusing.  Our tour guide was fabulous.  He knew his script off by heart and delivered it with gusto… and quite odd intonation.  I had to hide behind Luke as I giggled early on. 

Once my school-girl moment passed and I grew back into the adult I am, I found it really interesting, but wish that we were able to walk the premises more.  The walking tour really was a “walk and stop, walk and stop, walk and stop’ tour. 

Nonetheless, as the tour ended we were left able to interpret our surroundings with some level of insight. 

After the tour we walked around some of the ruins of the buildings and checked out our family names in the system to see if we were listed as descendents of convicts.  The results were that I am not, but Luke … well… let’s just say there was more than one Holt on that list.

After enjoying the surrounds, we headed to the boat for our cruise around the Isle of the Dead.  Perhaps not the most romantic of places to cruise, but it was, again, quite fascinating and provided a whole new perspective as we looked back on the settlement of Port Arthur.

Though both of us hold a morbid curiosity on the massacre that occurred at Port Arthur in our lifetime, we did neither saw, nor sought out evidence of the tragedy whilst there.  It did create some interesting discussion as we headed back to Hobart.

Leaving Port Arthur, there were three things we were keen to see, but time would limit us from seeing them all.  Again, we didn’t know which ones we’d see, except for our next destination – the Cadbury Factory.

Neither of us knew that the Cadbury Factory was housed on Cadbury Road in the suburb of Cadbury.  It was so exciting as we saw it in the distance.  We spoke with childish glee about the chocolate we would buy at great discount. 

Now, this is where prior research might have served us well.  It turns out, the Cadbury Factory is not open to the public on weekends.  Fortunately, we are a positive family and so we stand by our decision and will forever state that we went to the Cadbury Factory.  Sure, we only stood outside and took cheeky photos with posters, but we were there.

Time for the big decision.  Aurora Stadium or Richmond?  We only had time for one more destination before we had to get back to the airport.

Luke put the decision in my hand.  It was, afterall, my birthday present that we were taking on Tyson’s birthday.  So, I, in all my feminine way, chose Richmond.

For those who don’t know Richmond, it is a beautiful, quaint town with a very English feel.  In reality, we only drove into Richmond and then drove out the same way, but what we saw was well worth the brief visit.  Stunning.

As we headed back to the airport, we made a big decision.  Today, we would let Tyson taste some chocolate.  We had been in Cadbury at the Cadbury Factory.  It was his birthday.  So, we gave him one piece of Cadbury chocolate. 

To this day, I don’t believe he actually ingested any, but merely held it to his tongue then smeared it on his face.  And he seemed more than happy with that.

On reflection on our day in Tasmania, I can see that some more planning would have afforded us the ability to do more.  I wouldn’t change our experience though.  This was a wonderful day to spend as a family and I’m so thankful to my husband for this gift.  Besides, we still live in Melbourne.  We could do it all again….

Cost:  Not sure of the exact cost (since part was a gift), but all up including return flights for the three of us, car hire, entry to Port Arthur and food = less than $500.