Distilled my own gin, nbd.

Today I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Turns out my very, very good friend Helen had decided to take me along as her guest on Bespoke Tasmania’s Gin Workshop tour at McHenry Distillery. In a nutshell, I can’t recommend this workshop more highly, because I love Tasmania and I love gin.

The perfect day.

The perfect day.

I’m going to run you through the whole adventure, because it was one of the best days of my life and I want to remember it well. The day began with a 9:15am pickup, and I piled into the back seat of Kim Dudson’s car for the drive from Hobart down to Port Arthur. This was really where the whole treat began, because while I love road trips down to the Tasman peninsula, I’m usually the driver. Being able to gaze out the windows while I drank my coffee was wonderful, because the views are spectacular no matter what the season or the weather. We had gloomy clouds and smatterings of rain on the morning trip out and I was spellbound.

Once the beautiful 1.5 hour drive was complete, we pulled up at Bill McHenry’s place and piled out of the car to begin our day in the bond store, next to the row of ten barrels of aging gin. We chatted about gin while drinking coffee, but once coffee was done we assumed tasting gin would be acceptable. It was twelve o’clock somewhere. Continue reading »

How to ten year bestiversary.

Ten years ago, I met the love of my life.

I remember the date, and will always be able to remember it, because it was the same day that Muse played at the Brisbane Riverstage, back when Muse were still cool (it was the Absolution tour). A small gang of us gathered together to go see it, and this gang kind of remains bonded by heart forever, and it all started at that Muse gig. I think I’d met Emma through the boys before that night, but it was only then that we actually got to talking and found out we both worked administration desk jobs when most of our friends had cool, fun, interesting lives that we lived through vicariously. We swapped work email addresses and the rest, as they say, is tucked away in a nutshell, or something like that.

So, September 2014 marked ten years of cool times with my best gal: the Ann to my Leslie, the Bey to my Nicki, the Wayne to my Garth, the Emma to my Mem. This was a good excuse for her to come visit me for a week of lady dates and minor splurges in the name of hetero-lifemateship.

I'm not so secretly twelve years old.

I’m not so secretly twelve years old.

Emma visited in my first year of Tasmanian life, accompanied by her husband Phil. We didn’t explore much beyond Hobart then (apart from a fun afternoon down the Huon at a Willie Smiths open day—before the Apple Shed was renovated), so for Em’s next visit we decided to go a little all out on a tour of a couple of my favourite places.

Day one involved a big drive, talking literally non-stop the whole way up the highway to Launceston and finally stopping for lunch before Em had a car nap as we wound up the north west. I always seem to drive that road in the late afternoon, prime time for the setting sun to stab me in the eyeballs. Maybe one day I’ll be sensible enough to spend a night in Launceston and then get up early to drive the coastline? This was not that day.

A big drive with a nutty finish.

A big drive with a nutty finish.

Stanley, little town of my heart! I make no secret of loving this corner of the north west the most… it’s probably my favourite place on the whole island, for sentimental reasons and volcanic plug reasons and just look at that green grass. The north west is always so beautifully green. We settled into our sweet accommodation at Stanley Seaview Inn, then headed down to the Stanley Hotel for dinner. The seafood chowder wasn’t as amazing as my memory of it, but after dinner we bought a bottle of wine from the little bottleshop space and (after we got back to the Inn, realised the wine had a cork and there was no corkscrew at the Inn, got back in the car and drove back to the hotel and got them to open the bottle for us and then drove back to the Inn again) we grabbed some blankets from our room, sat out on the bench looking out at the township and the glorious Nut, and drank the bottle.

The next morning it was time to conquer THE NUT! And by conquer I do not mean walk up it. No. Chairlifts all the way, but then the 2km circuit around the top of the volcanic plug. It was just as magical as I remembered.

lifeys04 lifeys05 Lovin' that nut.lifeys06lifeys07lifeys09 lifeys10 lifeys11

Sorry not sorry for the photo spam, you know? Continue reading »

Dark Mofo.

Dark Mofo may be MONA FOMA’s younger and darker sibling festival, but as far as favouritism goes, keep me in the dark.

entrance to the winter feast

I spent the period of time between June 13th and 23rd, 2013, crushing harder than ever before on my beautiful new city. Ryoji Ikeda’s overwhelming Spectra installation became the town’s new obsession. People loved it. People probably hated it, too, but I don’t really talk to those people. Because I loved it.

LOVING IT

LOVING IT

“Imagine a tower of pure, white light, reaching fifteen kilometres into the Hobart sky above the Domain.

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At the base of the tower, forty-nine custom-made Xenon searchlights are set into the ground in a seven-by-seven grid;

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combined, they point a fleshless finger at our town straight down, it seems, from some sort of imagined, omniscient seat in the sky.

Sine waves – the purest kind of sound wave – form invisible sonic patterns at the base; your movement alters their composition in a way that only you can specify. Indeed, your experience is unlike your friends’, or anyone else’s at all. Now, stop imagining, and wait until nightfall.”

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Continue reading »

Aurora hunting.

Before I moved to Tasmania, I knew about the northern lights. Everybody knows about the aurora borealis (heck, I even know how to spell it). If you’re close enough to the top of the world, sometimes you get a spectacular natural light show. It’s on most people’s bucket lists. Heck, it’s definitely on mine.

What I didn’t really know before I got here is that the southern lights are a thing, too. I don’t know how we Aussies ended up putting our stamp on the name, but down at the south pole it’s called the aurora australis (despite NZ, Chile and Argentina all reaching further south than Australia). Most people haven’t heard of it (compared to the borealis) and I expect that’s because southern land masses don’t get as close to the australis as northern land masses get to the borealis, so unless it’s an almost off-the-charts geomagnetic storm, the best we get is a beautifully coloured southern horizon.

A few weeks ago, some friends and I started talking about going on a stargazing adventure, which led to wondering if we could throw an aurora hunt in the mix. We didn’t take the conversation any further, but we should have, because only a couple of weeks after, I caught a glimpse of a bit of an aurora buzz on twitter. But we were unprepared! I hadn’t even looked at my camera! I had no idea how to take decent night photos! And of course, we missed out on the most spectacular aurora display there’s been since I moved here.

We rallied forces and tried the following evening, but of course two in a row would be too easy and it was not to be. It did give me the chance to trial my night photography skills, with thanks to a couple of patient friends, and I’ll admit I was still fairly blown away by the sky. I think that night was the first time I’ve looked up into the stars and thought, “Oh yeah, there’s the Milky Way, it’s freaking bright as all get-out and impossible to miss”. My friend also pointed out the Magellanic Clouds, or: two other galaxies that are identifiable by the naked eye. Two other galaxies. Oh, hey, there are a couple of galaxies. No big deal.

Learning about stars is amazing and I was pretty happy with at least a couple of the shots that I brought home.

18th-milkyway

Straight off the camera.

That weekend was only a couple of weeks ago, and so since then we’ve been keeping our eyes peeled and staying alert for any aurora warnings. I got out of a movie on Friday night (on the State Cinema rooftop) to a text from my friend, Liz. “Aurora alert! Caaaaaall meeeeeeeeee“. We jumped in my car and headed back down to Clifton Beach, where we’d been taking night photos (and wishing for an aurora) a fortnight ago.

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Beautiful, yes. Aurora? No.

This is a thirty second exposure; it wasn’t actually that bright out, but it was still freaking bright! It was only two nights after the full moon so that slowly waning bad boy was still lighting up the night. We took a few night shots, jumped on the internet to see what locations other people were shooting from, and jumped back in the car to see if we couldn’t find somewhere a little more proper south-facing.

We ended up struggling our way up some dunes at Hope Beach and setting the tripods up. Liz was the first to get her hopes up, while I remained skeptical.

“I’m pretty sure you’re just seeing what you want to see.”

We both kept snapping away anyway (though I guess it’s not really snappy when you’re running 15-30sec exposures) because, from my point of view, at least it was more night photo practise.

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12:30am. Green? Pfft.

I played around with some more night photography. I’ve since learnt that island is called Betsey Island. I think that island is my new favourite island. BETSEY. Afjahldkjakafddkad I literally just read more about it and Betsey Island is accompanied by Little Betsey Island and Betsey Reef, and they’re an Important Bird Area because Little Penguins breed there. I’m out. I’m out. I’m done.

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12:54am. Betsey Island. Giggle.

Over the next half hour, I slowly started to change my mind about the green horizon.

At first I thought that maybe I just wanted to see something so badly that I started seeing it. Liz and I even got to the point where we were discussing clinical trials of placebos and mind tricks but finally I gave in and just accepted it. I think it did actually grow stronger during that half hour we stood there, but it’s still amusing how long it took me to accept the fact that the horizon did have a faint green halo.

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1:05am. Erm, okay. Perhaps you’re right.

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1:13am. Omgaurora.

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1:28am. The littlest aurora halo that could!

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Partner in crime, hard at work.

By then it was almost 2am and the aurora appeared to be fading a little, and we’d taken all the photographs we could. It was time to head back down the sand dunes and home, via McDonald’s for sustenance and 3am snacks.

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Nobody fell, hurrah! (Seriously, the moonlight filling the exposure is ridiculous.)

I can’t wait to go hunting again.

(P.S. Happy Easter! No egg hunt for me this year, boo.)

12 March 2013, or Five:

A Tuesday in what shall be referred to as “the sunset weeks”, as my last refundancy days come to an end and I try to ignore the painful reality of returning to the workforce. I’ve been holding out for my dream job to manifest but it hasn’t happened so I’m heading back to the corporate world to see what I can make of it.

In any case, this Tuesday I am joined by my darling friends Helen and Chris who have come down to visit me and a couple of other bits of Tasmania for their first wedding anniversary. I love being the excuse for friends to visit this beautiful island, I honestly do.

TMAG last night.

TMAG last night.

We begin our day with breakfast at Basket & Green and then hit the highway for a DIY tour up through the Coal River Valley, starting with Richmond and heading back down. I’ve been up to Richmond once before but it was for a crazy reconnaissance mission for some edible lavender… don’t ask. There’s no real story. In any case, I haven’t really looked around Richmond properly. That’s what you can take away from this paragraph.

Richmond Bridge, OLD!

Richmond Bridge, OLD!

Yes, Richmond Bridge is old but old in the picturesque sense and not the booooooooriiiiiiiiiing sense. It’s very pretty and also functional, which is just how I like my bridges, and also most of my clothing. It’s apparently Australia’s oldest (known) large stone arch bridge, which is a title I’d be proud of too, and it was first opened in 1825. It’s a lovely place for a picnic and perhaps we should have ended our tour here with wine and cheese instead of starting here. NEVER MIND.

After the bridge, we spontaneously decide to stop at the Richmond Gaol and have a look around. History is very interesting, and often makes me glad to live in the current age. The solitary cells are creepy. I’m glad to have finally seen the Gaol, but it’s probably not going to be worthy of a repeat visit for me. Or even a photo in this blog post. Despite its pretty sandstone buildings.

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Puddleducks!

The main part of the tour is for the wine, as any local who knows about the Coal River Valley will know. We make the executive decision to stop at three wineries, and I get to decide those three, which includes a certain amount of power but also responsibility. Here are one-sentence reviews of each.

Pooley Wines: charming location, lovely almost literal cellar door, oh my gosh there is a cellar door cat this is wonderful, wait why is my favourite wine always the most expensive one?
Puddleducks: Please adopt me, oh except I don’t really like dogs but I suppose these corgis are cute, dear corgis please stop barking that’s really not necessary, oops I drank too much Bubbleduck, oh there’s literally a duck here I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE PUDDLEDUCKS!
Frogmore Creek: What a lovely venue, what lovely wines, what a snooty old bint behind the counter.

Sorry, I’m not very good at one-sentence reviews.

Nice day for it.

Nice day for it.

We actually take our time because we’re in no great hurry, and in between Pooley and Puddleducks we stop at Wicked Cheese to grab some snacky lunch supplies, because I’ve stopped at Wicked Cheese before (that lavender time) and also because cheese. Puddleducks has a BYO Food policy to go with their wine so this is our lunch plan, and it’s an excellent decision.

It’s just a shame that Frogmore Creek is the final note on the tour… or is this the final note:

Nice haul.

Nice haul.

Yeah, it is. That’s much better. Though it’s not actually our final note for the day! We manage to muster a second wind and head down to Ethos Eat Drink for dinner. It’s not my first time, but I’m not ashamed to admit it, and I’m very pleased to be going back again. It is delicious (of course) and I eat ox tongue for the first time, which is strange but not unpleasant (this is how I find myself describing most left-of-centre things I try at Ethos). Duckpond seems to be having a real whale of a time too, so cheers to him and cheers to our grand day out.

Duckpond | Oxtongue

Duckpond | Oxtongue

13 January 2013, or Three:

I’m cheating by a day here, because the 12th is quite dull, but on the 13th, I go cherry picking with friends. Who knew this was a thing I’d ever do?

Up high!

Up high!

My friend Liz is crazy and wonderful and somehow stumbled across Platinum Ridge Orchard‘s awesome “rent your own cherry tree” offer prior to last summer, so she went ahead and rented one all for herself because her husband Jarod doesn’t even like cherries. (He’s also crazy, but clearly for different reasons.) When the time to pick said cherries arrives—you only get one pick per season, because the trees only fruit once—Liz gets in touch with a few of us and is like, “So… cherries?” and I am all too happy to jump in the car with them for a lovely drive down the channel where we meet up with some more pals to PICK. SOME. CHERRIES.

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The money shot.

I’m not ashamed (ok I’m maybe a little bit ashamed) to admit that I didn’t really know what cherry trees looked like until today. I wasn’t sure exactly how cherries grew. Turns out it’s a lot like apples! (I didn’t really know what apple trees looked like either…)

Efficiency.

Efficiency.

When we get out there, the Orchard lady in charge of the picking (I think that’s her official title) checks Liz’s tree and isn’t happy with the amount of fruit on it, so we get a bonus tree. Two trees for the pickings. We have buckets and bags and boxes and we fill them with cherries. Some also go in our mouths. But most into the bags and boxes and buckets.

Clumps and clusters of cherries.

Clumps and clusters of cherries.

Platinum Ridge effectively ruins all other cherries for me forever. These cherries are the biggest, fattest, sweetest cherries I have ever eaten in my life and never again will another cherry measure up. Nope. I can’t imagine how. And yes, we are already planning on renting another cherry tree next season.

Once we get home, we all weigh our various collections of cherries and add the results up to discover we have picked twenty kilograms’ worth of cherries today. We’re not counting the ones that have gone in our mouths, or the ones we left on the trees because we called time on picking eventually because no human can eat that many cherries in three weeks. I fill the entire crisper section of my fridge with cherries. I have eight kilos of cherries alone.

EIGHT. KILOS.

EIGHT. KILOS.

I pin as many interesting-looking cherry recipes as I can and the next couple of weeks see us all get very creative with cherries. Cherry juice, cherry scones, cherry ice-cream, cherry pie, cherries in the face. Constant cherries. We have so many surplus cherries that we even have cherry treasure hunts.

Thanks, Jarod.

Thanks, Jarod.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier in my life. Happier, and constantly stained.

See you in twelve months, Platinum Ridge.

Cue Garbage's hit song?

Cue Garbage’s hit song?

12 December 2012, or Two:

12:12:12 THIS IS A VERY EXCITING DAY FOR ME BECAUSE I LOVE NUMBERS. I love numbers so much that I decide I should have an excellent day today, so I head to MONA for the first proper time since I moved here. I’ve been out once already since moving here but it was for an outside event and I figured it would have been a little busy to head indoors that day, so I’ve been squandering my new local status and haven’t dived back in since the first (and then second) time I visited when I came down to Tasmania in a campervan with one of my best buddies back in 2011.

So today’s the day. HOORAY! This is how I see the passing of 12/12/12 12:12:12.

A stunning summer's day.

A stunning summer’s day.

While I’m out on the grass enjoying the sunshine (something I did not enjoy in Queensland), I partake in some incidental eavesdropping on a small family sitting nearby.

Grown-up to child (approx 9yo): “If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?”
Second grown-up (I’m guessing mother): “I won’t be cross with you.”
Child: “First I’d buy all the dogs I like.”

Perfect.

The museum is just as I remember it, dark and overwhelming and wonderful. I visit pieces I remember fondly, and corners I haven’t explored before. I find the small changes, the new pieces, and I brave the Cloaca Professional (I couldn’t make it into the room last time). I spend at least four hours getting lost and awestruck. I also make sure to dedicate at least twenty solid minutes to this excellent room.

QUEEN

QUEEN

I remember the first time I went to MONA, I shyly watched as people entered and exited this grey door to this tiny room in the middle of one of the floors. I didn’t know if I was allowed in there, but I eventually got up the gall to follow someone in, and suddenly the muted a cappella choir sounds I’d heard made sense. Thirty people all singing along to Madonna’s Immaculate Collection in its entirety, but you don’t hear the album itself, just the sing-along. It’s amazing. I love trying to work out who’s singing out of tune (but so PASSIONATELY).

One of the things on my Hobart Local bucket list is to come across David Walsh while wandering the museum. It turns out this is easily achieved today; as I’m standing around and desperately trying to convince myself not to try to blow some enormous columns of bubbles over, he walks into the same room with a herd of young, attractive women following him.

BUBBLES.

BUBBLES.

He tells the girls a story about the way one of the bubble columns sagged over the other day and looked like something a bit funny and a bit naughty, and he shows me too because I’m in the room, and I’m not sure if my first encounter with David Walsh could be any more perfect, to be honest.

I’m sad but not surprised to find that my repeat visit to Kryptos isn’t as magical and terrifying as the first time, because I know what’s coming. I still remember how it made me feel the first time, and I wish I could get that feeling back, but I know that I can’t. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I hope it stays there forever (it was commissioned for MONA and is built into the structure so I trust it will), and nobody ruins it for anyone else. I want everyone to have the same reaction to it that I did.

Kryptos, by Brigita Ozolins.

Kryptos, by Brigita Ozolins.

I get to explore the “Theatre of the World” exhibition, the collaboration between MONA and TMAG while TMAG is under renovations. I think I will always be a bit sad that I missed Monanism, the first exhibition—when I first visited in July 2011 it had just come down. But exploring the current exhibition and recognising some pieces from that first visit that have been moved into this curated space gives me hope, makes me think I haven’t missed all of it.

I wander through the space even after my phone battery dies. I finally find the tunnel of triggered sound (it had very limited opening hours when I first visited), and play in there to my heart’s content. I stop when I reach the bottom floor and order a Corpse Reviver No.2 from the Void bar’s cocktail menu, but they are out of most of the ingredients and the barman does a traumatising substitution job so I just teach him how to make a negroni instead.

446,575.

446,575.

A wonderful day. Now the only thing left on my Hobart Local bucket list is to meet Walshie’s cat. I finish my wonderful day with a Paesano pizza for dinner, smothered in fresh basil from my herb garden.

Farm Gate Market and the Night Owl.

The Farm Gate market was on my to-do list before I got down here, for a few reasons. I wanted to stop buying so much from the Big Guys and try to get fresh things from the Little Guys, and the best way to do that seems to be at the farmers markets, where you can get the Little Guys’ fresh things from the Little Guys themselves. Also, who doesn’t love a market?

On my first Sunday here, my mum and I walked down to the corner of Elizabeth and Melville streets with our canvas shopping bags in hand. There was a slight issue with the plan in that without my things from Brisbane, my kitchen is currently very empty, so there’s not much to actually cook with. We ended up getting some delicious fresh dips, some honey (for my tea), and incredible sausage rolls for breakfast from the Urban Bounty stall.

I’ve been back each Sunday since, and this Sunday just gone was actually Farm Gate Market’s third birthday! Woo! Happy birthday, Market! What a beautiful day for it, too. My first market was overcast, my second market was smattered with rain, but my third market (and their third birthday) was a beautiful cool and sunny day.

Hobart's Farm Gate Markets

Madi rings the bell, Urban Bounty sells the sausage rolls.

One of my favourite things about Farm Gate is that it doesn’t officially kick off until 9am, when the bell is rung (top right photo!). You can still get a sneaky coffee from the Farm Gate stall, and it’s a very good coffee at that, but the rest of the stalls will still be setting up and be grumpy if you try to buy their things. Look, just enjoy your Sunday sleep-in and get there after 9am and you won’t have any problems.

So what you want to do next is get a sausage roll from Urban Bounty’s stall for breakfast, because the free-range pork, quince and apple sausage roll is one of the better things about my current life, and with UB’s own tomato relish, too? Just kill me, I’ve reached the pinnacle. There’s nothing much better than sitting down and scoffing my sausage roll and coffee before attacking the market stalls.

Farm Gate Markets

Farm Gate Market’s 3rd Birthday!

This dude in an apple suit was walking around on Sunday and cracking me up. I don’t know if it was a special birthday treat, because I’ve not seen ol’ apple suit before, but maybe that’s just been my timing. There are always some buskers at the market, here and there dotted around corners, but this Sunday’s were particularly good. It was so nice sitting down and enjoying a coffee and listening to some smooth jazz, baby.

I also had the pleasure of meeting another new friend! When I first got here, I looked through twitter to find some charming locals to follow. One of those charming locals was Snuva! She, her husband and their ridiculously cute baby have a standing Sunday breakfast date at the markets, so we arranged to meet up on Sunday to say hello in person. It was lovely to meet them and yet again I forgot to take any photos. I swear these people I’m meeting are real.

The final photo in the little collection above is a lovely segue into my other topic for this post, because I just so happened to ride my shiny new bicycle down to the markets on Sunday (where it was closely guarded by some gorgeous puppies). It was my first proper ride, apart from the short and terrifying ride home on it when I picked it up on Friday. You know the phrase, “it’s just like riding a bike”? It’s true. I hadn’t ridden a bike in years, and I was VERY nervous when I realised I’d actually have to ride my bike home! I ended up walking it a few blocks away from the shop (and the CBD) before hopping on and wobbling for a block or so before getting wigged out and walking it for another block or so, lather/rinse/repeat. Oh, Friday. You were such a weird day.

THE NIGHT OWL.

The Electra Night Owl. Ridiculous. I am delighted.

SUNDAY, though… Sunday was awesome. Look at this ridiculous bike. I spent a good couple of days tossing up whether to get a plain cruiser or this Electra fashion cruiser. I was concerned that maybe in a couple of years I’ll get sick of the design, or grow out of the owl print, or whatever. Clearly, in the end I got over those concerns, and I think that’s probably fair. I’m a bit twee, I think this bike and I are going to be very happy together.

I got the bike from Bike Ride on Liverpool street. They didn’t have any Electras in stock, but I’d been sent Bike Ride’s way after spotting one in the window of a store a couple of blocks away, and Mark was happy to take the time to go through Electra’s catalogue with me and answer all my stupid questions. The service was awesome enough for me to leave a glowing five-star review on Yelp.

So on Sunday I rode the Night Owl down to the Farm Gate Market and home again, with a basket laden with goodies, and as I pulled up in the driveway, I thought, my life is a bit wonderful right now.

Sunday morning bliss.

Am I right?

#7: Hobart.

With some fairly wonderful timing, Lonely Planet has just released their 2013 list of top cities to visit in the world, and guess what? Hobart’s at number seven. Yes, okay, so I’m not just visiting here, I moved here—but it may be further incentive to put my guest room to good use.

Ever the hipster, I visited Hobart (and numerous other parts of Tasmania) in 2011, so whatever. (Just joking about the ‘whatever’.) I don’t find it a huge surprise for Lonely Planet pointing the finger at Hobart (and no other city in Australia in 2013). I had a fair idea there was something special going on down here, and I wanted to be a part of it.

A large part of Hobart’s ranking has been attributed to MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art) and TMAG (the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery), and their current collaborative exhibition, “Theatre of the World“, at MONA until April 2013. TMAG itself is closing for a couple of months as of November, and I have to admit I haven’t been there yet, but I can vouch for MONA. I’m not really an art gallery person. I don’t have the attention span for wandering around quiet spaces and I hate not being able to photograph things. MONA isn’t a traditional art gallery, though…

Fran and I out the front of MONA last year, our second visit in ten days.

Fran and I out the front of MONA last year, our second visit in ten days.

No joke, we had a spare day at the end of our motorhome adventure and both of us voted for a return to MONA. MONA wasn’t solely what made me want to come to Tasmania (either to visit or live), but it was certainly a bonus. There’s also a lot of culinary goodness to be had down here, as well as beautiful architecture and scenery, and a heckload of markets.

I’ve already seen a few locals make comments about not finding Hobart worthy. Someone said something like, “I would much rather visit Paris than Hobart”. I think the important thing to note is that Lonely Planet’s list is an annual list. Every year there are ten cities on it. I haven’t looked at previous years, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want to just list the same ten cities every year. Yes, I want to go to Paris, but has it done anything lately to make it worthy of a visit in 2013? Amsterdam is on the list for 2013 because there are a bunch of anniversary celebrations going on that is going to make it one big celebration for the whole year. Heck yes, I wanna visit there! (And maybe stay on Ben and Miranda’s couch.) It’s also sad to hear that some locals aren’t keen to give their city big reps. The impression I got from my visit to Tasmania last year was that Tasmanians were so proud of being Tasmanians. I suppose there will always be differing opinions…

I am so proud of Hobart for making Lonely Planet’s 2013 list and I am so excited to have friends and family come for a visit to see this amazing corner of the world. Oh, Hobart! Well done, you!