Our first port of call was Burnie and we arrived on a Saturday. The day was warm and we were greeted by the friendly Mayor of the town as we boarded a free shuttle bus into town. It was a short walk from the drop off point to the Hertz car rental office, where I had arranged to pick up a car. Then we were on our way to the Cradle Mountain National Park. This trip took about 1.5 hours of good roads with were little traffic. After lunch the rain started to settle in so we headed back towards Burnie and checked out the countryside along the way. A visit to the museum before boarding the shuttle back to the boat rounded out our visit to Burnie.
On Sunday afternoon we arrived in Hobart and tied up to the pier. It was then a short walk into town. We were to be in port overnight with last boarding at 1630 before sailing at 1700 on the Monday. I had arranged to hire a rental car from Hertz. It was a 35 minute walk up a slight hill to the office. I walked pass a few other rental car offices on the way. Returning to the pier to pick up my wife, I checked out where to park the car overnight. There was a no restriction area on a Sunday and the permit system did not start until 0800 on Monday. It was located just to the right of the exit gate to the pier. Very handy. First was a drive around town then we found the road (The Pinnacle)to the top of Mount Wellington. The Mountain was being intermittently covered with cloud, so we took the advantage of a stop below the summit to take some photographs of Hobart and the surrounding area. On reaching the top it was quite cool. Below at sea level it was about 23c but with the wind chill it was near freezing on the summit. From the comfort of a shelter that had information boards describing the history of the Mountain, we were able to take more photographs through breaks in the cloud of the great views. We returned to the ship for the night and were up the next morning to start a tour of the surrounding countryside. We drove up the east side of the Derwent river valley to the Mount Field National Park. Returning via the western side until we came to MONA , (Museum of Old and New Art). Next we drove to the old town of Richmond and their convict built bridge, the oldest in Australia. We drove on towards the town of Dunalley passing through countryside and towns that had been devastated by bushfires earlier this year. The "Blaze Aid" people were helping re-build fences as we passed. Families were camping out on their properties next to their burnt down homes. It was very sad to see such destruction everywhere. The last trip was back through Hobart and then down the south western side towards Margate before returning the car a boarding for the overnight sail to Port Arthur.
At Port Arthur, the ship anchored a short distance from shore and the tenders were used to ferry people to shore. There was no problem boarding the tenders and we were soon on land. An electric cart was provided for people with walking issues, which we availed ourselves of. First a stop at the cafe and information centre with a very informative display about the convict life in the prison. Back on the cart, this operated as a hop on hop off service for a trip around the various sites. The visit to Port Arthur was very moving when you read about the convicts and the conditions they were exposed to during their incarceration. There was a wait of an hour to return to the ship due to there being only one pier which was also used by a local ferry, which had priority and returned every half hour.