Justin Simpson’s ‘Letter from Australia’

My Debut Tour of Van Dieman’s Land!

I spent a week in Australia’s island state just recently, staying with an old pommie friend of mine from Maidenhead who has made Tasmania her home these forty years or more; and although she is still audibly English, her affiliations are almost totally Tassie, even though her sister has always lived in west London.

Rightly so, as this part of the world (in summer anyway) is undeniably gorgeous: its warm sun just pleasantly so; its breezes just refreshingly light; its greens just verdantly various and, frankly, too many attractive options for the tourist from the mainland or abroad, or OS, as they say in Straya.

NZ fur seals on Bruny island south
NZ fur seals on Bruny Island south

Unspoilt national parks, Bruny Island across d’Entrecasteaux channel, with craft farms and shoreline wildlife: seals, dolphins n albatrosses; numerous breweries; a cheese dairy; whiskey n gin distilleries; the globally-known MONA Museum by ferry along the wide azure Derwent River from Constitution dock and all this just 45 minutes from Hobart.

Steel Trucks Sculpture at MONA Museum
Steel Trucks Sculpture at MONA Museum

I sound like feeble tourist blurb, but all these are readily available to the many thousands who visit this far-flung corner of the continent every week.

It just so happened that lotsa yachts from the recently concluded Sydney-to-Hobart and Melbourne-to-Hobart races were on show dockside downtown, a stone’s throw from the fabulous Salamanca market – the North Laine’s equivalent – but in honey-coloured sandstone, as is most of the commercial old town/port area of Hobart.

Perfect days for any form of leisure or pleasure. I met many mainlander and Brit immigrants during my week and never a snarky word or look of disdain at my pommie accent or strange ways, even knowing I was not just English but also came from foreign Sydney!

My hostess ensured I had a fantastic week and I can’t wait to return once my Strayan accent improves. Speaking of which, here I ‘yam’, back in the sticky, steamy capital of New South Wales – with even more poms!

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