“We haven’t had weather like this, like, ever.”
The perky girl at the car rental counter chirped this as she handed over our car keys at the Hobart airport. The warm sun and windless air that had greeted us as we stepped off the plane shocked my system — everyone says Tasmania is cold all the time. The sudden spring weather, warm even by current Sydney standards, infused the space around me with that electric hum of life I’ve always felt in this season. It was a mid-week blessing from Mother Nature.
Our hotel was in the city center, and this first glimpse left me nervous Hobart lacked soul. It seemed barren at 7:30 p.m., and there wasn’t as much of a corporate presence so much as a retail one. Pedestrians were solo and far between. I wondered where everyone was.
The hotel clerk told us how to get down to the waterfront. After a short rest, we walked down to the harbor as night spread its dark blanket over the sky. The boats were all lit up blue and white as they rocked in their wobbly seabeds. I liked the scene immediately.
We moved past a fish market and into a green space where white lights hung from tree to tree. Under them, dozens of people gathered on the grass, chatting, letting their kids run around, absorbing as much of this unusually warm spring night as they could. Across the road, the strip of pubs and restaurants lining the square where the Salamanca Markets take place buzzed with chatter as cigarette smoke swirled above the tented tables. The city had a public holiday the next day for the start of the Royal Hobart Show, and no doubt so many were out in the middle of the week taking advantage of the fact they could sleep in the next morning.
Thursday was blue and blazing as we met the harbor again for breakfast. Against the backdrop of the city’s stubby buildings and its towering guardian Mount Wellington, the harbor framed itself into a pretty postcard.