Sunday, 27 January 2013

Hobart, Tasmania: a colonial Thule in south Pacific

This winter is going wild and harsh in Europe, too windy, too cold, too much rainy. So instead of a northern arctic post, I've chosen to go South, where summer is at its best, and search a warmer place on the Pacific Ocean, but one which is connected to the Antarctic.

So Ultima Thule sails now to the antipodes, to the southernmost island of Australia: the island of  Tasmania, with its lively capital  Hobart, which was a few years ago a underdeveloped and rather unknown town; the wealth in recent years provided for renovation, less isolation, increasing culture offer and demand, and presently Hobart is a major deep-water port for Southern Ocean shipping and a home port for Antarctic operations, a travel hub to Antarctica.

Hobart, the capital and largest city of Tasmania, was founded in 1804 as a British colony. It's Australia's second oldest city.

Population ~ 220 000
Coordinates: 42°52′ S, 147°19′ E

The city is located on the estuary of the Derwent River. The skyline is dominated by Mount Wellington, at 1 271 m.

The historic area is mainly down by the bay, where the wharfs and docks are located. The main streets are Elizabeth street and Mall, Collins street, Macquarie Street (Town Hall and Cathedral) and Campbell Street with the Theatre Royal.

Elizabeth street and Mall are the heart of commercial Hobart

St David's Cathedral, in Macquarie Street:

The Theatre Royal :

Hobart has an intense cultural life: museums, a theater and concert season, and a resident orchestra, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

The 46 tramway, the only remaining authentic carriage of the Hobart tramway system , a pioneer transport in Australia, is now in display at the Transport Museum:

Hobart has two main attractions:

1 - The waterfront around Sullivan´s bay, on both North and South sides.

2 - The architecture, including many art-deco buildings from the 20th cent., several Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian buildings, many of them hotels nowadays. They are to be found in Collins and Elizabeth Streets.

The waterfront by Sullivan´s bay

On the South side, the famous Salamanca Place where Salamanca Market takes place, attracting a crowd from the country and from outside:

Sandstone warehouses from the 1840's were recently renovated.

At night this is the liveliest area in town, with bars, restaurants and cafés.

Sullivan's Cove on the River Derwent was the site of the initial European settlement.

Hunter Street, on the north side, has some old warehouses aligned with cafés and outdoor terraces, facing Victoria Docks; that's the oldest part of Hobart, where the first colonial settlement was founded.

Hunter Street

Battery Point

This is an elegant and fashion neighbourhood, with nice wooden houses painted in lively colours. The ambiance is retro.

Café and terrace in Battery point

The architecture in Hobart

Brunswick Hotel, 1827, Liverpool St.

Old P.O. building, 1913

Colonial Mutual Life Building

Fire Brigade building

The Shamrock hotel

Montgomery's Hobart Hotel, Macquarie steet

The waterfront by night

The inland beauty of Tasmania

Bruny Island is a small island on the southeast of Tasmania, a truly exquisite paradise!

Bruny Island is actually two land masses - North Bruny and South Bruny - that are joined by a long, narrow sandy isthmus.

To know more:

Thanks to so many visitors from Hobart to Ultima Thule!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Viðareiði, Viðoy - Faröe village closest to the arctic

Viðareiði , literally Wood-Isthmus, is the northernmost settlement in the Faröe Islands and lies on the Island of  Viðoy, on an isthmus with high mountains to both the north and south.

Location:  62°21′N,  6°32′W
4 degrees (640 km) south of the Arctic Circle.

The community is linked overland by a dam and a tunnel system to the second largest town in the Faröe  -  Klaksvík on Borðoy island.

The road to Viðareiði goes along the west coast of Viðoy, through the town, and then along the island's east coast to the Enniberg cape, through Miðdalur Valley with its typical small waterfall.  


Looking to the west from Viðareiði, a view of the northern peaks of Borðoy and Kunoy. 

To the south of the town, the 751 meters high cone-shaped mountain of Malinsfjall can be seen in good weather.

The village is famously known for its beautiful location, at the southern foot of the nearby Villingadalsfjall (844 m).

Viðareiði is surely one of the most beautiful villages of the Faröe Islands.

The nature is overwhelming and the peacefulness stirring. But in a great tempest, the sea can rise up to the village: 

In spite of its modest population of around 350 inhabitants, Viðareiði includes a small store and also the Hotel Norð with its restaurant.

The multifunctional store also serves as library, post office, Café and tourist information.

The current church was built in 1892. 

The church silver is a gift from the British government, thanking the village's citizens for the rescue of the Brig Marwood, which was shiprecked near Viðareiði during a winter storm in 1847.


The main feature is the church's rectory. 

In late 17th century a storm ruined the church in Viðareiði and parts of the cemetery washed away into the sea. 

The manse of Viðareiði, Ónagerð, is one of the most beautiful in the Faroe Islands.

The island of Viðoy has another small settlement - the fishing village of Hvannasund

Coordinates 62°17′N, 6°30′W
Pop. ~280


The post boat arrives at Hvannasund

The north coast is marked by Cape Enniberg:
Cape Enniberg, with an altitude of 754 metres, the highest sea-cliff in Europe. 

The view from Enniberg is simply breathtaking.

This is  the northernmost point of the Faroe Islands.


Useful links: