When we wrote about our move to Tasmania, we left out (at least) one vital detail. It’s a detail that goes some way to explaining why we jumped at the opportunity to re-locate without too much hesitation. It involves a Tasmanian holiday, staying at Salamanca. Well, what should have been a holiday, anyway!
Salamanca: Market Just For Starters
Before Gavin trained as a software developer, he worked as an accountant. Please don’t judge! We both worked at the same company in fact, in the same department, and we married after a brief office romance. Pre-kids, we booked a holiday to Tasmania and we were to stay in Hobart for a week or two, at Salamanca Inn.
We’d studied all the printed brochures and guide books (yes, it was way back in the dark ages) and got very excited about the trip. Then our mean and nasty department boss revoked our annual leave. Overall, the company was great to work for, and our co-workers were all seriously fun people. It was just a stressful environment; with regular bouts of extreme financial crisis between the boom times.
Anyway, long story short… our holiday was cancelled and we were forced to suck up the bitter disappointment. For the pair of us, taking leave at the same time was always frowned upon, because we left the department down two people at once. So we didn’t have the opportunity to visit Tasmania again, let alone Hobart. The visions of Salamanca always stayed with us though, and that’s probably the reason we’re smitten with the Hobart waterfront precinct to this day.
Hobart Wharf, Sandstone Warehouses
Although we’d dreamed about the visit, we didn’t truly comprehend the beauty of Salamanca until we arrived in person. We knew about the famous Saturday market, but there’s so much more to appreciate. Just the 1830s sandstone buildings for example, once used to store goods arriving and leaving the Hobart wharf, ranging from apples to whale oil.
The former warehouse buildings now house an eclectic mix of retailers, restaurants and art galleries. On Saturdays, you can purchase everything from fresh vegetables to handmade arts and crafts from the Salamanca Market. Every day of the week, shoppers can browse stores for jewellery, books, clothing and a myriad other products, pausing for alfresco coffee and cake.
Arts at Salamanca
The public entrance to the Peacock Theatre is found behind the mezzanine level of the popular Tricycle Cafe. The theatre was created at the base of a quarry and boasts a backdrop of natural rock. Seating 150, the Peacock Theatre presents dance, music performances and films. Apparently, it was “named after the company that produced jams and juices on the site for half a century”. We knew about the jam-making past of Hobart’s IXL factory (in Hunter Street, now home to the Henry Jones Art Hotel) but obviously Tasmanians needed even more jam!
Stairs lead up to the Salamanca Arts Centre. Exhibitions are hosted in the Long Gallery and Sidespace… starting tomorrow, visitors can peruse works from members of Stitching and Beyond. The “Out of Hand” 2013 exhibition and sale is open from 10:00 until 4:00pm daily until October 1.
Princes Wharf Shed No 1
Salamanca Place runs parallel to Castray Esplanade and faces Princes Wharf Shed No 1. Between the two roads, visitors can sprawl on the lawns or commandeer one of the park benches to watch the world go by. Plane trees offer shade in the summer months, and beautiful fairy lights twinkle from their branches at night.
Walking between the solid sandstone arches will lead you into Salamanca Square. A central fountain offers a great meeting place, and has been known to amuse children while their parents enjoy a cafe latte. There’s a huge chess set at one end between Mezethes Greek Restaurant and the Machine Laundry Cafe. The whole area is sheltered from the wind and offers more shopping and dining establishments to choose from.
You don’t need to wander far from Salamanca Place to discover other features of Hobart. During the summer, events such as The Taste Festival spill from Princes Wharf Shed No 1 across the road to the expansive lawns of Parliament House. If you’re a political junkie, or maybe you like the local journalists, you can often see the two professions come together at the front steps, filming a grab for the evening news.
If you haven’t quenched your entire thirst at the many bars and pubs in historic Salamanca Place, you can wander a little further afield. The Customs House Hotel is found on the corner of Murray and Morrison Streets opposite Parliament House.
Also in Murray Street is the very popular Daci and Daci Bakers. This particular cafe can be standing room only at peak times. In fact, many of the restaurants and cafes on the Hobart waterfront can be busy, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Book ahead when possible if you have a special venue in mind.
Otherwise, wander around and enjoy the ambiance of Salamanca. If you’re lucky enough to be on holidays in Hobart, we wish you the very best of times!
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