Walking is such an underrated, essential activity, don’t you think? Nothing could give you a better perspective as a tourist than a comprehensive walking tour, taking in the sights and sounds of a new town or region. Except for perhaps a helicopter!
Walking Tour: See For Yourself
Recently, we were inspired to investigate the surrounds of Hobart’s Railway Roundabout, thanks to Judi Adams of Lumin8 Hobart fame. The recently renovated fountain in the centre of the roundabout has been shining pink throughout October for Breast Cancer Awareness month, during which a community tribute event was staged. We’re loathe to even mention the poorly-timed and totally senseless vandalism of the site, so we’ll commend the hard work of the contractors to make things right again.
The environment around the busy intersection reveals many interesting attractions and much history of Hobart. Walking is definitely the best way to uncover these local treasures. Heading towards the Hobart Aquatic Centre via an underpass from the fountain, will lead you to a beautiful rose garden on Aberdeen Street. The trees are heavy with blossom right now, also a gorgeous pink colour. The park is a tranquil resting place, despite the traffic heading to and from the CBD.
Time to Smell the Roses
Behind the rose garden stands a beautiful heritage building. Unfortunately, our self-guided walking tour left us with many unanswered questions about the property. We have a vague jumble of concepts surrounding Philip Thomas Smith (1800-1880) and a training college opened in his name in January 1911. We’re thinking the centre may be still used for adult education purposes (although we have an inkling there’s some sort of UTAS School of Nursing nearby); Domain House was originally the main University of Tasmania site. Apparently it was also the Hobart Town High School before the University was established. We’re going to pop our curiosity to one side about all that for another day!
If you pause your walking journey at the top of the Hobart Aquatic Centre carpark, you’ll be rewarded with expansive views of the CBD and the River Derwent. Over the tin roof of the indoor heated swimming pools, the observant eye can pinpoint the Wrest Point Casino at Sandy Bay, coincidentally near the current University of Tasmania campus.
For another walking experience, visitors can follow the Soldiers Memorial Avenue on Hobart’s Queens Domain. The avenue was renamed the Soldiers Walk in the 1980s and begins at the junction of Aberdeen Street and the Tasman Highway next to the Aquatic Centre. 520 trees were originally planted in 1918 and 1919 to commemorate the Tasmanian soldiers who lost their life in World War I.
Himalayan Cedars, Atlantic Cedars, Blue Atlas and Italian Cypress (some planted as replacements in the 1960s) make up the avenue. The walk is part of Heritage Tasmania’s Open Doors weekend (1-3 November 2013).
Soldiers Walk: Memorial Avenue
The Soldiers Memorial Avenue website is a fantastic resource sharing information about both the Hobart Soldiers Walk and Queens Domain in general. The memorials facing the Regatta Grounds across the Tasman Highway also warrant further investigation. This walking expedition will be leading to even more research, we can see that now!
The Hobart Cenotaph is the outstanding feature of the Regatta Grounds. The 1925 memorial was originally a commemoration for Tasmanians who served in the Great War. It is accompanied by another memorial (incorporating a sound-scape) to thirteen Victoria Cross recipients from Tasmania. For detailed information about the measurements, materials and design of the Cenotaph, visit the ANZAC Day website. Alternatively, head there yourself to see it in person, and enjoy the commanding views of Hobart’s city centre, Mount Wellington and the Derwent River.
To complete this unofficial walking tour, return to the designated starting point near the Railway Roundabout Fountain. We’ve heard Michael and Karen Goodwin-Roberts have relinquished their lease of the Taste Cafe at the Baha’i Centre of Learning on the corner of Brooker Avenue and the Tasman Highway. They are understandably too busy with their new Elizabeth Street and Castray Esplanade Food + Wine ventures. But it does beg the question… who’s taken over the cafe in the exotically-domed building now? We might just have to call in one day.
Have we convinced you that walking is the way to go? It’s not always possible we know, but it’s not a bad way to kill a few hours in Tasmania. Once upon a time, we would covet the enviable view of skydivers as they were gliding down to the Queens Domain in Hobart… but not any more. We’re happy keeping our feet planted firmly on the ground.
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