Hobart with Kids – Botanical Gardens

So it’s Monday morning and I could tell my hunch from the night before was right. The boys (and I!) were in need of a little bit of a rest day. BUT this was our last day in Hobart, so I didn’t want to waste it resting! If we were staying for another week I would definitely have just chilled out at home all day. We don’t have a TV with reception (nor a DVD player, nor wifi to watch movies on the iPad), so I don’t know what we would have DONE on a home day, but in the end we didn’t need to anyway.

We headed out in the morning after a slow start (I made us porridge for breakfast – another good meal to make yourself to stretch your travel budget), and went to the botanical gardens. We were there around 9:30, but there was a fair bit of fog today and I couldn’t really see anything! Meanwhile I had crying babies in the car, and I made an executive decision to google play centres thinking the boys needed a bit of proper fun, not just always walking around looking at stuff. We found one not too far away and headed there for the morning. It was only $7.50 to get in (for all of us!) This was Eli’s first time to actually go INTO the playground (in the past he has been a sleepy baby who either sits with me, feeds, or sleeps in the pram!), and he quite liked it. I’m sure once he’s crawling he’ll like it even more. :)

Lior loved the play centre too, and wanted to go into the big kids area. He usually does this at our play centre at home, so I didn’t think too much of it. I grabbed some wedges and a drink and sat down with Eli. I could see Lior up at the very top looking down at the other kids, and could every now and again here a cry, but when I looked up at Lior he was always fine so I assumed it was another kid who sounded like Lior. Anyway, eventually I decided to go over to the playground and actually have a look because… mummy instinct and he is definitely NOT fine! He is actually bawling his eyes out up there, presumably because he can’t get onto this weird rope thing with a trampoline at the bottom (which I’m sure he would hate it if he went on, but he still wanted to try it). Anyway, this was a new play centre and I had NO idea how to get up to where he was. I had to quickly dump Eli down in the little kids area and hope he didn’t scream also, and just run up the first stairs I could find and navigate my way around to get to him. Of course then I got to a part of the play centre that I didn’t think I would a) fit through or that would b) support my weight, so I had to convince him to go through this precarious tunnel to get to me instead. In the end he did that and we got down to the bottom. We had a cuddle and he was fine. Actually, really fine. He saw the ball pit and wanted to go in there which I let him because… it’s a ball pit. What could go wrong in a ball pit? Well, let me tell you what could go wrong in a ball pit…

I went and collected Eli and sat with him for a while in the little kids area while Lior played in the ball pit. I went over to ask him if he wanted to eat some of the wedges, and as I walked over I saw him standing in the middle of ball pit with a bunch of other kids sitting round the edges. Then all of a sudden I see this small kid (similar age to Lior) who is standing up on the top of the ball pit entrance LAUNCH himself into the middle of the ball pit and LAND ON LIOR. Of course Lior was already a bit sensitive so he was crying, and I was so ropable. I went a bit mental at this poor little kid and demanded he say sorry. But then I wasn’t even sure he COULD say sorry, so I got angry at the big kids sitting on the sides because… anger. And I told them that they should be looking out for little kids. They had these stunned looks on their faces, and I just gave up on it all and gave Lior a big huggle and we went and ate wedges. 

So my relaxing morning at the play centre was not so relaxing!! You can’t plan these things all the time I guess. Both boys fell asleep in the car and I decided to go home and let them have a proper sleep there. I was confident I could transfer Lior to the bed and if Eli stirred as I brought him in I would have a nap too. His night sleeps have been absolutely shocking (we’re talking about 10+ wakings a night) while we’ve been away, so I could do with a little nap myself!

Surprisingly (or not, if you expect these things to never work out) Lior woke as soon as I stopped the car, and did NOT want to go back to sleep, but I convinced him to just sit on the bed while I got Eli out of the car. Eli hadn’t totally fallen asleep yet, but I brought him in and breastfed him to sleep, and under the guise of “putting Eli to sleep” I sung some bedtimes songs, and Lior had to be an “example” and show Eli how to lie down and close his eyes. This works EVERY TIME. The best. They had a huge sleep together – over 2 hours, and in the spirit of our rest day I let them sleep the whole time. We headed in the car to grab lunch and then finally made it back to the botanical gardens!!

The botanical gardens were great! If you’re in Hobart with kids then I definitely recommend it! Really, really beautiful, and the kids loved it. It’s a great free activity, and was really inspiring. We loved the Sub-Antarctic plant house – Lior especially. He was walking around in there and thought it was cool that it was so… cool! I found the vegetable garden really inspiring, and the succulents and catus. Very cool.

I used the double pram and pushed the boys around, and I kinda regret it. The botanical gardens were a lot more hilly than I expected, and therefore it was a bit of a pain to be pushing around the double pram. If I did this again I would have Eli in the ergo and just let Lior walk, as once he was in a better mood that’s all he did anyway. It was great to spend some time just walking and getting Lior to find different colours, shapes, and plants.

After the botanical gardens we headed home. I had promised Lior a treat at our local bakery – Jackman & Mcross but it was closed for renovations! Ah! We went for a big walk to find the other one only to realise that it was also being renovated! Bummer. We went to a different bakery - Daci & Daci, which wasn’t as good. All up it was a funny old day, but I would definitely recommend those botanical gardens. :)

Tasmania with Kids – Port Arthur and Tasman National Park

 hobart to port arthur

On Sunday we headed out to another recommended breakfast place called Environs. I had the eggs benedict (with mushrooms instead of bacon) and it was delicious. I haven’t had eggs bene that good in AGES. Unfortunately the coffee was only warm (and therefore cooled quickly). There were quite a few families in there, so we found it to be reasonably kid friendly. I always recommend if you’re just going out to eat, don’t bring a pram. One group sitting near us had a double pram and a single pram (two families), and it was just a bit unnecessary (from what I saw, though I obviously don’t know the family or what it would have been like for them without it) and a pain for the staff and other patrons. While we were having breakfast we gave Lior the camera to take some photos and discovered the battery was run out! Eek! So Luke went home (about a 3 minute walk) and put the camera on to charge, and then we took the charger with us so we could recharge again during lunch.

We headed out to Port Arthur mid morning, and it was such a beautiful drive. It’s about an hour and a half from Hobart, and we managed to time it well with both the boys sleeping on the way. I could really see why Tasmanians love the environment so much. It was beautiful, and all around us!

Port Arthur was so much more beautiful then I thought it would be. I mean, I didn’t think it would be ugly, I was just generally unprepared for its beauty, having only really read about it and not seen many photos before. It has a fascinating convict history, and was a great place to visit. We just got the cheapest tickets for entry which gave us a boat cruise around the area to see some small islands just nearby that were used in convict times, and a walking tour. The boat cruise was great, and very informative, and it was great to see Port Arthur from the sea perspective. The walking tour was also really informative, though our children didn’t really want to participate! Lior complained and didn’t want to sit in the pram, and Eli cried and was tired. We ended up just letting Lior run around wherever, and I fed Eli while he sat in the ergo and we walked around listening. He went to sleep pretty quickly thankfully! 

One of my favourite buildings was the church. It was just stone walls and that’s it – space for the windows and doors, but there were none, and not even a roof. They must have all been wood, and a lot of the buildings in Port Arthur had no roofs as a bushfire had been through a long while ago and burned all the wooden roofs. It was so beautiful. I usually don’t like churches as they are full of awful religious icons I don’t care for in the slightest. Such an eyesore at times. But this church was beautiful. You could just appreciate the architecture and worship in peace if you wanted too. Of course it’s not a proper used church anymore, but that doesn’t have to stop you. ;-)

I could definitely imagine this place in convict times, and I think it would be a great experience for older children to really spark their imaginations.

We ended up just having lunch at the information centre there because of the power points (to recharge the camera, remember?!), and in the end I’m glad we did. I mean, the food was average, but on our way out we realised there weren’t many other options anyway. We did pack food for the kiddies which was a good move, because as you can imagine the food was not particularly cheap.

After Port Arthur we headed into the Tasman National Park. We wanted to see a few recommend sites and ended up seeing the Tasman Arch, Devil’s Kitchen and the Blowhole. We could have gone for a bit more of a bush walk further into the national park, but it was getting late, so we were glad we saw what we did! In true “Lior” form he made friends with another little boy along the path while were at the blowhole. I think the other boy must have been the same age as Lior, as they had about the same level of communication skills. When the other mother said, “give him a hug” they both immediately knew what to do and gave each other a big hug!! So cute!

The Tasman Arch was SO much bigger than I expected!! I really felt quite surprised seeing it. The height we were looking down on, especially at the Devil’s Kitchen was just… breathtaking (literally for me – I HATE heights!!).

It was another beautiful drive home, and all three boys fell asleep while I drove.

We definitely recommend both Port Arthur and the Tasman National Park if you’re in Tasmania with kids, and if you can grab a hire car while you’re in Hobart, this is definitely a great day out. :)