A huge surprise up at Mount Wellington

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The temperature in Hobart turns chilly

We were up at 7:30 a.m. and soon down at breakfast ready for another huge buffet meal. We sat next to the Queensland couple who we had chatted too yesterday at breakfast. The wife was grumbling that her husband had told her not to bother bringing any warm clothes on this trip as she would not need them in Tasmania in January. He thought it would be too warm for winter woolies. Well his wife was cross she had no warm clothes. The weather had changed and it was decidedly chilly outdoors. The forecast was a maximum of 16 degrees Celsius. Fortunately we did bring warm clothes and a rain jacket. The cashier in the restaurant told us we might possibly see snow on Mt. Wellington if it stayed cold today. Wow! Mt. Wellington was exactly where we were going on our bus tour this morning. That piece of news got us very excited indeed.

 

The bus ride up to Mt. Wellington

After sending a quick email to the children we rugged ourselves up well and ventured outdoors.

Statue of Sir John Franklin Statue of Sir John Franklin in central Hobart

The weather was so different to yesterday when our tee-shirts were wet after our bus ride. We had a quick wander along nearby streets and then caught up with our bus driver for our 10 a.m. bus tour up to the mountain. As passengers climbed on board the mini-bus he told each of them it would be very cold up there today and it would also be blowing a gale. He added that we might even see snow. Goodie!

The bus driver was very knowledgeable so we enjoyed an interesting commentary on the journey. We saw outcrops of dolerite which I had never seen before. We also saw thousands of dead trees. they were burned in the devastating 1967 bush fires according to the bus driver.

The road was quite windy and we passed through several little villages. The driver explained how some houses were quite cheap up that way. If you had a house that was in the shadow of the mountain in the afternoon then it had less value than the same house situated elsewhere. I guess the afternoon warmth disappears too fast when the sun disappears so early.

The driver pointed out a bus shelter that was very unusual. It was created by the locals to be comfortable whilst you were waiting for the bus. It was a stone building that was reasonably well enclosed (for a bus shelter) and inside was a settee and books and magazines. All very cosy. At one stage there had even been a chandelier in there but someone stole it.

 

The summit of Mt. Wellington

The bus pulled up at the summit. Before we even got out of the bus we were pulling on our rain jackets. One step outside and it was immediately evident we needed the hoods pulled up over our heads too. It was blowing an icy gale. We first went into the enclosed visitor lookout building and found we could see for miles. The driver had told us that on a clear day you can see half way across Tasmania. We bravely stepped out of the enclosed lookout and headed down some steps to see the view from some other lookouts. Ian called out to me to come and have a look at what he had found. Sure enough he had spotted little pockets of snow in amongst the dolerite rocks. We figured this must have happened during the night. We both wondered what on earth the temperature was up there, especially wondering what the wind chill factor was.

Ian walking to the lookout room The walkway to the enclosed lookout
View across Hobart from the lookout The view from the lookout

As we climbed back up the steps we could feel drops of rain blasting against us. Then we realized it was snow, not rain! We raced back to the mini bus and leapt inside as the weather got much worse. Through the windows of the bus we could see the snow blowing across the car park. How fantastic it was to see snow. Where we live we never see snow - hence the great excitement. We could see everyone scrambling for their cars. Our fingers were icy and our noses were running. The bus driver commented that five days ago it was 42 degrees in Hobart. Tasmania certainly has changeable weather.

Snow at the peak Tiny pockets of snow
Vegetation at the peak Vegetation on the dolerite outcrops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow in the car park Snow blowing across the car park

 

We started the drive back down the mountain and the snow quickly stopped. We all chatted about the Chinese lad who was walking down the mountain. He came up on the bus and was hiking back down.

The day before when he had made his booking the driver had told him to make sure he wore warm clothes for this hike. I don't know if he ignored the driver or if he didn't have any warm clothes but we had seen him set off on his hike wearing shorts.

 

 

Next page: Back down to sea level

 

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View from the harbour
up to Mt. Wellington

View up to Mt. Wellington