When I lived in Sydney, Tasmania seemed like such an unreachable, far-off land. I was well aware that it was no less accessible than most of the mainland – I mean, it wasn’t like I was about to hop in my car and drive to Broome or Adelaide. Still, it felt more distant by virtue of being technically a separate island.
Now that I’m in Melbourne, it seems so much more readily accessible. Obviously, it’s geographically much closer, but it’s also something to do with the awareness that I could conceivably drive there by taking my car over on the boat. I could have done that from Sydney as well, I realise, but it’s all about perspective.
I guess it’s just something people talk about more down here. For example, one of my colleagues was just talking about heading down to that big midwinter festival at the art gallery in Hobart, with the point being that she first needed to get her station wagon to a mechanic. Hobart, I suddenly realised, is somewhere you can drive yourself to for a short getaway when you live down here, as opposed to a destination that requires getting on a plane.
It’s true that there’s a bit of a couple of hours’ trek between Launceston (where you get dropped off, roughly) and Hobart, but you could certainly set out from Melbourne for a pleasant day’s travel and arrive in time for a leisurely dinner in Hobart. Car service scheduling seems like a small price to pay to pull off an interstate trip that doesn’t require (a) a gruelling slog on the highway or (b) having to set foot in another godforsaken airport. In Australia, this is quite a rarity.
I’m going to have to take advantage of this geographic situation pretty soon, before I become one of those people who goes on about how great Melbourne is but never actually avails themselves of all it has to offer.