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Drive or Tour to Port Arthur or Mt Wellington

Sydney
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148 posts
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Drive or Tour to Port Arthur or Mt Wellington

Hi,

Initially I thought I would rely on tours and buses when I get to Hobart in mid Sep as I am very bad with parallel parking so I avoid in Sydney as much as possible. However after talking to a colleague who visited Hobart recently, he told me it is very easy to drive around Hobart and it will be much cheaper than joining tours (even if I am travelling by myself)

If I rent a car I will probably rent it for the first day to head to Port Arthur right after my plane land at 9:30 on the morning. And the next morning drive to Mount Wellington (if weather is bad, then around Battery Point) and return the car.

My questions would be how difficult is the drive to Port Arthur and Mount Wellington. Some people commented the drive to and from Mount Wellington is quite scary, but how bad is it? How long does it take to get to both places? And how busy do the roads get on a weekday nights at Hobart CBD?

thanks,

Sonia

Hobart, Australia
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1. Re: Drive or Tour to Port Arthur or Mt Wellington

Hi Sonia,

I avoid driving in Sydney as well, but there's no comparison to Hobart! Where are you staying? You can probably avoid parallel parking totally if you pick your spot right. Parallel parking is mainly in the CBD, but you can usually choose a to park in a parking deck if you want to (although most/all close overnight). Some hotels have their own parking lots.

The drive from the airport to Pt Arthur is typical country driving - one lane in either direction, with overtaking lanes every now and then. I don't think it's a difficult drive at all and there's only a bit of traffic near Sorell around rush hours.

Rush "hour" is nothing by Sydney standards - instead of taking 5 minutes to drive from one side of the CBD to the other it might take 10 or 15. Occasionally there's a big back-up if there's an accident on the bridge over the Derwent, but it's nothing to worry about. I'd guess that the biggest hassle for visiting drivers in Hobart is our one-streets - there really isn't any rhyme or reason to which streets are one way and which aren't. Just look at a map first and keep your eyes open for one-way signs (3 lanes of cars headed straight at you are usually a dead give-way that you've turned the wrong way up a one way street!).

I've never thought of the drive up Mt Wellington as scary. Its a smallish road with lots of bends, as you might imagine since it climbs from about 200m to 1300m, but take it at the recommended speed and you'll be right. There are great views from the top, but my favourite thing to do on the mountain is walk on its slopes. If you stop at the Springs (a parking area about half way up) there are lots of walking tracks to follow.

South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
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26,730 posts
75 reviews
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2. Re: Drive or Tour to Port Arthur or Mt Wellington

I agree with all papnzan has said.

Don't worry about parallel parking. In Tassie the parking spaces are all just that little bit bigger than on the mainland so you can do a "Tasmanian park" which is to drive straight in to a parking spot. Only mainland immigrants try to do reverse parks down here. :)

Luigi

Brisbane
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3. Re: Drive or Tour to Port Arthur or Mt Wellington

Ditto everything papnzan has said. My partner was wary driving when we first went to Tassie but fell in love with driving there!! Tassie is of course no comparison to Sydney. Don't worry, you'll be fine... you'll have a great time!!

Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
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4. Re: Drive or Tour to Port Arthur or Mt Wellington

Hobart is very easy to drive around, I always have a car when visiting Tassie & its fab as your out of the city in a few minutes not like other cities in Australia.

The drive to Port Arthur is excellent even on a rainy day...however, I really didn't like the drive up to Mt Wellington the day I drove. The views are gorgeous on a fine day. The drive down was a little scary for me ... vertigo plus ! but it's worth it.

Sydney
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148 posts
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5. Re: Drive or Tour to Port Arthur or Mt Wellington

Thank you very much guys!

I am staying at Mercure Hobart, I had a look at google street view, there are street parking available, I guess I should be okay.

I have heard the drive to Port Arthur is beautiful, it is comforting to know the roads at Tassie is not as busy as Sydney. I just hate driving in Sydney at I used to drive to work everyday for 2 years and the peak time traffic was awful! Parking at Sydney CBD is also a nightmare.

I guess I am mainly concerned about the road conditions to Mount Wellington. Driving on narrow one way road I don't have too much problem, however if it snow up there that means the road would be very very slippery which can be dangerous. What is the weather like in Sep, would the road to Mount Wellington be closed if it is too dangerous? Another thing I worry about is the electronic interference which may affect ignition system.

South Pacific
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for Hobart, Tasmania
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26,730 posts
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6. Re: Drive or Tour to Port Arthur or Mt Wellington

It will only just be starting to warm up in September.

If there's snow on the road up Mount Wellington, the city council closes it until they have cleared it. So if there's snow you won't be driving up it anyway.

I'm not sure what the electronic interface issue is. Most countries in the world where cars are built are much colder than Tasmania. I don't think we're on the frontier of vehicle reliability down here.

Luigi

Sydney
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148 posts
8 reviews
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7. Re: Drive or Tour to Port Arthur or Mt Wellington

It is not the cold weather that is the problem, I found this on the Mount Wellington site:

wellingtonpark.org.au/assets/wellingtonpark_…

I had similar problem once when we were in Sydney we parked at a spot that is quite close to the telco towers and we couldn't open our cars using the remote. I guess it would be quite scary if I am alone up there, can't open my car and my mobile does not work too.

I will have a think when it is closer to the date whether to drive or tours, it may be raining on all the days when i am there then I guess I will probably spend my time at the shops, restaurants and MONA ... lol...

South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
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8. Re: Drive or Tour to Port Arthur or Mt Wellington

I guess that explains all the frozen bodies in the snow outside their cars up there. :)

Greater Sydney...
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9. Re: Drive or Tour to Port Arthur or Mt Wellington

Luigi,

I think that those bodies had been sent down the long-drop dunnies when we were there.

Hobart, Australia
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20 posts
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10. Re: Drive or Tour to Port Arthur or Mt Wellington

The problem with remote keys not working is only an issue in some spots on the summit - I've parked in the parking lot at the top lots of times and only once has the remote not worked. I just opened the door with the key the old fashioned way and once I was in the car I clicked the remote again to unlock the immobilizer - it worked fine close up. I don't think mobile phones are affected at all by the radio signals (and you're unlikely to ever be alone on the summit unless you go up after dark!).