Comedian and architecture enthusiast Tim Ross treasures time in Tassie.
I love Hobart. There’s something about the crisp air and the water. It’s always been a fabulous place to visit, but it’s really finding itself in the sweet spot in terms of a place to get great food, and there are plenty of amazing places to stay.
I find my love for places through their natural beauty and architecture. Layers of history have always appealed to me. Hobart has a fascinating architectural history – what has been achieved there in isolation is incredibly interesting. The differences in our Australian cities are what makes them so interesting. Hobart is unmistakably itself. It’s a tiny town in some ways. That’s where its charm comes from.
A groundbreaking architect, Esmond Dorney, built a wonderful home called Dorney House for his family on top of Porter Hill, at Fort Nelson, south of the city. I featured it in the Designing a Legacy documentary. I performed in there and I suppose that was a great inspiration.
The thing about a city the size of Hobart is you can’t have a bad time. With bigger cities, you can really mess it up and go to the wrong places, but with a compact city, as long as you plan a little bit ahead, you can book into the best of the restaurants, wine bars, and cafés and have the best experiences and not be disappointed. You don’t have to be going from one suburb to another looking for one part of the city for a good time.
We like to stay at an amazing converted barn right in town – it’s on Airbnb (#thebarnTas) – by two award-winning architects, Liz Walsh and Alex Nielsen. We actually did a live show there as well.
I have also been staying at the Henry Jones Art Hotel on and off for years. There’s another place just out of town in West Hobart called Slow Beam. It’s a guesthouse showcasing Australian art and design. From a design point of view, it’s a knockout.
Every time I’m in Hobart I try to fit in a visit to the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona). I love to dip in and out of it. Sometimes I’ll go and have a quick look with my family or friends and have a bite to eat and a beer and then go back in. I often go by myself and spend a bit more time there. The most memorable visit was when my brother and I took my dad there. He was getting a bit tired so I went and grabbed a wheelchair, chucked him in that and he just loved it. Mona has really changed the city forever and I think, more broadly, it introduces people to galleries and art in an accessible way. It does drive me mad seeing people touching the artwork, but, you know, if you let people drink stubbies while they walk around, they’re occasionally going to touch something.
Esmond Dorney’s architecture excited Mona founder David Walsh, who named one of the museum’s luxury accommodation pavilions after him. Other architects – Robin Boyd, Roy Grounds, and Walter Burley Griffin – get a nod, too. It’s mind-boggling to think that Dorney was doing incredibly kooky Modernist glasshouses in Tasmania from the late 1940s. I believe that architecture has a spirit that can elevate us all and that what we build ultimately builds us.
My new book, Scorcher, is a short-story collection that revisits the classic summer holidays spanning decades, like a classic hits album. I think there’s an interesting correlation between how you holidayed as a kid, and how a lot of people try to recreate that with their own families in different ways.
We rarely went on holiday with other families, so ours were insular events. And certainly our family holidays – with wife Michelle and sons Bugsy and Bobby – now are very, very simple affairs. I’ve always loved those moments where you can watch the kids interact in the same way that you did. There’s nothing better than seeing their excitement, jumping up and down on the bed of a motel, just like I did as a kid.
This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com