When I went to school, Tasmania was best known as the ‘Apple Isle’. We also learned about convicts transported from England in the early nineteenth century to the other side of the world to serve time in the harshest of conditions in a penal colony located in remote wilderness at Port Arthur.

Until this weekend, I’ve never visited the place, and never wanted to. I didn’t need to be reminded of such deprivation with poor souls in chain gangs and leg irons, felling trees and cutting stone, and being punished with the lash.

But along comes my good friend Juanita, whose family has lived in Tasmania from around that time (as free settlers. I might add). Juanita has been ‘at me’ to come visit Tasmania’s top tourist attraction, the new Hobart Museum of Old and New Art known as MONA located in vineyards on an isthmus of land on the banks of the Derwent river. 400,000 guests visited in the first year!

But as an absolute highlight, Juanita has also been off chatting to Jethro, the Chief Pilot of Tasmanian Air Adventures, to enquire about taking our little party of twelve family and friends by seaplane to land and take an inspection tour of the Port Arthur Historic Sites.

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