I much prefer to take the ferry from Melbourne to Devonport, because that offers 10 hours of downtime to read up on a place. The Spirit of Tasmania is a great way to travel back and forth. It was also great being on a ship for the first time as a passenger. For years I worked onboard and had my run of the ship, but this time I was turned away from a crew area onboard. Perhaps it was force of habit and I thought it would be a shortcut, but they politely reminded me that I was but a mere passenger. So onto Devonport I went.
And what a sore sight Devonport Tasmania is. Let me preface this by saying that I gave it a good honest attempt at being a new favorite place of mine even after reading the rather scathing review given in the 2010 Lonely Planet Australia Guidebook. To prove my point I would like to quote a few key phrases.
"Locals line the riverbanks to watch, wave and hope that something bright, special and glamorous from the Australian mainland might stay here to cultivate and grow in Devonport". Devonport must be a friendly place... right?
"Devonport remains a sedentary mildly menacing place: speeding rednecks in muscle cars hurl abuse at unsuspecting pedestrians before lining up at the McDonalds Drive Thru". This certainly can't be true, I thought.
And then I arrived
Yes, locals were parking their cars to watch the ship come into port and wave us in. I thought it was charming. Then upon exiting the ship, I realized the ferry which crosses the Mersey River from the ship to the pier right into the middle of town had shut down, only an hour ago. This isn't careful planning nor is it welcoming any visitors to the town who don't have vehicles of their own. So we suited up our backpacks and walked about 5km across the bridge and into town.
Poor planning wasn't what turned me off of Devonport though. It was specifically the two gentlemen drinking alcoholic energy drinks while standing outside the petrol station at 6:30pm as we walked past with our backpacks on. They asked for cigarettes and when I had none they called continued shouting things at our direction. After some murmered garbling, and our nonresponse to it, they began calling us names, names including my new name, Hippie-boy. And from that day forth I was turned off of Devonport.
Before leaving D-BagPort the next morning, we had to meet the bus in front of the visitors center and I didn't feel any of the postcards for sale did the town justice, so here are a few I have made to help you get a sense of the place.
So enjoy going to Devonport, because it is actually such a rewarding feeling to leave. The only sad part is that we have to go back to spend the night before leaving the island for good. Can't wait to see what my name calling friends are up to.
Alas, there is one pearl in this sea of turds that is Devonport, and that would be Molly Malone's Irish Pub and Accommodation. Not only is this a happening place to have a beer, a bite to eat and a gamble, but it is by far the best value for accommodation thus far in Australia. The two of us got a double room for $40. That includes tea and they didn't charge us for linens.
The only downside of Molly Malone's is that it is located in Devonport.
Why can't there be a Molly Malone's in Every city we travel to?
First Impressions of Melbourne