Scenes from the top of Mount Wellington. Tasmania, Australia. 2010

Years ago I bought a book called, “The Royal Tour 1901, or the Cruise of H.M.S. Ophir; Being a Lower Deck Account of their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York’s Voyage Around the British Empire”, at a garage sale. It was a fascinating reproduction of a British seaman’s illustrated journal of his time as a sailor on the 1901 royal tour that visited Australia.

Unfortunately I gave it away a few years later.

The book was interesting to me because it was full of descriptions of Australia and Australian life from over a hundred years ago. Although the author Harry Price, didn’t have much good to say about Sydney (probably one of the more dangerous ports in the world at the time and who could blame him), where I live, his book is full of little glimpses of the naive and excited mindset of an ordinary person who felt they were part of a great empire. Like I said before, fascinating stuff.

One of my favourite parts of the book is when Harry decided to use his day of shore leave to walk from Hobart (Tasmania) to the top of Mount Wellington which looms over the town. 

Mount Wellington is further away (19kms or nearly 12 miles by road) than it looks from Hobart, and it’s surprisingly high (1,271 metres or 4,170 feet). An ambitious and very steep day-walk that Harry Price was ill prepared for.

Locals in Hobart can tell you that the summit is quite often covered with snow, even in the Summer.

Not only were Harry’s navy shoes totally inadequate for the task, it also snowed as he reached the summit and he wasn’t wearing warm clothing. A sodden and freezing Harry got back to his ship late at night and with bleeding feet. I remember as I read the book how I identified with Mister Price’s optimistic cluelessness. I totally understood the young Harry’s delusion of being 10 feet tall and bullet-proof. I’ve felt the same way in the past and it’s gotten me into what I like to describe as “character building experiences”.

It must be a testosterone thing.

When ever I hear people use the word “adventure”,  I’m always reminded of something I read years ago (I can’t remember who said it and I haven’t been able find out, but I was under the impression it might have been Mallory), that, “adventure is discomfort, remembered in comfort”. Although many people wish they had more adventure in their lives, I can honestly say from personal experience, that adventures are usually very unpleasant when they are happening, but of course they make for great dinner table chat. 

Nowadays I feel that adventures come from bad decisions and are to be avoided.

9 thoughts on “Scenes from the top of Mount Wellington. Tasmania, Australia. 2010”

  1. Walking to the top? No thanks I’ll leave that to Harry. They have a running race up there each year, not for the faint hearted, or the unhealthy slobs like me. I get weary driving it. I remember we went up there once in the middle of February on a beautifu sunny day, at least it was down in town. Tere was a few clouds around the top of the mountain. When we got to the top it was a total blizzard. The snow was coming down so thick that you could hardly see where you were driving, When we got back down to the gate that is at the road before you go that final bit to the summit. it was clear & sunny & just the summit that was like Antarctica

  2. What has happened to you? You have a great character albeit a few bruises and dents along the way! I’m the unadventurous one! Not you. My decision to not have adventures charts my rising age with (naturally) my adventuresome spirit spiking early. Now? You are lucky if you can talk me into night driving!! Seriously, can’t there be adventures without bleeding feet? I’m not padding to the kitchen to get my coffee without comfy shoes. Seriously, back in the day, if the westward exploration of the United States was dependent on women like me, no one would have crossed the Mississippi.
    “ooh..that water’s too wide…ooh, what if i fall in…ooh, that wagon is tippy…” “Is it time for lunch?”

    Hopeless, I tell ya’. Hopeless.

  3. Yup, I think the tendency toward “adventure” is an age related testosterone thing. The tendency to forget the bad parts and only tell the wonderful and exciting stories (over and over again) is also age related.
    Gorgeous photos here and in the previous post, razzbuffnik.

  4. Tony

    I think a lot of people presume that because Mt Wellington is in Australia that it will automatically be warm…….. but the locals, like yourself know better…. heh, heh, heh!


    Be careful, you’ve got the makings of becoming a shut-in.


    I think testosterone is the cause of so much trouble in the world. Sometimes it makes me laugh when I hear women complain about what it’s like to be subject to their hormones. Testosterone is such a monkey to have on one’s back.

  5. This made me smile, perhaps Harry had some Slovene blood in him – Mmm, a mountain – let’s climb it. Though then again, he would have the proper boots.

    As for adventures, it is easy to reject them once you had your share (and blog) of them. I guess it is still better to have a share of “discomfort remembered in comfort” that to “discomfortly long for them in comfort” all life long. It must be a part of growing up, and you have apparently reached that stage ;)))

  6. Grasswire

    I would’ve loved growing up in such a beautiful mountainous country as Slovenia. Lovely pointy mountains to hike in during the day and warm and cosy rustic restaurants to eat in at night. Discomfort AND comfort in the same day.

  7. I read about Chris McCandless’s adventures and misadventures in the Jon Krakauer book “Into The Wild” a few months ago: it was a good read. I don’t usually recommend books, but this one was interesting for some reason.

  8. Hi Razz,

    The view from Mt. Wellington is indeed awesome… brought back some good memories there,thanks! I do have to say that I’m surprised by your dread of adventure these days, though. I just got back from guiding 3 clients around north Laos; it was an adventure some days, and the four of us loved it! Broken transport, hotel booking mishaps, grounding out boats on the Nam Ou (Ou River) due to low water, having one of the clients come down with serious (but non-life threatening, thankfully) intestinal bug a full day away from a guesthouse or hotel, etc. All interspersed with gorgeous mountain and river scenery and hill tribe villages everywhere… OK, nothing seriously character building, just a nice mix of the good with the bad. Personally, I find the planned-to-the-nth-degree-so-nothing-can-happen trips, while maybe scenic, also forgetful; nothing like a bit of adhoc mayhem to liven up a trip, and these and other clients seem to agree with me!!!

    Hope life is grand,and the holidays calm and safe!!!

  9. Ross

    After reading “The Climb” by Anatoli Boukreev I lost all respect for Krakauer.


    Good to hear from you after so long.

    Nowadays with the benefit of hindsight I think that the whole concept of “adventure” is so silly. For example, back in 1974 I travelled down the Mekong from Luang Prabang to Vientiane on a small local cargo boat only about a fortnight after the Australian ambassador’s brother had been killed while on a bus doing the same trip. On part of the trip we were held at gun point for eight hours by the Pathet Lao. It wasn’t fun and now I think it was plain stupid.

    Yep, those days are definitely behind me.

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