WHERE IS IT?
Nestled in the foothills of towering Mt Wellington, Tassie’s capital and largest city sits at the entrance to the Derwent River. With a population of about 217,000, when it comes to capital cities, Hobart is small. Located in Australia’s most southern state, it’s so far south that if you were to sail south from Hobart, the next stop would be Antarctica – there is virtually nothing but ocean between the continents.
WHAT IT’S LIKE?
There’s no doubt about it, Hobart has grown up, and the rest of Australia and the world have finally taken notice. Where else can you see daring art, mountain bike down a hill, and eat fish and chips at a dock in the same day?
Settled in the early 1800’s, Australia’s second oldest city is a feast for history buffs. With fine sandstone buildings and an abundance of convict history, such as the Cascades Female Factory, the heritage architecture sits well with the new. Historic waterfront warehouses line Salamanca Place and Battery Point is deemed the best-preserved colonial-era suburb in Australia.
Although not renowned for it’s fine weather, Hobart will reward you with it’s chilled vibe, fresh seafood and produce, whiskey, craft beer bars (locally distilled and brewed), and world-class restaurants. With much of the island’s wilderness World Heritage listed and coupled with its proximity to the South Pole, you’ll be hard pressed to find fresher air!
WHERE TO STAY
Whatever your budget, you’ll find somewhere to lay your head. From caravan parks and budget backpacker hostels to holiday homes, bed and breakfasts and swanky five-star properties, a quick web search is bound to feed up options aplenty!
WHAT TO DO WHILE YOU’RE THERE
Where do you start? The city is jam-packed with historical, cultural and outdoor delights, some of which include:
Salamanca Markets and Battery Point:
One of the best outdoor markets in Australia, Salamanca Markets are held every Saturday at Salamanca Place, selling local produce and locally made goodies. It feels as though everyone in Hobart turns up on market day to enjoy the festival atmosphere. While you are there, wander through the winding streets of the historic precinct, Battery Point, and discover Tasmania’s oldest houses and the remnants of the old battery of defence guns. Do the ghost tour if you dare!
MONA (Museum of Old and New Art):
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) certainly makes a statement. Allocate a whole day (you’ll need it), jump on the Mona Roma Fast Ferry that motors you up the Derwent River and deposits you at MONA’s door. The weird and whacky artwork is something to behold, and yes, there is a poo machine, and yes, a wall of plaster casts of female private parts! Once out of the subterranean depths (the gallery is built underground), grab a Moo Brew beer or a glass of Moorilla Wine (the local brews from the property), and laze about on a beanbag in the sun.
Be prepared – even in summer it can snow on Mt Wellington’s 1,270m summit! On a clear day there are spectacular views of the city below, across to the east, and over the Derwent estuary. The surrounding Wellington Park is an adventure playground, geared up for rock climbing, hiking, horse riding, mountain bike riding, even four-wheel driving.
Events and Festivals:
Hobart knows how to do festivals. Take the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht race on Boxing Day! A few days after sailing out of Sydney Harbour, cheer on the winners as they sail up the Derwent River docking at Constitution Docks. At the same time feast at Taste of Tasmania, held conveniently in the same location and at the same time. Mofo summer music festival and Dark Mofo winter festival, which includes a nude winter solstice swim, are presented by MONA, so expect to be served up the zaniest music festivals on the planet.
Cascade Brewery Tour:
Tour Australia’s oldest brewery that nestles in the shadow of Mt Wellington. Established in 1824, it used the pure water running off Mt Wellington to brew it’s famous Cascade Beer. The tour concludes with a choice of beer tastings, as well as Mercure Cider and soft drinks. Who would have thought?
MONA – Museum of Old and New Art
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Taste of Tasmania