Travel Guide: What To Do in Hobart Tasmania

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Hobart, Australia

Photo credit: Wikimedia.org.

If you’ve never been to Hobart, you’re missing out on one of Australia’s tourism treasures. Whether it’s natural beauty, delicious food and drink, vibrant art and culture, or a rocking night life, Hobart has it all in abundance, and so much more.

This hidden gem at the southern end of our island state is a treasure-trove of wonderful experiences, must-see sites and incredible adventures. If you only have 48 hours in Hobart, you simply won’t be able to fit everything in. But this list will give you the best chance of seeing the best of the best, and leave you salivating at the prospect of a return visit as soon as possible.

Mt Wellington

Like Christ The Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro, Mt Wellington casts its enormous shadow over the city below. For a breathtaking view over Hobart and for miles beyond, this should be your first port of call once you’ve dumped your bags in your hotel room.

Nature lovers should be excited by the hiking and cycling opportunities, particular the 5-6 hour return hikes via Fern Glade Track, Radford’s Track, Pinnacle Track, the Zig Zag Track and The Organ Pipes Walk. Buses (447, 448 or 449) from the city drop you off at the start/finish point. Those who prefer letting their vehicles do the work can drive all the way to the summit for their viewing pleasure instead.

On a clear day, you won’t experience many better views over such a scenic city anywhere in the world. On a cloudy day, you’ll feel like you’re floating in the sky high above the clouds, wondering where the city below has gone. Either way it’s an amazing experience you won’t forget any time soon.

For those with an adventurous streak, you can join the Mt Wellington Descent tour that drives you to the top, before mounting a pushbike for the thrilling 1,271m decent back to the city below.

Salamanca Place

This gorgeous street filled with multi-storey sandstone warehouses is home to some of Hobart’s best bars, restaurants and cafes. Located next to Constitution Dock, it’s the perfect place for a short stroll.

Take in some of the beautiful shops selling quintessential Tasmania products, rare books and contemporary fashion items, then grab a bite to eat and maybe a drink or two at one of the upmarket establishments. And if you’re lucky enough to be around on a Saturday morning, the streets come alive with over 300 stalls selling arts, crafts, food, local produce and homewares in the famous Salamanca Markets.

The Salamanca Arts Centre is home to Hobart’s impressive creative arts scene, featuring shops, galleries and performance venues that fill this area of the city with life and colour. Check out their schedule and you may be in for a treat during your stay.

When you’re done enjoying everything Salamanca Place has to offer, it’s time to climb Kelly’s steps roughly halfway along the strip, and make your way up to the cosy suburb of Battery Point.

Battery Point

Take a two-hour self-guided walking tour through the streets and laneways of Battery Point, and get a sense of what life in this fishing village was like in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It’s now a fashionable suburb given its proximity to Salamanca Place and the point overlooking the River Derwent, plus the mix of cute fisherman’s cottages and beautiful waterside mansions.

On your travels stop at the Narryna Heritage Museum to experience what early colonial life was like, the St George Anglican Church (the highest spot in Battery Point), and Arthurs Circus in particular. This circular street is flanked by the original cottages that were built there in the late 1830’s and early 1840’s.

When you need a drink, stop off at the Shipwright Arms Hotel, a watering-hole still frequented by local and visiting yachtsmen and mariners.

MONA (Museum of Old and New Art)

A visit to MONA will challenge everything you ever believed a museum should be. It’s daring, eccentric, provocative, disturbing and exhilarating all at the same time. The $75million privately owned museum is located on a peninsula 12km north of the city centre. For the complete experience, take a ferry from the Brooke Street Pier at Constitution Dock and enjoy the views while sampling some of the local wines and beers.

Once inside you’ll be captivated by the no-holds-barred exhibitions, as well as the extraordinary building itself. The architecture is worth the visit alone. Enjoy a drink at the bar, have a meal at Source, the impressive on-site restaurant, or stay overnight in the ultra-sleek Pavilions.

Cascade Brewery

It’s worth the trip out to the Cascade Brewery just to view the building itself. Australia’s oldest brewery, the imposing gothic-style building is set within beautiful gardens right next to the picturesque Hobart Rivulet.

Choose from a couple of different tours based on your motives (one is family friendly, i.e. no tastings), and find out about the company’s history, check out the inner workings of a world class brewery, and of course sample some of the finest beer you’ll find anywhere in the world.

North Hobart

When it’s time for dinner followed by a beer or three at a local pub, it’s hard to go past Elizabeth Street in North Hobart. This is Hobart at its multicultural best, and you’ll be able to feast on foods from right around the world in the many restaurants and cafes that line this strip.

Once you’ve satisfied your hunger and you’re ready to take on some of the local night life, head to Hobart’s best live music venue, the Republic Bar & Café. The bar staff here and at all venues in the city will have RSA Online Tasmania accreditation, so you can feel safe in the knowledge their focus is on making sure everyone has a great time. Alternatively, if taking in a movie is more your scene, the beautiful art-house State Cinema is right on your doorstep.

Time to book your ticket…

The reality is you’ll need far more than 48 hours to fully appreciate everything Hobart has to offer, but these suggestions will get you off to a very good start. If you’re in town during the Christmas and New Year period, you can experience the city come alive as the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race finishes in Constitution Dock, and the incredible week long Taste of Tasmania Festival celebrates all things local food and wine.

The city also hosts Big Bash League cricket games, music festivals and the Hobart International Tennis Tournament during the summer months, while AFL takes over in the winter with North Melbourne playing several home games at the charming Bellerive Oval.

Next time you’re wondering where to go for your holiday, make sure you give serious consideration to Hobart. You won’t be disappointed.

Robert Schrader
Robert Schrader is a travel writer and photographer who's been roaming the world independently since 2005, writing for publications such as "CNNGo" and "Shanghaiist" along the way. His blog, Leave Your Daily Hell, provides a mix of travel advice, destination guides and personal essays covering the more esoteric aspects of life as a traveler.
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