Tasmania’s capital city sits comfortably in nature, but don’t let the water, mountain and trees fool you – Hobart also abounds with amazing art, food and wine.
- Delve underground at MONA
- Kayak around Battery Point
- Watch the sunrise from Mount Wellington
- Shop at Salamanca Market
- Cruise to Bruny Island
Cradled between Mount Wellington and the Derwent River, Hobart is Australia’s second oldest capital city, and it wears its history well. The streets are lined with impressive Georgian sandstone architecture, but it’s the water and the mountain that really define this Tasmanian city. Whether you’re wandering the docks, visiting the riverside MONA art gallery, or staring down on to Hobart from the summit of Mount Wellington, this is a place where nature and urban life still happily coexist.
Where to eat
As the capital of an island state, Hobart unsurprisingly turns out seafood of the highest quality. On the city’s long summer evenings, join the locals at the line of floating fish punts on Constitution Dock. Next door is Mures, a local institution that serves up seafood caught from its own fishing vessel.
Hobart is said to have more coffee shops per capita than any other Australian city, and CBD workers in the know sate their caffeine cravings at Pilgrim Coffee. It’s worth a stop at the Springs on the slopes of Mount Wellington for a coffee at Lost Freight, served out of a shipping container beside the start of a number of the mountain’s walking and mountain biking trails.
Cafes cluster around Salamanca and North Hobart, but a local favourite is the retro furnished Ginger Brown in South Hobart, dishing up the likes of pistachio and honey granola or pan fried haloumi. Warm Hobart evenings tend to finish at Preachers, a backyard style bar in the lanes of Battery Point, pouring from a long list of craft beers, ciders and local wines.
Where to play
Hobart’s big ticket attraction is the famed MONA gallery, cut into riverside cliffs in the northern suburbs, and getting here can be half the experience. From Hobart’s floating Brooke Street Pier, hop aboard MONA’s camouflaged covered catamaran, or hire a bike at the pier to join local riders along the flat Intercity Cycleway, which passes almost by MONA’s door – it’s about a 12km ride to MONA from the city.
The best views of Hobart come from the water, and Hobart’s best time on the water comes with a Hobart City Paddle tour with Roaring 40°s Kayaking. These short kayak trips round the historic Battery Point and weave among yachts in the city docks before pulling up at the dockside fish punts for a floating feed of fish and chips.
The view over Hobart from Mount Wellington is spectacular, and sunrise and sunset are the times when you’ll find local photographers angling for that perfect photo from the summit. The most exciting way back off the mountain is the Mount Wellington Descent, a cycling tour that rolls from the summit down to the shores, 1272m below.
Where to splurge
Why be content with dining on seafood when you can have a complete ocean to plate experience with a decadent Tasmanian Seafood Seduction day trip? Operated by Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, one of Tasmania’s most awarded tour operators, the trips depart from the Hobart docks in one of Pennicott’s signature yellow boats, zipping south through the Derwent Estuary and into the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
It’s a beautiful journey all of its own, exploring the Hobart coast and the shoreline of Bruny Island, but the day tastes at least as good as it looks. Along the journey, the boat, which has an enclosed cabin and luxurious leather seats, stops at the leases of an oyster farm to pull up oysters, which are shucked and eaten fresh. The boat also visits a salmon farm, and the guide will dive to catch fresh abalone and sea urchins. All of these seafood treats are barbecued on the deck of the custom made boat, and indulged with a selection of premium Tasmanian wines, ciders and craft beers. Seafood comes no fresher or better.
Where to stay
Pressed between Hobart’s city centre and the restaurants and market at Salamanca, the Travelodge Hotel Hobart has a prime location with rooms that peer across the city rooftops or snatch glimpses of Mount Wellington – the seven executive rooms look over St David’s Park to the Derwent River. If you’re heading out of Hobart on an early morning departure, the Travelodge Hotel Hobart Airport is a pocket of peace little more than a kilometre from the airport. The 78 rooms offer a quiet space, with artwork from local artists lining the walls of the hotel hallways and lounge, with its Flight restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The stay and fly option is a bargain – stay a night and you can park at the hotel for $5 for the first week and $5 a day thereafter.
NRMA members can also save on car hire in Hobart at SIXT with 15% off daily car hire rates and a free upgrade.
Image credit: Poon Wai Nang; Tourism Tasmania