In the far south-east of Australia, the small island state of Tasmania is known for its stunning natural beauty, high quality produce and friendly locals. Its capital Hobart is without question the beating heart of the state and offers plenty for the visitor to see and do.
Founded in the early 1800s as a penal colony, Hobart sits at the base of Mount Wellington and the city itself is home to some of Australia’s most well-preserved buildings, with dozens of them protected by the National Trust for their architectural and historic significance. Most of these can be seen in Macquarie and Davey Streets in the city centre, as well as down by the water, throughout the old warehouse precinct at Salamanca Place and in the quaint streets of the village at Battery Point.
Hobart is situated on the Derwent River Estuary, which flows out into the Southern Ocean and its maritime history can be further explored by strolling around the waterfront precinct to visit such sites as Kelly’s Steps, Customs House, the Maritime Museum of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
The waterfront is a lively place with converted dockyards and warehouses now hosting artists, craftspeople, galleries and shops, as well as fantastic bars, restaurants and cafés. A whole day could easily be spent wandering through Salamanca and Battery Point, enjoying the unique and diverse dining and shopping experiences that this part of Hobart has to offer.
Hobart’s most famous attraction is the internationally renowned Salamanca Market. This weekly market has been running for more than four decades and showcases the very best of Tasmania’s arts, craft, food and culture. Regional artisans offer their exquisite handmade objects, and local produce such as apples, oysters, wine and whisky can be tasted in the crisp morning sunshine.
Its constant presence as backdrop to the city means a trip up Mount Wellington should not be missed. The summit can be reached by foot, mountain bike or vehicle, and it offers spectacular views of the city and beyond. It’s a great introduction to the kind of rugged landscape that distinguishes this state.
Speaking of rugged, Hobart’s remote southerly location has made it the ideal gateway to Antarctica. Still today it provides essential equipment and support services to Australian and international crews working in Antarctica. Since the famous Douglas Mawson 1911 – 1914 expedition, Tasmania has had an important role in Antarctic exploration and, in recognition of this, the Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum was established in 2013. It details that historic expedition and provides great insight into Australian Antarctic relations.
Away from the city, there are plenty of other great experiences to enjoy. One of the most successful attractions established in recent years has been the multimillion-dollar ‘Museum of Old and New Art’, known to all as MONA. Located just north of Hobart on the grounds of the Moorilla Estate Winery, it has quickly established a reputation as one of the world’s great private collections. After your visit get a sense of local life and enjoy dinner in the atmospheric restaurant quarter in North Hobart.
Cascade, the oldest operational brewery in Australia is south of Hobart and, for beer lovers, is well worth a visit. Just nearby is the UNESCO-listed Cascade Female Factory, where you can discover how life was for female convicts in colonial Australia. On the way back, get some sand between your toes in the upmarket beach village of Sandy Bay.
Finally, don’t forget to plan for Hobart’s greatest annual events – the Taste of Tasmania and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Whatever it is you expect, a holiday in Hobart will surprise you with so much more.