Hobart - That Tasmanian paradise you’ve heard about but never visited. I spent most of my life here and know it as well as the back of my hand! I recommend that you stay at least a week to get a good feel of the place. Here are some tips for a great visit to Hobart.
Book a car - If you’re wondering whether you’ll need to book a car – I’d suggest you book one for at least some of the time. If you’re staying in the city you can get shuttle buses or public transport to some sights, but it will make it a whole lot easier if you have a car as most sights have parking on-site or nearby.
Dress warmly! Tasmania’s climate is quite different to other parts of Australia. If you’ve ever heard the term ‘four seasons in a day’, well that probably originated in Tasmania. You’ll wake up and see a beautiful clear sky, only to find it turn to wind and rain in a half hour. Bring layered clothing, and a (very) warm jacket, even in Summer! Also bring walking shoes, you have to go on at least one short bushwalk.
Salamanca and Franklin Wharf
Every Saturday, Salamanca Market takes over Salamanca Place until mid-afternoon. Don’t miss it, the market is full of quirky Tasmanian gifts and homewares, local food stalls, and handmade clothing and is within walking distance of most city hotels.
A walk along the Franklin Wharf area will give you some beautiful waterfront views across the Derwent River. Finish in Hunter St which features some of the oldest buildings in Hobart.
Drive to the summit (on a clear day) for spectacular views of Hobart and the Derwent River. There are also a number of different bushwalks for all fitness levels, my favourite being the Organ Pipes track – an intermediate track that takes you from The Chalet (1000 metres) to the base of the Organ Pipes cliff face.
Cadbury Visitor Centre
This magical chocolate factory used to run some awesome tours where they took you through the factory, but unfortunately now it’s just a visitor centre and the seconds shop. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re chocolate obsessed then it’s still worth going to. The $4 entry fee includes a few samples and the seconds shop is full of very cheap chocolate. Take $20 and go nuts.
A 25 minute drive from the city will get you to historical Richmond. Featuring Australia’s first convict built bridge, an old gaol, a fence maze, a collection of quaint cafes and antique stores, and a killer lolly shop. You’ll also pass some rolling green hills and some of Tasmania’s finest vineyards on the drive there.
Moorilla and MONA
This beautiful winery set on a peninsula overlooking the river is home to Moorilla wines and Moo Brew beer, and of course the Museum of Old and New Art. Founded by Tasmanian millionaire David Walsh, MONA is the the largest privately funded museum in Australia. On top of the amazing architecture of this museum (built into the side of a cliff), you’ll see some weird and wonderful exhibitions that may freak you out a little. Entry fee is $20.
Want to get up close to some Tasmanian wildlife? Bonorong Park is about 30 minutes drive from the city and is host to Tassie Devils, Wombats, Possums, Kangaroos, and a bunch of local birds. The best thing about it is that it’s NOT a zoo, it’s a recovery centre for injured or orphaned wildlife and a breeding centre for endangered species. The animals are housed in large natural enclosures and their keepers really (really!) care about their wellbeing. The $25 entry fee includes an hour-long guided tour and some pellets to hand feed the kangaroos.
DAY TRIPS / OVERNIGHT TRIPS
Wander through the World Heritage Port Arthur historic site to get an up close look at one of Australia’s first convict settlements. The $35 entrance fee includes a half hour harbour cruise, and if you’re feeling brave you can book yourself a ghost tour. The site is about 1.5 hours drive from Hobart, though it will take a little longer if you stop at the pretty coastal spots along the way.
Freycinet National Park
About 2.5 hours drive from Hobart is the spectacular Freycinet National Park. Stop at Kate’s Berry Farm on the way for some delicious pancakes with fresh berries for lunch. You can stay overnight in the super cute township of Coles Bay which has great views of ‘The Hazards’ mountain range, or the quaint seaside town of Bicheno, which features penguin tours, a blowhole, and some gorgeous coastal scenery.
The incredible Wine Glass Bay can only be seen by foot or boat. Wine Glass Bay lookout is an easy 60-80 minute return bushwalk. A little more challenging (but rewarding!) is continuing the walk to Wine Glass Bay Beach, which is about 2-2.5 hours return.
FOOD AND DRINK
No trip to Tasmania is complete without trying a selection of the rich and delicious local cheeses. You can find them at Salamanca Market, grocery stores, or order platters at restaurants. My personal favourites are King Island Dairy Double Brie, Ashgrove Bush Pepper, and Ashgrove Tassie Trio.
Tasmania has an abundance of gourmet seafood and is especially famous for its oysters, atlantic salmon, and crayfish. Mures at Constitution Wharf is a popular choice, but any seafood restaurant will serve a variety of fresh seafood so take your pick and dig in.
For something a little more casual, get your hands on some greasy fish and chips. The Fish Bar at Bellerive Beach or the Flippers punt in Constitution Wharf are local favourites.
Valhalla Ice Cream
Available at many local grocery stores or cafes, Valhalla Ice Cream is everyone’s go-to treat on those rare sunny days. With flavours like Blackberry Cheesecake, Christmas Pudding, or Jamaican Coffee, how could you resist? Get a cone or buy a 1L tub to take home and enjoy.
The Cascade Brewery in South Hobart has a magnificent backdrop of Mt Wellington and runs tours every day for $25. Try and do the tour on a weekday as you’ll be more likely to see the brewery in action. If you just want to try the beer, head to the visitor centre where you can order tastings of all their beers and ciders.
The Lark Distillery is the place to go for whiskey. Situated in a charming old waterfront building, the cellar door features barrel tables and has an entire wall of whiskies available for purchase. You can get a flight of 4 whiskey tastings for $10.
Surrounding Richmond are some of Tasmania’s best wineries, including Frogmore Creek, Meadowbank, and Puddleduck (pictured). If you want a fancy lunch with your wine, Frogmore Creek and Meadowbank have some top notch on-site restaurants. Puddleduck does a ‘reverse BYO’ which means you bring your own food to eat in their outdoor seating area while they bring you tastings of wine. What better way to spend an afternoon.
Do you have any tips or questions about visiting Hobart? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you!