Current ‘hot destination’ Hobart is a gorgeous, small city with attractions enough to fill a very pleasant weekend. Girt by sea and the Derwent River, with historical quarters preserving the city’s convict and pioneer heritage, Hobart is a great city to explore on foot especially around the docks, CBD and Salamanca Place.
For the city itself, three days is probably the minimum and if possible one of those days should be a Saturday, so you can spend the morning at the lively Salamanca Markets, with its great food, local crafts and buzzy atmosphere. Another half or full day can be devoted to the incredible Museum of Old and New Art in Berriedale – about a twenty minute drive from central Hobart, or take the MONA ferry from Constitution Dock.
If you choose to make Hobart your base for a longer holiday, the city is within striking distance of a number of smaller towns and other attractions that make for excellent day or half day trips.
Must Do in Hobart
1. Salamanca Market
Every Saturday, rain or shine, Salamanca Place overflows with stalls run by producers from all over Tasmania. No need to eat breakfast or lunch – you will find both amongst the market or the cafes around the market.
Some of my favourite purchases from this market have been unique jewelry, Tasmanian native wood crafts, kids clothes and even a brightly embroidered leather ‘rug’ from Rajasthan, which takes pride of place in our library.
Not in Hobart on a Saturday? Salamanca Place has lovely cafes and shops open every day, which are a great place to pick up souvenirs. Some of my favourite shops in Salamanca Place are –
Rebecca Roth jewelry – jewel-like resin pieces make great gifts for the girls.
A Common Ground – Full of delicious artisan produce curated by local food authors/chefs/celebrities/producers Matthew Evans and Nick Haddow -
Nant Whisky Bar and Cellar – although the distillery is a short drive away in Bothwell, enjoy a nip or grab a bottle of Nant’s superlative whisky. Share it with someone special though – these bottles do not come cheap – but make a very impressive give for hardcore single malt lovers.
2. Museum of Old and New Art
Even if you aren’t an art lover, MONA is a spectacular building and its contents are unlike any other, the experience of which can be sometimes titillating, sometimes profound. Friends and family who have visited are always divided on what they liked and didn’t about the art, building, the set up, the whatever – and the mere fact that everyone has such different experiences and reactions to the art and the building makes it a must do on anyone’s itinerary.
3. Mount Wellington
Bring seriously warm clothes to the summit of Hobart’s presiding mountain – even on sunny days in the height of summer, it is absolutely freezing up here, but there are some fantastic views and a great way to see this lovely city from above.
Plan your visit if you can around some of Hobart’s lovely events – the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and Taste of Tasmania are two of the premier events that can be enjoyed simultaneously on about the 27th/28th December – depending when the boats come in.
Also consider some of the island’s fab music festivals like MONA FOMA, Dark MOFO and the Falls Festival.
5. Botanical Gardens
Near Bellerive Oval, Hobart’s Botanical Gardens command jaw dropping views and are full of surprises. Pack your picnic and wander the Japanese and other lovely themed gar dens.
6. Food and Drink
Hobart is quite the gateway to the foodie paradise that awaits on your travels around the rest of Tasmania.
Restaurant of the minute is Garagistes – we had a great night here sharing communal tables and conversation with other travelers and indulging in shared plates of ‘local produce made art’. Be sure to reserve in advance if you are keen, or try out sister bar Sidecar.
Also worth a try - the Lark Distillery or Nant in Salamanca Place offer tastings of delicious whiskies and liqueurs produced in boutique quantities and served in cosy surroundings.
Cara and Alok like planning travel itineraries. We like it a lot.