This article previously appeared on The Journal.
Australia’s southernmost city holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Hobart my entire life before moving to New South Wales in 2011, and in the years since I departed for the mainland, I’ve noticed a definite growth in the city’s popularity with tourists.
With each visit to my hometown comes a handful of new restaurants, new hotels, new breweries, new galleries, and new events, each of which seems to draw a bigger crowd of travelling foodies, art lovers, and city-dwellers looking for a quiet weekend getaway. It’s quite the Aussie hotspot for both domestic and international travellers, which means that now is a better time than ever to travel south and see what everyone is raving about. Here are my recommendations for the hottest things to do in Hobart.
The residents of Hobart may enjoy a slower pace of life than those who live in Australia’s bigger cities, but that doesn’t stop them from hosting some happening events and seasonal festivities. The weekly Salamanca Market, located on a waterfront avenue of historic sandstone buildings, is held each Saturday year-round with stalls selling everything from wood products made from Tasmanian Huon Pine, to waffle cones of the local favourite Valhalla Ice Cream.
Other long-running events such as the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and The Taste of Tasmania bring in tourists over the New Year break, and newer events such as Dark MoFo – a winter festival with evening light shows, an extravagant feast, and even a nude solstice swim in the chilly Derwent River – has started tempting tourists to visit during the colder months.
Almost everyone has heard of MONA by now. The Museum of Old and New Art, founded by Tasmanian millionaire David Walsh in 2011, is the the largest privately funded museum in Australia. Visitors can expect a mix of temporary and permanent exhibitions that could be considered a little wacky and weird. You can (and should) get a ferry to MONA from Franklin Wharf.
Getting a glimpse of the famous Tassie Devil is a must while in Tasmania. These critters are rare to see in the wild, so take a trip out to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary to tick off this experience. The sanctuary cares for injured and orphaned wildlife and is a breeding centre for endangered species, with spacious enclosures designed to mimic the natural habitats of the animals as closely as possible.
For the most amazing views of Hobart, take a drive up to the summit of Mount Wellington. On a clear day, there are spectacular views of the city and the Derwent River. Mount Wellington also has a number of hiking trails for all fitness levels, so if you want to get deep into nature, this is the place to do it.
Satisfy your hunger…
Hobart is known for having some of the freshest produce in Australia. Stop in at Brooke Street Larder for brunch on the wharf, then have dinner at Franklin Bar and Restaurant for some seasonal farm to table dishes. If you’re feeling fancy, splash out on dinner at Old Wharf Restaurant for seafood and vegetarian dishes created by one of Tasmania’s top chefs.
One of the newest foodie hotspots in Hobart is Street Eats @ Franko. A variety of food trucks appear in Franklin Square every Friday evening between November and April, offering casual meals from paella to pavlova. Also, no trip to Tasmania is complete without trying some of the local cheeses – you can purchase dairy products at Salamanca Market, Brooke Street Pier, or try a cheese platter at one of the many restaurants around the wharf.
… and quench your thirst
Distilleries, breweries, and wineries are abundant in Hobart. Cascade Brewery is a popular spot for tourists, as this iconic building with a magnificent backdrop of Mount Wellington offers tours and tastings at the visitor centre. In the CBD, Hobart Brewing Co is a recent addition with an open air courtyard and food trucks to keep you satisfied for an afternoon in the sun.
Whiskey connoisseurs should head to Lark Distillery, where you can get a sampling flight in the charming cellar door which features whiskey barrels for tables. McHenry Distillery is the place to go for top-notch gins (including their authentic Sloe Gin, made using foraged sloe berries). You’ll find their products for sale at stalls in Brooke Street Pier and Salamanca Market.
Tasmania’s climate is perfect for wine-making, so head out to the historical town of Richmond where some of Hobart’s best wineries are found. Frogmore Creek and Meadowbank vineyards both have elegant on-site restaurants, or you can head to Puddleduck vineyard for something more casual. Puddleduck does a ‘reverse BYO’ where you can bring your own food – they’ll bring you tastings of wine while you set up a picnic in their rustic outdoor seating area.
Check out Hobart on a small group adventure around Tasmania now! Check out our range of tours on sale right here.
Feature photo by Damien Raggatt.