Hobart – that Tasmanian paradise you’ve heard about but probably never visited.
Whenever I mention to people in Sydney that I’m originally from Hobart, their response is usually that they either know someone that lives there, or are planning a trip there in the near future. I try my best to recommend the best places to visit as I spent most of my life in his city and know it as well as the back of my hand. So to help you out on your visit, I’ve put together this locals guide to Hobart!
There are plenty of accommodation options in the heart of the city (within a few blocks of Elizabeth Street Mall), ranging from backpackers to high end hotels. If you’re looking for something a little special, you can also check out one of these 15 Popular Hobart Hotels with Picturesque Views by HotelsCombined!
You can get by using buses for public transport in the city, but if you want to do anything a little further out you might need to rent a car. I’d suggest you book one for at least some of the time, it will make it a whole lot easier if you have a car as most sights have parking on-site or nearby.
Hobartians are a friendly bunch, so if you get lost just ask a local for directions. And remember that not many landmarks go by their actual name. Tasman Bridge will be ‘The Bridge’, Mt Wellington will be ‘The Mountain’, and the Derwent River will be ‘The River’.
If you’re planning a trip around Tasmania, see Itineraries for an epic Tasmanian road trip.
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 bush walk.
Salamanca and Franklin Wharf
Every Saturday, Salamanca Market takes over Salamanca Place until mid-afternoon. Don’t miss it! From Salamanca, walk along the Franklin Wharf area for some beautiful waterfront views across the Derwent River. Head towards Hunter St which boasts some of the oldest buildings in the city. This is truly one of the best free activities in Hobart.
Taroona Shot Tower
This place is relatively unknown but will give you some sweet views of the Derwent River, along with a little history along the way. The tower was built in 1870 and used to create shots by dropping molten lead from the top to fall to a pool of water at the bottom.
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.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
Want to get up close to some Tasmanian wildlife? Bonorong 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
On the Tasman Peninsula, you can wander through the World Heritage Port Arthur historic site to get an up close look at one of Australia’s first convict settlements. The entrance fee includes a half hour harbour cruise, and if you’re feeling brave you can book yourself a ghost tour. You can do a day tour or drive the 1.5 hours from Hobart, though it will take a little longer if you stop at the pretty coastal spots along the way.
If you want to get away to a quiet place with no-one around (except for the local wallabies and cockatoos), drive to Kettering and get the passenger ferry to Bruny Island. Here you can go penguin spotting in the evenings, walk along beaches with no one else in sight, and appreciate the Australian bushland.
Stop at the viewpoint along ‘the neck’ to look back at the thin strip of land you’ve just been driving along, and head to the lighthouse on the southern tip to feel your jaw drop as you look out to the Southern Ocean.
Mt Field National Park
Otherwise known as ‘National Park’ (which is rather silly as 45% of the state is national parks), Mt Field is the perfect place to get your nature on. You’ll find hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult, pretty waterfalls, an awesomely large picnic area, and a heap of Tasmanian flora and flora. Mt Field is also a good place to find snow in the winter.
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 & 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 can 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 whiskeys 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.