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Historic Hobart has it all – Tasmania’s capital is a treasure trove of ocean and mountain views, incredible seafood, fine arts and some rather good beer available at the source. A much more laid back experience than most of Australia’s big cities and sadly often overlooked by overseas tourists in favour of neighbouring Victoria, discover why Hobart is one of Australia’s best kept, unexplored secrets:
Things to do Hobart
Salamanca Place Market
During the week, Salamanca Place is more of a historic (slightly hipster) hangout, with traditional pubs, alfresco dining and art galleries. Sitting out on the cobblestone street and watching the sun go down with a pint (sorry, schooner) of Cascade or Moo is one of Hobart’s most humble pleasures. However, the best time to visit is on Saturdays, when Salamanca Place Market rocks up, with over 300 stalls and pop-ups, making it one of Australia’s largest and most vibrant outdoor markets.
Occurring every Saturday between 8.30am and 3pm, the variety of street food here is incredible. As you’d expect, the seafood on offer is delicious (even their fish finger sandwiches are artisan), and one of our best discoveries was trying the salmon sausages.
Mount Wellington Lookout
Easily one of our top 10 mountain top views and at 1,300m / 4,200 feet, Mountain Wellington is also one of the one most accessible with options to either get a shuttle, tour bus or go your own way with a hire car. You can even join a tour where you take a bus up and ride back down on a mountain bike.
The views at the top are incredible – you can see panoramic landscapes for miles around as you look down on Hobart itself, the Tasman Bridge and Derwent River. At the summit, there are several small tracks and alfresco lookouts to explore, as well as actual observation look out building (free admission) which doubles as a radio and TV transmitter.
Weatherwise, as you’d expect it can get quite windy at the top (we’d advise taking no straw hats!) and it can get quite cloudy sometimes. If you are booking a tour, try to make your decision last minute as the weather and cloud cover at the top is hard to second guess.
If possible, hire a car so you can go at your own pace, enjoy the views for as long as you like at the top and also explore more of the walks you’ll see on the side of the road, as you make your way up the windy hill. Alternatively you can book a Mt Wellington Explorer Bus Pass >
Hobart MONA / Museum of New and Old Art
Riding to a magical, artsy island whilst sitting astride a sheep (!) on a luxury yacht seems like the thing of dreams (or a weird acid trip) but this is how we arrived at MONA…
The brainchild of legendary gambler David Walsh, MONA is the biggest privately owned museum in the southern hemisphere and to be honest, isn’t your typical, overly stuffy museum. As their very own website puts it ‘…catch the ferry, drink beer, eat cheese, talk crap about art…”. The subterranean museum displays David’s amassed collection of art (worth over $100 million) and to say it is quite eclectic is an understatement – you are never quite sure what to expect around each corner…
As well as the MONA museum, the grounds also have several restaurants and bars to enjoy including Moorilla Winery and Moo Brewery (they also stock these on the MONA ferry, if you fancy a bevy with extra sea-salt)
MONA can get very busy so book your tickets in advance – prices for visitors are $30 admission plus an extra $22 if you want to get to the island via the (in)famous MONA Ferry.
Constitution Dock at Hobart Harbour / floating fish and chip boats
Best known as the finishing point of the Sydney to Hobart annual yacht race, Constitution Dock is part of historic Hobart harbour, that houses ships and sails galore (very much a millionaire’s playground) and which is also a pleasant way to partake an afternoon amble.
However, the reason we’ve included Constitution Dock in our top things to do in Hobart guide is because of its rather unique alfresco floating fish and chip offering. Our favourite time to visit has to be the golden hour at sunset, to walk along the quay, perusing the various fish and chip boats, each with a chalkboard detailing what today’s fresh catch is. Depending on that day’s fishing, the menus are different every time so you can enjoy the freshest fish and chips you’ll ever have, with million dollar views for only $5 to $10 (depending on what you order – although the scallops are always divine).
If a sit down affair is more your thing, Fish Frenzy at Elizabeth Street Pier is also worth a trip.
We’ve done a whole heap of brewery tours in our time (you can read about all our New Zealand brewery tour experiences here), but our best ever brewery tour experience still has to be Cascade Brewery, Tasmania’s oldest brewery and just a short drive or bus ride outside of Hobart CBD.
What makes this brewery tour so special and unique isn’t just the heritage and history of the brewery (established in 1824 using the pure mountain waters from nearby Mt. Wellington), but also the setting for the taproom experience and beer garden at the end of the tour, as well as some top-notch and genuinely funny banter from the tour-guide. Furthermore, you get to see the actual bottling process, which doesn’t happen on some of the other brewery tours we’ve enjoyed.
We particularly relished the tasting session at the Cascade Brewery taproom at the end of the tour, plus taking part in an impromptu beer pouring test behind the bar (getting the perfect ‘head’ is harder than it looks). We also stayed afterwards for lunch and had the best calamari we can ever recall having in Australia.
The brewery tour costs $30AUD per person and includes four tastings. Book a Cascade Brewery & History Experience >
Named after the battery of guns and artillery that were installed here as coastal defences in the early 19th century, historic Battery Point has retained much of its original colonial features and narrow cobbled streets. The antithesis of Elizabeth Street Mall, this feels like taking a step back in time – you won’t find any Coles or Woolworths here.
The best way to explore Battery Point is to go up the Kelly Steps in Salamanca Place then explore Arthur Circus, one of the oldest parts and full of quaint cottages, before finishing up in Battery Square and Prince’s Park (don’t forget to keep looking back for views of the bay). There is also a Battery Point Sculpture Trail that you can follow. Once you’ve walked your way all around the neighbourhood, we recommend brunch or afternoon tea at Jackman & McRoss Bakery, an iconic tearoom that also has a rather delectable cabinet of baked good to choose from (and nothing to do with Hugh Jackman in case you were wondering).
Book a Historic Battery Point: 2-Hour City Walk >
Other Australasia blog posts
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- Things to do in Dunedin, New Zealand – travel guide
- Wellington to Christchurch road trip – 7 day itinerary
- Christchurch to Queenstown road trip – 1 week itinerary
- Melbourne on a budget – free and cheap things to do
- Auckland to Wellington road trip – 7 day North Island itinerary
- Things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand: the ultimate guide
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