We spent 6 days in Hobart, Australia’s second oldest city, and loved our time there. It’s not the biggest of cities by Australian standards, but certainly offers enough to warrant several days.
I love walkable cities centered around a harbour with historic neighbourhoods, historic buildings and a good local vibe – Hobart delivers on all fronts.
Throw in fresh seafood, famous markets and being within easy reach of other awesome destinations for day trips, Hobart rocks.
My favourite area was definitely Salamanca with the historic sandstone buildings converted into restaurants, cafes, bars and specialty shops and opposite the tree lined park offering shade for the infamous Saturday Salamanca Markets.
Below are our highlights on what to do in Hobart for first time visitors, as well as where to eat and sleep.
WHAT TO DO IN HOBART
- MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art has been billed as the place that revitalized Hobart and put it on the must see destination list of Tasmania. The founder describes the museum as a “subversive adult Disneyland.” It’s an interesting and fun art gallery and we like how you’re a part of the experience as you move through it. We wrote about our MONA experience here.
- Historic Harbour – Not a large or busy harbour, unless you’re in town early January as this is where the famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race ends. But it’s a beautiful harbour to wander and so serene early in the morning on a clear day.
- Salamanca Markets – the infamous Saturday Salamanca Markets have the reputation as one of Australia’s best, and if you can time your trip to take it in. Set in picturesque Salamanca Place, it’s essentially one long street of vendors selling their wares, buskers performing and yummy street food.
- Salamanca Place – Wandering Salamanca Place and Salamanca square with the historic Georgian sandstone warehouses and eating and drinking in the cafes and pubs is a must do.
- Historical Battery Point – known as one of Hobart’s more prestigious suburbs, it adjoins Salamanca and has a large number of historic houses. We loved wandering this suburb and admire the prestigious homes and the rose gardens. It also has a nice playground for the kids and local cafes to enjoy.
- Female Factory – The Cascades Female Factory is the only Australian Convict World Heritage property that shares the female story of transportation. Her story is a two person dramatization of sharing the life of a typical female convict. It gave a fantastic insight into this harsh existence. Make sure you do the heritage walk (guided tour) of the site.
- Cascade Brewery – Enjoy a visit to Australia’s oldest brewery and sample a great range of beers, and cider, in a lovely terrace setting. Take in the history yourself, take a brewery tour and learn about the brewing process, or take a heritage tour around the 3 acres of gardens which also includes tastings and is suitable for families.
- Mt. Wellington – Often referred to as ‘the Mountain’ by the residents of Hobart, it rises to 1,271 metres over Hobart’s harbour and the wide Derwent River. If you’re lucky enough to get a clear day, we didn’t, I’ve been told the 21kilometre drive to the summit ends with panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula, with Bushwalking and barbecue and picnic facilities.
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery – This gallery has recently undergone a huge renovation and celebrates Tasmania’s history, art and culture. A highlight was the Tasmanian Aboriginal Gallery which celebrates Tasmania’s indigenous history and culture.
DAY TRIPS FROM HOBART:
- Port Arthur Historical Site – one of the most fascinating, moving and interesting places to visit in Tasmania. Port Arthur has a violent and troubled history as a penal colony for some of Australia’s hardened convicts, yet it’s beauty brings this contrasting sense of peace and happiness. Don’t miss the ghost tour. Get there via a public bus from Hobart to Port operated by Tassie Link.
- Bruny Island Cruise – One of our favourite experiences in Tasmania. This award winning wilderness cruise takes you along the rugged coastline of Bruny Island where you can see dramatic cliffs, sea caves, and wildlife life seals, dolphins, seabirds and if you’re timing is right, migrating whales. The Full Day Tour from Hobart includes a scenic bus tour, ferry crossing to Bruny Island, morning tea, 3 hour wilderness cruise and lunch.
- Richmond – 25 km north-east of Hobart is the town of Richmond. Step back in time and walk across Australia’s oldest bridge, stroll along the picturesque river, visit galleries, antique shops and have lunch at the Richmond Hotel or Bakery Cafe. Richmond makes for a great place to wander.
WHERE TO EAT IN HOBART
- Daci & Daci Bakers – this place is an institution in Hobart. Expect a line up out the door, especially at lunch time or if a cruise ship is in port. There are trays of gourmet pies, baguettes, pastries, salads and a range of excellent breads.
- Fish Frenzy – besides the fresh fish and chips, grilled seafood, salads and seafood chowder, a highlight is the location right on Hobart waterfront. Sit outside in the sun and watch the sailboats. Another cool feature is having fish & chips in a cone.
- Machine Laundry Cafe – a popular place with locals and visitors, this funky operating laundrette is a great place for breakfast or lunch, with great coffee and the biggest muffins I have ever seen. And the large alfresco area overlooking Salamanca Square was great for us with kids.
- Retro Cafe – another nice place for breakfast or lunch with a great location in Salamanca Place. Enjoy a bite to eat on the footpath and watch the world go by.
- Tasman Quartermasters – our local friend in Hobart recommended this burger restaurant – wine bar – cafe. Try a unique Tassie specialty in the Wallaby burger washed down with a craft brew. Good menu, value for money and gluten free options are a bonus. The setting is relaxed and entertaining as well.
- Salamanca Markets – saviour some of the food on offer here at the markets