No doubt about it, Hobart’s future is looking rosy. Tourism is booming and the old town is humming with low vacancy rates, high real-estate prices and new-found self-confidence.
On the Waterfront
Hobart is a harbour town – a port city, where the world rushes in on the tide and ebbs away again, bringing with it influences from afar and leaving the locals buzzing with global zeitgeist. Or so the theory goes. And these days, Hobart’s waterfront precinct is certainly a buzz, with old pubs alongside new craft-beer bars, myriad restaurants and cafes, museums, festivals, ferries, accommodation…and all of it washed with sea-salty charm and a sense of history. On a sunny afternoon there are few more pleasant places to find yourself.
Up the Mountain
Riding high above the city is Kunanyi/Mt Wellington, a craggy basalt beast seemingly made for mountain biking and bushwalking. Kunanyi to local Aboriginal people, and just ‘the mountain’ to everybody else, this 1271m-high monolith both defines the city below and shelters it. Drive to the summit in any season – you’re assured of either a show-stopping view or an out-of-time, lunar, cloud-shrouded experience, wandering around between snowdrifts, lichen-dappled boulders and the stunted plants that somehow survive in these lofty skies. Then, barrel back down to the waterfront on a mountain-bike tour like no other.
Eating & Drinking
Watery cappuccino? Lukewarm sausage roll? Maybe a deep-fried, reconstituted squid ring? Forget it: the bad old days of Hobart food and drink are long gone. The new order of service here focuses on top-quality local and seasonal produce, turned by deft chefs into marvellous restaurant, cafe and pub meals. Coffee culture is also firmly entrenched, with double-shot pick-me-ups available at every turn. And booze? Cascade Brewery leads Australian’s mainstream brewing brigade, but an under-fleet of creative craft-beer breweries is also bubbling up here. And with dinner, cool-climate wines from the nearby Coal and Derwent river valleys are hard to beat.
Hobart’s summer festival season is an absolute blast! For a few weeks circling around New Year’s Eve, this little city goes berserk with travellers, foodies, musicians, and sailors from the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race turning the town upside down. The Taste of Tasmanian festival, highlighting local produce, is the summer centrepiece. Then, in the depths of winter, Hobart’s more macabre, unhinged side comes out to play: the Dark MOFO festival shines a pale gothic light on the city’s past and present, with visitors revelling in offbeat performances, feasts, bonfires, installations and plenty of good red wine.
The beer down here is mighty fine, from the established perfections of Cascade Brewery to hedonistic newcomers brewing their way to hoppy heaven.
Shambles Brewery Shamble into this savvy craft-beer brew bar on the southern fringe of North Hobart.
T-Bone Brewing Co With street-corner cred and fab brews to boot, T-Bone is a real North Hobart fave.
Hobart Brewing Company In the go-to Macquarie Point precinct on the Hobart waterfront, HBC is doing great things with crafty brews.
Winston The bad old Eaglehawk Hotel has been reborn as the good new Winston – a true craft-beer haven.
Cascade Brewery The oldest brewery in Australia has still got the goods when it comes to cold beer – taste a few to confirm.
Waterman’s Beer Market Craft beers of all creeds and denominations have swum into the Salamanca Place mainstream.
Hobart and the sea go way back. It follows that the seafood here should particularly pique the interest of visitors.
Flippers Grab some fab takeaway fish and chips from this floating fish punt on Constitution Dock.
Blue Eye High-end seafood dining at the eastern end of Salamanca Place (‘blue eye’ is another name for trevalla – essential southern seafood!).
Fish Frenzy This family-frenzied seafood diner on the waterfront is perennially busy – order the namesake ‘Fish Frenzy’ to see why.
Mures Keep it casual or go upmarket at this long-running seafood institution on the waterfront. Fishy sushi, too.
Prosser’s on the Beach Take a drive to Lower Sandy Bay for a fabulous seafood dinner with a view at this romantic beach eatery.
Cornelian Bay Boat House The seafood chowder here is well worth shouting about (and possibly a return visit).
Views & Lookouts
Hobart sure is good looking. Get a good look at it from these vantage points.
Kunanyi/Mt Wellington On a clear day, the view from the summit is astonishing (and if it’s overcast, half way up will do).
Mt Nelson Terrific views of the city (north), South Arm (east) and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel (south).
Rosny Hill Lookout Get an eyeful of the city and Mt Wellington from this hilltop on Hobart’s eastern shore.
Roaring 40s Kayaking See Hobart from the river side of proceedings on these downtown paddling tours.
Shot Tower In southern suburban Taroona, the historic Shot Tower has a killer river view (you just have to climb all those steps to see it).
Wanna buy a fat pig? To market, to market with you! Hobart has a number of interesting markets to distract and delight.
Farm Gate Market Grab a basket full of top local produce at Hobart’s Sunday morning farmers market.
Salamanca Market The original and still the best: Salamanca is where all of Hobart is at on a Saturday morning.
Hobart Twilight Market Summer evenings are long and lusty down south: get along to Sandy Bay beach or Macquarie Point for this sassy twilight affair.
Street Eats @ Franko Friday night street-food market in Franklin Sq in the city centre, with food trucks aplenty.
MONA Market Does MONA do anything poorly? Not as far as we can tell. This summer market maintains the grade.
As far as white Australian history goes, Hobart is an old town: there are plenty of colonial relics to assess. Aboriginal history is harder to uncover, but start at the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery.
Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery An epicentre of art, heritage and culture on the Hobart waterfront, with insights into local Indigenous history, too.
Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum For an insight into Hobart’s relationship with the icy continent, and the ordeals of the early European explorers.
Tasmanian Cricket Museum Howzaaat?! Celebrate the chequered exploits of Ponting, Boon et al at this museum at Blundstone Arena.
MONA Yes, it’s technically a museum. Doesn’t much feel like one, but that’s half the appeal.
Narryna Heritage Museum Get a look into one of Battery Point’s oldest houses, which doesn’t seem to have changed much since 1837.
Maritime Museum of Tasmania See how the sea has challenged, served and defined Hobart over the past couple of centuries.