Best things to do with 48 hours in Hobart

Bustling markets, good coffee, edgy art and natural beauty - the Tasmanian capital has it all.

Think Hobart is a sleepy town? Think again!
  • Stephanie Williams
  • February 2019

Whether you’re an animal lover, coffee enthusiast or in the mood to hike a mountain, Hobart opens in new window offers visitors a range of special experiences.

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

Did you know a wombat marks its territory with a square poo so it doesn’t roll away? Scat humour abounds at Bonorong opens in new window, a wildlife sanctuary located 30 minutes drive from the city centre. Owner Greg Irons worked here as a youngster before taking over. Time your visit with one of the tours at 11.30am, 2pm and 3.30pm to get up close with wombats and koalas, then take a walk to see the rest of the crew – there are kangaroos (which you can hand-feed), Tasmanian devils and Eastern quolls, among others. It’s an absolute winner with families.

Get close to Tasmania's fascinating creatures at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.
Get close to Tasmania's fascinating creatures at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mount Wellington

If you want to breathe in some crisp Tasmanian air, it doesn’t get fresher than at Kunanyi/Mount Wellington. Rising 1270 metres above sea level, the mountain stands over Hobart as a reminder of the beautiful wilderness at the city’s doorstep and a barometer of the ever-changing weather. The base of the mountain is a 20-minute drive from the city and you can now catch the new all-terrain shuttle bus from Brooke Street Pier on the waterfront (the road sometimes shuts when it snows so check conditions beforehand). Wellington park opens in new window offers a huge range of walking and mountain biking trails – you can hire a bike from one of the local operators such as Tasmanian Mountain Bike Adventures opens in new window. Once you’ve expended all that energy, pop into Lost Freight opens in new window at The Springs, a cute café in a shipping container, for a pick-me-up.

The best way to see the city is from the top of Mount Wellington.
The best way to see the city is from the top of Mount Wellington.

The Museum of Old and New Art

Visiting Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art opens in new window (MONA) is a no-brainer. The vision of part-gambler, part-art collector David Walsh, MONA pushes the boundaries of contemporary art and collectable objects in Australia’s largest private art collection. Don’t miss Snake (1970-72) by Sidney Nolan and bit.fall (2001-06) by Julius Popp. You can drive 20 minutes from the city centre to the gallery but catching the MONA ROMA ferry is the best way to fully appreciate the incredible architecture by Nonda Katsalidis on approach – all taken in via the comfortable seating for “ewe” (trust me, this will make sense when you take a seat!) or the “Posh Pit”, complete with complimentary canapés and drinks.

The MONA gallery has 3 cavernous underground floors.
The MONA gallery has 3 cavernous underground floors.

Food markets

As Tasmania’s most visited tourist attraction, the Salamanca Market opens in new window is as popular as it is enduring, having started in the late 1970s. From 8.30am until 3pm each Saturday, the market showcases Tasmanian food, wine, art, craft, curiosities and clothing. Savour a salted caramel crepe while you enjoy the talented buskers and pick up some unique souvenirs. Alternatively, on Sunday mornings you can join locals at Farm Gate Market opens in new window for breakfast and a chat with charismatic local producers. Be sure to grab an almond croissant from Cygnet Woodfired Bakehouse. Street Eats Franko opens in new window, a vibrant weekly food fair at Franklin Square, is also great for Friday night dining in summer.

A trip to Hobart wouldn't be complete without visiting the Salamanca Market.
A trip to Hobart wouldn't be complete without visiting the Salamanca Market.

Hobart Café Culture walking tour

The caffeination of Hobart dates back to 1804 when the first beans hit our shores (probably to keep the prison wardens awake to watch over the convicts). Hobart’s café scene is now thriving with plenty of quality options. Experience the best on a Hobart Café Culture walking tour opens in new window – sort of like a progressive morning tea, the tour winds through the city’s lanes and arcades seeking out the best espresso, cold brews, pastries and chocolates. You’ll hear the fascinating history of how coffee took hold in Hobart from expert guides and visit six genuine local haunts – exact venues vary depending on what’s new and seasonal – for behind-the-scenes tastings.