5 reasons why Hobart is unlike anywhere else!

There’s a twist at every turn in the charming Tasmanian capital, where an intriguing past meets a modern dining scene and innovative art and science.

Historic Hobart is full of charming sites ready to be explored.
  • Rachel Gray
  • May 2019

Think you know everything there is to know about Hobart opens in new window? Think again. Not only is its history rich and intriguing, it is also a cool, quirky city with everything from gourmet experiences to groundbreaking art exhibitions on offer. Here are five things which make Hobart so interesting.

It has an usual arts scene

The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) opens in new window quickly gained a reputation for its controversial and subversive exhibitions after opening in 2011. The privately owned art museum saw almost 350,000 people pass through its doors in 2018, making it the second most-visited attraction in Hobart after the Salamanca Markets. It’s a quick 20-minute drive or a scenic 25-minute ferry ride to the museum from the city’s Brooke Street Pier.

The MONA gallery is world-famous for its eclectic artworks
The MONA gallery is world-famous for its eclectic artworks.

Historic buildings are waiting to be explored

Hobart’s former Convict Penitentiary in the centre of town is a ghoulish reminder of the city’s criminal connections. Established in 1821 as a penitentiary, the chapel was added in 1833 along with a courthouse and 36 solitary confinement cells below. The gaol shut in 1963 but not before 32 people were hanged there in the gallows.

Quality eats and drinks are on the menu

All roads lead to good food in Hobart. Renowned for its quality produce, you’re never more than a hop, skip and organic truffle away from dining deliciousness. The city is bursting with heavenly delights to suit every palate and purse, from a no-fuss pub meal at the family-friendly Duke of Wellington opens in new window to a guided tasting of the state’s finest single malt whisky at the award-winning Lark Distillery opens in new window – the first licensed distillery to open in Tasmania in 150 years. You can also enjoy Hobart’s famous Cascade Pale Ale on a tour of Australia’s oldest brewery still in operation (the iconic Cascade Brewery opens in new window opened in 1824 in the foothills of Mount Wellington).

Cascade is the oldest operational brewery in Australia.
Cascade is the oldest operational brewery in Australia.

It’s a gateway to important scientific research

Hobart has the largest concentration of Antarctic and Southern Ocean scientists in the world. At least 800 experts are based here, working with groups such as the Australian Antarctic Division, the CSIRO and the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. At about 7000 kilometres from the nearest Antarctic mainland, Hobart is one of the five main gateways to the icy landmass. The others are in Argentina, South Africa, Chile and New Zealand.

It was once home to the Tasmanian tiger

The famously extinct Tasmanian tiger was last seen alive in Hobart (though people still report seeing the elusive thylacine in the wild). Footage of the last remaining nocturnal marsupials pacing in an enclosure at the now-ruined Beaumaris Zoo can be found online. Pass by the gates of the former zoo to snap a somewhat eerie selfie on your way to visit the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens opens in new window.