Best things to do in Hobart on a budget

Make the most of your Hobart trip with our tips on the best budget-friendly things to see and do.

  • Jetstar
  • January 2018
  • Updated February 2021

With its narrow-laned historic districts, cutting-edge galleries, thriving local food scene, and picturesque location on the Derwent, Hobart is a small capital packing a big punch. If you’re watching the travel budget, you don’t have to miss out. Here are our top picks of free and low cost things to do.

Sample local fare at Farm Gate Market

The well-known Salamanca Market is a must for browsing on Saturdays, but locals are more inclined to mosey around the Sunday pop-up Farm Gate Market in the city centre. Buskers liven up the atmosphere and it’s a great place to browse while nibbling at complimentary tastings. From artisan bread and Tassie honey to shucked oysters and boutique spirits – the market promotes locally sourced, seasonal produce, with an ethos of connecting the public directly with producers.

Also consider: On Friday evenings from December to April, Street Eats @ Franko brings the flavour to Franklin Square. More than a dozen food and drink stalls serve up local and international treats, and live bands keep the crowd hopping.

Stroll historic Battery Point

Climb the sandstone Kelly Steps from Salamanca to discover the early 19th-century architecture and leafy streets of Battery Point. Historic buildings and one-of-a-kind boutiques dot Hampden Road, and Arthur Circus is lined with quaint former officers’ cottages. Learn more about the history of the neighbourhood following the Battery Point Sculpture Trail, which takes in sweeping views of the lower Derwent estuary. Pick up a snack from beloved local bakery Jackman and McRoss, or picnic with waterfront views at Princes Park.

Also consider: Join a Hobart Free Walking Tour for a guided introduction to the city, including Battery Point and Salamanca. There’s no set fee for the tours – you pay what you like.

View of two colonial-era cottages on Hampden Road in Battery Point, Hobart. Image credit: crbellette / Shutterstock.
See historic cottages in Battery Point, Hobart. Image credit: crbellette / Shutterstock.

Visit the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

You may have budgeted for MONA, but Hobart has other galleries worth a look with no ticket required. Overlooking Constitution Dock, the free-to-enter Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) has an impressively varied collection: natural history specimens (check out the Tasmanian tiger exhibition), decorative ceramics, arts and crafts pieces, and a deep dive into the history and exploration of Antarctica – just to start. Don’t miss ningina tunapri for an insight into Tasmanian Aboriginal culture and history. See the website for special exhibitions when you visit.

Also consider: A short walk around the dock from TMAG is the Salamanca Arts Centre, showcasing contemporary art in a creative calendar of changing exhibitions. If you’re in town on a Friday evening, drop in for a drink and free music in the courtyard.

The brick facade of Salamanca Arts Centre at Salamanca Place, Hobart. Image credit: jax10289 / Shutterstock.
Check out the latest exhibitions at the Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart. Image credit: jax10289 / Shutterstock.

Venture up Mount Wellington

Just a 20-minute drive from central Hobart, kunanyi / Mount Wellington is one of Hobart’s premier attractions and is free to enjoy any time of day. The views from the 1271m summit are of course the main event (clouds permitting!), but it’s worth exploring the diverse natural features of surrounding Wellington Park reserve on one of several walks. Keen hikers can make a full day of it. If you don’t have your own transport, the Explorer Bus will get you there.

Also consider: Can’t get enough of those beautiful Hobart views? Head up to Mount Nelson lookout, where there’s also a picnic area and walks through the bushland in Truganini Reserve.

A boarded walkway leads over rocky ground to the lookout on kunanyi / Mount Wellington, Hobart.
Head to the lookout of kunanyi / Mount Wellington for views of Hobart and beyond.

Find peace in the botanical gardens

The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is perfect for a few hours of peaceful wandering. Established in 1818, the gardens are home to a large range of Tasmania plants, a lush fernery, a Japanese garden, a cactus and succulents collection, lily pond, and more. A highlight is the chilly Subantarctic Plant House, which brings the experiences of faraway Macquarie Island to Hobart, complete with bird calls and the sounds of elephant seals. Entry to the botanical gardens is by gold coin donation.

Also consider: St David’s Park is a quiet green space right near the bustle of Salamanca Place. On the site of a former cemetery, the tree-dotted park has a memorial wall containing the headstones of several early settlers.

A stretch of green grass edged by leafy trees, with the River Derwent in the background, at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart.
Take a walk through the peaceful Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart.

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