A sophisticated urban vibe, historic charm and a vibrant food scene
Wedged within a wilderness of mountains and rivers, Hobart’s city-centre mix of colonial architecture and reinvented industrial buildings is a surprise package. Just behind the postcard views of 19th-century sandstone warehouses and bright sails on the water are moody wine and whisky bars, swanky restaurants and risk-taking artist galleries. And of course there’s Mona, the Museum of Old and New Art, home to a unique collection of thought-provoking art and artefacts.
Passionate producers and inventive chefs, paired with the celebrated wine regions a stone’s throw from the city, have made the city an exciting food destination. Hunt down an award-winning Pinot Noir or Riesling at cellar doors in the Derwent, Huon and Coal River Valleys, follow whisky or cider trails, and drop by small farms where produce like honey and berries are sold direct or served at onsite cafés.
Hobart puts you in easy reach of some of Australia’s most dramatic natural landscapes, where you can hike, kayak, mountain bike or take a wildlife cruise. Historic Hobart is a modern traveller’s dream.
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Things to do
Mona, an adult Disneyland
Established by eccentric billionaire (and Hobart boy) David Walsh in 2011, Mona opens in new window is a quirkily personal, thought provoking, sometimes shocking, always fascinating cultural icon. Yes, they call it the Museum of Old and New Art, but it’s also a kind of adult theme park, full of bizarre, confusing and hilarious things to make you gasp, think and smile. There’s a brewery, winery, café and fine-dining restaurant on-site, so there’s no reason to ever leave. Most visitors make a dramatic approach to the imposing cliff-set structure on the special River Derwent catamaran from Hobart city centre.
Image credit: MONA/Jesse Hunniford
A foodie paradise
Hobart enjoys pole position for the fresh and artisanal produce of Tasmania’s breadbasket, the Huon and Derwent Valleys. Experience the vibrant local paddock-to-market scene at the Sunday Farm Gate Market opens in new window, where farmers and makers sell their goods direct. Take the ferry to Bruny Island, where Bruny Island Cheese Co opens in new window makes award-winning cheeses using traditional techniques, and sparkling oysters are served fresh from the pristine waters of Great Bay at Get Shucked opens in new window. Make a reservation at one of the city’s fabulous restaurants like Franklin, Templo or Faro (at Mona); and book a class at the Agrarian Kitchen Cooking School opens in new window, close by in Lachlan.
An island of tipples
Hobart is closer to its surrounding vineyards than any other Australian capital, and you can taste some premier cold-climate wines on the Southern Wine Trail opens in new window. But Tassie tipples go beyond the vine. The whisky industry is young but celebrated, and stand-out stops on the Whisky Trail opens in new window, like Sullivans Cove and Lark Distillery, are in Hobart or close by. If you’re a craft beer fan, tour the region’s handcrafted beers on the Beer Trail opens in new window. Still thirsty? Follow the Cider Trail opens in new window – they don't call this 'the Apple Isle' for nothing!
The convict sites in and around Hobart are the best surviving examples of Australia’s brutal penal era. Often idyllically located in settings of great natural beauty, they’re a window into the country’s harsh beginnings. Port Arthur opens in new window, the country’s best preserved convict site, is an open-air museum of more than 30 buildings and ruins dating from 1830, when the prison was built. It’s around 90 minutes southeast of Hobart. In South Hobart, the Cascades Female Factory opens in new window gives a vivid insight into how the colony’s female prisoners were treated (spoiler alert: not much better than the men). Nearby, you can tour the Cascade Brewery opens in new window, Australia’s oldest.
Hit the wild side
A short drive from the city, Mount Wellington’s criss-crossed walking and mountain biking tracks offer amazing city views. Further afield, the Tasman Peninsula is home to iconic sights like The Blowhole and Tasman Arch, and eco-cruises to the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest sea cliffs to see dolphins, fur seals, albatross and migrating whales. A drive to Maydena opens in new window, known for its mountain biking trails, puts you on the edge of Tasmania’s World Heritage wilderness, close to stunning natural places including Mt Field National Park and Southwest National Park.
Travel time 20 minutes
Taxi Approx AUD $40
Bus Tasmania Redline Airporter meets all flights. One-way AUD $17 (adult), AUD $13 (child, 3-15 yrs); return AUD $30 (adult), AUD $23 (child).Back to top
When to go
Hobart is a great place to visit at any time of the year, though the mercury drops significantly in winter. The warmest time to come is during the summer months (December–February), although evenings can be cool. The winter months (May–August), when the days are shorter and temperatures can range from 4–8°C, are quieter.
There are festivals throughout the year, with MONA’s summer MONA FOMA festival of music and art in January and kooky Dark Mofo winter festival in June the most highly anticipated. Hobart buzzes in summer, especially around New Year’s Day with the arrival of the Sydney to Hobart yacht fleet and the Summer Festival of theatre, jazz, food and wine.Back to top
Many attractions in Hobart are within easy walking distance of the city centre. If you prefer to ride, Metro buses opens in new window ply routes linking north, east and south Hobart. The free Hobart Hopper opens in new window shuttle bus stops at sites in the city centre, Salamanca and the waterfront, running on a continuous 10-minute loop between 8.30am and 4pm. Visitors can also hop on the MONA Ferry opens in new window from the marina.Back to top