When in Hobart, make sure you visit Salamanca Place in Sullivans Cove, the city’s bustling, waterfront heart. Life here in the 1830s was all about industry, but today this picturesque cobblestone square is a destination for food, art, shopping and music. Wander the galleries and relax under the sun umbrellas. Shop for fine Tasmanian craft in the Salamanca Markets and dance outdoors in the courtyard of the Salamanca Arts Centre. Here Hobart’s cultural life meets its rich history.
The simple Georgian warehouses lining Salamanca Place were built in the 1830s to house grain, wool, whale oil and imported goods. Today the warehouses have been reinvented as galleries, theatres, cafes, bars and restaurants. Browse boutiques selling jewellery, fashion and urban design or meander through an underground bookstore. Enjoy a meal or refreshments beneath the stone arches that sailors, whalers and workmen once trudged beneath.
Make sure you check out Salamanca Arts Centre, a collection of galleries and arts spaces across seven heritage warehouses. See a performance in the popular Peacock Theatre, watch local artists at work in their studios or catch an exhibition. Every Friday night, the arts centre courtyard fills with the sounds of gypsy, jazz and swing music. Soak up the atmosphere at any time of year.
On Saturday this waterfront square comes alive with the vibrant Salamanca Markets. Buy a one-off piece from a local glassblower, potter, wood-worker or painter, listen to busking string-quartets or chat to growers about their organic apples. The markets showcase Tasmania’s fresh produce, its unique art and craft, as well as fashion design, some bric-a-brac and antiques. Lose yourself in the friendly bustle or watch the action from the shade of the majestic plane trees across the road.
Just behind historic Salamanca Place is modern Salamanca Square, where you can sit next to the fountain and watch the people stream past. Relax at the cafes, browse the fashion boutiques or buy delectable local cheeses and home-made jams from the gourmet outlets. The manicured lawns in the square’s centre are a great place to laze after a long lunch.
From Salamanca Place you can also wander to adjoining wharves, where British convicts once stumbled ashore and whalers hauled in their cargo. Nowadays the piers are lined with seafood restaurants, swaying yachts and fishing boats. On Constitution Dock you can see the huge visiting cruise ships or cheer for the wind-battered winners of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race in December.
The historic waterfront is also the venue for the Taste of Tasmania Festival, a week-long celebration of Tasmanian food and wine held over the new year. Dine on freshly-shucked oysters and succulent salmon, sample local cool-climate wines and watch the new year’s eve fireworks show over Sullivans Cove.
At the hub of all this action is Salamanca Place, where Hobart’s heart beats.