Guide to Hobart
With daring art, a dynamic food scene and a wealth of natural attractions, Hobart is a small city with big ideas.
By Andrew Bain
Climb a mountain and view captivating modern art in the same day. Eat fish and chips from a floating fish punt in the docks, or dine in the finest and freshest of restaurants. Add thriving markets, an unsurpassed natural setting and a tangible sense of history, and Tasmania's capital city really does have it all.
Tasmania is one of Australia's greatest hidden secrets and is a really beautiful part of the country, with dramatic coastlines, vineyards and wonderful fresh local produce with a real taste of what Australia has to offer.
- Sample extraordinary Tasmanian produce at great restaurants
- Shop at weekend markets in Salamanca and the city centre
- Get an art fix at extraordinary MONA
How to get there
Hobart has direct flights from the cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. From Hobart Airport it's a 20-minute drive into the city.
Things to do and top attractions in Hobart
Dine at Hobart's best restaurants
The culinary scene in Hobart is a champion of local produce, with fantastic restaurants around every corner. Join the locals along the popular dining strips in historic Salamanca or North Hobart. Or choose from a selection of quality city and waterfront restaurants. Along the city's docks, try South American-inspired Frank, or fine dining over the water at Aloft.
Marvel at MONA
Board a ferry at Hobart's Brooke Street Pier and sail upstream to the daring Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA. Australia's largest privately owned museum is cut into sandstone cliffs in the northern suburbs, with an art collection as eclectic as it is provocative. The food might almost qualify as art at MONA's onsite restaurant, Source. Directly beneath the restaurant is the cellar door for MONA's Moorilla winery, with wines produced from the vineyards that adjoin the gallery. Be sure to try MONA's Moo Brew beer range while here also.
Climb Mount Wellington
Take a 30-minute drive from the city centre to reach the summit of Mount Wellington, almost 1300 metres (4265 feet) above the city. The view of Hobart and its surrounds is exceptional. Grab a coffee halfway up the mountain at the Bentwood Coffee caravan, and make a stop at Australia's oldest brewery, Cascade, on the way back down. If you're feeling energetic, you'll find access to walking tracks and beautiful scenery below the summit at the Springs. The Springs is also equipped with picnic facilities and toilets.
Explore whiskey bars and taste craft beer
Get a taste of Tasmania's burgeoning whisky industry at the cosy Lark Distillery, where distillery tours are available, and the classy Nant Distillery. The award-winning Sullivans Cove Whisky is in Cambridge, near Hobart Airport. For a craft beer at the source, pull up a stool at the central Shambles Brewery or the Hobart Brewing Company.
Wander through Hobart's historic waterfront
Hobart truly shines along its beautiful working waterfront. From the old sandstone warehouses of Salamanca Place a stroll along the docks will take you past the floating Brooke Street Pier and a replica of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson's huts in Antarctica. Every year, in the week after Christmas, the docks fill with yachts from the classic Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
Head to the local markets
The outdoor Salamanca Market, held each Saturday, is beloved by visitors and locals. More than 300 stalls selling arts, crafts, homewares and produce fill Salamanca Place. On Sunday morning, central Bathurst Street closes for the tasty Farm Gate Market, a showcase of Tasmanian produce and artisan producers.
Kayak to fish and chips
Hobart's main waterfront area, Constitution Dock, is lined with fish punts (floating restaurants) selling seafood, and the best way to arrive for some food is by kayak. Roaring 40s Kayaking runs a half-day Hobart City trip that will have you paddling along the edge of the city's most historic suburb, Battery Point, and into the docks for a floating fish and chip experience.
Visit Hobart's convict sites
Tasmania's most famous convict penitentiary, Port Arthur, is just a 90-minute drive from Hobart, but you can find traces of the state's convict past without even leaving the city. In South Hobart, near the Cascade Brewery, is the World Heritage-listed Cascades Female Factory, where thousands of women were imprisoned. In the city centre take a tour of the Tench prisoner barracks while learning about the shadier side of Hobart's history.