Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, Tasmania © Tourism Australia/Adrian Cook
How to shop Hobart, with Stephanie Williams
From independent, bespoke boutiques to ever-so-trendy markets, here’s an insider’s pick of the best art, design and shopping in Hobart.
Interviewed by Natasha Dragun
The Tasmanian capital is home to one of Australia’s most acclaimed galleries, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), but there are also plenty of other creative precincts where you can engage with the city’s burgeoning local art and design scene. Read on to discover Hobart’s most interesting shopping and style destinations as revealed by local insider Stephanie Williams, editor of The Hobart Magazine and creator of the podcast Design Travel.
Shop the vibrant design scene
According to Stephanie, the Tasmanian capital is fast becoming the dark horse of Australian creative culture. “Hobart’s art and design scene is really strong,”
"There are lots of beautiful small galleries, independent makers and artists in Hobart."
Many hidden treasures can be found in Salamanca Place, a row of historic sandstone buildings on the city’s waterfront. Your first stop here should be the Salamanca Arts Centre, which is in a Georgian-era warehouse. “It’s an old grain store and has an amazing sandstone facade,” Stephanie says, “so visiting is an interesting art and architectural experience.”
You’ll find most creative disciplines featured here – even some you might not have heard of. Among the highlights at the Salamanca Arts Centre are Handmark Gallery and Spacebar Gallery, both of which spotlight Tasmanian art, craft and design through exhibitions, complemented by handcrafted jewellery, ceramics, woodwork and furniture. Spacebar also stocks locally made clothing labels, such as Mina, by Hobart designer Lorena Cabezas.
"Hobart offers a beautiful combination of Scandi-meets-wilderness in its design scene."
When to go
Time your visit to coincide with the annual Mona Foma music and arts festival in January.
“As far as fashion goes, there’s a real earthiness in fabrics, textures and prints paired with functional cuts and durability, because of the weather.” (Tasmania generally records cooler temperatures than the rest of the country, because of its southerly setting.) “There tends to be a focus on maximising your wardrobe, and what it can do,” Stephanie says.
Also worth checking out in Salamanca Arts Centre is The Maker, “which stocks a curation of local and international wares, including its house clothing label, LJ Struthers, with all pieces designed and sewn locally.”
Seek out hidden gems in the city
Lovers of a grittier, grass-roots creative scene will not be disappointed with a visit to the heart of Hobart. In the centre of the city is Bidencopes Lane, a constantly evolving streetscape filled with graffiti murals from Tasmanian artists.
The alley is also home to stylish stores such as Homeroom Design, where you can pick up one-off homewares, clothing and jewellery by local Australian and bespoke international designers.
Also in the city centre, conscious travellers can revel in the Spotted Quoll Studio; specialising in ethical and sustainable fashion. Its own pieces hang beside a selection of outfits for men, women and kids. “They also sell beautiful screen-prints of photos taken around the state,” Stephanie says. There’s more style for young ones at Lily & Dot, which showcases “a range of handmade clothes for children, and is just a beautiful space to visit.”
Wander bohemian market stalls
Head to Salamanca Market’s Cygnet Woodfired Bakehouse for freshly- made breads and pastries.
“The city’s market culture is also compelling,” Stephanie says. Top of her list is Salamanca Market. Every Saturday the market at Salamanca Place draws some of the country’s top designers, artists and purveyors, selling everything from locally-made clothing to leather goods, handmade ceramics, photographs and island-distilled gins. Local fashion label Keshet started at these markets and still has a stall here.
Stephanie also recommends stopping at Willie Smith’s Artisan and Produce Market, a 30-minute drive south-west of Hobart’s centre, in the Huon Valley. “It’s a very small but well curated makers’ market inside the Willie Smith’s Apple Shed. Have a wander through the market, then try the organic apple ciders.”
Roam through a cute country town
You could also spend a day exploring the independent stores around the village. “Flywheel stocks a range of beautiful stationery and traditional letterpress products, Miss Arthur sells handcrafted homewares from around the world, and The Drill Hall Emporium is where you’ll find an expertly curated selection of Tasmanian antiques,” Stephanie says. “The nearby Willow Court antique centre is also fantastic.”