3 days exploring Hobart with the family
The Tasmanian capital is well versed in catering for couples and young families, but a short break with teenagers in tow can offer up a whole new roster of things to see, do and eat.
By Leigh-Ann Pow
Hobart might be smaller than the mainland’s capital cities, but what this Tassie city lacks in size it more than makes up for with its vibrant cultural scene, seriously good food offering and enviable pace of life. Its compact layout also means that it is easy to explore on foot, making it the perfect family weekend getaway. Flights from Sydney to Hobart take roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes, while flying in from Melbourne takes just over 1 hour.
Day 1: Hobart history trail
It’s an easy 20-minute drive into the centre of Hobart from the airport, with buses and taxis also readily available. Start your day in the bustling heart of Hobart at Salamanca; walk the waterfront (and browse the famous markets if you’re here on a Saturday) and then head up Kelly’s Steps on Kelly Street to Battery Point. The sandstone steps were built by the adventurer Captain James Kelly in 1834, so they act as a great walking history lesson. Tour the neighbourhood, passing historic cottages dating back to the mid-1800s in a carriage with Heritage Horse Drawn Carriages.
Then make a beeline for Jackman & McRoss, with its display cases groaning under the weight of freshly baked cakes, sweet treats and pastries for lunch (the lamingtons are a standout). After you’ve had your fill, head back down to the waterfront to visit Mawson’s Hut Replica Museum, a faithful reproduction of the Antarctic camp used by explorer Sir Douglas Mawson and his team, and hear tales of endurance and disaster.
Day 2: Hobart to Port Arthur (and back)
- Drive time: about three hours return.
Have breakfast at the funky and fun Bury Me Standing, where the freshly baked goods run the gamut from traditional boiled bagels (including a hot cross bun version) to donuts and croissants, with lots of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu too.
From here, get the brain cells ticking over and head to Evolo Room Escape, where you and your teens will be given an hour to escape a themed room by solving a series of puzzles using creativity, communication and teamwork.
In the afternoon, set out for the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site, a 90-minute drive from the city (pick up a hire car in the city or book one of the regular coach transfers). One of Australia’s most important convict sites, its 30 historic buildings and ruins trace the history of this penal settlement.
Day 3: Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)
Start your day at Small-fry, which opens bright and early for breakfast, and serves a modest but tasty menu to patrons perched at its 12-seater bench.
It seems that no trip to Hobart is complete these days without a visit to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) to view the stunning modern architecture of the building itself, and the sometimes confronting, often controversial art pieces inside. The fun way to get there is on one of two bespoke camouflaged catamarans that come complete with ride-on sheep and tigers that not even older teens will be able to resist.