Three day itinerary for Hobart
Tasmania, the southern most state of Australia can suffer at times from the impacts of its own anonymity, such is its location away from the more popular capital cities. Whilst the tourism industry here is growing, it’s a slow and steady race, meaning much of Tasmania is still catching up to the mainland in many ways.
The positive side of being lesser known is the gentle pace that is associated with it. Free from major urban development and the hustle of the city, there’s no need to rush here. Take your time and breathe in the fresh air. It’s one of the great things Tasmania is known for.
Whilst reasonably easy to see the whole state in a week to ten days, there’s so much on offer that you should try and spend a little more time here to do it well.
We spent three days just in Hobart which is a perfect amount of time to explore what the capital city has to offer.
The Salamanca Markets are an institution here in Hobart. Operating since 1972, these markets now house over 300 vendors and attract tens of thousands of visitors each week. My best tip for newcomers is to not eat breakfast, get here early, and then plan to eat every meal here until it closes. There’s such great variety here and it can all be done at your own pace. When you’re finished, head down to the waterfront to recuperate for a while.
Farm Gate Markets
The Farm Gate Market was my absolute favourite in Hobart. With its incredible fresh produce and the fact that all farmers and producers are on hand to talk to you, is it any wonder I was so drawn to it. Now firmly back in my own city, I still yearn for that market and so wish we had something with such quality and integrity here.
With food and fresh produce the centre of attention in Tasmania, doing a food tour is a great way to be introduced to the best the city has to offer.
As the oldest operating brewery in Australia, there’s plenty to love about the Cascade Brewery. The beautiful building that the brewery operates from is special and of course, I’ll admit being rather fond of a few of their ales as well. Many of these beers can’t be found outside of Tasmania so it’s a great place to spend the afternoon testing out some new flavours. Tours are also conducted here daily.
Visit a whiskey distillery
You’ll be spoilt for choice with distilleries and great whiskey bars in Hobart. Lark Distillery is perhaps the easiest to access with a bar right by the waterfront. It also serves up some mighty fine gin as well.
The dock is right in the middle of Hobart’s waterfront area and offers a great place to walk around or to just sit and watch the boats come and go. If you are lucky, there’s also a good chance of spotting a seal here too.
Constitution Dock is also home to the floating fishing punts, serving up delicious fresh fish, chips and other seafood. Grab yourself a serve and head down to the front of the dock. Beware the ever-present seagull! They have developed quite a love for this food.
Brooke St Pier
The Brooke St Pier mightn’t look that exciting from the outside but it’s full of fun on the inside. Four stories of floating pier are the homes of artisan whiskey and gin producers, chocolate, honey, soaps, wines and cheese. It’s a funky place with an industrial approach to decor on the inside.
Elegance takes over on the upper level with the hip bar Glasshouse. Here you can drink an array of great things from the bar and eat from the “tapas but it’s not tapas” sharing menu. Elegance gives way to casual dining downstairs at Brooke St Larder. It’s also the perfect place to pull up a pew at the end of the day, grab a local beer, and watch the activity on the water.
The Brooke St Pier is also the departure and pickup point for the MONA ferry.
Elizabeth St Pier
This pier is about the restaurants and other casual places to eat, surrounded by the boats and other craft of the waterfront. It’s a great place to be when the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race finishes as this area becomes a regular hive of activity.
MONA – The Museum of Old and New Art
A somewhat new entrant onto the Hobart scene is the wildly acclaimed Museum of Old and New Art. I’m the first to admit I don’t get art. I don’t understand it and it really doesn’t interest me. All too often the stuff that gets all the kudos looks like I’ve made it or painted it, and that can never be a good thing! I’m happy to leave this one to the experts and those who enjoy walking through beautiful buildings making small talk about artwork and oohing and aahing at it all. I’d be more at home in the restaurant here with a great view. That’s definitely more my style.
If you are under 18 or a resident Tasmanian, entry to the museum is free. For everyone else, there’s an entrance price which seems quite excessive to me.
The best way to get here is by ferry where you can get to appreciate Hobart from the water as well. The ferry is also very cool and in keeping with the whole theme of MONA.
Mt Wellington, as the city’s highest, and easily accessible mountain usually draws all the attention. There’s no doubt about it, it is a beautiful natural landmark and wherever you are in the city, it watches over you. I’d certainly recommend getting up to Mt Wellington if you can. However, as we are always looking for other opportunities to get to places that are less known, we discovered Mt Nelson.
Located much closer to the city (only a 30-minute bus ride away and it takes you right to the top), it is definitely worth a visit. Whilst it doesn’t soar to the heights of Mt Wellington, it still affords beautiful views over the water and back towards Hobart. The original signal station, built in 1881 remains in situ. It was part of a series of signal stations that used flags to signal between Hobart and Port Arthur. Even better, there’s now a cottage serving the most amazing lemonade scone, with a view!
When the weather is not at its best and the top of Mt Wellington is misty and clouded over, consider heading up here.
The beautiful buildings
Hobart is full of beautiful buildings. With a low rise cityscape, all the beauty can be seen quite easily at street level. Former wharf buildings and industrial factories that were once the hub of activity down by the water have been wonderfully preserved and re-purposed.
And my personal favourite, the very beautiful Hobart General Post Office.
My favourite is Battery Point, an enclave of Georgian houses, the majority of which is heritage protected. Strolling through this area is peaceful and there’s plenty of little foodie places and gift shops along the way.
You will never need to look too far for excellence in this area. Beware however that Hobart is not an inexpensive place. Dining out, especially when combined with the local beers and wines, can also make a dent in your pocket. If you are looking to save money, there are plenty of markets and supermarkets around where you can buy from.
On a weekend night, there’s plenty of action going on around Salamanca Place, and behind in Salamanca Square. Restaurants of every variety are on offer here.
Where to stay
There is a range of good hotels in the immediate Hobart area, all with differing qualities. There’s much written about Hobart hotels online, most of which usually centres around the price and the quality for that price. Most of the hotel rooms have seen better days according to many sources. although the price doesn’t necessarily reflect this. We stayed at the Mantra Collins and found it to be perfectly suitable and very accessible to everything we needed. It was, however, still on the upper end of the price scale for a roof over your head.
Other Hobart hotels
Middle of the road
Hobart is a great spot to visit
Tasmania and Hobart is a foodie’s paradise. Even if you are not into food in a detailed way, it’s still a terrific place to slow your pace right down. Apart from a few bus trips to the brewery and up to Mt Nelson, we walked everywhere. It’s the best way to discover everything Hobart has on offer and burns off everything that you eat and drink too.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my three-day itinerary for Hobart and that you get a chance to explore it yourself soon.
There’s so much more to Tasmania than just Hobart. If you have more time to spare, read this article for an eight-day itinerary from Hobart to Launceston.