Three-day itinerary for Hobart
Hobart is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. and is the capital city of Tasmania, the southernmost state of Australia. In this article, we highlight some of the best things to do in Hobart in three days.
Tasmania is one of the most beautiful states in Australia, known for its incredible wilderness, nature reserves, mountains and flora and fauna. It is also one of the best states in Australia to be outdoors, with many adventure experiences available. In Tasmania, you also have access to some of the freshest produce in the country, amazing food experiences and craft whisky and gin distilleries.
Hobart has many of the features of Tasmania going on right in its own backyard. In Hobart, you can eat at gourmet restaurants, buy fresh local produce, buy quality items from the markets, drink craft beer, whisky and gin, climb mountains, sail on the ocean, have access to high-quality art and so much more.
Historically, Hobart (and Tasmania) have had fewer visitors than the major cities on the mainland are used to. This has meant the pace is much slower, and there’s time to get out of busier environments and enjoy everything it offers.
While 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 offers.
Note: Tasmania and Hobart continue to experience high visitation numbers. Travellers planning on heading to Hobart should be mindful of the need to plan ahead, especially for any of the popular Tasmanian walks and other adventure and outdoor experiences. The same will apply to hotel bookings and car hire. Even with more visitors, Hobart is free from major urban development and the hustle of the city, there’s still 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.
Best things to do in Hobart
The city of Hobart centres around the historic waterfront. Here the old blends with the new and creates a vibe that makes you want to get out and enjoy everything the city offers. Fortunately, it has plenty to keep first-time visitors to Hobart and repeat travellers entertained.
Shop at the Salamanca Markets
The Salamanca Markets are an institution in Hobart. Operating since 1972, these markets now house over 300 vendors and attract tens of thousands of visitors each week. You can find fabulous food of all kinds here, craft drinks, handmade crafts and wood products, clothing and leather goods and even items for your pets.
My best tip for newcomers is not to eat breakfast, get here early, and then plan to eat every meal here until it closes. There’s great variety here, and it can all be done at your own pace. When you’re finished, head down to the waterfront to recuperate, or kick back in one of the surrounding cafes and restaurants and listen to the live music that will often be playing.
Also, remember to bring your own shopping bags, as the Salamanca Markets are plastic-free.
More reading >> Detailed review of Hobart’s Salamanca Markets
Location: The Signal Station 700 Nelson Rd, Mt Nelson
Buy fresh produce at the Farm Gate Markets
The Farm Gate Market was our absolute favourite in Hobart. With its incredibly fresh produce and all farmers and producers on hand to talk to you, is it any wonder we were so drawn to it? Now firmly back in our own city, I still yearn for that market and so wish we had a market like this with such quality and integrity.
Whether you are a foodie or not, make sure you visit Hobart’s Farm Gate Markets. The vibe is fantastic and I’m quite sure you won’t be able to leave without buying something to take home.
If you are staying in self-contained accommodation in Hobart, this is the perfect place to stock up for your meals.
Tip: Get there before the market opens at 8.30 am to hear the ringing of the big brass bell that signals the market has commenced.
Read now >> Detailed review of Hobart’s Farm Gate Markets
Location: Bathurst St (between Murray and Elizabeth St). The market is open every Sunday from 8.30 am – 1 pm
Go on a delicious food tour
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.
More reading >> Gourmania Food Tours in Hobart
Do a tour and tasting at Cascade Brewery
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, we will admit to 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.
You might also like to read our review of Hobart’s Cascade Brewery.
Visit a whisky distillery
You’ll be spoilt for choice with distilleries and great whisky bars in Hobart. Lark Distillery is the easiest to access, with a bar right by the waterfront. It also serves up some mighty fine gin as well. There are also whisky bars around Salamanca Place.
Constitution Dock comes alive every year at the completion of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in December. Kicking off on Boxing Day each year, the maxi yachts compete for line honours over 630 nautical miles. Whilst the seas can be ferocious as they cross the strait, once they arrive at Constitution Dock, it’s the picture of total calm.
The dock is right in the middle of Hobart’s waterfront area and offers a great place to walk around or to 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.
Have a drink or eat at the 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 the floating pier are the homes of artisan whisky and gin, chocolate, honey, soaps, wines and cheese producers. 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. Downstairs at the Brooke St Larder, it’s all about casual dining. 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.
Eat at the Elizabeth St Pier
This pier is about the restaurants and other casual places to eat, surrounded by the boats and other waterfront craft. It’s a great place to be when the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race finishes as this area becomes a regular hive of activity.
Explore unusual art at 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. Opened in 2011, it has become a huge drawcard for the city. Owner David Walsh ran out of room to keep his own private art collections so built MONA. It is now the largest privately funded museum in the southern hemisphere.
MONA uses a special device called the O to give a self-guided tour of the facility and its exhibitions. Note however that due to COVID, the O device cannot be used. Visitors can download an app. BYO headphones.
Tips for making the most of your visit to MONA
- MONA is only open Friday – Monday 10 am – 5 pm. Restaurant hours may differ.
- Good news if you are from Tasmania – you get free entry
- If you are not from Tasmania, you can buy your tickets here. You will also need to pay a $10 deposit when booking, which will be refunded once you have been to MONA.
- Every person visiting MONA is still required to book a ticket online. This includes if you are from Tasmania.
- MONA is cashless, be sure to bring your cards
- Strobe lighting and other visual items may impact certain people. You can speak to a staff member to learn which exhibitions to avoid.
- Download the MONA app beforehand and remember to bring your headphones. iOS app can be found here. Android app can be found here.
- If you are a visitor to Tasmania, download the Check-In Tasmania app first. You will need to use it at MONA and all over Tasmania.
- Give yourself plenty of time to explore. There are also several cafes and restaurants on-site also.
How to get to MONA
Whilst much of Hobart can be accessed via walking or bus, MONA is 11 kilometres north of the city, so you’ll need some alternative transport.
The best way to get here is by ferry where you can get to appreciate Hobart from the water as well. Ferries leave the Brooke St Pier and take 25 minutes one way.
Note: there are short of 100 steps to climb between the ferry and MONA.
If you aren’t worried about cost and feel like doing something different, buy a ticket to the Posh Pit. For more than double the standard ticket cost, you can sit on the upper deck with a glass or two and some canapes. If you want value for money you’ll need to be quick though, as the ferry ride is only a short one.
Catch a bus from the Brooke St Pier to MONA. It takes only slightly longer than the ferry and unlike taking the trip by water, this way is wheelchair accessible.
Tickets can be purchased here.
MONA is approximately 20 minutes from Hobart by car. There is a limited amount of parking onsite.
Taxis and Uber also drive between Hobart and MONA.
A dedicated cycleway connects Hobart to the MONA.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Galley
Continue the art and history experience at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, located right in the heart of Hobart. This is one of the oldest museums in Tasmania and offers something for everyone, with interactive displays to highlight many of the exhibitions.
Getting to the museum is easy if you are already in Hobart city. The building is located in one of Hobart’s most historic waterfront areas. Car parking is available nearby and the Hobart City Bus Mall is five minutes away.
Entry is free. Visit their website for opening times, which differ throughout the year.
Location: Dunn Place, Hobart
Take in the view from Mt Nelson
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 less known places, we discovered Mt Nelson.
When the weather is not at its best and the top of Mt Wellington is misty and clouded over, consider heading up here.
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!
If you are up here, having a Devonshire tea is a must. Great food with a great view.
How to get to Mt Nelson
Mt Nelson is south of the city of Hobart, and the drive will take you via picturesque Sandy Bay and Tolman’s Hill. Connect to the A6 Highway out of Hobart and onto the C643.
It’s an easy drive that should take approximately 20 minutes.
The number 458 bus departs the Hobart City Bus Interchange #D2 (Macquarie St alongside Franklin Square). Buses can take 20-30 minutes depending on the time of day and traffic. The bus stops at the Signal Station Lookout area at the top of Mt Nelson.
Use this journey planner for up to date bus times.
Location: The Signal Station 700 Nelson Rd, Mt Nelson
Visit Mt Wellington
Mt Wellington is always present when you are in Hobart, looming large in the background, quite often draped in snow.
Fitting a visit in to Mt Wellington might be hard if you are doing a three-day itinerary and trying to do other things we’ve listed here. We are putting it in as a possibility because if the Hobart weather is agreeable, you could easily substitute this for another activity.,
On a clear day, you can see right across the city and out to Bruny Island. There is also a great picnic spot up here, called The Springs and several great walks.
How to get to Mt Welllington
The easiest way to get to Mt Wellington is by car. It takes approximately 30 minutes, is a relatively easy drive, and there are plenty of places to park once you arrive.
Metro Buses operate from Hobart to Fern Tree.
Explore the historical buildings in the city
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 is the very beautiful Hobart General Post Office.
Explore the suburbs of Hobart
Battery Point, one of the original suburbs of Hobart, is an enclave of Georgian houses, the majority of which are heritage protected. Strolling through this area is peaceful, and there’s plenty of little foodie places and gift shops along the way.
Until the 1830s, Hobart was a whaling town, and the industry employed many people. James Kelly, an important historical figure in Tasmania, carved up his land in Battery Point for workers’ cottages.
The Kelly Steps are a good place to start your Battery Point Historic Walk. Connecting Salamanca Place with the suburb, they were built to give easy access from the once rough and tumble area to the waterfront.
Mr Kelly wouldn’t recognise Battery Point today, with its growing foodie scene, cafes and restaurants and fancy sandstone houses. It’s a fascinating area and one in which you can dawdle about the winding, narrow streets at your leisure.
Where to eat
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 local beers and wines, can also make a dent in your pocket. If you want to save money, there are plenty of markets and supermarkets 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.
Some of the best places to eat are
- Drunken Admiral Pub – Hobart’s iconic seafood restaurant at the old wharf. Its bar is made from a piece of a ship.
- Hope and Anchor Pub – Hobart’s oldest pub
- Agrarian Kitchen Eatery
- Pigeon Whole Bakers – their pastries are to die for but you must have a doughnut!
- La Mensa
- Jackman and McRoss – a wonderful cafe in Battery Point
- Honey Badger Dessert Cafe – a must-visit for those with a sweet tooth
- Peacock & Jones – hidden away in an old sandstone building, it’s a hidden gem.
Best places to eat near Hobart
- Frogmore Creek Winery
- Faro Restaurant (MONA)
- The Fat Pig Farm – Huon Valley – bookings by appointment only
Where to stay
There is a range of good hotels in the immediate Hobart area. 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.
Read the review of our stay at the Mantra Collins.
If you don’t have a car, we recommend staying in the centre of Hobart or down by the waterfront.
Click on all of the links below for reviews, prices and availability on Trip Advisor.
Henry Jones Art Hotel – housed in amongst Hobart’s oldest warehouses on the waterfront. It is also Australia’s first dedicated art hotel. Here you’ll see art used intrinsically throughout the hotel.
Islington Hotel – With views of Mt Wellington, this small, boutique luxury hotel is simply divine. With 11 rooms only, you’ll find plenty of tranquillity here.
Mona Pavilions – Planning on visiting MONA? Why not stay in one of the luxury apartments on the Derwent River.
Mantra Collins – a solid hotel in the centre of Hobart.
Customs House Hotel – located in the busiest area of Hobart, you will have easy access to everything you need here.
Rydges Hobart – a functional hotel good for short-term visitors
How long should I stay?
Hobart is a compact city where so much can be achieved in one day. But it’s also a delightful city and spending one day in Hobart will never be enough. One day here will definitely leave you wanting more. We’ve given you some of the best things to do in three days in Hobart, offering a visitor a chance to get to know it a little better.
There are many other things to do in Hobart, however, and many more day trips from Tasmania that could take an entire day. We haven’t mentioned these above as there wouldn’t be enough time. But, if you are planning to visit Hobart for a week, or spend more time in other parts of Tasmania, then we can definitely recommend the following.
Hobart experiences the physical change of all four seasons. Sometimes, you can even have several of them in one day!
The best time of the year if you are looking for some cool but stable weather is Autumn. The average temperatures are around 8-17 degrees Celsius, and it’s often sunny. The best part is the changing of the trees into true Autumnal colours.
In Summer, you’ll find sun and generally less rain, making it the perfect time to head to Hobart if cold weather isn’t your style. Be careful, though. Even in Summer, temperatures are around 11 – 21 degrees Celsius and can be cool in the evening, especially if you are used to hotter conditions in Summer elsewhere.
Winter can be bitter. As an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it is close enough to Antarctica to feel the wrath of their cold winds when they blow. Mt Wellington regularly has snow, and it has been known to snow right down into the foothills of Hobart. Average temperatures are 5-12 degrees Celsius.
In Spring, the cooler temperatures hold on, with averages around 7-17 degrees Celsius. Spring is also when it rains the most.
What to pack
What to pack for Hobart will depend on the season to a large degree. In Summer, pack t-shirts, shorts and swimwear. In Winter, you will need to pack for cold days and nights, with many layers being the key. If you plan to head into the snow areas, you’ll need to take big jackets, scarves, beanies and gloves. I would always pack thermals just in case.
Whatever the season, you should always take several items of clothing regardless. Pack layers to add or take off as the temperature dictates. Always have a warm jacket with you. Even if you were to climb Mt Wellington in the middle of Summer, still take a jacket. At over 1,200 metres above sea level, it can get windy and cold up there at any time. Always take a rain jacket as well.
How to get there
Hobart is the capital of Tasmania, an island located south of mainland Australia. Getting to Hobart from other parts of Australia can be done in two ways.
Hobart has a domestic and international airport located 17 kilometres from the city.
Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar all fly to Hobart, along with other smaller regional airlines. Many fly directly into Hobart, although some will stop in Sydney or Melbourne on the way.
Note: As Tasmania is an island, it has strict quarantine rules upon entry, similar to if you were arriving into Australia from overseas. These rules are strongly enforced, and it is common to see quarantine dogs sniffing luggage as it comes off the carousel. It is illegal to bring any fresh fruit and vegetables, plants, seeds and plane food into Tasmania. For a full list of what you can and can’t bring into Tasmania, read the official website.
If you are in Melbourne, the ferry is an option. the Spirit of Tasmania, a passenger and vehicle ferry, departs from Geelong, arriving in Devonport in Tasmania’s north.
The Spirit of Tasmania (www.spiritoftasmania.com.au) car and passenger ferries cross the Bass Strait from Melbourne to Devonport in the north of Tasmania.
Day trips from Hobart
- Freycinet National Park – Wineglass Bay – Coles Bay
- Cradle Mountain (highly recommend staying at least one night)
- Port Arthur (don’t try and rush this into a small amount of time. you can definitely spend all day here.
- Bruny Island
- Kingston and Kingston Beach