The Tasmanian capital has transformed over the last decade; today you’ll find a unique fusion of creativity, heritage, wilderness and culinary prowess among its cobbled streets and scenic waterfront.
There’s been a lot for Hobart to write home about over the last decade. When the (quite literally) groundbreaking subterranean Museum Of Old and New Art (MONA) opened in 2011, it proved the catalyst for a cultural renaissance in the Tasmanian capital that’s showing no signs of abating.
All par for the course of a visit today is cutting-edge festivals such as midwinter’s Dark Mofo, hip eateries that make use of the freshest Tassie produce and boutique hotels that key into the city’s heritage and character.
A compact and pretty city tucked between the River Derwent and Kunanyi/Mt Wellington, it doesn’t take long to get to grips with Tassie’s capital – in fact, 72 hours might just do the trick. Get the most out of your stay with our Hobart city guide.
The Dark Mofo Winter Feast celebrates the dark through film, music, noise, light public art, and food. (Image: Adam Gibson)
Day one: delve into Hobart’s history
There’s no better way to introduce yourself to the city’s charms than by exploring its storied waterfront and surroundings on foot. From an iconic market to serious espresso bars, an interesting folk museum and a world-renowned distillery, there’s plenty to see and do in historic Hobart.
Get coffee at Parklane Espresso, and a cake at Jackman and McRoss
Hobart is a city that’s swimming in good cafes and bakeries – the struggle won’t be in finding something decent but in choosing between the myriad options on offer. There are two stellar joints in the area known as Sullivan’s Cove and adjacent Battery Point: Parklane Espresso brews a mean coffee and is great for people watching, while Jackman and McRoss is a bit of a local institution renowned for its seasonal cakes and pastries.
Jackman & McRoss Bakery is one of the most popular in Hobart. (Image: Tourism Tasmania/ Gabi Mocatta)
Explore the Brooke Street Pier
Here, old piers that stretch out into the harbour and the elegant sandstone buildings that flank it have been repurposed into modern spaces with boutique hotels and waterside eateries; at the vibrant Brooke Street Pier you’ll find a weekly market for Tasmanian goods and design as well as the departure point for the MONA ferry and other adventures.
Brooke Street Pier is filled with boutique hotels and seaside eateries. (Image: Dale Baldwin)
Go shopping in Salamanca Place
A stone’s throw from here, Salamanca Place is home to galleries, theatres and restaurants in its 1830s Georgian warehouses as well as the must-visit Salamanca Market on Saturdays, where you’ll find purveyors of the best local produce.
The renowned Salamanca Place. (Credit: Alastair Bett)
Walk Battery Point
Take Kelly’s Steps from Salamanca Place to explore the historic suburb of Battery Point – home to the country’s oldest folk museum, Narryna Heritage Museum, an 1830s merchant’s house that tells the story of early colonial life in Hobart, and some of the city’s earliest cottages at Arthur Circus. Back down near the waterfront, stop in for a pre-dinner aperitif at Lark Distillery’s Whisky Stall and sample an award-winning dram of Tasmanian single malt whisky.
Sample an award-winning dram of Tasmanian single malt whisky at Lark Distillery. (Image: Sam Shelley)
Dine at Aloft for dinner
While Salamanca Place, Battery Point and Sullivan’s Cove may have a slightly touristy feel, that’s not to say the area’s devoid of great restaurants. Aloft is one of Hobart’s heavy hitters, occupying a plum spot on the city’s waterfront. Diners will be torn between admiring the harbour views and absorbing the action that’s taking place in the open kitchen, where the restaurant’s chefs deftly prepare seasonal plates of modern pan-asian cuisine.
Accommodation tip: Moss Hotel
Decked out in soul-soothing shades of green on the waterfront, Moss Hotel is steeped in Hobart heritage.
Moss Hotel in Hobart is steeped in history. (Credit: Derek Henderson)
Day two: explore Hobart’s wild side
You don’t have to venture far from Hobart to get a taste of Tassie’s famed wilderness. Kunanyi/Mt Wellington is only 20 minutes from the centre by car or the hop-on, hop-off Explorer Bus. From the summit on a clear day, you’re treated to a panorama of the city, its waterways and Bruny Island beyond. Spend today getting acquainted with Hobart city’s natural beauty and working up an appetite ready for another round of gourmet indulgences.
Take a peek at the lighthouse on Cape Bruny. (Image: Adam Gibson)
Hike to the summit of Kunanyi/Mt Wellington
On the doorstep of Hobart and encompassing Kunanyi/Mt Wellington, Wellington Park is a wilderness laced with walking tracks including the two-kilometre Myrtle Gully Trail and the nearly eight-kilometre-long Organ Pipes Track, one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks. Once you’ve conquered one of those head up to the summit of Kunanyi/Mt Wellington, tread the boardwalks and wander around the lookout platforms while gorging on city views.
Visit the Kunanyi/Mt Wellington summit. (Credit: Luke Tscharke)
Fuel up post-hike with a coffee
Wellington Park also plays host to a surprisingly good – and design-conscious – cafe that’s housed within a shipping container. Relax post-hike with a matcha latte, and maybe a sausage roll too, at Lost Freight, located halfway up Kunanyi/Mt Wellington.
Take the Rivulet Walk
If you’ve still got energy to burn after this morning’s walk then hit the Hobart Rivulet Walk. A bit of a hidden gem, it offers glimpses of the city’s history as it winds up from the city to the foot of Kunanyi/Mt Wellington over 2.7 gentle kilometres. Along the Rivulet Walk you’ll come across the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site; stop for a while to reflect on the sombre stories of the female convicts this institution once housed.
Reflect on Hobart’s history at the South Hobart Rivulet walk. (Image: Tourism Tasmania/ Nick Osborne)
Grab lunch at Pigeon Hole Cafe
It’s not far from the Rivulet Walk trail to reach Pigeon Hole Cafe – one of Hobart’s best for brunch and lunch. Situated in the quiet streets of West Hobart, not far from the city centre, it’s a cosy little joint that’s committed to a no-waste food philosophy and supported by its own farm, Weston Farm, guaranteeing only the most seasonal of ingredients end up on your plate.
If a liquid lunch sounds more appetising then visit the nearby Cascade Brewery. Australia’s oldest continuously operating brewery, Cascade was established in 1824. Enjoy a pint of pale ale and a cheese plate in its heritage beer garden. True beer lovers can also sign up for one of the daily guided brewery tours.
Have a drink at Cascade Brewery Bar.
Join a wilderness cruise
Succumb to the postprandial dip and let someone else take the reins for sightseeing this afternoon. Hop aboard one of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys’ famous yellow eco boats and spend three hours cruising around the rugged coastline of pristine Bruny Island. You’ll enter sea caves; search for seals, dolphins and whales; and learn plenty about the geology and ecology of the area.
Dine at Dier Makr for dinner
Once you’ve freshened up back at your Hobart hotel head into the CBD and prepare your senses for the edgy fare on offer at Dier Makr. The seasonal tasting menu showcases the technical mastery of chef-owner Kobi Ruzicka and his team, with every last bit of produce refashioned into something delectable, from vegetable offcuts to leftover whey.
Dine on the edgy fare at Dier Makr restaurant.
Accommodation tip: MACq 01 Hotel
MACq 01 Hotel is a storytelling hotel on Hobart’s historic Macquarie Wharf that brings Tassie’s history to life.
Discover the storytelling hotel, MACq 01 Hotel.(Image: Adam Gibson)
Day three: art and culture
There’s plenty more to discover beyond Hobart’s rugged good looks, fresh clean air and intriguing historic centre. Get to know Hobart’s arty side today, with a visit to headline-grabbing MONA, the impressive collection at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and its most bohemian suburb, NoHo.
The MONA, otherwise known as the Museum of Old and New Art. (Image: Jesse Hunniford)
Hit NoHo on foot
One too many cocktails at Dier Makr last night? Have a lazy start to the day with a stroll around bohemian North Hobart, home to a glut of cafes and restaurants. Pay a visit to the State Bookstore, adjoining the much-loved arthouse State Cinema, which is perfect for a little browse. And if the mood takes you, call in at Contemporary Art Tasmania too.
Get brekkie at Room For A Pony
Among the hipster haunts of North Hobart, Room For A Pony is a standout. Housed within a former petrol station, this cool cafe has a great atmosphere and plenty of outdoor seating, should the Tasmanian weather gods deliver the goods. The Chinese fried chilli omelette, served on rice with oyster sauce, has arguably become something of a house signature.
Make your way to Room For A Pony Café and Bar. (Credit: Osborne Images)
Catch the ferry to MONA
It would be remiss to write a Hobart city guide and not mention local cultural landmark, MONA. It’s worth carving out at least a couple of hours to explore all this ever-eclectic and always-evolving museum has to offer.
See the artworks at MONA. (Credit: Jesse Hunniford/MONA)
Arrive in style by catching the MONA Ferry: cruising from the waterfront along the River Derwent on a camouflaged catamaran is all part of the immersive experience. Then wander underground to explore the art, curiosities and experiential installations. The galleries feature more than 350 works, spanning ancient to contemporary from owner David Walsh’s idiosyncratic personal collection.
For lunch, choose between The Source Restaurant, burger bar Dubsy’s or futuristic Faro. Then sip on MONA’s own Moorilla wine and Moo Brew beer at the Moorilla Wine Bar.
Arrive in style by catching the MONA Ferry. (Image: Mona and Rémi Chauvin)
Visit The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
After the ferry has dropped you back at Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier, venture to the nearby Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG). Whether you’re travelling with the whole brood or on a couple’s weekend break, it’s a fine spot to mop up an hour or two. There’s an entire gallery dedicated just to the under-sevens here, and an impressive collection of colonial artworks and artefacts to boot.
Dine at Fico for dinner
Whichever direction you head from TMAG you’ll find rich culinary pickings. If you’re on the hunt for something at the fancy end of the scale, try CBD bistro Fico which is less than a 10-minute walk away. A self-proclaimed ‘casual fine dining experience’, this Hobart restaurant is all about taking Italian classics and reimagining them with contemporary tweaks.
Accommodation tip: Alabama Hotel
The funky art-filled Alabama Hotel offers affordable rooms with a boutique touch.
The funky art-filled interiors of the Alabama Hotel. (Image: Natalie Mendham)