February 16, 2023
10 mins Read
For a small city on a sparsely populated island, Tassie’s capital is surprisingly big on attractions and activities. Whether you’re planning a quick city break or using the regional capital as your base for wider adventures you’ll find that there are plenty of things to see and do beyond eating and drinking in Hobart.
Make like Super Mario on the electric go-kart course, visit the weird and wonderful MONA, take an eco-cruise to a neighbouring island, or sit back and take it all in from one of Kunanyi/Mt Wellington’s many lookout points. This is your guide to the best things to do in Hobart whatever the season or reason for your visit.
From bohemian NoHo to the untamed wilderness on its doorstep, Hobart has a number of different fun sides to explore. Savour all that the city has to offer with this list of fun yet indulgent activities that promise to please your palate, both in town and outside of it.
Uncover what makes Tassie produce so exceptional on an excursion just on the cusp of the city. Forager extraordinaire Mic Giuliani runs Sirocco South, taking visitors on a tour through the peri-urban wilds to pluck whatever’s in season for a six-course gourmet lunch complemented with local wines.
The menu, naturally, changes with the seasons but can include wild mushroom paté made with just-foraged saffron milk caps and slippery jacks and served with warm sourdough; freshly foraged asparagus barbecued, steamed and tossed into a frittata; or perhaps stuffed lamb breast with weed salsa verde made of buckshorn plantain, ice plant, coastal saltbush and wild rocket.
Taste a piece of Tassie history at Lark’s Hobart Cellar Door on Davey Street. Situated on the waterfront, this site was once a distillery and bond store. Today it houses Lark’s full range of single malt whiskies, including old releases and cellar door exclusives, which you can try as part of a specially curated tasting flight.
Hobart is nothing if not a touch quirky. This humble harbour city’s main claim to fame is of course the Museum of Old and New Art, which turned around the capital’s (and the country’s) fortunes practically overnight when it opened in 2011. But there are other unique things to do in Hobart too, such as the Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum.
Strictly speaking, the Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum is not unique – after all the huts here are identical models to the ones still standing in Cape Denison, Antarctica, which date back to the early 1900s. But unless you have a spare $20,000 burning a hole in your back pocket, this Hobart museum is as close as you’ll get to the real thing. And moreover, proceeds from your visit go towards the conservation of the original huts.
The city’s frontrunner for kooky entertainment, this boundary-pushing museum certainly fits the bill for ‘unique things to do in Hobart’. Dreamed up by multimillionaire David Walsh, even travelling to MONA has its quirks, the ferry featuring seats shaped like sheep and tigers and a so-called ‘Posh Pit’ for those who want to elevate their journey with drinks and tiny snacks. Otherwise known as ‘the museum of sex and death’, MONA promises a museum experience like no other.
Travelling on a budget? Fear not. There are plenty of free things to do in Hobart if you look closely enough. Mosey around the shops in Salamanca Place, hit the city’s historic districts on foot, visit Kunanyi/Mt Wellington, wander through the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, or stop by the Tasmanian Museum And Art Gallery, a humdinger of a freebie.
Dip your toes into Hobart’s rich cultural scene at TMAG – The Tasmanian Museum And Art Gallery. This Hobart institution has a behemoth of a collection, with more than one million objects that span from decorative arts to zoology, First Peoples’ culture, and Tasmanian plant specimens all under its guardianship. And some of the TMAG Precinct buildings are relics themselves, dating back to the early 1800s. Beyond the obvious draws for adults, this Hobart museum and gallery also has plenty to offer younger visitors, with some exhibitions designed expressly for those aged seven and below. It’s easily one of the best free things to do in Hobart.
Ever-present Kunanyi/Mt Wellington isn’t just a dreamy backdrop: it’s also a great spot to get closer to nature and to work off all that incredible food you’ve been gorging on in Hobart’s best restaurants. The three-kilometre Sphinx Rock Walk offers a thoroughly pleasing effort-to-reward ratio – even the kids can tag along on this one – with some stonking views over Hobart the Organ Pipes and the River Derwent to boot.
At first glance, Hobart might not seem made for family holidays. After all, the city is arguably most known for its schmick food and wine scene and ever-growing cast of boutique hotel characters. And yet, this regional capital is actually really rather great for kids. From child-friendly museums to ghost tours and go-karting, here are just a few of the best things to do in Hobart with kids.
Kids aged five and up will no doubt have a fit of giggles at the prospect of visiting this unique Hobart attraction, dedicated to animal droppings. The Pooseum promises to answer all those burning questions your little ones have, such as: how long does it take an elephant to defecate? And: why should you never walk barefoot on a tropical beach? There’s a host of interactive displays (including a fart machine), plus PooTube videos, and even a ‘Pootrid’ shop, which does exactly what it says on the tin.
It’s not only school-aged kids that get all the fun in Hobart. Teens can also feel included with a stint at Hyperdrive Kart Racing Hobart. This electric go-kart track in Kingston – just a 15-minute drive south of Hobart CBD – offers some high-octane thrills for all the family, with some of the fastest karts around. There are 1600 square metres of the indoor track to race around, plus an outdoor track that spans over 2500 square metres.
If your kids aren’t too easily spooked, then consider a Port Arthur Ghost Tour. The guided, lantern-lit tours go for 90 minutes and take in the dark recesses of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Port Arthur site. Expect vivid stories of unexplained events that have terrified convicts, free settlers, soldiers and visitors alike.
Forget the hire car – a trip to this compact city definitely does not require four wheels. Not only are the vast majority of Hobart’s main attractions within walking distance of the CBD, but there’s also a decent public bus network here. If you’re looking for things to do in Hobart without a car here are two of the best.
Swap a car for a boat and see Hobart and its surrounds from a different angle with one of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys’ many sightseeing cruises. This eco-friendly operator offers tours of Bruny Island, Tasman Island and plenty more beyond, all departing from Franklin Wharf in the thick of the city.
Want to watch Hobart come alive? Stop in at one of the city’s vibrant markets! There’s a number to choose from, but it would be practically sacrilegious to visit Tassie’s capital and not peruse the stalls at the weekly Salamanca Market, which has become something of a local icon. Each Saturday more than 200 vendors descend upon Salamanca Place to sell their wares, purveying everything from pottery to produce.
Hobart may be the cultural heart of Tassie, but the capital’s surroundings boast a wealth of different landscapes, eateries and activities that more than merit the drive. Get a taste of what the rest of Tasmania has to offer with a visit to one of these locales, both of which lie on Hobart’s doorstep.
Come face to face with Tasmania’s most famous marsupial at Tasmanian Devil Unzoo. This wildlife sanctuary on the Tasman Peninsula – an hour’s drive southeast of Hobart – allows the endangered carnivorous creatures to run wild.
Take the zoo’s Devil Tracker Adventure and you’ll enjoy a guided 4WD tour in the native forest to see how they’re being tracked and monitored.
The Apple Isle is renowned for the strength of its artisanal food scene as well as the local passion for produce, and at The Agrarian Kitchen in New Norfolk, both aspects are proudly showcased. This regional restaurant is a fine spot for some destination dining, but the real cherry on the cake is the establishment’s cooking school, which will reopen in a new space in October 2022.
Looking at other things to do and see in Hobart? We’ve got you covered with our ultimate travel guide to the city.
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