Your Guide to the Best Things to do in Hobart

Posted: 18 November 2019 | Updated: 18 November 2019

While the island state of Tasmania may seem like it’s a world away for those of us in the other states and territories of Australia (especially our friends in WA), never has there been a better time to visit.

Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, is an enchanting little city built around a beautiful yacht-studded harbour in the shadow of majestic Mt. Wellington. While it may be an old city steeped in dark and fascinating history, Hobart is vibrant and modern, and has rapidly become a thriving capital of activity and culture.

Home to some of Australia’s best festivals, markets, and a food and wine scene that will leave you feeling like you’ve just spent two weeks eating your way around Italy, we promise the only reason you’ll want to leave is to explore the rest of the state before returning. So, if you do find yourself in Tasmania’s thriving capital, how exactly could you spend your time?

Apart from breathing in the world’s cleanest air, here are our top picks for things to do in Hobart.

1. MONA

Visiting MONA while in Hobart is a must. Easily one of the state’s most popular attractions, the Museum of Old and New Art is every bit worth the hype it receives. Founded in 2011 by David Walsh, the museum is provocative, eclectic and filled with contemporary, confronting art and is set in a beautiful location.

Getting there, the Mona Ferry is an experience in itself. There are two travel options for the 25-minute ride, and we highly recommend the ‘Posh Pit,’ where you’ll enjoy complimentary drinks and canapes’ in the exclusive lounge, bar and private deck. The standard option however is still pretty spectacular, with life sized sheep and tiger ‘seats.’ The ferry also features a private jungle, three bars, wallaby fur lined booths and a gold latrine. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like an experience you don’t want to miss! And that’s even before you’ve arrived at the museum.

2. Salamanca Market

What was once a commercial hub of old Hobart, Salamanca Place is now a tourist hot spot, home to some of Hobart's best cafes, restaurants, boutique shops, and of course the iconic Salamanca Markets. The row of picturesque sandstone warehouse that date back to the 1830s provide the perfect historic backdrop for a day out.

Visit the Salamanca Markets on a Saturday to browse through what some visitors call the ‘best market in Australia’ and sample the delicious food and drinks on offer.

If you are a market fanatic, visit our page, Guide to Australia’s Best Markets.

3. Battery Point

Rated as a Lonely Planet top choice historic site, Battery Point is definitely worth a visit and provides an interesting insight into Hobart’s maritime past. Located behind the iconic Salamanca Place, take a guided walk and step back in time as you discover the winding streets, colonial architecture and eccentric sandstone buildings that hold a historical charm. Battery Point was settled in Hobart’s earliest days in the 1800’s, and has remained largely unchanged for over a hundred years. It truly is one of Australia’s most fascinating historic precincts, while currently being one of Hobart’s trendiest suburbs.

4. Royal Botanical Gardens

The second oldest botanic garden in Australia and certainly one of the best, the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens are a pure delight to visit. With a collection of Tasmanian native flora that showcases the incredible Huon Pines, Leatherwoods, and a selection of native ferns and sub-shrubs, the garden is also home to an ever growing and changing number of specialised collections and gardens that make them truly unique.

A major attraction of the Gardens is the Conservatory, a celebration of colour and floral scent where you can take the time to admire the plants and flowers, or rest on the seats near the picturesque sandstone fountain. You also can’t miss the Lily Pond. As peaceful and beautiful as the name implies, the Lily Pond is one the most beloved areas of the Gardens. They also have a Sub-Antarctic Plant House – yep, that’s right. One of the most exciting and unusual collections features plants from Sub-Antarctic islands, displayed in a climatically controlled environment where fogs and mists replicate the wet and cold conditions of their natural habitats. This is an absolute must see – there is no other collection like it anywhere in the world!

Find out more about the amazing array of flora you can see and when to visit on the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens website.

5. Mount Nelson Lookout

You can drive just 10 minutes out of Hobart to reach an ideal vantage point for views over the gorgeous city and nearby Bruny Island.There are a number of bushwalks you can take when you reach the top, plus a picnic area so you simply sit and appreciate the stunning Tassie landscape.

 

 

Day Trips from Hobart

While there is so much to do in the city of Hobart itself, it also acts as the perfect base for discovering more of Tasmania. If you have time on your visit, be sure to take a day trip to one of these incredible destinations that are both within just two hours of Hobart.

6. Bruny Island

Bruny Island provides the ultimate Tasmanian wilderness experience, and offers a plethora of spectacular bushwalks, coastal tracks and beach strolls. Not only that, it is a foodie haven. Prepare your tastebuds as you can expect to indulge in the freshest seafood including oysters, cheese, famous Tasmanian salmon, bread and berries.

Add this as an optional experience to your Perfect Tasmania Guided Holiday.

7. Port Arthur

Step back in time as you walk through the well-preserved penal colony buildings of the Port Arthur Historic Site. This is a truly fascinating way to spend a leisurely morning or afternoon, as your guide explains the history of the timber station turned Australia’s most famous convict settlement. The site and surrounding area is undeniably stunning, yet holds a sombre and dark past. 

Experience all of these on our Tasmanian Wonders and Perfect Tasmania itineraries.

By Laura Vitucci for AAT Kings