There's no two ways about it, Hobart is hot! On any given weekend it can be hard to get a look in. But if you do manage to secure a hotel reservation, here are ten moments not to be missed during your visit, from natural attractions to historic sites.
1. Get arty at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)
Probing the dark recesses of David Walsh’s extraordinary private museum is high on the list of ‘must do’s’ for most visitors to Hobart – and with good reason. The eclectic collection more than lives up to the hype, and the subterranean masterpiece in which it’s housed is almost as fascinating as the art itself. The current touring exhibition and garishly irreverent Gilbert & George runs until the end of March 2016.
2. Stock up on community spirit at the Salamanca Market
Weekend community markets are of course commonplace around the country, but it’s fair to say the Salamanca Market has set the tone over the years since it opened way back in 1972. Trawl the huge number of stalls in Salamanca Place every Saturday for a variety of feel-good items, many of which are locally grown or made.
3. Scale Mount Wellington
The locals say they get dressed in the morning according to what Mount Wellington is wearing. In addition to directing the fashions of the day, Mount Wellington also provides wonderful bird’s-eye vistas of the city and surroundings; the Derwent River and out to the Southern Ocean. It’s a great way to orientate yourself and well worth the 30-minute drive from town to summit. There are different lookout points on offer once you get there.
4. Walk the walk with a historic Hobart walking tour
As the second oldest capital city in Australia, Hobart has an incredibly rich history to explore and a wealth of glorious Georgian architecture. The best way to experience it is on a guided walking tour with a local expert. Hobart Walking Tours offers a comprehensive stroll from Franklin Wharf, up the Georgian splendor of Macquarie Street and through Saint David’s Park. Salamanca Walk picks up the narrative from there, with fascinating tales of the nefarious waterfront precinct. Look for the convict insignia in the brickwork around Parliament House.
5. Feast on Latin passion at Frank
The dining scene in Hobart is on fire and while there are many fabulous eateries in which to indulge yourself during your stay, Frank on the waterfront is our top pick. This former office-building lobby has been transformed into a South American-inspired hotbed of shared plates and dining excellence. Don't miss the fire-roasted oysters with chorizo, peppers and garlic, and don’t even think of turning up without a reservation. You’ll be sadly disappointed.
6. Immerse yourself in the local arts scene
Hobart has always had a strong arts community and while it can’t be easy living in the shadow of a goliath like MONA, don’t discount the other galleries and museums around town during your visit. Stop by the Salamanca Arts Centre, which always has a vibrant program on the go with a focus on local artists. The Despard Gallery of contemporary art is also a good option. Check local guides for what's on during your visit.
7. Go cafe grazing
If lazy all-day breakfasts float your holiday boat, you are in for such a treat in Hobart. Make picturesque Battery Point your first point of call and the sublimely simple Pollen Tea Room. Down in town, the industrial chic of Pilgrim Coffee on Argyle Street is also a must (love the retro cinema seating). And should you need to do some holiday laundry, the uber popular Machine Laundry Cafe in Salamanca Square is a fully-functioning launderette. Handy! Nearby Tricycle Cafe in the Salamanca Arts Centre also comes highly recommended.
8. Enjoy a tipple at The Henry Jones Art Hotel’s IXL Long Bar
Housed in a converted 19th-century jam factory on the Hobart waterfront, The Henry Jones Art Hotel is without doubt one of the hottest hotel addresses in town. Even if you’re not lucky enough to be staying in one of the hotel’s 56 artistically enhanced rooms and suites, you can still enjoy the atmospheric surroundings at the IXL Long Bar. It’s the perfect spot to wind down at the end of a long day of sightseeing and gallery hopping.
9. Try the catch of the day at Constitution Dock
Most of us know of Constitution Dock from the Sydney to Hobart. If you’re hankering for some good old-fashioned fish and chips, this is the spot to drop anchor. There are several floating fish and chip stands and with names like ‘Fishy Business’ you know you’re in good hands (the city’s entire population of seagulls can’t be wrong!). For a bowl of seafood chowder guaranteed to warm the cockles on a chilly Hobart winter’s eve, head for the gaudily nautical Drunken Admiral opposite.
10. Step back in time in New Norfolk
If you do decide to get out of town, there are lots of great spots within easy reach of Hobart. Historic New Norfolk offers access to the fabulous wineries of the Derwent Valley and some of the best antique shopping you’ll find anywhere in the country. Stay at Woodbridge on the Derwent – a wonderfully restored luxury guesthouse and Tassie’s only member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection. The main building dates back to the early 1800s and has been lovingly restored.