Tasmania is criminally underrated as a tourist destination. The Island of Inspiration is home to a wonderfully diverse landscape, and is rich in local history. You could definitely spend weeks exploring the southernmost Australian state because there is just so much to do. However, if you only have a few days to satisfy your wanderlust for the road less travelled in Australia, Tassie’s capital city, Hobart, has plenty to offer.
TAKE AN OPEN-TOP BUS TOUR
One of the first things that you should do is jump onto an open-top bus tour of the city. Tours like this exist all over the world and are pretty much always excellent. The tour of Hobart is extra useful because it is cheap, a full circuit only takes an hour, and it goes to places that might otherwise be a bit more difficult to reach. We really love these tours, even if they are a little gimmicky, because they really help us to get our bearings for a place and identify where we want to go. They’re particularly useful if you only have a limited amount of time in a location so start here.
MONA – MUSEUM OF OLD AND NEW ART
If you’ve been travelling for a long time now (especially around Europe), it’s a safe bet that you are probably sick of visiting art galleries and museums. It’s the same old right? The odd one or two paintings you recognise and stare at for a few seconds, and than, unless you’re an art historian, you get bored and hungry and spend a fortune on water in the cafe. Not at MONA, the founder, a math genius turned curious curator, David Walsh makes a point of challenging your preconceptions of art.
We’ll let you decide what you think of MONA (you can let us know what you think in the comments below), so let’s just say that there is a monumental selection of art on display, and it really is impossible to lose interest. We have been to our fair share of art galleries and museums across the world, including the labyrinthine Louvre in Paris, but MONA rates above them all. There is even an outdoor tennis court and a personal parking space for Walsh and his partner. You will understand the significance of this when you visit.
CLIMB MOUNT WELLINGTON
Hobart is a small city, but from above its extremely pretty. Mt Wellington is 1271m above sea level and is home to a diverse range of fauna and plant life. Mt Wellington Park is just 20 minutes from central Hobart and most hostels and hotels will arrange tours or taxis. It is a very popular attraction for walkers, serious hikers, and the everyday tourist alike. Walks range from 3 to 6 hours and are interrupted by a super cosy pub half-way up (or down depending on which way you’re walking). The walks are exceedingly picturesque, including the historic Pipeline Track, and culminate in a wondrous view from the top. Make sure you’re wearing warmclothes though as we went in the height of summer and it was a very British 10C at the summit.
You can read more in depth about Mt Wellington Park here.
VISIT SALAMANCA MARKET
Salamanca Market was one of the main reasons we chose to visit Hobart. We do love a good market, and this is one of the most popular in Australia. Unfortunately for us, we missed the fact that it is only open on a Saturday between 8.30am and 3pm. As we visited during the week, we missed out on all the wonderful things you can surely get your hands on. Salamanca also happens to be the main restaurant quarter and is lined with shady trees backed by a view of the harbour. The are is full of places where you can grab some food or a drink, but expect the outdoor patio heaters to be out in full force. It never really gets ‘Australia hot’ in this part of the world.
PEOPLE-WATCH AT THE BOTANICAL GARDENS
The Botanical Gardens in Hobart are a match for both it’s Sydney and Melbourne counterparts, and we spent a good few hours admiring the arrangements and the architecture of the gardens. Hobart’s rolling hills are transformed into park lands lined with beautifully vibrant flowers, climbers, and hedgerows. Willows and wattles sporadically stand sentinel over children climbing trees and playing around in the grass. It was beautiful weather on our visit and it was such a gorgeous way to relax and wind down after our flight from Melbourne. It could only have been bettered if we’d thought to bring along a picnic, but with free entry AND the compulsory exit through the gift shop, we couldn’t recommend a visit more.
As you will probably be aware by now, drinking beer is one of our favourite things to do. Some of our best memories whilst we have been travelling have been after we’ve sampled a local beer (or more). Not only does Tasmania provide the world with James Boag’s and Cascade lagers, but there also tons of local mini-breweries which makes for a really fun day out. When we discovered that there was ample local beer that was screaming to be sampled, we embarked on our own beer-tasting trail stopping firstly at Shambles Brewery on Elizabeth St, and then T-Bone, finishing up at the Winston.
I won’t lie to you and tell you that you can tell the essence of a place by the strength of its beer, but you are more than welcome to go ahead and believe that. We just love beer and Tasmania kindly provides us with a cracking selection.
JUST GO FOR A WALK
This seems so obvious to us but it is amazing what you can find out about a city just by walking around it. We’ve found brilliant cafes, restaurants, and street art just from our curious explorations around new places. There is so much to be discovered if you disconnect from the online world, open your eyes, and walk around for a while. Maybe pop into a cafe and try some coffee or a pub and try local beer (which Tassie has plenty of).
ALL IN ALL
Hobart is not a destination that often makes the itineraries of travellers to Australia, but we hope that after reading this article and watching our video, you will inspired to change that. Maybe you should have a look at purchasing one of these awesome Lonely Planet Tasmania Travel Guides. (If you buy through this link, WhenTwoWander will get a little something from Amazon at no extra cost to you. These things let us to maintain and improve this website!) Hobart has so much to offer even if you’re only around for a few days. You will not regret making that extra effort to get to the Apple Isle.
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