When the first British settlers started arriving at the shores of today`s Melbourne, many of them did not find the area very appealing. Unimpressed, they kept sailing across the rough waters of the Tasman Sea, until one day, when David Collins spotted the picturesque Sullivan`s Cove – not only a pace well-suited to his fine taste but also perfect to make a use a deeper anchorage and better water supply. That is how the capital city of Tasmania was born – Hobart.
If travelling to Hobart these are the must-visits in the town – and the good thing is that you can discover all of them in just a long weekend! These are the highlights that you should definitely add to your itinerary:
FRANKLIN WHARF/SULLIVANS COVE
Hobart`s Harbour might be tiny, yet as scenic as can be. Franklin Wharf, Victoria Dock and Constitution Dock offer a delightful stroll around some of the oldest parts of Hobart. The lively atmosphere in port and its lovely seafood taverns are the main reason for paying a visit. The city harbour is perfectly located, within just walking distance to most of the historic buildings, museums and the famous Salamanca Place.
Have a wander along the waterfront of the Derwent River on which sits the city harbour and its calm waters constantly dotted by historical sails, luxurious yachts and gigantic cruise ships, try some fresh local seafood at one of the dock`s restaurants.
For the visitors who wish to taste the atmosphere of old Hobart town, a walk from historic Salamanca Place into quiet, narrow streets of Battery Point is highly recommended. Once home to sailors, fishermen and prostitutes this place is now a fashionable inner-city neighbourhood that offers alluring historic buildings, pretty restaurants and elegant art shops. Salamanca Place is the main promenade venue with a vibrant flair.
Follow the shores of Derwent River, starting at the main wharf and passing by the Salamanca Place, Prince Park, Arthur Circus, Marine Museum of Tasmania and continue walking towards the gorgeous Sandy Bay, finishing the tour at the Wrest Point Casino. Return via Sandy Bay road to explore the hidden lanes and streets of the inner city.
Hobart`s most visited attraction is the Salamanca Market. Held every Saturday from early morning until late afternoon, and it is a market one of a kind! Since 1971 the city council has been supporting this unique event when more than 300 stallholders gather up to present their hand-made or home-grown products, display local art and craft and sell regional gourmet foods and drinks.
Top it up with a performance of talented musicians and creative artisans, and there we go – you will get a kaleidoscopic streetscape of buskers, string quarters and colourful market stalls. This is a truly authentic cultural experience!
CADBURY CHOCOLATE FACTORY & CASCADE BREWERY
Tasmania is all about local produce – whether it is freshly caught seafood, home-made jams, relishes and cheese, exquisite chocolate or fine regional wines and beers.
Nevertheless, Hobart`s favourites will surely be Cadbury Chocolate Factory and Cascade Brewery. The brewery, established in 1832, is proudly the oldest operating beer factory in Australia and the visitors can witness the process of making beer as well as tasting various types. At the same time, Cascade serves as a museum and offers daily guided tours. All chocoholics can take pleasure in sampling the fine creations the Cadbury Chocolate Factory at the visitor centre.
NOTE Cadbury has no guided tours available any longer due to health and safety regulations.
ROYAL TASMANIAN BOTANICAL GARDENS
Those who are after a gentle interlude, the parklands of Queens Domain are your place to escape. Not far from the town centre, the tastefully landscaped gardens bounded by convict-built walls, are set on the side of a hill overlooking the river.
The botanical gardens incorporate a discovery centre, an interpretation gallery, a subantarctic plant house and the impressive display of Peter Dombrovski` s photographs of the Australian wilderness.
Beyond the gardens, in the Queens Domain, enjoy the remnant bushland and great facilities for families and children, if you have some spare time.
Take a break after the long, exhausting walk and stop for a delicious lunch at the garden`s refined Succulent Restaurant with magnificent views!
Standing on the shores of the Derwent River, just 10 kilometres north of the town, Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has been a magnet for all visitors since 2011. The relatively recent attraction of Hobart quickly gained its popularity for the most controversial exhibits in Australia, ranging from ancient Egyptian mummies to ill-famed, provoking contemporary art. Already the unconventional building design and its location, alternatively accessed by boat, speak for itself.
Instead of taking a ferry to Mona, rent a bicycle and ride the 10 km long scenic route from Hobart Wharf to Mona – it takes you through old districts of Hobart and its surrounding vineyards.
The icon of Hobart, majestically towering over the city, rises to 1269 metres and it provides residents with bushwalking, hiking and other outdoor opportunities.
The summit of Mt Wellington/The Pinnacle can be reached on foot, bicycle or more comfortably, using the Metro Shuttle Bus that leaves from Franklin Square several times a day. From the top of the mountain, you can admire the surrounding natural splendour and jaw-dropping views of Hobart, its hidden bays and coves.
Book one-way bus tour up to the summit and return by walk. Once at the top of Mt Wellington, discover the fantastic Zig Zag track and its lookout and keep descending towards Fern Tree – a town at the base of the mountain. There you can catch a local bus back to Hobart.
DERWENT RIVER CRUISE
Choose one of the cruise options at the main wharf to explore the secret beaches and bays of Hobart: the historic city cruise, harbour highlight cruise, winery cruise, sailing or yachting tours are amongst the favourites.
There are all-day cruises to Bruny Island, Peppermint Bay, Tasman Island or Derwent Valley cruises are worth of undertaking if you have a spare day.
Pop into the educational Australian Antarctic Research Headquarters in Kingston and enjoy the spectacular views of Derwent Estuary.
From Mount Wellington and The Pinnacle Lookout, the visitors get a chance to see myriads of dream-like tiny bays, long white beaches and tiny coves. If you have an extra day and hired a vehicle, self-drive around the south-eastern districts of Hobart that are typical of marvellous stretches and perfect weekend gateways for locals. Drive towards Lauderdale and follow the B33 to the Opossum.
Spend an afternoon on the beach; walk or just relax at one of the best-rated beaches of Hobart: Lauderdale Beach, Cremorne Beach, Carlton Beach, Red Ochre Beach, Taroona Beach, Clifton Beach, Opossum Beach, Seven Mile Beach or Park Beach.
Optionally, or if heading to Bruny Island, take the Sandy Bay Road/Channel Highway along the western shores of Derwent River. There are some splendid beaches, too.
Richmond village has recently become an attractive weekend-away for both locals and foreigners, and it is not surprising at all! The historic town has a very unique character. Just 20 minutes drive from Hobart city, it is an easy destination filled with goodies – quite literally.
Farms, markets, distilleries, wineries, bakeries, tea houses and coffee shops offer fresh local produce and home-made products for any taste.
The village is renowned for pretty Georgian architecture and 1820`s heritage buildings, most of which have been converted into housing galleries, craft boutiques, museums and shops.
THE MUST-TASTE GOODIES OF HOBART
AURORA BOREALIS IN HOBART?
Yes! Another fantastic thing about Hobart is that you can actually see the Southern Lights – all year round. One of the best places to spot the lights is the summit of Mount Wellington, and you will need to wait for a dark (on a clear night only). It might get very cold in winter, although even summer nights can be chilly, hence remember to grab a blanket!
WHEN TO TRAVEL
The best time to visit Hobart is between November and March when the temperatures are pleasantly warm. However, we believe that Hobart is really enjoyable any time, and besides, during the winter months, it is less crowded and cheaper.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly to Melbourne if travelling from overseas and catch a local flight to Hobart. Otherwise, there are direct flights to Hobart from any Australian city.
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