The words “I’m bored” are not associated with Hobart, at least, not in my opinion.
Tasmania’s capital city has all the makings for holiday happiness – adventure, award-winning distilleries and food worthy of chef hats – and all packed into less than 1700 square-kilometers.
If you find yourself in Hobart looking for things to do, set your GPS to these 11 activities:
1. Check out the views from the top of Mt Wellington
There’s no better way to get a lay of the Hobart land than 1271 meters above it. Make tracks to the summit of Mount Wellington for views over the city centre and down the Tasman Peninsula, if you’re lucky enough to score yourself a clear day.
Pack your coat and your camera, the mercury dips for every kilometre you put between you and the city – and although it might be sunny in downtown Hobart, you’re not always afforded the same luxury atop Welly.
Aside from pounding the pavement up here (there’s a couple of short walks from The Pinnacle), be sure to try the toilet up here. Surely I’m not the only one who’s a sucker for a loo with a view?
2. Get shucked on Bruny Island
You know you’re close to the Antarctic when you have to share beach realestate with fairy penguins and fur seals – and Bruny Island has its fair share of these beach babes.
Bruny is about as south as Australia gets – or at least Bruny Island can feel that way – rugged, remote … but absolutely rad.
Allocate a whole day to discovering Bruny from Hobart – you can explore with your own wheels or take a tour from Hobart’s CBD – depending how much you like to be captain of your own adventure.
With its own cheese factory, oyster farm, vineyard, smokehouse and raspberry farms – it’s a busy day on Bruny – and that’s before you’ve even tackled a single walking trail like Cape Queen Elizabeth (3 hours return).
Either way, both stretchy pants and hiking boots are encouraged for this treasured island. After all, Bruny Island is all about balance … although I’m not sure how balanced I felt after devouring Bruny Island Cheese Co’s prosciutto wrapped and baked Otto – #cheesegoals.
3. Visit Strickland Falls
Could Strickland Falls be Hobart’s best kept secret, cascading through a parcel of bushland, just 10 minutes from the CBD?
This tidy, tiered fall is not well signed and requires rock hopping to get to, but those who find the path behind the picnic tables on Strickland Avenue, half way up Mount Wellington, won’t be disappointed.
Strickland Falls is a photographer’s dream – and the perfect antidote to escaping crowds en-route to the summit.
4. See what the Mona fuss is all about
Tasmania’s Museum of Modern Art (Mona) hardly needs an introduction when it comes to things to do in Hobart. For many, it’s the entire reason to cross the Bass Strait.
Mona isn’t just an art gallery, it’s a destination – and it’s worthy of you treating it as such. If you don’t have your own wheels, I’d recommend taking the Mona Roma across the inky Derwent to spend a day exploring the museum.
5. Pound the Pavement at Battery Point
Get your architecture fix with a walk through Battery Point, one of Hobart’s oldest suburbs, preserved to its 19th century-perfection as though it has been kept in a time capsule for the past 200 years.
You can take a guided walking tour but my favourite way to explore this area is much less organised. Park you car, pick up a coffee from Jackman & McRoss Bakery (and maybe a little treat too) and follow your nose around these windy streets to see these houses which boast more chimneys than they do in metres of street frontage.
Of course, aside from architecture worthy of awards, it’s other claim to fame is Eroll Flynn who was born here.
6. Fossick at the Salamanca markets
They’re Tasmania’s most visited attraction for a reason and everything about The Salamanca Markets, lives up to their colourful reputation.
Time your trip for a Saturday to see the City of Hobart open up its wharf-front precinct to over 300 stalls who pack everything from hand knitted socks to award-winning whiskey into three or four city blocks.
The markets kick off around 8am (a dignified hour for a market, can I just say), so bring your appetite for breakfast on the go.
For the foodies – my pick is Seoul Street for their seriously sensational pork buns (pictured), a $9 hit of hot and spicy pork in a sweet bao-cloud, filled with the flavours of Korea.
For those with a savoury breakfast tooth, there’s also every type of sausage in a gourmet bun, dosa and gozleme to name just a few of my favourite things.
7. Taste your way around the Lark Distillery
Any whiskey drinker worth their booze cabinet should know the name Bill Lark. He’s the Godfather of Tasmanian whiskey and his name is associated with many a drop here on the apple isle.
I say godfather, because Bill pioneered the comeback of malt whiskey in a State whose distilling industry ground to a halt due to years of prohibition.
For a taste of what makes Tassie whiskey so damn good (spoiler: the blue is in the barley, springwater and perfect climate for ageing the product), make a beeline to Lark Distillery and don’t move from there.
Aside from its wharf-side digs and delicious whiskey collection, Lark have three of their gins on the menu, each with a distinctively seasonal tasting note depending on when they were made. Think rose petals for summer and french oak barrels for winter.
A tasting flight of their whiskey and their gin will set leave you with plenty of change from a $50 note (spent wisely on a cheese board)– and will give you the chance to sample their wares and pick a favourite to take home.
8. Visit Russell Falls
If National Parks get your motor running, you’re in luck staying in Hobart. Mount Field National Park is just 64-kilometres north-west of Hobart.
Mount Field NP is arguably the lesser known of Tasmania’s big three Freycinet National Park and Cradle Mountain National Park – but it shouldn’t be – with accessibility, some of the tallest trees in Australia and of course, the three-tiered Russell Falls, all within its park boundary.
It’s Tassie’s oldest national park, and I’d recommend allocating at least half a day to explore it … or a full day if you want to put in face time with the producers along the way.
9. Fantasise over food at one of these Hobart restaurants
Fear not foodies, I have a blog post coming soon about where to eat in Hobart – because quite frankly – this city by the sea deserves one.
A mass exodus of talented chefs from the mainland have made the ultimate kitchen-change to Tasmania, and word-class dining in Hobart is the result.
10. Visit Port Arthur Historic Site
To skip visiting Port Arthur Historic Village would be like going to Paris and missing the Eiffel Tower. It’s an icon of not only Tasmania but Australia’s early convict history – and incidentally, my favourite thing to do on this list.
I went expecting something painfully touristy, but left wanting to write to Netflix about starting a mini-series on Port Arthur because I was so hooked on the place.
If you’re not familiar with the story of Port Arthur – it was a prison of last resort, designed for hardened criminals (minus the exceptions) who were unable to assimilate to other convict colonies.
Whippings and lashings were part and parcel, but what made Port Arthur so terrifying was its Separate Prison. Here they trialled solitary confinement, and worked this style of punishment until the prison closed in 1877.
You’ll need to save at least half a day for even just a cursory glance of Port Arthur – but the real stories come out after dark with the ghost tour. Over 1000 people died at Port Arthur in its 47 year history – so it’s worth arriving around lunch time and hanging around to explore one of Australia’s most haunted sites, after dark.
11. Time your visit for Taste of Tasmania
If you’re lucky enough to ring in the new year in Hobart, forget visiting anywhere else on the island – Taste of Tasmania cuts out all the food miles for you.
Picture almost every food producer, wine merchant and spirit distiller on the island under one marquis on the Hobart wharves, all with free access (except for New Years) for you to sample their wares.
All you need is a Taste of Tasmania tasting cup ($8) and your appetite as you bounce from cellar door to cellar door with no need for a designated driver this time.
Did I miss anything? What are your favourite things to do in Hobart?
**This blog was written in the opinion of the writer, uninfluenced by external sources.