I was sent on a road trip to explore Tasmania by Cheaptickets.sg and Tourism Tasmania (@tasmania). In this post, you’ll find details on what to do, see and eat around Hobart, the capital city of Australia’s island state Tasmania.
Where to stay in Hobart
One thing I noticed about Hobart is that it’s devoid of many of the familiar-sounding hotel chains elsewhere in the world. Here are the two hotels I’ve personally stayed in or been recommended while I was in Hobart:
- Shipwright Arms – Shipwright Arms is a really small, no-frills hotel & pub located in the historic Battery Point neighborhood of Hobart. Their rooms are very simple and there is no dedicated receptionist at the desk (the person checking us in was also tending to the bar), but this hotel was the cheapest I could find in Hobart that isn’t a hostel or with shared bathroom. It was also just a short 10-mins walk from the famous Salamanca Market and The Dock area, so the location is super convenient. Book Shipwright Arms
- Rydges Hobart – The hotel is a renovated heritage building, located conveniently close to the center of Hobart. I’m not sure if they upgraded us, but our Manor Twin room was huge! It has its own living room and a huge bathroom. It’s definitely the most spacious and modern out of all three accommodations I stayed in Tasmania. Location-wise, it’s a bit further out than Shipwright Arms – walking to the dock would take you about 20-25 minutes. Book Rydges Hobart
- Zero Davy Boutique Apartments – I did not personally stay at Zero Davy since they had no availability – However, it was recommended to me by multiple people. Their location is perfect since they are right at The Dock, which means you can walk practically everywhere. There are also lots of restaurant options around the area. Book Zero Davy in Hobart
How to get around Hobart
I had a car rental while I was in the city so we mostly just drove the car or walked. The city center is actually quite small and totally walkable! We walked from Battery Point to the dock which took about half an hour. I saw a few buses but I think the easiest way would still be to drive yourself.
What to do in Hobart
1. Explore the Vintage & Antique Shops around Hobart
On the way to Salamanca Market, I started noticing how there are so many antiques and vintage shops in Hobart! There are second-hand books, maritime trinkets (which made sense since Hobart is Australia’s second oldest settlement after Sydney), household tools, old vintage prints, vintage maps, and cutleries. What also strikes me as amazing is most of these antiques are also still in good condition! there was even a field full of well-preserved cars next to Salamanca Market.
We attempted to ask one of the antique shop owners why vintage goods are so abundant in Hobart – his speculation is because the population in Hobart has been mostly stagnant – many of the previous generations did not move and as a result, left most of their belongings in Hobart. He also mentioned rent is quite cheap so he was able to keep his antique-curating business profitable, which may not be the case in other towns. I myself speculated that it is probably because Hobart was one of the earliest ports into Australia, so a lot of goods went through this place. Either way, it was very interesting to trawl through them.
Some recommended Vintage shops in Hobart:
- [email protected] – 5 Knopwood St, Battery Point TAS 7004, Australia
- Kookaburra Antiques Collectables – 113 Hampden Rd, Battery Point TAS 7004, Australia
- Gerard Willems Antique Prints & Maps – 10 Argyle St, Hobart TAS 7000, Australia
2. Shop and chill at Salamanca Market (Saturdays Only)
If you happen to be in Hobart on a Saturday – you’re in luck! The city’s biggest outdoor market is held on Saturday morning from 9AM-3PM, and it’s huge. It feels like everyone in Hobart comes down to the market to eat, shop or just hang out at the market.
At Salamanca Market, you can expect to find good food, flowers, and plants, arts made by local designers, fresh produce, gourmet products and (even more) antique trinkets.
When I was there, there was also a vintage car exhibition next to the market at the Parliament House Gardens. Though I’m not sure if they are there every week. All the cars there were very well-preserved and very diverse in variety. There were cars from as old as the 1920’s to cars from as recent as the 1980’s, all still in great condition!
3. Visit The Maritime Museum
Did you know that Hobart is the second oldest port in Australia after Sydney? At this museum, you get an informative display of how Hobart contributed to the early days of Australia settlement, aboriginal watercraft, early European explorers and whalers.
Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and free for kids under 13 years of age.
Visit the Maritime Museum website for more information.
4. Walk around The Dock and Battery Point
This is a self-guided tour you can do on your first day in Hobart, which will take you to some of the most well-preserved historic buildings in Hobart.
You can start by walking around the dock area, which has some signs explaining the history of Hobart and slowly make your way up to Battery Point – a historic part of Hobart. You can do the Battery Point Historic Walk on your own or visit Narryna Heritage Museum to get a better understanding of the area.
5. Visit Museum of Old and New Arts (Closed on Tuesdays)
Museum of Old and New Arts, or MONA for short, is about 15-minute drive North from Hobart, or you can take a ferry ride from Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier for $22. Truth to be told I almost gave this a miss, but one of my followers on Instagram recommended it, so we squeezed this on our way up to Freycinet – I’m so glad we did! This museum was super cool.
Upon entry, you go straight to the basement and work your way up. There are no wasteful paper pamphlets or explanations on the artwork, instead, you collect an iPhone with their app loaded on it, which detects whatever artwork is near you (via Bluetooth I assume) and provides you with more information.
Admission is $28 for adults and free for kids under 18 years of age.
Visit the MONA website for more information.
6. Go up to the peak of Kunanyi, aka Mount Wellington
The pinnacle of Kunanyi (the aboriginal name for Mount Wellington) is only an easy 35 minutes drive out from Hobart. The winding road takes you up to 1,200m elevation, overlooking Hobart and its surrounding. I highly recommend you to go up here when the weather is clear! The peak is at cloud level and thick clouds might pass by from time to time, which might render zero visibility, but don’t worry – if it’s a sunny day, the sky quickly clears up from time to time.
7. Go on a Bruny Island Tour (Day Trip from Hobart)
Bruny Island is a holiday island 45 minutes south of Hobart. The island is formed by two large landmasses, separated only by a narrow stretch of sand called “The Neck”. The island is famous for its gourmet local produce! I went with The Bruny Island Traveller tour on a day trip tour to see what the island offers. You can read about my day of eating and drinking on Bruny Island here.
8. Visit the Tasman Peninsula (Day Trip from Hobart)
The Tasman Peninsula is only a short 1-hour drive from Hobart, and houses some of the most beautiful terrains Tasmania has to offer. Hint: It’s one of the locations for the movie Lions, which if you haven’t seen – you should. It’s both shot beautifully and the story is very unique.
Port Arthur Historic Sites & Tasman Peninsula Famous Sites
I recommend stopping by Port Arthur, a historic village that served as convict settlement built in mid-18th century. Some of the hardest convicted British criminals were sent here to be imprisoned and penalized with labor work for their crimes. More recently in 1996, Port Arthur played a part in Australian modern history as the site of the deadliest shooting massacre which eventually leads to the transformation of gun control legislation in Australia.
Here are some tours to Port Arthur / Tasman Peninsula from Hobart you can consider:
- Port Arthur Day Tour from Hobart – In addition to the village, you’ll also get to see some of Tasman Peninsula’s popular sites, such as Devil’s Kitchen, Tasman Arch, and the Blowhole.
- Port Arthur Historic Site Ghost Tour – A tour of the village at night. Not for the faint of heart!
Tasman Island Cruises
If you are the adventurous type, I highly recommend checking out the Tasman Island Cruises by Penicott Wilderness Journeys (The same company I went to Bruny Island with). The cruise takes you down Tasman Peninsula to Tasman Island. Along the way, you get to admire the rugged beauty this peninsula is known for, such as the Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen. From afar, these rocks looked like something out of Minecraft because of its sharp, pixelated edges, but these rocks were all naturally formed and carved by the violent sea wave.
If you’re lucky, you might even come across pods of dolphins! We came across two of them while sailing south to the Tasman Island. Thanks to Yuri for this amazing footage of the dolphins. I couldn’t get a good one since because I was busy holding on to dear life – the waves get pretty aggressive down there!
9. Freycinet National Park
This one is a bit of a stretch as a day trip, but if you are willing to wake up early and drive back late, Freycinet National Park is doable as a day trip from Hobart. It takes about 3 hours to drive up and most of the sights can be seen in one day, so I would drive out by 6 AM to get there by 9 AM, and drive back by 5-6 PPM so you’ll still get back to Hobart at an okay time.
You can read all about the park in my Freycinet National Park guide here.
If you don’t have time to go to Freycinet, it’s still possible to witness the famous Wineglass Bay – take this Wineglass Bay Aeroplane Tour from Hobart, which flies you over the bay as well as some land time at Freycinet National Park.
Where to eat in Hobart
- Fish Frenzy – This place is strategically located right in the middle of Hobart and has a gorgeous view of the dock. We had lunch here on our first day in Hobart and I went straight for the most popular menu item, which has the same name as the restaurant – Fish Frenzy ($24). it’s basically Fish & Chips with some fried calamari and fried oysters served in a paper cone just like how they’d do in the olden days (except back then, it would be served in newspaper cone).
- Jackman & McRoss – This cafe is located at the historic Battery Point. They are mostly a cafe with some pastries, coffee, and light brunch bites. We got the Poached Eggs and Scrambled Eggs ($11) with Tasmanian Salmon ($14). The food was quite tasty and moderately priced relative to other places Australia.
- Urban Greek – We were tired that day and couldn’t be bothered to think of where to go, so we just went the easy route – TripAdvisor recommendation! Urban Greek is the #1 rated restaurant in Hobart and very close to our hotel, so we gave them a try. We did not regret the decision – we got a banquet (set meal) since we were quite hungry, but be warned that their portion is HUGE. Looking around at other tables in the restaurant, this seems to be true for a la carte meals as well. Our Minotaur banquet includes Pita bread with three dips, a mezze platter, Saganaki (fried cheese with fig jam), and a main of mixed grills (which you can see in the photo below – this photo does not include any of the previous dishes mentioned). Oh, and an amazing classic Greek dessert called Galaktoboureko. I think it would have been better if we were a group of 3 but there were only two of us and we could not finish everything so we had to take away some. But everything was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend this place!