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The best things to do in Hobart, Tasmania
Get the heads-up on where to eat, stay and have some fun in beautiful Hobart. Follow our travel guide as we show you some of the best things to do in Hobart, Tasmania.
Lonely Planet claimed that Hobart was one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit.
Hobart is the capital of the island state of Tasmania and Australia’s southern-most city.
Breathe-in some of the world’s cleanest air. See some picturesque scenery. Go to award-winning wineries and craft beer breweries, visit zany art galleries and enjoy some of Hobart’s award-winning restaurants.
Tasmania is an incredible place to visit – almost like another country!
Some of the best things to do in Hobart, Tasmania
Mount Wellington is also known by its Aboriginal name of Kunanya. At 1271 metres above sea level, Mount Wellington offers incredible views over Hobart City and the Derwent River.
It has been known to snow on the mountain even during summer and is often shrouded in cloud, blocking any view. There’s plenty to do on the mountain including hiking and mountain biking.
Find out more about Mount Wellington park and check weather conditions.
Wander the waterfront
Hobart’s waterfront is a certainly a beautiful space.
A stroll along the docks will take you past the floating Brooke Street Pier, the old sandstone warehouses of Salamanca Place and lead you to award-winning restaurants.
Heritage city walk
Discover Hobart’s heritage as you wander the city streets. Join an organised tour or do as we did and follow a self-guided walking tour. There are plenty of opportunities to stop for food, coffee and other things that take your interest along the way.
Check out the Heritage Tasmania self-guided tour. Follow the map or for extra insight follow along on the accompanying podcast.
Constitution Dock is the harbour side of the Hobart docks and is a popular place for motor boats and yachts. The local fishing fleet dock here also to unload their daily catch for the city’s fish market and restaurants.
Constitution Dock is best known as the party venue for the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. This yacht race leaves Sydney the day after Christmas day and is followed enthusiastically by those sailors amongst us.
Salamanca Place is a popular space for locals and visitors alike. Bars and eateries located along the strip and nearby wharves are popular venues for a great night out.
Georgian warehouses built in the 1930’s have been turned into popular galleries, gift shops, theatres, craft shops and restaurants. Its’ the place to go!
More than 300 stalls fill Salamanca Place each Saturday morning are an essential part of your Hobart experience.
Open-air stalls selling freshly grown produce, cut flowers, artisan products, arts and crafts and delicious foods. It’s a great opportunity to wander around the waterfront area enjoying the live-music of Tasmania’s best outdoor markets.
Farm Gate Markets
Every Sunday morning, central Bathurst Street in the heart of Hobart, transforms into a bustling farmers’ market.
Farm Gate Market showcases fresh local Tasmanian produce and provides a great opportunity to get to know your farmer. Sample the local produce and select some of the delicacies to take home. Enjoy the Sunday morning atmosphere with live music playing in the background as you wander.
Take a guided tour, or self-guided walking tour of Battery Point, Hobart’s most historic suburb. Battery Point is a short walk from Salamanca Place and the waterfront.
Explore the sandstone buildings set into the cliff-side and continue walking around to Kelly’s steps (built in 1839). Kelly’s steps connect Salamanca Place to the top of the cliff at Battery Point where historic houses line the streets. Head up to the park that was the site of the original Battery.
Tasmania has some wonderful native wildlife. If you’re heading out hiking you may be lucky enough to see platypus, wombats and the rare Tasmanian Devil. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the very rare Tasmanian birds, the 40 spotted pardalotes.
Take a trip around the bay to see a range of seabirds, penguins, seals, dolphins and whales.
A trip over to Bruny Island is a fabulous day out. The island has a bountiful selection of locally grown and handcrafted food, wine, beer, cheese, honey, oysters, and chocolate. Hop aboard one of the Foodie Tours and enjoy your Tasmanian experience!
Home to fur seals, fairy penguins and white albino wallabies, Bruny Island has excellent opportunities for birdwatching. It’s the ultimate Tasmanian wilderness experience.
Museums & Galleries
Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery
Located at the heritage building on the waterfront lies a combined museum, art gallery and herbarium. All part of preserving Tasmania’s natural and cultural heritage, Hobart’s iconic docklands are home to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
The Maritime Museum
Hobart is known for its maritime history including whaling, convict ships and the ships of the free settlers.
A fascinating place to explore, the Maritime Museum has extensive replica’s of model ships and hulks on display. You will find plenty of interesting nautical equipment and old world maps so make sure you enjoy a visit to this museum. You won’t be disappointed.
Mawson’s Hut Replica Museum
One of the most fascinating museums we visited was the Mawson’s Hut Replica Museum on the waterfront.
Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14 gives visitors an historic insight into the daily lives of the expeditioners. These early Antarctic explorers spent two winters living and working in the windiest place on Earth.
The MONA experience
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is a must visit for all who visit Hobart. Whether you are an art lover or not, MONA should be on your ‘must visit’ list.
Mona is Australia’s largest private museum and one of the most controversial private collections of modern art and antiquities in the world. This eclectic collection of works includes everything from ancient Egyptian mummies to some of the world’s most infamous and thought-provoking contemporary art. Interestingly, most exhibits lean towards shock value.
We took the fast ferry across to MONA and upgraded to the Posh Pit so we could enjoy a glass of bubbles and canapes in the lounge. A bit of fun, but the hundreds of steps was a bit of a challenge at the other end!
Explore the Convict History of Hobart
Tasmania’s convict history is fraught with crime, punishment, hardship and survival. It’s the perfect place to learn about Australia’s early convict history.
Over 70,000 men, women and children were transported to Van Diemens Land in the early 1800s. Many of the places they built are still standing today.
You will see evidence of Australia’s convict past throughout Tasmania so here are some of the best things to do while visiting Hobart.
Visit Port Arthur
Take a day trip to the Port Arthur historic site, Tasmania’s most famous convict penitentiary. Port Arthur, is just 90 minutes drive from Hobart and one Australia’s most important UNESCO World Heritage listed sites.
Located on the scenic Tasman Peninsula in the south east of Tasmania, Port Arthur offers a unique insight into the harsh convict days and life for our earliest settlers.
Visit Cascades Female Factory
One of Australia’s most historical convict sites, the World Heritage-listed Cascades Female Factory where thousands of women and children were imprisoned.
Cascades Female Factory was an institution, purpose-built to reform the female convicts. Many never left. Their stories were often tragic but inspired hope and resilience for others.
Tench Prisoner barracks
The Tench, as it was known by its inhabitants, was the convict prisoners’ barracks for old Hobart Town. Over 50,000 male convicts passed through the Tench prisoner barracks.
This guided tour provides daytime access through the courts and tunnels to the chapel, cells and gallows of one of Australia’s most significant convict precincts.
Food, Beer, Whiskey and Wine
Street Eats @ Franko in Hobart, Tasmania
Head down to Franklin Square on a Friday night to enjoy a top night at Street Eats @ Franko. Listen to local musicians play as the locals and visitors stake out a place to sit at the tables, low walls and grassy areas nearby.
Treat yourself to a swag of delicious street foods. Enjoy freshly shucked Tasmanian oysters, grilled seafood, gourmet sliders, wagyu burgers and much more. Street Eats @ Franko is one of the best things to do in Hobart and a great way to spend a lazy Friday night!
The waterfront is a popular dining precinct where you’ll find dining to suit every taste.
Try one of Tasmania’s famous Scallop Pies.
Fish and seafood are a mainstay of the Tasmanian diet and there are plenty of options to continue their tradition. Choose from fine dining through to fish and chips from a floating barge as you wander between the piers.
If you’re looking for something different, Mures Lower Deck is famous for it’s chowder and seafood platters. The chic Franklin is one of Australia’s Top 10 Restaurants and is located in one of the old Newspaper buildings on the pier. Along the city’s docks, try South American-inspired Frank, or experience fine dining at Aloft. Our favourite seafood restaurant was Blue Eye in the heart of historical Salamanca Place.
The Cascade Brewery Company was established in 1824 and is located in the foothills of Mount Wellington. Australia’s oldest operating brewery, Cascade Brewery brews a range of exceptional beers for Tasmania and ‘the mainland’.
Walking tours of the factory in operation take place on weekdays only and are very popular, so book ahead. Note: You must wear long trousers and enclosed shoes ads it’s a working factory.
Whiskey Distilleries and Craft Beer Brewers
Get a taste of Tasmania’s whisky industry at the cosy Lark Distillery on the waterfront.
Peppermint Bay Cruise
For a fabulous treat book yourself on one of the Peppermint Bay Cruises for an exquisite Tasmanian experience.
As you cruise south you will see the high cliffs and rugged rock formations carved out by the sea. Our cruise pulled in to show us one of the hundreds of bird rookeries in the rock crevices.
Peppermint Bay is a well-developed little township with it’s own hotel overlooking the straits. Cruises to Peppermint Bay depart from the waterfront in Hobart and provide a delicious lunch served with Tasmanian wines. Definitely, one of the best things to do in Hobart, Tasmania.
When is the best time to visit Hobart
We visited in November and found it cool enough for jeans and a light jacket but not overly cold. Temperatures ranged from 10 degrees overnight to low 20’s during the day. The weather was mostly sunny, only drizzling with light rain a couple of times during our stay.
Apparently, the best time to visit Tasmania is January to April but the island has been known to be a little unpredictable at times. Average temperatures for the seasons are:
- Summer 18 ° Celcius
- Autumn 14 ° Celcius
- Winter 9 ° Celcius
- Spring 13 ° Celcius
Where to stay in Hobart
Hobart has a range of accommodation options to suit varying needs and budgets but I’d recommend staying on the waterfront. It’s central to all the key parts of the city including the many restaurants on the pier, Franklin Square, the markets, heritage buildings and Battery Point.
You also get to see the beautiful sunrises over the water which for me is a bonus.
We stayed at the The Hobart Grand Chancellor across from Constitution Dock and loved our vantage point looking over the boats. It was clean and modern and well priced for the view and location. We’ll definitely stay there again and highly recommend it.
Looking for something else? Check other Hobart accommodation, availability and prices here.
How to get to Hobart, Tasmania
Hobart has direct flights from the cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane so check with your favourite airline for availability. At less than an hours’ flight from Melbourne, Hobart is well worth the adventure.
- The most cost-effective way to get to your city accommodation is on the Airport Bus and is a 20 minute drive into the Hobart city from the airport. $20 per adult or $35 return.
- Taxi’s and Rental cars are also available from the Airport.
- Driving from mainland Australia is simple too – take your own car and hop aboard the Spirit of Tasmania in Melbourne. Travel overnight to Devonport and drive south to Hobart.
The best things to do in Hobart, Tasmania
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Tasmania itself is a unique travel experience and the city of Hobart is very different to anywhere else in Australia. Exploring Hobart uncovered some of the best things to do in Tasmania.