Image credit: Jesse Hunniford
Spark the senses at a modern art gallery1/21
One of the biggest drawcards of the island state is Mona, Australia’s most boundary-pushing collection of art. You won’t want to miss it. Of course, David Walsh isn’t the only creative mind pulling together fascinating talent in the world of visual art. Bett Gallery, in the centre of the city, is one of the country’s leading contemporary art spaces, known for supporting established and emerging talent in the fields of painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery and more.
Image credit: Natalie Mendham
Brunch at the coolest cafes2/21
Mainland cafés could learn a trick or two from Tassie’s brunch scene. Pigeon Hole Cafe, which sources almost all its menu items from a family farm in the island’s south, is your go-to in West Hobart, while in North Hobart, Born in Brunswick is known for its brunch cocktails, such as Hairy Mary with heirloom tomato juice.
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania/Alastair Bett
Count on a culture hit3/21
A lovely, low-key way to spend a morning or afternoon is wandering the two-kilometre Battery Point Sculpture Trail, a series of nine artworks designed as numbers. Each has a different meaning, such as the caged rocks that spell out 1833, the year convicts built the wharves at the end of Salamanca Place, or 1909, the year screen idol Erroll Flynn – one of the most famous Tasmanians – was born.
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania/ Rob Burnett
Judge the best local pastries4/21
If Tassie had a state dish, it would have to be its traditional scallop pie and the one to try for newcomers (or anyone) is the veggie-packed and lightly curried version from the Jackman & McRoss bakery in Battery Point.
Salute the city with a local bevvy5/21
What’s a maritime city without a host of hearty taverns in which to drink ale and sup drams of whisky? Do exactly that at the convivial Hobart Brewing Co., which serves the frothy stuff in a generous beer garden that’s often filled with live music, and the waterfront whisky bar, Lark Distillery, known for its award-winning drops as well as 250 international whiskys, which can be cherry-picked to create a personalised tasting flight.
Let the chefs call the shots6/21
Hobart’s top restaurants and chefs are obsessed with hyper-local, seasonal produce. So opt in if they offer a “feed me” dégustation that shows off whatever’s growing prolifically right that minute. A masterclass in each chef’s own flair and flourish, the multi-course menus at “fun diner” Fico and inner-city bistro Dier Makr are among the best around.
Warm up with the city's best latte7/21
There are dozens of great coffee spots in the Tassie capital but Pilgrim Coffee, which opened in 2011, can rightly claim to be an institution. Owner Will Priestley is an Australian latte art champion who serves expertly brewed cups of black gold alongside flavour-packed snacks such as housemade focaccia and locally baked croissants. Caffeinating on the fly? Call by hole-in-the-wall Ecru Coffee – also in the CBD – and the team will have a single-origin long black or flat white in your hands in no time.
Image credit: Alamy
Watch the sun set at this secret lookout8/21
The imposing kunanyi gets all the press for its vistas but there’s a lesser-known gem on the other side of the city. Rosny Hill Lookout has views to the city, the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and the Tasman Bridge. Clink drinks as the sun sets in pink rays.
Stay inside a story9/21
Every luxury hotel has elegant interiors, chic places to drink and dine, plus impeccable service. MACq 01, which sits on the Hobart waterfront, has all of these things and more. Each of the hotel’s 114 rooms is identified with a door plaque that commemorates well-known Tasmanians, such as cricketer Ricky Ponting and former prime minister Joseph Lyons, and guests can take complimentary walking tours with local storytellers who will explain the rich history of Hobart.
Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Hike to the top of town10/21
kunanyi (Mount Wellington), which sits right on Hobart’s doorstep, is one of those impressive natural landmarks that awes locals just as much as tourists. Drive to your starting point – only the most diehard hikers dare to climb the whole thing – then pick your track. The 3.4-kilometre Springs to the Pinnacle walk includes trekking through lush forest that opens out to broad city views at the top. And as Hobartians will tell you of Tasmania’s famously mercurial weather: check the forecast and always take a jacket.
Squeeze into a lo-fi wine bar11/21
The mantra at Sonny is simple: wine, vinyl, food, walk-ins only. The tiny 18-seater bar on the edge of the CBD does exactly what it says on the tin by stocking inventive wines, with an emphasis on natural and skin-contact, next to tasty snacks, such as handmade pasta, crudo and crunchy toasty things. It’s the perfect place to kick off an evening before dinner or wind down with a nightcap to the sounds of the Beatles or The Blackbyrds.
Wander vibrant local markets12/21
There’s no market in Australia quite like Salamanca Market, held every Saturday. The Tasmanian handicrafts, particularly anything woollen or wooden, are exceptional but it’s the fresh produce that’s a real drawcard. And if you want to shop with the locals, hit the Farm Gate Market on Bathurst Street on Sunday mornings for cheese, bread, fruit and more, with a serve of live music and banging breakfast treats on the side.
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania/Stu Gibson
Spend a day on the water13/21
If history lessons and adventure aren’t enough to convince the family to join you on a 2.5-hour Hobart Waterfront tour with Roaring 40s Kayaking then fish and chips from a floating punt may do the trick. For something a little less strenuous, a trip along the Derwent with Iron Pot Cruises begins in the bustling harbour then heads out to the seabird-nesting oasis of Betsey Island.
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania/ Lusy Productions
Discover Hobart’s prettiest picnic spot14/21
The first thing you need when picnicking is the food. Two great choices are Wursthaus Kitchen near Salamanca Place for fish pies, fresh bread and French Lescure butter; and city café, provedore and wine shop Johnston & Miller for toasted sandwiches and bubbles. Now head to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and stake out a patch of lawn, preferably with views over the Derwent.
Image credit: Jarrad Seng
Get out of town15/21
Feed the soul in your lunch hour16/21
It’s the punchy pan-Asian share plates that bring people through the door at Dāna Eating House in Hobart’s CBD – Filipino-inspired kinilaw ceviche or Vietnamese-style bun bo hue short ribs are two standouts. But just as comforting as the comfort food is the knowledge that part of each purchase goes to a charitable partner, such as the local not-for-profit The Women’s Health Education Network and Lifeline Tasmania.
Eat fish fresh off the boat17/21
Anywhere on Constitution Dock is pretty much guaranteed to offer caught-that-day seafood, from natural oysters to fish and chips, all served from the city’s unique floating punts. If you’re further out of town, Kraken Fish and Chips in North Hobart does traditional fare as well as panko-crumbed squid, burgers and vegetarian and gluten-free options. In winter, they have even been known to serve their take on the Scottish classic, haggis.
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania
Sip an expertly crafted cocktail18/21
At Gold Bar, a cosy speakeasy hidden in an old flour mill at Hobart’s heart, they don’t do menus. Just let owner and bartender Ian Reed pepper you with questions – Do you like a lemony gin or a botanical one? Something fruity or spicy? – and he’ll create your new favourite cocktail.
Dine with hospo royalty at a stately pub19/21
It may look like a regular vintage pub from the outside but Tom McHugo’s Hobart Hotel is the hospitality crowd’s hangout of choice – and that’s how you know the food is going to be great. On any day the team from The Agrarian Kitchen may be at one table, indulging in confit rabbit with borlotti beans and tomatillo, while at another the crew from Our Mates’ Farm in the Huon Valley is tucking into smoked beef topside with corn and peppers.
Pick up a pair of the state’s cosiest PJs20/21
Battery Point is where to head for handmade curios, often tucked into the storybook-pretty colonial cottages that characterise this part of the city. Toko is one, a collection of Tassie treasures, such as fashion, homewares and toys. If you’re the type who likes to buy fresh new pyjamas while travelling – nothing feels better in crisp hotel sheets – Smitten Merino in Salamanca Place makes the softest Tasmanian wool sleepwear and robes.