It may be the capital of Australia's smallest state, but Hobart more than makes up for it. Here is everything you need to know about the best time to visit Hobart.
Some people visit Hobart to indulge in its world-class food scene; for others, the art at MONA is the attraction. Hikers head to the Tasmanian capital to tick some of Australia’s greatest walks off their list, while yachties make the pilgrimage to celebrate at the Sydney to Hobart finish line. But every visitor, without any planning, is treated to the city’s easily walkable downtown, laid-back pace and natural beauty.
On a sunny day, Hobart sparkles. With Constitution Dock at its heart and pretty suburbia sprawling along the shore of the River Derwent, the city seems designed to take in water views. The four seasons are distinct and uniquely beautiful and Hobart weather is relatively predictable (just pack warm layers!).
The summer months are temperate and ideal for getting around on foot; think highs of 21ºC during the day and lows around 11 in the evening. Enjoy a long lunch at an elegant eatery by the dock – try The Glass House or the Old Wharf Restaurant – and if you feel like a dip, head for Long Beach in Sandy Bay or Kingston Beach further south. Take note: water temperatures won’t reach higher than 20ºC.
With winds whipped up from Antarctica, there’s no denying that the country’s southernmost capital is chilly in winter; expect an average daily high of around 12ºC and a low of just 5ºC. Rug up and embrace the cold at the top of Kunanyi/Mount Wellington (you’ll likely see snow flurries) or settle by the city’s best fireplaces at Macq01 hotel and chic city bar Institut Polair.
As the jumping-off point for daytrips to nearby Port Arthur and Bruny Island and the start or finish of an intrastate road trip that includes Launceston and Cradle Mountain, there’s lots to love about Hobart.
What’s on in summer
From one glittering harbour city to another, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race begins on 26 December in the NSW capital and winds up three or four days later in Hobart. Book well in advance to secure a harbourside hotel room with a view of the action.
The antidote to MONA’s Dark Mofo, Mona Foma embraces the light of summer with art, music, food and more in January. Previous performers have included musicians Moses Sumney and Neneh Cherry; keep your eye on the website for upcoming program announcements. Gourmands will also love the Taste of Tasmania festival which arrives at the end of December.
What’s on in autumn
Tasmania is one of the best places in the country to see autumn foliage and there are gorgeous spots in Hobart to take in the colourful display. Head for the Japanese Gardens in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens for a burnished view from the bridge. And the Cascade Brewery in South Hobart boasts more than excellent beer – stroll through the gardens to appreciate the amber, copper and rust-hued leaves.
The 10 Days On The Island Festival showcases Apple Isle art and artists across three weekends in March, in towns and cities across the state. There were various Hobart events in the 2021 program, including a walking tour that told the city’s First Nations history.
What’s on in winter
From the wild creative minds behind MONA, the Dark Mofo festival revels in the dark of winter solstice in June with live performances, underground parties, art installations and – for the bold and brave – the annual Nude Solstice Swim at Long Beach.
A unique celebration of science, art and curiosity, the Beaker Street Festival offers talks, pop-up bars, workshops and even a “science crawl”. Tasmania’s Museum and Art Gallery acts as festival hub during the August event.
What’s on in spring
Sydney has the Royal Easter Show, Brisbane has the Ekka and, in Tassie, the Royal Hobart Show comes to town for a weekend in October. Hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania, the event includes produce and animal exhibitions, rides for the kids and much more.
It’s a 30-minute drive from town but Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is the best place to meet the state’s most famous four-legged resident, the Tasmanian devil. You might be lucky enough to spot the endangered native critter in the wild but your entry fee at Bonorong guarantees a sighting and goes toward Tassie devil preservation.