Hobart was practically built for weekenders - it's manageable in size, atmospheric enough to traverse on foot and brimming with varied activities. Build your days around the food scene (Hobart's happening, in case you didn't know) and go from there. Here are some of our suggestions on where to begin.
Restaurants and cafés to book
Born in Brunswick
Leave any brunch expectations at the door when you visit this light and airy eatery on the North Hobart restaurant strip. You might nosh on a serve of wallaby ham with potatoes and saltbush pangrattato or perhaps a macadamia pesto omelette with warrigal greens. It’s licensed, too – try a Hairy Mary, mixed with bison grass vodka and heirloom tomato juice.
Book ahead for this restaurant on the edge of the CBD – there are only 20 seats. Go with the chef’s selection and Matt Breen will delight you with a carefully crafted Italian menu (it will definitely include handmade pasta). The atmosphere is always convivial and the shared table is a great way to meet fellow diners.
In the Hanging Garden
What was once an empty lot is now a plant- filled “cathedral”, bar and performance space thanks to the minds behind the Dark Mofo festival. Open Wednesday to Sunday for drinks and snacks (including Basque-inspired pintxos and Asian dumplings), there’s also live music – the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra recently played to a beer-drinking, paella- eating crowd seated on bean bags. Out front you’ll find Pilgrim Pies serving 24-hour coffee, gourmet pastries and donuts.
Hobart Brewing Company
The big Red Shed on Macquarie Point at the fringe of the CBD is where the action takes place at the Hobart Brewing Company. There’s a core range of beers (the Harbour Master Tasmanian Ale is the signature brew) as well as seasonal specials that might include local apples or chestnuts. It’s also home to taco trucks, a fire pit and live music on weekends.
It was Lark that triggered Tasmania’s whisky and gin boom when, in 1992, they produced Australia’s first single malt whisky in 154 years. Take two and a half hours to tour the HQ in the Coal River Valley, where freshwater sphagnum peat is mined from their own peat bog to create their award-winning spirits.
Things to do
The Museum of Old and New Art ushered in a new era of cool for Hobart. Catch the Mona Roma ferry from the Brooke Street Pier then spend a day exploring the interactive world. Make a booking for Alfredo Jaar’s The Divine Comedy, which requires a safety harness as you travel through hell, purgatory and heaven.
See the harbour from water level on a two-hour kayak tour starting at Battery Point’s south end. No experience is needed as you paddle past tall ships and historic homes, then look for Sammy the resident seal. The tour ends with a meal of fish and chips. Feeling more adventurous? Try a full-day tour of the sea cliffs and Cape Hauy.
Best hotel for weekend getaways
In the heart of Salamanca Place, hidden behind the sandstone walls of warehouses that were once home to whalers, traders and publicans, lies this boutique hotel. Each room is luxuriously appointed with Tasmanian furniture and homewares and while there’s no room service, it’s a stroll to restaurants like modern-Asian Suzie Luck’s as well as gin bar Society.
SEE ALSO: The Best Restaurants in Hobart