Forget what your weather app is telling you, Hobart is hot. Quirky small hotels, audacious works of art and an exciting dining and drinking scene have more and more mainlanders rethinking their weekend plans. Here’s how to size up Tassie’s compact capital in just 24 hours.
Have a moreish breakfast
07:00: It’s a cab ride to Battery Point, where you can step back in time among the streetscapes of old Hobart Town. This bijou neighbourhood is known for its perfectly preserved cottages, constructed for the officers of the garrison at Arthur Circus, and for the most delicious bakery in town. The double-fronted Jackman & McRoss is part shop and part café, with layers of loaves and tarts and cabinets of sweet temptations. Bentwood chairs and bare boards complete the atmosphere, which is always heady with the aromas of baked goodness.
Take an artistic tour
09:30: From Battery Point, stroll down Kelly’s Steps, a Hobart landmark, and slip inside the sandstone labyrinth of Salamanca Arts Centre. Within these converted warehouses are quality craftspeople such as The Maker, who transforms Japanese fabrics into women’s and children’s clothes, cutting every piece by hand with vintage shears. Handmark Gallery features creations by Tasmanian jewellers, sculptors and furniture makers, including an upcoming exhibiton by painter Adrian Barber.
Refuel with locally roasted beans
Fine-dine at a winery
12:45: The cool-climate wineries of Coal River Valley are a civilised 20-minute cab ride from downtown. Book a table for lunch at Frogmore Creek and sample innovative, territorial cooking. Taste the Tasmanian terroir in a dish of tamarind-glazed pork belly and pulled pork croquettes from Scottsdale with apple puree and kimchee. The glass-walled dining room and deck embrace bucolic views over pinot noir and sauvignon blanc grapes to bushland beyond and the Mount Pleasant Radio Telescope Observatory. Contemplate the universe over an elegant riesling from the vineyard cellar.
Get in touch with your green thumb
15:00: Heading back to the city, drop into the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens for harbour views, colonial history and botanical beauty. The circa-1818 gardens, still with extensive convict-built walls, contain remarkable collections, including the Sub Antarctic Plant House – unique in the world – and a notable array of conifers.
Take to the skies
16:30: Cab it to Sandy Bay and wander along Marieville Esplanade, admiring the luxurious waterfront mansions and the Royal Tasmanian Yacht Club’s squadron of sailing boats. Then walk east along Sandy Bay Road for five minutes to Wrest Point Casino (Australia’s oldest), where your ride awaits on the helipad. A 30-minute Par Avion scenic helicopter flight over Hobart takes in all the highlights, from Tasman Bridge and Bellerive Oval to the city’s patron peak, Mount Wellington.
Taste a top drop
18:30: Head to Willing Bros Wine Merchants, where the hospitable crew await with Tasmanian wines and produce. There’s a huge collection of wines to choose from, sourced from intriguing makers across the state, the country and the world. The short menu of “wine food” might include chicken liver parfait and a “bacon” made from smoked duck breast.
Toast the shimmering city
20:00: It’s a 25-minute walk down Elizabeth Street to Sullivans Cove and Brooke Street Pier, where the tasteful team behind luxury boutique hotel The Islington have created a jewel box on the water. The Glass House is lined with crystal cabinets displaying their collection of Murano glass and cased in floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the shimmering river and city lights. Interiors of copper bars, beaten-silver tabletops and marsupial-print settees strike the right balance between glamour and good humour. Toast the moment with a glass from the Tasmanian-focused wine list or a snifter of something stronger (the whisky selection is impressive).
End on a high
21:00: Walk upstairs to Aloft, a restaurant renowned for original, Asian-accented Tasmanian dishes such as the tasting menu’s wallaby with miso and macadamia. Aloft’s dining room soars above the Derwent River and captures twinkling views of the harbour city that almost eclipse the food – but not quite.
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania and Jason Charles Hill
Top image credit: Luke Tscharke
This piece was originally published in 2018 and has been updated.