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Wondering what to do in Hobart? We spent 6 days in Hobart, Australia’s second-oldest city and Tasmania’s capital city, and found there was so much to see and do.
It’s not the biggest of cities by Australian standards, but there are enough things to do in Hobart to warrant several day’s visit.
I love walkable cities centered around a harbour with historic neighbourhoods, historic buildings, and a good local vibe – Hobart delivers on all fronts.
Throw in fresh seafood, famous markets, and being within easy reach of other awesome destinations for day trips, well it’s no surprise why so many people choose to base themselves in Hobart for an ultimate Tasmania adventure.
If you’re not sure what attractions to add to your Hobart itinerary, then fret not, because below I have listed all the best things to do and places to see in Hobart for first-time visitors, as well as where to eat and sleep.
- What to Do in Hobart
- 8. Visit The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
- 9. Take a Day Trip from Hobart
- 10. Relax in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
- 12. Visit Mawson's Huts Replica Museum
- 13. See Tasmanian Wildlife Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
- 14. Admire the Views from Mount Nelson Signal Station
- 15. Check Out Farm Gate Markets
- 16. Sample Whiskey at Lark Distillery
- Where to Eat in Hobart
- Where to Stay in Hobart
- Before You Go
What to Do in Hobart
Before whizzing off to explore some of Hobart’s attractions, I highly recommend going for a walk around the town and the neighbourhoods and taking it all in.
My favourite area was definitely Salamanca with the historic sandstone buildings converted into restaurants, cafes, bars, and specialty shops and opposite the tree-lined park offering shade for the infamous Saturday Salamanca Markets.
Wandering Salamanca Place and Salamanca Square with the historic Georgian sandstone warehouses and eating and drinking in the cafes and pubs is a must do.
After that, you are ready to start exploring…
1. Visit MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art
has been billed as the place that revitalized Hobart and put it on the must-see destination list of Tasmania. The founder describes the MONA museum as a “subversive adult Disneyland.”
2. Visit The Historic Hobart Harbour
Not a large or busy harbour, unless you’re in town early January as this is where the famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race ends.
But it’s a beautiful harbour to wander and so serene early in the morning on a clear day.
3. Check Out Salamanca Markets
The world-famous Saturday Salamanca Markets have a reputation as one of Australia’s best markets, and if you can time your trip to take it in.
Set in picturesque Salamanca Place, it’s essentially one long street of vendors selling their wares, buskers performing and yummy street food.
4. Walk Around The Historical Battery Point
The Battery Point is known as one of Hobart’s more prestigious suburbs, it adjoins Salamanca and has a large number of historic houses.
We loved wandering this suburb and admire the prestigious homes and the rose gardens. It also has a nice playground for the kids and local cafes to enjoy.
You can walk all the way to Sandy Bay, a small beach in Hobart, from Battery Point.
5. Visit The Female Factory
The Cascades Female Factory is the only Australian Convict World Heritage property that shares the female story of transportation.
Her story is a two person dramatization of sharing the life of typical female convicts. It gave a fantastic insight into this harsh existence. Make sure you do the heritage walk (guided tour) of the site.
6. Check Out Cascade Brewery
Enjoy a visit to Australia’s oldest brewery and sample a great range of beers, and cider, in a lovely terrace setting.
Take in the history yourself, take a brewery tour and learn about the brewing process, or take a heritage tour around the 3 acres of gardens which also includes tastings and is suitable for families.
Whatever you do, do not miss a chance to try the iconic Cascade pale ale.
7. Drive Up Mount Wellington (Kunanyi)
Often referred to as ‘the Mountain’ by the residents of Hobart, or Kuyanyi by the traditional owners of the land, it rises to 1,271 metres over Hobart’s harbour and the wide Derwent River.
If you’re lucky enough to get a clear day, we didn’t, I’ve been told the 21 kilometre drive to the summit ends with panoramic views of Hobart, Cape Bruny, and the Tasman Peninsula, with Bushwalking and barbecue and picnic facilities.
8. Visit The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
This gallery went under a huge renovation in 2013 and is now sleek, modern, and the building reflects the beauty of the artwork within.
The Tasman Museum and Art Gallery celebrates Tasmania’s history, art and culture. A highlight was the Tasmanian Aboriginal Gallery which celebrates Tasmania’s indigenous history and culture.
9. Take a Day Trip from Hobart
One of the best things to do in Hobart is to explore around it. Its central location on the island puts it in prime position to explore other parts of Tasmania and use it as a base.
You can find mountains, beaches, and historic landmarks, all within an hour or so from Tasmania. Here are some easy day trips we recommend taking from Hobart…
Port Arthur Historic Site
This is one of the most fascinating, moving, and interesting places to visit in Tasmania.
Port Arthur has a violent and troubled history as a penal colony for some of Australia’s hardened convicts, yet its beauty brings this contrasting sense of peace and happiness.
Don’t miss the ghost tour. Get there via a public bus from Hobart to Port operated by Tassie Link.
Taking a Bruny Island Cruise was one of our favourite experiences in Tasmania.
This award-winning wilderness cruise takes you along the rugged coastline of Bruny Island where you can see dramatic cliffs, sea caves, and wildlife life seals, dolphins, seabirds, and if your timing is right, migrating whales.
The Full Day Tour from Hobart includes a scenic bus tour, ferry crossing to Bruny Island, morning tea at the cruise departure point at Adventure Bay, and of course, a 3 hour wilderness cruise and lunch.
Head for 25 km north-east of Hobart is the town of Richmond. Step back in time and walk across Australia’s oldest bridge, stroll along the picturesque river, visit galleries, antique shops and have lunch at the Richmond Hotel or Bakery Cafe.
Richmond makes for a great place to wander.
Freycinet National Park
Although driving to Freycinet National Park is a 2.5-hour drive from Hobart, but you can get a scenic flight that leaves from Hobart and takes you to the amazing Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach, the most beautiful beaches in Tasmania.
These two beaches are remote and secluded, making them ideal beaches to explore if you want to get away from the crowds of the city (though Hobart doesn’t really have crowds).
The park is also known for having a rocky mountain range known as The Hazards, named because of their precariously balanced rocks, and is surrounded by dense bush and forest.
There are several hiking trails in the park, which you can hike in a day or a couple of days. It’s a beautiful park and worth a visit on any trip to Tasmania.
10. Relax in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
If you’re looking for somewhere more relaxing then you can’t go wrong with the botanical gardens. The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, also known as Australia’s cool climate garden, is a place where subantarctic plants can thrive.
It also has several lawns and grass areas which are ideal for lounging around on. Pack up a picnic and enjoy the peace and serenity.
12. Visit Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum
Mawson’s Hut Museum is a museum dedicated to Douglas Mawson, an Australian geologist and explorer who set off to find Antarctica with his crew in 1912.
The museum has been built to look like Mawson’s Hut, and contains exhibits detailing his expedition.
Mawson’s expedition was a poignant one, as he paved the way for scientists to discover Antartica ever since.
13. See Tasmanian Wildlife Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
Ever wanted to meet a Tasmanian Devil? Or come face to face with some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife such as koalas, wombats, and more?
Then the best place to see Tasmania’s wildlife is at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary which cares for orphaned and injured animals, rehabilitates them, and sends them back into the wild.
Their dedication to conservation and preservation of Tasmania’s wildlife is inspiring. Be sure to pay them a visit if you love animals.
14. Admire the Views from Mount Nelson Signal Station
If you want to see amazing views but don’t want to hike, then be sure to head up to the Signal Station on Mount Nelson.
From here you can see panoramic views of Hobart and the surrounding region, including the River Derwent, Bruny Island and Storm Bay (on a clear day).
Don’t miss a chance to wander around the Signal Station, which was built in 1811, and learn more about Hobart’s semaphore signalling history and early shipping history.
15. Check Out Farm Gate Markets
Although not as good as Salamanca Markets, in my opinion, the Farm Gate Markets is a great place to pick up fresh produce for a picnic (which you can enjoy in the botanic gardens mentioned earlier).
The farmers market is a bustling scene of music, vendors and craftsman selling their trade.
It takes place every Sunday, rain or shine, from 8.30am – 1.00pm. Head over to Bathurst Street if you are looking for things to do in Hobart on the weekend.
16. Sample Whiskey at Lark Distillery
If you’re a fan of whiskey’s, don’t miss a chance to visit the Lark Distillery. The whiskey produced by Lark Distillery is a single malt whiskey and is one of the most prestigious whiskey brands in Australia.
The distillery has been operating for more than 30 years and was even nominated for the Worldwide Whisky Producer of the Year Award.
Enjoy a distillery tour or tasting experience and see what makes this distillery so world-class around the world.
Check prices and availability for full day tours to Wineglass Bay and Freycinet National Park here.
Where to Eat in Hobart
Finding places to eat is always a struggle, but don’t worry, here are some top restaurants, bakeries, cafes and eateries that we liked in Hobart…
- Daci & Daci Bakers – this place is an institution in Hobart. Expect a line up out the door, especially at lunch time or if a cruise ship is in port. There are trays of gourmet pies, baguettes, pastries, salads and a range of excellent breads.
- Fish Frenzy – besides the fresh fish and chips, grilled seafood, salads and seafood chowder, a highlight is the location right on Hobart waterfront. Sit outside in the sun and watch the sailboats. Another cool feature is having fish & chips in a cone.
- Machine Laundry Cafe – a popular place with locals and visitors, this funky operating laundrette is a great place for breakfast or lunch, with great coffee and the biggest muffins I have ever seen. And the large alfresco area overlooking Salamanca Square was great for us with kids.
- Retro Cafe – another nice place for breakfast or lunch with a great location in Salamanca Place. Enjoy a bite to eat on the footpath and watch the world go by.
- Salamanca Markets – saviour some of the food on offer here at the markets
- Henry James Art Hotel – go here for fine dining on Hobart’s waterfront. This is Australia’s first dedicated art hotel with the site dating back to 1804.
- Cargo Bar Pizza Lounge – is a wood-fired pizza and wine bar. How could you not love having a coconut and honey mojito in a 180 year old sandstone building?
Where to Stay in Hobart
When it comes to finding places to stay in Hobart, we suggest staying in Hobart CBD (the central business district) which is close to many of the top attractions in the city.
Here are some recommendations for places to stay.
- YHA Hostel – smack bang in the centre of Hobart with an easy walk to everything in the city and waterfront, the YHA is your best budget option. Clean, comfortable and with a variety of room options. We stayed there in a family room with a private ensuite and were very comfortable.
- Salamanca Inn – excellent mid-level accommodation in a perfect location. Stumble 50m to Salamanca Place and enjoy the markets and everything on offer and walk to the best Hobart has to offer. This all-suite hotel with self-contained apartments was great for us as a family.
- Crowne Plaza Hobart, a 4-Star IHG Hotel. Guests love it for room, the location with a short stroll to the Pier and Salamanca Restaurants and markets, fantastic views from the floor to ceiling windows, and great breakfast.
Before You Go
So there you have it, those are some of the best things to do in Hobart, and as you can see, there’s so much to see and do.
Whether you enjoy nature, a relaxed town vibe, historical landmarks or wildlife, there is so much to see and enjoy in Tasmania’s capital.
Before you go, remember to pack warm clothes. Tasmania is known for offering every season in one day, and even in the summer, Hobart doesn’t get warmer than the low 20°Cs, so be sure to pack a jumper with you when you go exploring.
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Can you offer tips on what to do in Hobart? Please share in the comments your things to do in Hobart.