For a town that just a few years ago wasn’t ruffling any feathers on the culinary or cultural fronts, Hobart has had something of an extraordinary transformation. World class restaurants and cafes that could easily be transplanted to Melbourne or New York sit in handsome sandstone buildings amongst a growing art and culture scene. All this is of course surrounded by immense natural beauty, a thriving wine, beer and whisky scene and some of the freshest seafood in the country. If a business trip to Hobart is on the cards, we can’t recommend boarding that plane highly enough.
Where to Eat
Every good food outlet in Hobart seems to be fiercely supportive of local farmers and produce. Pigeon Hole Cafe, in trendy West Hobart, is definitely in this camp. Everything on their menu is either made in-house, grown on their own small-scale farm (they also sell produce from here direct at the Salamanca Markets), or sourced from other local farmers. If you’re in the CBD, head to Tricycle Cafe, inside the foyer of the Peacock Theatre for equally good coffee and breakfast options.
For lunch in the city head to Westend Pumphouse. Chef Tom Westcott is an alumnus of former Hobart favourite Garagistes, so the food is excellent. Westcott works with all local, limited-supply producers, so the menu is every changing and seasonal. Pumphouse also has a superb wine list and collection of craft beers to wash it down.
If you’re staying in Hobart for the weekend, or a client lunch begs something a little different, head to Source, MONA’s onsite a-la-carte restaurant. If it’s a weekend affair, have a tipple at the MONA Wine Bar or order barbecue style food from the Heavy Metal Kitchen and enjoy it on the lawn with a beer in hand.
Food aficionados should head to Franklin, in the Hobart CBD. The pared back polished cement interiors set the utopian scene for the artfully simple food, which speaks clearly of the Tasmanian landscape. Seafood is fresh, wines are local and produce is tasty.
For dinner with a view, try Aloft, perched at the end of the Brooke Street Pier, overlooking the Derwent. Think shared tasting plates paired with local reds, line-caught seafood cooked with small-farm herbs and a strong Australian flavour.
Where to Stay
There are a few trendy places to stay popping up around Hobart, but a favourite has to be the Henry Jones Art Hotel. Inside the old Henry Jones IXL Jam Factory right on the waterfront, this hotel is not only ideally located for business travellers, but offers an insight into the rich history and local community. The historic stone and timber frame building has been extended with steel beams and glass, to allow natural light in, and soaring spaces to showcase artworks by only Tasmanian artists.
Where to Play
No trip to Hobart is complete without a trip to MONA. The daring art gallery, founded and funded by Tasmanian millionaire David Walsh, has a remarkable mix of modern works, more traditional works and everything in between. Stay in town for the weekend so you can make a day of it at MONA – there are some 6,000 square metres of works to be covered.
Saturday mornings deserve a visit to the Salamanca Markets, where you’ll find stalls selling everything from fresh produce and hot food to local whiskey and gifts. Follow it up with an afternoon of wine tasting in the Coal River Valley, half an hour outside of the city.
If you’re in town midweek, make the effort to rise early and drive to the peak of Mount Wellington (20-minutes) for sunrise. Wear warm clothes, because even in summer it can be below zero up there, but the views are worth it. Then after work, go for a stroll around Battery Point, with its cute cottages and great water views before making a stop or two on the Craft Beer Trail – Cascade Brewery, Hobart Brewing Company, Captain Bligh’s and Fox Friday.