Hobart is the city on the tip of everyone's tongues these days. Those who still think of our southernmost capital as a humdrum town clearly haven't been paying attention!
It may have some of the deepest colonial roots in the country, but Hobart also oozes modernity with its cutting-edge restaurants, boundary-pushing galleries and award-winning whisky.
If you've got 48 hours up your sleeve and have been mulling over a trip to Tassie, test the waters across the Strait with a weekend in Hobart.
Friday evening: A tasty introduction
There are a few essentials for your Hobart holiday: a set of wheels, a warm coat, a couple of dinner reservations and a curious palate. Once you've touched down and checked-in to your Hobart accommodation (we recommend the ultra-luxe Henry Jones Art Hotel), it's time to put one of those dinner reservations to good use.
If you're staying at the Henry Jones or anywhere close to the waterfront, there's a swag of great restaurants within easy walking distance. We suggest locking in a table at Frank – an achingly cool South American-inspired restaurant right on the edge of Franklin Wharf. The sopaipillas, a juicy cut of meat from the charcoal grill and a Pisco Sour are a must.
Saturday morning: Salamanca + Battery Point
Is there any better way to spend a Saturday morning than wandering among sandstones facades with a fair-trade coffee in one hand and a plump, jammy doughnut in the other? Salamanca Market toes the line between touristy and kitschy, with balance of second-hand book stalls, local artisans, farm-fresh produce, and token 'map of Tasmania' tea towels.
It's also an ideal base for exploring the historic, almost too-pretty neighbourhood of Battery Point. Chuck a right at the Salamanca Arts Centre and follow the signage to Kelly's Steps, which have connected Salamanca Place to Battery Point since convict days.
At the top, continue straight up Kelly Street and try to resist the urge to peep into the beautiful Heritage Homes lining the thoroughfare. Fuel up at Jackman & McRoss bakery before antiquing your way along Hampden Road.
Saturday midday: A little culture
Let's put it out there: a visit to Hobart is incomplete without a pilgrimage to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). But when time is of the essence, nobody would blame you for foregoing a visit to MONA. You'll just have to make a return trip!
Visiting MONA can easily eat up an entire day, when you factor in the 30-minute ferry ride each way. NB: pay the extra $30 and upgrade to the Posh Pit for ridiculously good canapés and free-flowing local Moo Brew beer and Moorilla wine.
In place of MONA, consider paying a visit to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery located along Franklin Wharf – it might just surprise you, and is much kinder on your budget.
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You can easily spend hours exploring the labyrinthine floors of TMAG, learning about Tasmania's role in the Great War, game-changing Antarctica explorations, perusing contemporary installations and convict-era objets d'art. Be sure to spend some in the Bond Store Galleries too.
Saturday evening: Dinner in North Hobart
This is where hiring a car comes in handy! While there's plenty to keep your attention downtown, North Hobart is well worth checking out.
Cruise up Elizabeth Street and you'll stumble upon the revitalised restaurant strip, home to Hobart's best buns at Burger Haus, tasty Italian fare at Capital, hip hangouts Raincheck Lounge and Room For a Pony, and The Winston, which will make you reconsider your notions of stodgy Aussie pubs!
Sunday morning: More markets + Mount Wellington
Having a set of wheels definitely makes a difference today. Check out of your hotel and kickstart your morning by grabbing breakfast at the Farm Gate market on Bathurst Street, including delicious coffee from Bury Me Standing Coffee Co. and a couple of sneaky souvenirs from local jam makers and honey farmers.
After you're sufficiently stuffed with organic rosti and rocket, it's time to take a spin up Mount Wellington. 'Kunanyi', to use its Indigenous name, provides the city with a very impressive backdrop. It's a 15–20 minute scenic drive to the top from downtown Hobart – just be careful of icy roads if you're visiting during the colder months.
On a clear day, the summit lookout offers views that extend far beyond Hobart's CBD, almost out to Port Arthur. In winter, Mount Wellington is often snow-capped and you might be lucky enough crunch through fresh powder or build a tiny snowman.
Sunday midday: Coal River Wineries + Richmond
On your way down from Mount Wellington, you might choose to visit Australia's oldest operating brewery en route to the Coal River Valley. Alternatively, you can simply snap a quick pic of Cascade Brewery's castle-like exterior before continuing out of Hobart (guilty).
There are around 24 vineyards, wineries and cellar doors strewn across the valley, including Frogmore Creek and, my personal favourite, Puddleduck Vineyard. Vineyards here are closer to Hobart than any other capital city and its surrounding wine country.
The Coal River region wraps around the historic town of Richmond (home to Australia's oldest working bridge), and is an easy half-hour from Hobart. The wine trail is the perfect finale to your Hobart holiday before you head off to the airport, no doubt with an extra bottle of pinot in your carry-on.
7 Quick Picks In Hobart:
- Tommy Gun Records for vinyl collectors
- Franklin restaurant for experimental dining
- Downunder Bookshop for second-hand gems
- Pimgrim Coffee for a hearty breakfast
- IXL Long Bar for creative cocktails
- Lark Distillery for a whisky sampler
- Waterman's Beer Market for epic pizza