Hobart is a compact city, located on the island of Tasmania, Australia’s southernmost state. It sits on the banks of the Derwent River between Mt Wellington and picturesque Port Hobart Founded in 1804, Hobart was originally an infamous penal colony.
To the convicts who endured the gruelling 8-month journey from Britain, it was the bottom of the earth but today the city has well and truly cast off the shackles of the past.
Hobart is a place where the old and new meet, right at the edge a pristine wilderness. It’s a city where cutting-edge art lives amongst historic sandstone warehouses, and modern performances take place in a theatre built by convicts.
A city of historic parks and gardens, surrounded by picturesque vineyards, in a landscape that has remained unchanged for generations. The waterfront is where early settlers first stepped ashore, and today the docks makes a perfect place to start your adventures.
Stroll past historic buildings, enjoy a meal at a waterfront restaurant or pick up some of the day’s catch from the local fishermen. The Georgian sandstone warehouses here were once used to store wool, grain and whale oil but are now converted into businesses, galleries and restaurants.
Visit Australia’s oldest brewery, which is still in business today.Take a tour, enjoy a beer and imagine living in this city in the 1830’s when there was a pub for every 200 people!
Just behind Constitution Dock is the Maritime Museum a great place to gain an insight into just how important the ocean has always been to this remote place.
Breathe in the sea air on your own tall ships experience with a trip on the Lady Nelson. Help set the rigging, trim the sails, and take a turn at the helm. Back on dry land and just a short stroll from the waterfront is Salamanca Market, a local institution for over 30 years.
See the work of artists and craftspeople and enjoy the year-round festival of events. Stock up on provisions, or pick up a woolly scarf for when those icy winds blow in from Antarctica.
Learn more about that great southern wilderness and the people who have tried to conquer it at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. There is also an interesting collection of art here ranging from traditional to contemporary.
For artwork of a more controversial nature take the half-hour ride upriver to the vast and varied art collection of Mona – The museum of old and new art.
This is a recent addition to Hobart’s creative scene. It is one of the largest privately owned museums in Australia and amongst the most talked about in the world.
Thanks to fertile soils and ideal weather conditions, Hobart produces plenty of world class wine as well as acclaimed organic food.
To enjoy some of this famous produce, head south toward the Huon Trail. Visit any of the boutique wineries along they way, many of which have restaurants that use locally grown ingredients and offer stunning views.
An hour and a half to the south east of Hobart is Australia’s most infamous convict settlement, Port Arthur.
As you wander around this open air museum, it is easy to imagine the brutal conditions endured by the poor souls sent to Australia’s version of Alcatraz.
While you are in the area, visit Tasman National Park. Drive to the Tasman arch and the Devil’s kitchen or hike to secluded bays. Back in the city, don’t leave without a trip to the top of Mount Wellington.
From here, you can imagine Hobart as it was 200 years ago, when tall ships unloaded their wretched cargo at the docks.
That wonderful sense of rubbing shoulders with history never really leaves you but it is clear from the moment you arrive that this old city now beats with a young and creative heart.