Looking for exceptional scenery, fascinating history, cultural pursuits, fine dining, and good beaches on your Australia vacation? Look no further, Hobart offers all this and more! Situated in the south, on the island of Tasmania, this capital city and has an incredible waterfront location. With its long and interesting history, Hobart, Australia’s second oldest established city, displays its cultural heritage throughout its historic buildings and neighbourhoods. Starting out as a small fishing village and transforming into a cosmopolitan city, when combining its historic and contemporary aspects, Hobart offers visitors multiple reasons to spend time here.
A little historical background on Tasmania is necessary in order to appreciate Hobart. It used to be known as Van Diemen’s Land, when the Dutch first landed here in 1642. Subsequently, it became a British Colony in 1803. An unbelievable 70,000 men, women, and children were transported into Van Diemen’s Land in the early 1800s, and many of the places and features built during that time are still standing today. There are reminders of Australia’s convict past everywhere. Hobart is an excellent place to learn about Australia’s early history, and visitors get to experience it first-hand. The Port Arthur Historic Site is Australia’s most famous penal settlement. The nearby Coal Mines Historic Site was Tasmania’s first mine and was operated by more than 500 convicts.
Views from Mount Wellington
Rio has its Corcovado and Cape Town, its Table Mountain. Hobart has its Mount Wellington. A trip up the mountain will reward you with outstanding views of not only the city scattered around the hills below, but also the outstanding countryside of Southern Tasmania. There are great opportunities here for hiking and biking. It’s all only a 20 minute drive from the city.
Salamanca Place – The Heart of Hobart
Make sure you visit Salamanca Place, located in the city’s bustling waterfront, with its picturesque cobblestone square offering everything from art galleries to food and craft markets. Note the Georgian-style warehouses which line Salamanca Place, built in the 1830s to house merchandise. Today, the warehouses have been converted into galleries, theatres, cafes, bars, and restaurants. For shoppers, check out the boutiques selling jewellery, fashion, and design. It is on Saturdays, that Salamanca Place really comes alive with the vibrant Salamanca Market.
Beautiful Battery Point
Battery Point, a suburb of Hobart, has some of the most beautiful Victorian houses in Australia. It began life as the site of an artillery battery. Today, it is a historic residential area, ideal for an extended stroll, and features numerous restaurants, cafes, shops, and churches. Check out Arthur Circus, a picturesque, circular colonial street containing heritage cottages, encircling a village green.
Historic Port Arthur
Port Arthur was an inescapable prison for convicts of the 19th century, holding 1100 convicts at its peak. It was separated from the mainland by a narrow piece of land surrounded by shark-infested waters. Today you can examine the work of the convicts on a guided walking tour of the site’s many buildings. The site has more than 30 buildings, ruins, and restored period homes set in 40 hectares of landscaped grounds. You need to allow plenty of time to fully experience all that Port Arthur has to offer, including the Isle of the Dead Cemetery Tour. It is also has great walks along the very high and spectacular sea cliffs.
As Tasmania’s most important historic town, Richmond, not far from Hobart, is as elegant today as it was in the 1820s, with its beautiful historic Georgian buildings, when it was an important military staging post and convict station. The stone buildings now house galleries, tea shops, craft boutiques, and museums, and is a centre for food and wine lovers. The Richmond Bridge is the town’s proud centrepiece. It was built by convicts and is the oldest road bridge in Australia… and is supposedly haunted.
Hobart’s Iconic River and Cove
Hobart’s River Derwent is Australia’s most impressive waterway, after Sydney Harbour. It’s a popular playground for residents, but has plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy it as well. Sullivans Cove was the initial landing site of what is now the city of Hobart. It has great historical and sentimental value for the city. The cove area itself is now known as Macquarie Wharf and serves as the main port. Many of the original buildings along the waterfront still stand.
Bruny Island – Nature Reserve and More
Bruny Island, close to Hobart and reached by a short ferry ride, is the home of the beautiful South Bruny National Park, which offers the ultimate Tasmanian wilderness experience. You can venture into the wilderness on one of the many bushwalks offered, or you can join a cruise and explore the stunning coastline of the island. Bruny Island is home to fur seals, fairy penguins, and white wallaby, and provides excellent opportunities for bird watching. It is also home to Australia’s southern most vineyards and there are some excellent restaurants and cafés scattered around the island.
Cultural Pursuits in Hobart
The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is the place to learn more about the history of Tasmania through every era. Displays cover geology, natural history, Tasmania’s indigenous population, and Antarctica. Plus, there is an art collection.
The Museum of Old and New Art – MONA, is a world-renowned museum which combines ancient artifacts, contemporary art, and cutting-edge modern architecture in a showcase of international cultural treasures.
Through objects, images, and interactive displays, the Bass Strait Maritime Centre delves into the themes of European exploration and settlement. The collection also features fine-detailed models from the days of sail and steam ships to modern passenger ships.
The Federation Concert Hall is the home of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestram and one of the principal performance venues in Tasmania.
Fine Dining in Hobart
Award-winning restaurants offer fine dining experiences, using the best Tasmanian produce, recognized by the world’s best chefs. Meantime, on the waterfront, fishmongers sell the freshest seafood straight from the Southern Ocean. Try the seafood at one of Hobart’s waterside restaurants while watching colourful spinnakers bobbing in the water.
Hobart is a great starting point to explore the wild spectacular scenery and stunning unspoiled wilderness that is Tasmania. Book one of our Tasmania vacations today and start exploring!