Hobart may be a small city but it packs plenty of punch.
Its colourful history lives on through everyday elements; the arts, the harbour, the architecture and the design. The dynamic food scene can be experienced in its finest restaurants and farmhouse kitchens and let’s not forget that unparalleled natural beauty is merely a few minutes drive from the CBD.
We visited Hobart for three nights at the beginning of December 2021 when the temperature was thankfully warm-ish and COVID-19 Hobart travel restrictions were minimal. From our short stay, we believe that Hobart Tasmania is certainly worth visiting and 3 days in Hobart is a good way to start. Most places in Australia require a vehicle to visit (including Tasmania) but we can attest that there are plenty of eateries to get to and unique things to do in Hobart without a car too. We’ve compiled this complete Hobart City Guide to help you plan where to eat, what to see and do and where to stay in Hobart, Australia.
THINGS TO DO IN HOBART TASMANIA
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art is quite literally a must see and do on any visit to Hobart.
Literally filled with old and new stuff across three core levels, visitors can meander through the museum with the aid of the free ‘O’ app, which provides information, context and interviews of all pieces and a map to navigate the building. Many artworks are permanent but keep an eye on the website for new and temporary exhibitions.
It is recommended to allow at least 3 hours for exploring Mona plus time for lunch or refreshments. There are two restaurants (reservations required) and a few other eateries on site.
We took the Mona ferry from Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier, the one-way journey taking 25 minutes and return tickets costing $23. This method of transport is a lovely way to see Greater Hobart and is super efficient if you’re visiting Hobart without a car.
Advance bookings recommended.
A mere 20-minute drive from Hobart, the vista from the top of kunanyi / Mt Wellington is unlike any other Australian city – particularly if you’re blessed with a clear day.
The 21 kilometre drive to the summit passes through a variety of terrains, from temperate rainforest to glacial rock formations. Once at the top, you’re rewarded with panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula.
The Pinnacle shelter at the top is open for limited hours (varying between summer and winter). Park entrance fees do not apply and there are no opening or closing hours. You will need your own vehicle to visit the summit of Mt Wellington as there are no public transport options.
Snow tends to dust the summit year round and the weather conditions can change in a heartbeat when up the top so always make sure to pack a warm jacket.
Coal River Farm
If cheese, chocolate and confectionery make your heart and taste buds sing, then you must place Coal River Farm on your list of spots to visit.
The farmhouse kitchen is only 20 minutes drive from Hobart and serves modern Australian cuisine right up until the late afternoon. Small batch cheeses and artisanal chocolates are lovingly handmade on site in the famous Coal River Valley.
There is seating inside and outside, where you can watch guinea pigs in their hatches or the goats roam in the front field. Guests are welcome to wander through the orchards and can peek through the looking glass when there is chocolate in the making. It goes without saying that you will undoubtedly leave with a number of small, yummy packages.
Day Trip to Port Arthur
The World Heritage listed Port Arthur Historic Site sits on the Tasman Peninsula, about 90 minutes drive from Hobart. The former 19-century penal settlement is the best preserved convict site in Australia and the ruins now form an open air museum across 40 hectares.
Visitors are able to explore Port Arthur Historic Site themselves or to arrange a tour. A raincoat, sunscreen and hat plus comfortable walking shoes are essential as there is limited shelter around the site.
A good thing to note is that the Port Arthur site entry tickets are valid for two consecutive days, so if you’re planning on exploring more of the Tasman Peninsula area, you can spread out your visit without needing to rush. If you’re planning ahead, you can also buy your Port Arthur Site entry ticket here.
Day Trip to Bruny Island
We unfortunately missed out on visiting Bruny Island on our 2 week Tasmanian road trip but all accounts we’ve received from fellow travellers is that we should have tried harder to fit in a visit here!
Bruny Island is home to an abundance of endemic species including fur seals, fairy penguins, albatross, wedge tailed eagles and white wallabies. On top of this, it is a well-known foodies’ paradise with visitors coming for the artisan cheeses, oysters, berries, fudge and plenty more.
The size of the island is deceptive, stretching 100 kilometres from North to South so be sure to know your driving times between locations to make sure you get on the ferry back to the mainland!
Car and passenger ferries operate 365 days a year, with the ferry trip between Kettering (45 minutes south of Hobart) and Roberts Point taking 15 – 20 minutes. For the most up to date ferry timetable and ferry fares, visit the SeaLink website.
WHERE TO EAT
You’ll see the flirty pink facade first and the glittery scales of the pizza oven second. Then, the tantalising smell of pasta and pizza will seal the deal and you’ll want to be seated immediately at Ti Ama.
A great location for groups and pairs, the restaurant was pumping on the Friday night we visited. We ordered the Notorious P.I.G pizza (tomato base, house smoked pork, Boks bacon bits, pepperoni, red onion, mozzarella, house made bbq sauce), saffron and mozzarella arancini, and the pepperoni croquettes with pesto and parmesan.
On this drizzly evening, it ended up being the perfect amount of carbo-loaded food for the two of us accompanied with a Birra Moretti and pink lemonade. The house made bbq sauce was certainly a highlight of the meal.
Reservations recommended. Takeaway service available.
Save this one for a special occasion and make sure to arrive with an appetite.
We did both of these things and we were not disappointed. This intimate restaurant in the heart of Hobart’s CBD offers seasonal tasting menu dinners from Thursdays – Saturdays. Optional alcoholic and non-alcoholic matching beverages are available as are a la carte drinks by the glass.
The tasting menu we experienced featured mostly seafood dishes including lightly steamed oysters, seared scallops and abalone. The mandarin palette cleanser and the burnt butter with rhubarb dessert were also highlights. We noted plenty of Asian influences, particularly with the broths but also with the sake served as alcoholic pairings.
The restaurant seats approximately 20 people per sitting with views of the kitchen and the wine cellar. Service is swift and the wait staff’s knowledge is impeccable. Dietary requirements can be catered for.
Recommended by the macQ01 hotel concierge and seconded by some Hobart locals, we were super happy to nab window seats with harbour views at Frank Restaurant on our last night in Hobart.
Serving South American cuisine, sharing some meat and veg alongside a few small plates went down oh-so-nicely paired with a glass of tempranillo and fruity mocktail. We could have easily munched on the three cheese empanadas all night and we were fighting for the last bite of the chocolate fondant.
A few spots are left for walk-ins but if your heart is set on trying the Hanger steak, make a reservation in advance.
Jackman & McRoss
The bakery of all bakeries in Hobart in our opinion. You’d be hard pressed to find a more impressive pastry and bread display in the city.
The Hobart institution, located in historic Battery Point, exudes European vibes with its decor and wicker chairs laid out on the pavement. We are super jealous of the locals who get to come here to buy freshly baked loaves. We settled for a couple of delectable pastries on our early morning visit but you can settle in for a light breakfast and coffee too.
Should you come in the early afternoon, you would have to go for a slice of cake or one of their fruity tarts.
Cibo e Vino
A couple of blocks down from Jackman & McRoss is the fabulous Italian cafe, Cibo e Vino (pronounced “Chi-bo e Vino” and is Italian for “Food & Wine”).
Another recommendation by the locals, we walked back up to Battery Point for our last breakfast in Hobart and yet again, we were not disappointed. Serving traditional fine Italian cuisine with seasonal Tasmanian produce, the most difficult task will be selecting your eating option. We devoured the eggs in sugo and sicilian eggs but next time, we would be totally down for a boozy Italian lunch to sample the homemade pasta. Going early for breakfast is likely a good idea because we can imagine that tables would fill up fast, particularly on weekends.
This is the spot to grab the naughtiest treat of all, so make sure that you’re not in calorie-counting mode.
Lady Hester specialises in making sourdough doughnuts with Middle Eastern-inspired fillings, having done so since 2014. Today, the menu also includes biscuits, cakes, focaccia and brioche buns which you can devour with a cup of South Roast coffee. We specifically visited Lady Hester for the famous doughnuts, opting for one with a lemon-curd filling (yes, just one doughnut even though Bevan was certainly considering the 4 doughnuts for $24 special).
Unbelievably delectable, we honestly don’t think that we will enjoy a humble doughnut in the same way any more. We thought it was pretty darn good.
WHERE TO DRINK
We are so glad that we abided by the advice of the MOSS Hotel team because we got to experience this funky AF wine bar, discovered Somewhere Coffee Bar on the way (see below) and met some amazing Hobart locals in the process.
sonny is a place that you know the locals want to keep a secret. And you can’t blame them. Serving tasty homemade pasta dishes and epicurean small plates, the waiters possess some cracking wine knowledge to suit your palette. It is a tiny hole in the wall with limited high bench seating but the vibe is terrific. Vinyl is on rotation and the wine freely flows so do yourself a favour and mark this spot because we don’t think you’ll regret it. Walk-ins only.
Somewhere Coffee Bar
A joyous discovery on our way to sonny led us back to Somewhere Coffee Bar the next morning before we flew home to Brisbane.
Newly opened in August 2021, this is a place where we wouldn’t encourage a quick takeaway. Rather, find 30 minutes in your morning, sit down and watch Brian expertly brew your coffee and talk you through coffee bean roasts, brewing methods and flavour profiles. Those who visit Somewhere Coffee Bar will have a memorable coffee experience.
Extended trading hours mean that Somewhere is open later than many other cafes so swing by if you’re the type who also finds it easy enough to fall asleep even after consuming caffeine after 3.00pm.
WHERE TO SHOP
Inside this gorgeous corner store in Battery Point, you’ll find a carefully curated range of homewares and gifts, with a focus on quality Australian brands and sustainable products.
From coffee table books to reusable water bottles, vases, cushions, small handbags, lotions and fragrances and a swoon-worthy collection of baby items, it’s likely that you’ll end up finding a gift for someone and one for yourself too.
The ultimate touristy and local shopping place every Saturday morning, Salamanca Market is another Hobart institution.
Stretching the length and breadth of Salamanca Place, the famous outdoor market features around 300 stall holders each week where you will find handmade Tasmanian pieces, collectibles, gourmet foods, jewellery, clothing and farmers markets, all accompanied by buskers and food stalls.
Salamanca Market is open every Saturday from 8.30am – 3.00pm. Entry is free.
WHERE TO STAY
Searching for a Hobart hotel? You’ll find plenty of charming options by the waterfront or in an historic colonial building. Here are a couple of recommendations.
This boutique hotel is ideally located in central Hobart, perfect to explore Battery Point, Hobart CBD, Brooke Street Pier and plenty of restaurants and bars.
Designed in old warehouses, the architects retained many of the original building features whilst adding plenty of modern touches centred around a colour palette of greens and greys. Unlike other hotels, MOSS Hotel does not have a restaurant, gym or pool but given the rooms are perched on top of Salamanca Place, you needn’t wander far to experience the best that the city has to offer.
This slick, 5-star hotel pitched on Hobart’s waterfront overlooks Constitution Dock and is an ideal spot for exploring the Tasmanian capital.
macQ01 is a storytelling hotel. The front door of each room or suite features a bronze plaque with an etching and short bio of an historic Tasmanian character, with each one reflecting one of the five Tasmanian traits; Colourful and Quirky, Grounded Yet Exceptional, Fighting Believers, Curious and Creative, Hearty and Resilient. The design and decor elements of the 114 rooms then take on aspects of the five traits.
Built on the grounds of an old shipping shed, every room or suite features a king bed, private balcony or rooftop courtyard, lounges or occasional chairs and a generous writing desk. You don’t need to wander far to sample some fine Tasmania produce. Old Wharf Restaurant is on Ground Level serving all meals 7 days a week. The Story Bar and Evolve Spirits Bar invite you in for seductive pre-dinner tipples.