Hot coffees, cosy knits, fine food, wine and whisky. Waterfronts, wineries and weird art. Stunning views atop kunanyi/Mount Wellington, road trips, a hike or two, and being taken back in time for a lesson in Australian convict history. For a small city, Hobart has it all. Whether you’re a foodie, nature lover, adventure seeker or appreciate a fine drop of wine, you’ll love it as much as we have. Don’t let the weather hold you back either. Winter in Tassie is not only filled with events, but there is something magical about watching the clouds and fog roll in over the mountains and feeling the crisp air on your skin as you wonder past historic buildings.
If you’re planning a trip to Hobart or Tassie I recommend hiring a car like we did. Or if you’re coming from Melbourne, take a trip over on the Spirit of Tasmania and take your car with you. It gives you the freedom to see as much as you can, as Hobart and surrounds are quite spread out.
We stayed for 3 days, 4 nights in a cute, cosy little studio apartment in North Hobart that I booked on AirBnb. It’s not exactly walking distance to Hobart CBD or waterfront (only a 10min drive) but was only a few minutes walk to some great local shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and the local cinema. The local grocer, Hill Street Grocers, have the freshest produce and an amazing deli filled with gourmet foods ready to eat, perfect for a picnic, snacks or packed lunch on the go. We stopped for a coffee and healthy breakfast at Berta before browsing the beautiful little shops on Elizabeth Street. If you love good Italian food with a glass of wine, Capital is a must for their pizzas (try the whitebait entree – I know I’m showing my Italian roots here but it’s my fav!). If Mexican is more your thing, Pancho Villa Restaurant and Tequila Bar has to have one of the coolest decor’s I’ve seen in a restaurant/bar. Step inside the heavy wooden door into a dark moody ‘Day of the Dead’ themed interior with stained glass arched windows, pendant hanging lights and a wall of sugar skulls. We started with guacamole and grilled corn, followed by a variety of blue or white corn tacos (the Ox tongue taco is interesting!). The menu is 95% gluten free too!
Hobart waterfront is a must visit and was our first stop on day 1. We had dinner and drinks at the uber cool and equally elegant The Glass House on our first night. The Glass House suspends over the water at the end of Brooke Street Pier with views across Sullivan’s Cove and the Derwent River, and serves up small plates of locally sourced seasonal produce, supporting local farmers and producers. If you happen to be in Hobart on a Saturday, head to the famous Salamanca Market on the waterfront. Pick up some local gifts from Brooke Street Pier before departing on the MR-1 boat cruise to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). You can drive there but 25 min boat ride is a treat in itself and a great way to enjoy Hobart and surrounding suburbs by water and take a few photos. Whether you appreciate art or not, MONA is a true mind-bending wonderland! I won’t give anything away, just keep an open mind and let your senses be overloaded! We loved it.
After our morning at MONA we drove up kunanyi/Mount Wellington hoping to capture some beautiful photos of the view from the top and head off on a hike. We managed a few photos half way up but the weather turned and fog thickened, and by the time we got to the top we couldn’t see through the fog! Hopefully on our way home via Hobart we will have clear skies to head up again. (Edit – on our last day before flying back to Melbourne, Hobart gave us clear sunny autumn skies. We drove back up Mount Wellington and oh my goodness it was worth it! We didn’t realise just how high up it is, the views stretch for miles! A MUST do when you visit Hobart). It was too late in the day to start out on a hike as it starts getting dark during winter in Hobart by around 5:30pm. We stopped at the bottom of Mount Wellington for a short 30 minute (return) walk to ‘The Springs’, which ended at a pretty little waterfall, and we luckily made it back to the car just as it got too dark too see (we had no torch!).
Day 2 in Hobart was all about wine and whisky tasting. We took a drive through the Coal River Valley to the picturesque historic colonial town of (“rich-what!”) Richmond (Coach Carter joke if you didn’t get that) only about 30 mins out of Hobart. There is so much food and wine on this trail! We walked along the main street and over the Richmond Bridge, stop by Sweets and Treats (their liquorice and Turkish Delight is amazing) and Wicked Cheese Co (I recommend the Yogurt Cheese). On our way back we tasted wines at the beautiful Pooley Wines and stopped at Frogmore Creek Winery for wine tasting and lunch whilst enjoying soaking in the stunning views of the winery over the valley. Simply breathtaking! Frogmore Creek wines are amongst my favourite, and the incredible food, which looked as good as it tasted, showcased local produce. A place I highly recommend visiting.
Our next stop was Sullivan’s Cove Distillery for a personal tour and tasting, and although I’m not a whiskey aficionado (Flynn is trying to get me into it), this visit was a highlight for us both. We learnt the history of Sullivan’s Cove, the science behind whisky distilling (which is fascinating) and we’re amazed that these small scale but world award winning whisky makers do every part of the process from malting their own barley, brewing, distilling, barrelling and hand bottling.
Sullivan’s Cove Whisky Distillery, Cambridge, Tasmania
Port Arthur Historic Site is a 90 minute drive from Hobart and another iconic visit to hear the amazing stories and intriguing part of Australian history. We spent our third day here, so allow a full day for the drive down, a few hours to visit and drive back again, as there are plenty of photo opportunity stops along the way. We got an entry pass to Port Arthur Historic Site, which comes with a 40 min introductory walking tour and 20 min boat cruise to see the site from the water and the Isle of the Dead. A little tip: there isn’t a lot of options for food at the site (there is a cafe), so I recommend bringing a packed lunch like we did. We picked up some pre-made lemon herb grilled chicken breast, balsamic potato salad, beetroot, carrot and feta salad, along with fresh fruit and nuts from Hill Street Grocer. On our way back we stopped in at Bangor Wine & Oyster Shed in Dunalley for a dozen oysters, which come fresh from the waters right in front of your eyes! It closes at 5pm, so plan your trip.
Our next stop is up the East Coast to Wineglass Bay and the Bay of Fires for a few days, before retreating to the secluded Pumphouse Point in Lake St. Clair, Cradle Mountain.
So far Tassie, you’ve been incredible…