You’ve got a long weekend getaway planned to Tasmania’s historic city of Hobart: how are you going to make the most of every single minute in a city that has tendrils dating back to convict-era days? Listen up dear readers, we’ve got you covered when it comes to this fabulous waterfront city at the base of Mt Wellington.
Day one – arrive Hobart
Fly to Hobart International Airport and pick up a hire car on arrival to get the best out of a visit to Hobart. At the base of Mt Wellington (which is snow-capped for much of the year) Hobart city straddles the Derwent River with its heritage city centre on the Derwent’s western shore.
Take a drive to the magnificent summit of Mt Wellington to get your bearings. Located at 40 degrees south, Hobart is susceptible to some wild weather. Some days you can see far and wide, from the Organ Pipes, Derwent River and Hobart below, across the Tasman Sea and to the wild Southwest National Park. On other days you cannot see your shoes! Make sure to pack warm clothes as it’s substantially cooler on the mountain than it is in Hobart.
Check into Salamanca Wharf Hotel in the heart of the historic Salamanca Wharf district. A boutique apartment-style hotel that blends seamlessly with heritage architecture that Salamanca Place is famous for, custom made furnishings and floor coverings are crafted from Sassafras and Tasmanian Oak. Spoil yourself and book into a rooftop Loft Penthouse which is graced with cathedral ceilings and 5m tall windows that bathe the apartment in natural light. All rooms are well-equipped, spacious and modern with the hotel making quirky use of limited spaces with Tasmania’s only car-stacker garage.
An alternative Hobart hotel is Salamanca Inn for its terrific location with large rooms equipped with convenient kitchenettes.
Day one in Hobart – Afternoon
Wander Hobart’s wonderful waterfront including Salamanca Place with its Georgian sandstone warehouses Constitution Dock (where Sydney to Hobart yacht racers dock), Elizabeth St and Brooke St Piers. World-class chefs using the best Tasmanian produce have created award-winning restaurants. Fishmongers sell seafood fresh from the Southern Ocean. Galleries and boutiques are stocked with fine artworks and one-off pieces.
Day one in Hobart – Evening
The Glass House is one of Hobart’s swankiest restaurants, suspended over Sullivan Cove on a floating pontoon with floor to ceiling glass walls framing one of the city’s very best views. The restaurant houses a splendid collection of glass and crystal ware collected from some of Tasmania’s grandest homes. Order a cocktail and choose the glassware you’d like it served in. A sharing-style menu created by chef by Ikuei Arakane from Iron Chef fame features Tassie oysters, line-caught fish, grass-fed beef and wild-clover lamb.
Day two in Hobart – Morning
Start the day with breakfast at Salamanca Wharf Café by sharing a large communal table with locals calling in for a quick bite on their way to work or holidaymakers lingering over poached free-range eggs.
Day two at Tasman Peninsula & MONA
Head south from Hobart towards Eagle Hawk Neck for an opportunity to swim with seals off the Tasman Peninsula. Board a small rigid inflatable boat with Wild Ocean Tasmania after getting kitted up in a fleecy onesie (it gets cold in these parts!) topped with a watertight drysuit. Operated by a young couple passionate about wildlife conservation, if the wild seals are in a playful mood it’s an unforgettable experience. Even if they’re not the seascape is spectacular with caves, towering dolerite cliffs and freestanding monoliths carved by wind and waves.
On the way back to Hobart pop into Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed for lunch. Oysters come natural, with Thai lime, Soy and Ginger or Mignonette dressings on the side, Grilled, Kilpatrick or with Macadamia Pesto. If oysters don’t float your boat, lamb pie or a mulled wine, pear and goats cheese salad are worthy alternatives. Try Bangor’s own Pinot Gris, Chardonnay or Pinot Noir from Tasmania’s most southerly vineyard.
Back in Hobart it would be remiss not to visit MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), the brainchild of entrepreneurial outcast David Walsh. Love or loathe modern art, MONA is the antithesis of conservative art forms, shaking visitors by the throat (metaphorically) and forcing them to rethink and reassess their own art-influenced headspace. In his own words, MONA is ‘one man’s crusade to piss off art academics’. Plan to spend half a day to soak it all in, then linger over dinner accompanied by Moorilla wine or Moo Brew beer at The Source Restaurant. The best way to travel is via MONA’s own ferry service which runs between MONA and Brooke St Pier, especially if you book the Posh Pit which includes champagne and canapes.
Call into Salamanca Place’s Grape Wine Bar for a cheeky Tasmanian-inspired nightcap before calling it a day back at Salamanca Wharf Hotel.
Day three at Salamanca Markets & Hobart waterfront
If you’ve timed your visit well you’ll have time to explore world-famous Salamanca Markets, held each Saturday until 3pm. An outdoor market that buzzes to busker rhythms, it’s one of the best places to pick up an original Tasmanian memento. Clothing, jewelry, gifts and gadgets made from Tasmanian products by Tasmanian artisans along with cafes, food stalls and fresh produce suppliers are the attraction.
On your way back to Hobart International Airport try and allow enough time to divert to the historic town of Richmond. Home to Australia’s oldest bridge (built in 1825), Richmond village oozes character and charm from every ancient pore. Georgian architecture dominates with heritage pubs, churches, galleries, and museums lining its streets. Favoured by foodies who can’t get enough of Tassie’s world-class food and wine scene, Richmond is a fitting final stop on your 48 hour Hobart getaway.