A destination guide to Hobart, TAS
*This guide was originally published in partnership with Sitchu.com.au
Over the past few years, Hobart has transformed itself from being merely the capital of Australia’s oft-forgotten island to the south, to being a hotbed full of forward-thinkers and creative types — both homegrown and imported. Whilst it’s widely known that it was MONA (once described by the Lonely Planet as the ‘best modern art gallery in the world’) that brought popularity (and affordable flights) to the city, there’s much more to Hobart than the obvious.
From its flourishing food scene, to the city’s rich history — it’s a wonder why this place was ever ‘off the map’ to begin with.
Think about it, have you ever heard someone return from a trip to Hobart that didn’t ramble on about how amazing it was? Our guess is a big fat no. Here are some of our suggestions when spending a weekend in Hobart.
Where To Eat:
There’s a good reason an abundance of foodies has settled in southern Tasmania. From sitting down for a quick lunch stop at a no-fuss fish ‘n’ chips shop, to booking a long and leisurely lunch at a trendy fine-dining restaurant, Hobart is a city that has no shortage of places to eat out.
Head towards the north of Hobart’s CBD on Elizabeth Street and you’ll find Born in Brunswick — the perfect place to stop for a delicious tasting and Instagram-worthy meal. The interior is also very much easy on the eye, with its combination of light timber walls and furniture, an abundance of greenery, and pops of playful pastels.
Blending a classy dining room, a quaint courtyard, along with a wine bar and bottle shop; Ettie's offers a charming European-inspired experience to Hobart. Located in one of the city’s oldest buildings, the food served here is just what you’d expect in an effortlessly elegant setting like this; full of flavour, vibrance and lovingly presented.
Every Friday morning, the locals of Hobart flock to a little commercial kitchen window, hidden down a flight of stairs in the CBD, where Lady Hester serves sourdough doughnuts from 10am until sold out. But these aren’t your ordinary doughnuts, as proven by their popularity; these are luxe pastries with Persian-inspired fillings. Make sure to line up first thing or you may just miss them as they sell out fast.
Where To Drink:
Hobart’s growing reputation as a mecca for trendy cafes and bars is only growing, with the city’s revival leading to loads of trendy hangouts, perfect for a caffeine kick or a few afternoon drinks. The city may be Australia's smallest capital, but there’s certainly plenty here to ‘cheers’ about.
For a morning pick-me-up, head to Brooke Street Larder, where you can have your morning coffee with a side of the cool Tasmanian air hitting you upon arrival. Located at the end of Hobart's popular Brooke Street Pier, head down the stairs and you’ll find this waterfront cafe, adorned with a wrap-around view of the harbour. Sit back with a coffee and muffin while taking in the view — just make sure the curious seagulls don’t steal your food.
For a taste of the Caribbean and a lively bar scene, head towards Rude Boy located along Elizabeth Street. This fun and easy-going venue offer a great selection of cocktails, many revolving around the Caribbean’s signature spirit, rum. The interior is easy to love, featuring tropical wallpaper, velvet upholstered booths, and an entire wall dedicated to a gallery of framed Caribbean posters.
The Den opened its doors in late December 2017 and to no surprise has quickly become a favourite with the locals. This intimately-lit bar is located in the city’s historic Salamanca Place and sets the mood as soon as you step into its luxurious sandstone and timber space. The menu here is short, sharp and tasty, suited for sharing, but it’s their selection of classy cocktails where The Den truly shines. Try the ‘Apple Isle’ option, it won’t disappoint.
Where To Stay:
Filling the gap between budget backpackers and flash new hotel openings, Hobart also offers many boutique hotels, feeling neither cheap or corporate, but rather, warm, friendly, and inviting. Our two suggestions below are great examples of this, offering limited rooms, plenty of character, and boundless of charm.
Islington Hotel stands out for its classy charisma, diverse decor and glorious gardens. This luxury hotel embraces the restoration of an 1847 Regency house, along with a modern glass, marble and sandstone facelift. There are eleven rooms on offer — with some sporting incredible views towards Mount Wellington. For art lovers, an extra special surprise awaits in the corridor, where some of the owner’s personal art collection hangs, including works by Warhol, Whitely, Picasso and more.
For another truly unique accommodation option, located just 15 minutes from Hobart, Villa Howden will have you feeling as though you’ve travelled much farther than Tasmania’s Huon Valley and accidently detoured to somewhere south of France. Once again, there are a limited amount of rooms available here, ten all up, adding to its quaint surrounds, and each with French windows framing a classic Tasmanian backdrop.
Where To Explore:
Hobart is an attraction in itself, with its historic neighbourhoods, buildings, and a good local vibe. Throw in some famous local markets and being within easy reach of other amazing destinations for day trips — the city really delivers on all fronts.
Whilst at Huon Valley, make sure to pay Willie Smith’s Apple Farm a visit — the place where the beloved Willie Smith’s Cider is grown and made. Grab a table outside and enjoy the sunshine, or keep warm inside the shed before ordering a housemade charcuterie board and tasting paddle. There’s also an Apple Museum on site where you can take a self-guided tour anytime, plus an artisan and produce market takes place on the farm every Saturday from 10am.
When Sunday rolls around, the locals and visitors of Hobart all flock to a cluster of market stalls and food trucks for the weekly Farm Gate Market. Located smack-bang in the middle of the city, with some of Hobart’s historic buildings acting as the backdrop, Bathurst Street is blocked off, making way for the markets to come to life. Grab some breakfast and coffee from one of the stands and take a leisurely walk around to the tune of a market busker.
Before leaving Hobart, a walk through the city’s oldest (and prettiest) streets found within Battery Point is a must. With a palpable sense of colonial history, walking around Battery Point certainly gives you an uncanny sense of stepping back in time. Today, the suburb is now home to Hobart’s premium real estate, with its cute cottages and historic precinct, in which the exterior of the buildings and the streetscape is largely unchanged since they were built in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.