Best free things to do and places to see for free in Hobart

Boats on the river at night in Hobart


Posted June 07, 2024

A trip to Hobart can be filled with cultural treasures, quirky attractions, culinary treats, and natural wonders that wow.

Whether you’re travelling with your best friends, family, or enjoying a solo escape, the capital of the Apple Isle will not disappoint. 

As Australia’s smallest state, Tasmania is famous for its stunning scenery, legendary outdoor pursuits, and fresh produce from land and sea. Hobart’s central position affords easy access to many Tasmanian gems - including West Tasmania’s scenic wonders - while also attracting travellers who simply want to experience the city’s magnetism and culturally rich sights - many of which you can enjoy without cost. 

Whether you’re planning an active getaway, heritage tour, or foray into Hobart’s top-rated food scene, Hobart has activities and attractions to suit, along with ample CBD accommodation options. Use this handy guide to discover the best free things to do in Hobart.

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two people at a stall at Salamanca Market

For more than 50 years, local stall holders have shared their arts and crafts at Salamanca Market. Image: Tourism Australia.

Best free activities and things to do in Hobart

River Derwent waterfront

Hobart’s glorious waterfront is a hive of activity, revealing its personality and heritage alongside bustling cafés, restaurants, and attractions. Stroll along the River Derwent waterfront to discover sights such as Franklin Wharf and Battery Point. Enjoy the spirited street performers en route; they are part of Hobart’s lively atmosphere and undeniable charm.

Salamanca Market

Time your waterfront visit for a Saturday to catch the bustling Salamanca Market. For more than 50 years, local stall holders have shared their arts and crafts and sold delectable treats such as Tasmania’s famous scallop pies. While Salamanca Market is a free activity, will you be able to resist purchasing a souvenir? 

Kunanyi/Mount Wellington

No trip to Hobart is complete without visiting Kunanyi/Mount Wellington. A 30-minute drive from Hobart's CBD, Mount Wellington is the city’s most recognised landmark. If you're fit, climb the steep 6km Ice House Track to the 1,271m summit for sweeping views of the city, River Derwent, and Cathedral Rock mountains. Otherwise, you can catch a bus, drive, walk, or ride your bike up Pinnacle Road.


The Mount Wellington Lookout gives you sweeping views of the city, River Derwent, and Cathedral Rock mountains. Image: Tourism Australia.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is a fabulous free alternative to MONA. Image: Tourism Australia.

Best free walking trails in Hobart

Wellington Park

Tasmania is famous for its brilliant walking trails, and Hobart is no different. With 18,000ha to explore, Wellington Park has plenty of trails, including easy lookout walks and the all-day Wellington Falls hike. The 7.4km Organ Pipes trail takes you to one of Hobart's most famous landmarks. These towering dolerite columns formed during the Jurassic period and are popular with climbers, too. 

Fern Tree Park

Fern Tree Park, in the foothills of Mount Wellington, offers several tranquil forest walks, including the popular loop trail from Fern Tree to The Springs. The historic lookout with majestic Hobart views makes every step worthwhile. The fairytale-like O’Grady Falls Trail also delights. 

Lenah Valley Trail

For a longer hike, take the 17km Lenah Valley Trail northwest of the CBD. The path takes a more scenic route to Mount Wellington, with dense bush and a few steep climbs to challenge you.

Mount Field National Park

For a day trip from Hobart, head to Mount Field National Park, some 80km away. In Tasmania’s UNESCO Wilderness World Heritage Area, travellers rave about the cascading tiers of Russell Falls. Stay until sunset to see the glowworms wake up.


Best free cultural attractions in Hobart

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

While MONA may be Hobart’s most famous cultural attraction, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is a fabulous free alternative, igniting creativity for visitors of all ages. Highlights include visiting exhibits, TMAG’s fun-filled Kids in Museums Manifesto and fascinating permanent exhibits such as Tasmania: Earth and Life and the immersive Black War tribute, Our land: parrawa, parrawa! Go Away.

Salamanca Arts Centre

Hobart’s natural beauty and community-minded residents clearly inspire artistic flow, as evidenced by the city’s range of galleries and cultural centres. Discover respected local artists at the Salamanca Arts Centre, where most exhibitions are free. With a focus on modern art, Contemporary Art Tasmania in trendy North Hobart offers six free shows annually. 

Art Mob

Art Mob works with Australia’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, hosting exhibits and offering a free gallery tour with their in-house experts.

Battery Point Historic Walk

Uncover Hobart’s colonial heritage on a free self-guided walk to 19th-century Battery Point. The restored heritage buildings and narrow streets of Hobart’s first suburb are key features of the Battery Point Historic Walk


The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens offers 14ha of lush lawns and diverse flora. Image: Tourism Australia.
Experience the fascinating wildlife along the scenic River Derwent. Image: Tourism Australia.

Best free bike trails in Hobart 

Tasman Bridge

Cycle across the iconic Tasman Bridge to connect to the city’s eastern cycle paths or Clarence Mountain Bike Park. The bridge views to Mount Wellington and along the River Derwent are well worth the pedal power, but get ready to work hard if it's windy. If you visit at night, you’ll be treated to a bedazzled Tasman Bridge, with 2,000 LED lights shining bright. On busy days you may need to walk your bike as the path is narrow. 

Hobart waterfront to Sandy Bay

For an easy, flat bike ride, take the cycle path from Hobart waterfront to Sandy Bay. See life beyond the CBD as you glimpse old boat houses, jetties, and fancy homes. Long Beach is an ideal stopping point on this trail with rewards of tasty cafés, seafood treats, and a golden beach for relaxation and maybe a swim. Alternatively, cycle along the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens bike loop and finish with a picnic.

Clarence Mountain Bike Park

For mountain bikers, the Clarence Mountain Bike Park in the Meehan Ranges is a fun-filled place to tackle a range of trails from beginners to advanced. There are also mountain bike tracks between Flagstaff Hill and Caves Hill.


Sandy Bay, Hobart

See life beyond the city centre and admire the old boat houses and scenery along Sandy Bay. Image: Tourism Australia.

Best free picnic areas in Hobart

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

The pinnacle of all picnic spots in Hobart, the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens offers 14ha of lush lawns, diverse flora, and fascinating wildlife along the scenic River Derwent. Free to enter, it’s the second-oldest botanic gardens in Australia. Check out the sub-Antarctic plant house, vast lily pond, and Japanese garden.

St David’s Park

Another picnic gem, St David’s Park has pretty gardens in the heart of the city. Close to the Salamanca Markets, the park is a great spot to break up your Hobart sightseeing. Interestingly, St David’s Park was Hobart’s first public cemetery. 

Waterworks Reserve

While not far out of central Hobart (10 minutes by car), the Waterworks Reserve transports you from the bustle of city life with ease. Watch for resident wallabies and native birds as you walk the bushland or reservoir tracks before picnicking on the tree-shaded lawns.

Best children's playgrounds in Hobart

Legacy Park, North Hobart

Legacy Park has a large adventure play space designed for children of different ages and abilities. Children can climb, clamber and use their imagination, with discovery gardens, a climbing wall, lookouts and a terraced rock wall that pays homage to Kunanyi/Mt Wellington. Located within Queens Domain, there are also barbecues and picnics, an outdoor amphitheatre, two pizza ovens, public toilets and shelters. 

Caldew Park (aka Train Park), West Hobart

This popular park has fun equipment for a range of ages, including a sloped kids' bicycle circuit, two slides, a wooden climbing fort, swings and outdoor fitness equipment. The train carriage, after which the park was named, is long gone, but there is a wooden replica that's safe for young ones to climb in and pretend they're going for a ride. The park is fenced, and there are barbecues, toilets, and an undercover area. Parents can relax while their kids enjoy the park's activities. 

Wellesley Park Playground, West Hobart

Part of the larger Wellesley Park, this is a small playground that combines natural play areas with traditional favourites such as swings and a slide. There's plenty of space to run around, and the mountain backdrop makes it picturesque.

Bellerive Beach Park, East Hobart

About 15 minutes drive from Hobart's CBD, this playground is located near the beach and has equipment to suit all ages and all abilities, including spring riders, balance steps, swings, basketball tower, sand pit, water play area, wheelchair carousel and several slides. There are barbecues and nearby cafes. 


People looking out over mountains at Wellington Park, Southern Tasmania

With 18,000ha to explore, Wellington Park has enthralling trails to explore. Image: Tourism Australia.

Best beaches in Hobart

Bellerive Beach

For a carefree day out with the whole family, head to Bellerive Beach Park. While swimming and sunbathing are best enjoyed in summer, walks and sand play are still on offer in winter, and the free barbeque facilities are available year-round. Taroona is another popular family-friendly beach.

Seven Mile Beach

One of Greater Hobart’s most impressive beaches, Seven Mile Beach is only 20 minutes from the CBD. It wows with its towering sand dunes, beautiful nature reserve, and native wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, and sometimes even leopard seals hang out there. 

Kingston Beach

About 15 minutes drive from Hobart's CBD, Kingston Beach is a relaxed swimming and sailing spot. If you walk along to the the beach's southern end at low tide, you'll find a track that leads to a beautiful little swimming cove called Boronia Beach. If you have any interest in the Antarctic, there's a free display in the Australian Antarctic Division Headquarters in Kingston that covers such topics as bird, sea and plant life, ice-core sampling, and the logistics of maintaining three bases on Antarctica and one on Macquarie Island. 

Tinderbox Marine Reserve

Located 30 minutes drive from Hobart, this marine reserve has something for everyone, from rock pools to explore at low tide and snorkelling across shallow reefs to scuba diving with the chance of seeing seahorses, rock lobsters, seastars and sponges.


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