10 things to add to your Hobart bucket list

Hobart on the Derwent from the summit of kunanyi/Mount Wellington. Image: Luke Tscharke.

Patricia Maunder

Posted January 14, 2021


Whether you’re interested in history, art, shopping or exploring nature, Australia’s southernmost capital has something to offer. 

From one of the world’s most audacious art collections to some of Australia’s oldest architecture, easy escapes into nature and marvellous market shopping, Hobart offers something for everyone – plus many of Tasmania’s other highlights are within easy reach. 

Whether you’re exploring near or far, the RACV Hobart Hotel is an ideal base. Centrally located, just a short walk from many of the capital’s attractions, it’s comfortable, convenient and RACV members save more by choosing RACV Hobart Hotel. Members also get more with special discounts and offers at a range of local attractions and experiences, and on transfers to and from the airport in Melbourne. 

Start planning your next getaway with these 10 top reasons to head down to Hobart.


10 of the best things to do in Hobart

Tour back in time

Kick off your Hobart experience by getting your bearings with a guided bus tour of this historic and postcard-pretty city set on the banks of the River Derwent as it widens to the sea. Gray Line’s morning tour sets off from Sullivans Cove where the city was established by European settlers, and takes in a multitude of sights and precincts as it winds its way from bay to bridge, waterfront to mountain, including the Georgian splendour of Salamanca Place, historic Battery Point, the remains of former women’s prison the Female Factory, and the Cascade Brewery.

Art attack

Mona was an instant sensation when it opened as the Museum of Old and New Art in 2011. The vast, architecturally daring building houses local multi-millionaire David Walsh’s eclectic, sometimes confronting private art collection. From ancient artefacts to room-sized installations and massive outdoor sculptures, what’s on show regularly changes – never more so than when Mona re-opened after the pandemic lockdown enabled a major revamp. Make a day of it by arriving in style on Mona’s very arty ferries from the city and choose from a range of on-site eateries and bars to refuel. Want to see more of Hobart’s cultural riches? The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is fabulous and free.

Market forces

The island state’s most popular weekly event, Salamanca Market has been gathering Tasmanian creativity and deliciousness since 1972. Every Saturday, hundreds of outdoor stalls offer treats for now and locally designed and made souvenirs for later. Browse through an eclectic range of stalls selling knitwear, woodwork, leather goods, art glass, jewellery, soap and so much more, and treat your tastebuds to everything from fresh seasonal fruits to crepes and Tasmania’s famous scallop pies. Sample local wine and spirits as buskers create a festival mood, then buy a bottle of your favourite to help rekindle island-holiday memories back home.

 

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens by Lusy Productions

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. Image: Lusy Productions.


 

Animal attraction

For an ideal day or half-day trip, take a drive across the Derwent to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary to make friends with some of our cutest home-grown critters, including several species that are extinct outside the island state – the Tasmanian devil, Eastern quoll and Tasmanian bettong. Find koalas, echidnas, wombats and free-ranging kangaroos too at this refuge for recovering and orphaned animals. And as some of Tassie’s rarest creatures only come out at night, Bonorong’s Night Tour is your best bet to see all the sanctuary has to offer. Start by feeding dinner to the nine-to-fivers, including Tassie devils, then breakfast to nocturnal residents including golden possums, bettongs and sugar gliders.

Flower power

The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens are one of Tasmania’s treasures, yet it doesn’t cost a cent to stroll among these 14 beautiful hectares beside the River Derwent. Australia’s second-oldest botanical gardens include a large lily pond and tranquil Japanese garden – both popular with the resident ducks. Other highlights include the sub-Antarctic plant house, flower-filled conservatory and heritage architectural features including convict-built walls and a handsomely carved 1913 archway. Linger here with a picnic for a priceless afternoon.

 

Peak district

Dominating Hobart’s skyline, 1271-metre kunanyi/Mount Wellington is Tasmania’s most accessible mountain. It’s popular with bush walkers, mountain bikers, horse riders, abseilers and rock climbers, but even driving to the summit rewards with epic views plus snow play in winter. Wellington Park’s 18,000 forested hectares are criss-crossed with trails. From the easy 20-minute Zig Zag lookout stroll to the all-day Wellington Falls hike, there’s a walk for everyone – and even coffee from the Lost Freight shipping-container kiosk halfway up. Did you know you can conquer one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks here in three hours? Or take it easy by booking a morning tour.

Aerial view of Wineglass Bay by Lauren Bath

Tuck into lunch on the beach at Wineglass Bay. Image: Lauren Bath.


 

Convicts and devils

Tasmania is so compact it’s easy to explore many of the state’s must-see attractions with an easy day trip from Hobart. Picturesque ruins and solemn insights into colonial punishment make the former convict settlement of Port Arthur Tasmania’s most popular tourist destination. It’s a 90-minute drive from Hobart, or take it easy with a Port Arthur day tour. A guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage site and a cruise to its island cemetery are included, plus Tasman Peninsula natural wonders and the pretty heritage village of Richmond. Want to meet Tassie’s most famous animal too? Get the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo upgrade.

Take a cruise on the wild side

An island off an island off an island, the sea influences everything on Bruny Island, especially its varied coastline, from secluded sandy coves to soaring cliffs. If you have just one Bruny Island experience, make it a nature-focused wilderness cruise exploring the island’s wild coastal scenery, including sea caves and the remarkable Breathing Rock. You’ll also see marine wildlife including seals, dolphins and maybe whales too. The tour departs from Hobart and includes morning tea, lunch and hotel drop-off.

Drink in the views

You may have seen spellbinding images of iconic Wineglass Bay, but there’s nothing like experiencing it in real life. This and other Instagram-gold attractions make Freycinet National Park well worth the nearly 200-kilometre drive from Hobart. It’s easily achievable in a day if you book in for a Wineglass Bay and Freycinet day tour, which includes a guided walk to the bay lookout – another of Tasmania’s Great Short Walks – and the choice of continuing to the bay itself for lunch on a sugar-white beach overlooking turquoise waters, or exploring other park highlights. Afterwards, enjoy delicious stops at Freycinet Marine Farm and Kate’s Berry Farm, before a snooze on the bus for the trip back to Hobart.

Fall in love with nature

One of Tasmania’s most photographed natural attractions is only 80 kilometres from Hobart, just inside Mount Field National Park. Cascading spectacularly in tiers, Russell Falls is reached via an easy, wheelchair-accessible track through towering rainforest. It’s yet another Great Short Walk, with the bonus of glow worms lighting up after sunset. Part of Tasmania’s UNESCO Wilderness World Heritage Area, the park is also renowned for the native deciduous beech tree that glows red and gold in autumn.

RACV Members save 25 per cent on standard room only and bed and breakfast accommodation rates when booking direct at RACV Hobart Hotel.
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