Why Hobart is a feast for the senses

MONA, Hobart. Credit: Jesse Hunningfold

Joanne Brookfield

Posted January 17, 2022

Let Melbourne and Sydney continue to fight it out for best city, and head to ever-evolving Hobart, which features the best of both of cities – a harbour, a river, a thriving food and bar scene and some incredible art. 

Presented in a conveniently more compact layout. Tasmania’s capital might be a smaller city, but it’s big on various ways to enjoy yourself there.


Talk to any craft distiller and they’ll tell you Bill Lark is “the godfather of Australian whisky”.

After campaigning the government to overturn a law from the 1800s, he and wife Lyn opened Lark Distillery in 1992, pioneering the now-booming craft spirits scene.

Makers of award-winning, world famous single malts, you can sample their range, or pick up a whole bottle, at their Lark Distillery Cellar Door by the waterfront or The Still, at 30 Argyle Street, which also has cocktail bar Gin(bar) upstairs.


If having a sip in styled surrounds is your thing, Hobart does not disappoint with bars with fabulous interiors.

Leather, brass and timber details, all lit by candlelight, make Salamanca Whisky Bar a cosy stop for a nightcap. Evolve Spirits Bar, located within the MACq 01 Hotel, combine elegance, aged spirits and 500-million-year-old fossils.

For more relaxed vibes, Preachers, big on craft brews in a backstreet cottage, has a converted bus in the beer garden; while In The Hanging Garden, which is partly open-air and in the CBD, has a small forest of hanging plants to add to the ambience.


Enjoy some whiskey tasting at Lark Distillery. 


If you think museums and galleries are stuffy, solemn places then you will be forever changed by the must-see MONA (Museum of New and Old Art).

The architecture, which descends into the rock face, is a work of art in itself. Then there’s owner David Walsh’s irreverent, rock ‘n roll sass that permeates the space.

The sprawling site, accessible via ferry or car, takes around 20 minutes to get there from Hobart and has river views, beer gardens, live music, food trucks, restaurants, wine bars, cellar door and accommodation so you can really make a weekend of it there. Oh, and there’s also endless hours of art to view!


The MONA team are also behind Dark Mofo, an arts festival every June that is a smorgasbord for both the mind and belly, with Princes Wharf being transformed into a red banquet hall lined with stalls from Tassie’s finest food producers for ‘Winter Feast’.

True foodies seeking ‘hatted’ fine dining experiences will want to check out Fico, whose modern Australian menu just won them Gourmet Traveller’s ‘2022 Tasmanian Restaurant of the Year’.

Dier Makr and Templo also received special mentions, while the 2021 Australian Good Food Guide, who annually bestow the ‘Chef Hat’ awards, gave Aura their first hat a couple of months after opening. 


One of the best things about Tassie is how close everything is.

Just like up in Launceston, with the picturesque Cataract Gorge literally minutes from the city centre, it’s no different down in Hobart. A ten-minute drive and you can be in forest looking at waterfalls of Myrtle Falls.

Strickland Falls is thirteen minutes and O’Grady’s Falls another five minutes from there. If you’re limited for time, these tranquil, scenic spots accessible from the city allow you to pack a lot into a short stay.

Kunanyi / Mt Wellington, which overlooks Hobart, can be explored via tour in a morning, while if you wanted to take more time exploring the spectacular scenery, you could hire a motor-home


Dark Mofo. Credit: Adam Gibson
Cataract Gorge. Credit: Nat Mendham
Mount Wellington. Credit: Luke Tscharke


The River Derwent flows through Hobart, so once you’re done dining on fresh seafood at the various restaurants dockside, you can get out on the water yourself.

You can enjoy the city from the river on lunch and dinner cruises, sail boats, kayaks and even an historic tall ship.


You can cruise further afield on day tours to Tasman Island, Port Arthur or Maria Island, where wombats roam free.

Hobart is also a starting point for sight-seeing wilderness tours to Bruny Island, with seals, dolphins and whales to spot along the way, or further out, there’s eco-tours along the coast of Freycinet National Park to Wineglass Bay, departing from Coles Bay.

And if you’re really into boats, Hobart is overrun with them late December when the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race finishes.


You can place yourself right in the centre of the action by staying at RACV Hobart Hotel. With a heritage sandstone building integrated into the design of this apartment hotel, you have old-world charm with contemporary convenience, being walking distance from the city centre, the harbour and historic Salamanca, with its strip of bars, eateries, shops and galleries plus the famous Saturday gourmet market.

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