Hobart has never looked as appealing to international and domestic visitors as it does now.
Hobart has come a long way since its establishment as a penal settlement back in 1800s. In 2013, thanks to its flourishing gastronomic scene and the arrival of the world-class MONA museum, Hobart earned the prestigious title of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel Cities. Since then, Hobart has continued to grow in popularity and today the city prides itself in being one of Australia’s coolest and most vibrant cities.
Eco-tourism in Hobart is also on the rise, bringing eco-conscious travelers and tourists to the Tasmanian capital, helping the city shine in a brand new light.
With so many things to do in Hobart, tourism is booming and the air in Hobart is filled with self-confidence, pride, and a certain level of excitement.
Hobart was one of the stops on our 2 week trip around Tasmania, and it was a pleasure to explore the wide variety of Hobart activities during our time there. We came for the food, for the beautiful waterfront, and the most famous of Hobart markets, the Salamanca Market, but left feeling like there was so much more to the city than the main Hobart attractions.
One day, we’ll definitely be back, but for now, we’ll do what we can to encourage others to add this great city to their Australia Itinerary.
Best Time to Travel to Hobart
Unlike the rest of the Australian continent, Tasmania (and particularly Hobart) does not lavish in 30°C (86°F) temperatures. EVER!
Summer in Hobart is short and not scorchingly hot, often only lasting for about 2 months from December to January. Hobart’s residents and visitors get to enjoy pleasant 22-23°C days (71°F) at most, and mild evenings. The summer is full of Hobart activities and events, making it by far the best and busiest time for visitors.
Winter temperatures in Hobart range between 3-11°C (37-51°F), but the thermometer drops well below that near Mt Wellington. It goes without saying that that winter is probably the least favourable season to visit the Tasmanian capital.
Fall and Spring can be pleasant, with the average highs ranging from 15-20°C(59-68°F), but the weather during these months can also be rather unpredictable with strong winds and sudden temperature drops. If you are happy to layer up, fall and spring can be a great time to visit Tasmania outside of the high season.
Top Things to do in Hobart
Hobart is a beautiful city full of historic buildings and charming neighbourhoods with Georgian and Victorian architecture dating back to mid-1800s. It makes for a very pleasant backdrop for sampling all the interesting things to do in Hobart. Plus, with such beautiful nature and scenery, the majority of Hobart’s activities can be enjoyed for free and with little impact on the surroundings.
Walk Mount Wellington
No visit to Hobart is complete without a trip to the top of the alpine rocky summit of Mount Wellington. When the weather is clear, the top of the mountain offers fantastic views of Hobart and surroundings along with spectacular walking and mountain biking trails. If you like hiking and walking in nature then definitely add this to your list of Hobart activities!
Explore Salamanca Place and Salamanca Market
The next great Hobart attraction to add to your list is Salamanca Place. Formerly a set of warehouses for the port of Hobart Town, today Salamanca Place consists of rows of Georgian sandstone buildings with restaurants, galleries, craft shops, and offices.
It’s a unique area worth exploring on any day of the week, but it’s especially popular on Saturdays when Salamanca Place plays host to the famous Salamanca Market.
This Hobart market started with just 12 stalls in 1972 and has since grown to over 300, becoming Tasmania’s most visited attraction with over 25,000 visitors every Saturday.
Explore Hobart History at the Battery Point
Behind Salamanca Place, you’ll find Battery Point, originally a site of an artillery battery, and today it’s listed as Hobart’s oldest and most historic residential area. It’s a lovely neighbourhood for a leisurely walk, with charming Victorian houses, quiet cafes, and antique shops.
Enjoy Art at MONA
Culture vultures will love visiting Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) which is located within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart.
MONA is a fairly new addition to the list of Hobart’s attractions (MONA was officially opened on 21 January 2011), but it has quickly become one of locals and visitors favourite things to do in Hobart. MONA is unlike any other museum you have ever been to, catering to a more progressive young demographic with its unique and sometimes controversial exhibits and exhibitions.
If you are anything like us and feel like a visit to a museum is not high on your priority list, go anyway! There is so much more to MONA than the exhibits!
MONA often hosts festivals, like the MONA FOMA (Festival of Music and Art), concerts, and other events. But even without any special events, walking around the MONA grounds is a treat in itself. Plus, the green space around the back is a wonderful spot for a wine and cheese picnic.
Wander Along the Waterfront
Hobart’s Waterfront is another popular spot to visit during your time in the city. You can take a walk along one of the finest deepwater ports in the world and admire the historic buildings and beautiful boats. Don’t forget to pop into a fish and chips shop along the way.
Free Things to Do in Hobart
If you are an eco-conscious traveler, there are plenty of things to do in Hobart that can be enjoyed without a cost to the environment or to yourself!
Here are a few ideas for free things to do in Hobart:
Open Mic Nights
If you fancy taking to the stage or just want to check out the new talent then head to Irish Murphy’s in Salamanca. They have an Open Mic spot every Tuesday.
Lululemon offers free community classes as well as some special events such as free beach yoga when its full moon. You can check their Facebook for the free yoga sessions and details for up and coming special dates.
The Botanical Gardens and The Burrow
The Botanical Gardens are just a short walk from Hobart city centre and is the perfect spot for some peace and quiet in beautiful surroundings. The Garden covers 14 hectares and is home to over 6,500 species of plants, a peaceful Japanese garden, Conservatory, visitor and exhibition centre and a restaurant.
Within the visitor’s centre, there is also a little hidden gem of The Burrow, a free community library with books, records and a large TV screening Tasmania’s best short films.
Those looking for a longer list of things to do in Hobart will enjoy browsing through Discover Tasmania’s suggested activities and attractions to check out while visiting Hobart.
Day Trips from Hobart
Hobart is a great city with plenty of things to do, but it’s perfect location means it is close to a number of other great Tasmania sights. Popular day trips from Hobart include:
A small town and former penal settlement, and home to the Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula, located about 1.5 hrs south of Hobart. History buffs will enjoy a full-day tour of the Port Arthur historical site.
This island located roughly 2 hrs away from Hobart, offers stunning natural beauty along with great food and tour experiences. Bruny Island is a particularly popular day trip from Hobart thanks to its famous day cruises, such as the Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise. Take a visit around the stunning cliffs of the Tasman Peninsula
Richmond is a small historic village known for being the home to Australia’s oldest bridge and for being a part of the Southern Wine Route in Tasmania. An excellent opportunity to sample the local varieties with a Richmond Food and Wine Half Day Tour From Hobart!
This State Reserve has a variety of attractions making it the perfect day trip from Hobart. Enjoy the thermal springs pool, rich forests, and Newdegate Cave.
Mt Field National Park
Tasmania’s most accessible national park has an amazingly diverse landscape ranging from eucalyptus temperate rainforest to alpine moorland. We recommend a hike to Russell Falls of Mt Field National Park.
Freycinet Peninsula and National Park
Renowned for its biggest attraction the Wineglass Bay, which draws thousands of visitors to its granite peaks, secluded bays, and white sandy beaches.
The Park plays an important part in conservation and there are still areas which remain undisturbed by humans. Explore the open areas on a day trip to Wineglass Bay and Freycinet National Park from Hobart.
Best Hotels in Hobart, Tasmania
In Hobart, there is accommodation to suit everyone’s needs. Bed & Breakfasts, budget, and luxury hotels are available all around the city. For travelers conscious of their impact on the local environment, there are also plenty of sustainable accommodation options in and around Hobart.
Hobart Hideaway Pods
Hobart Hideaway Pods offer boutique eco-friendly accommodation ‘pods’ specifically designed with the environment in mind. They are just 20 minutes away from the centre of Hobart, nestled on the foothills of Mt Wellington and offer amazing views across the Derwent Estuary.
Go completely off-grid with Preservation Farm, located between Hobart and the airport. The compact farm accommodation has 2 bedrooms and sleeps 4. It modern, eco-friendly and visitors are welcome to help themselves to the vegetables & herbs growing in the garden.
Another great option for those traveling on a budget is caravan parks. Discovery Holiday Caravan Park and Barilla Holiday Park offer great accommodation options ranging from unpowered campsites ($17 AUD/night) to cabins ($180 AUD/night).
Other Hobart Accommodation Options
Hobart is a great place to find Airbnb accommodation. With over 660 unique accommodation options on offer, there is something to suit every budget. Private rooms in shared houses start at just $25 AUD/night and go up to $400-500 AUD/night for beautiful waterfront properties.
Don’t have an Airbnb account yet? Sign up now and receive up to USD $35 to put towards your first Airbnb stay!
Where to Stay
The best areas to stay in Hobart are the ones within walking distance to many of the Hobart attractions, such as the Waterfront, Battery Point, or Salamanca Place, but there really isn’t a bad area to stay in Hobart.
Even outside of Central, West, and North Hobart, neighbourhoods like Sandy Point and Mount Stuart are only about a 30 min walk away from the city centre, so you’re never too far away from Hobart attractions.
Best Restaurants in Hobart, Tasmania
Tasmania has long been renowned for great fresh seasonal local cuisine, and Hobart is one of the best places in the state to sample the best the region has to offer.
The Urban List took the time to put together a great list of the best places to eat in Hobart, featuring all-time favourites, like Smolt, an Italian and Spanish influenced restaurant situated in the heart of Salamanca Square, Me Wah, country’s most praised Asian establishments and The Standard, the best burger joint in town.
As with most well-known restaurants in Tasmania, some of these can be a bit pricey. If you are traveling on a budget consider following advice from The Explorer Blog at the University of Tasmania as they recommend their Top Ten Cheap Eats of Hobart, featuring Pidgeon Hole café, an all-time best for breakfast, and Tas Farm Gate Market, a great choice for cheap grub on a lazy Sunday.
Dandy Lane ranks number 1 in Hobart restaurants and they have a great variety of vegan and vegetarian options. For 100% vegetarian cuisine go to Straight Up Food and Cafe. As well as their clean eating menu they have a robust recycling policy and use all bio packaging.
A few other options worth mentioning and ones particularly recommended to us by locals during our visit are: Salamanca Wharf Cafe for breakfast, Drunken Admiral and Mures for great seafood, Sweet Envy for yummy desserts, and of course the amazing selection of food stalls at Hobart markets
If you are visiting on a cold day and craving a warm cup of tea, then mark the Pollen Tea Room in Battery Point on your map.
How Much Time Do you Need in Hobart
You don’t need a ton of time to explore Hobart itself or take in all of Hobart activities. The city is rather compact so even 2-3 days will give you plenty of time to check out the main Hobart attractions at a good pace.
But Hobart is also a fantastic city to use as a base for exploring other parts of Tasmania and there are a number of worthy sights nearby that make very worthy day trips from Hobart