There's something magic about a winter escape. Forget sun, sand, and sunburn and think cosy accommodation with a roaring fireplace, good food and drink, and rugging up to explore cultural icons. Australia's southern-most capital city offers all this and more. Not to mention, it's a darn pretty place. Read on to discover our can't-miss Hobart sights, sounds and gourmet delights, whether you're there for a week or just the weekend.
Here's our guide to things to do in Hobart.
SEE AND DO
A must-see in the grand city of Hobart is the Museum of Old and New Art. One of the city's biggest tourist attractions and largest privately funded museums, MONA's founder David Walsh set out to create an art space that challenged the stuffy nature that has become typical of museums, and he definitely succeeded — you can expect the unexpected here. With an astounding collection of antiquities, ever-changing modern art exhibitions, and world-class events on offer, MONA is a Hobart attraction not to be missed.
FARM GATE MARKET
If, like us, you love a good farmer's market, then a stop at Hobart's Farm Gate Market is a must. Home to an incredible and enticing array of local fruits, veggies, meat, fish, poultry and artisan goodies, foodies will be spoilt for choice. But it's not just the produce that has made this market a winner with locals — Farm Gate impresses with its atmosphere, welcomes buskers, and is proudly plastic bag free! Head down early (the market is open at the sound of the farm bell — cute!) and grab a coffee in the morning sun before exploring the gastronomical delights on offer. Sounds like a full-day trip to us!
Shopaholics will love this lively restaurant and lifestyle precinct in the heart of Hobart. Salamanca Place is steeped in history and offers everything from trendy bars and eateries to art galleries showcasing local talent and craft stores. If you're in Hobart for the weekend be sure to check out the Salamanca Markets, on every Saturday, where you'll find the best local produce, arts, gourmet treats, and handicrafts.
MT WELLINGTON DESCENT CYCLING TOUR
If you're seeking some thrill and adventure on your trip to Tassie's capital then the team at Mt Wellington Descent Cycling have the perfect day out for you. You'll be shuttled by bus to the top of Mount Wellington (no uphill slogs!) and spend the day cycling through some of Hobart's most gorgeous natural forest and terrains — don't forget your camera! Adrenaline junkies can get their heart racing down a winding off-road track before finishing up with a leisurely ride through Hobart town.
THE AGRARIAN KITCHEN
Just 45 minutes from Hobart, the Agrarian Kitchen is a cooking school like no other. Set in a charming 19th century schoolhouse on a five acre farm, you'll enjoy a real 'paddock to plate' cooking experience, sourcing your own organic produce from the school's very own herb and veggie gardens, orchards, berry patches, and bee hives. Also on-site are rare-breed pigs, chickens, goats, and geese. But it's not just cooking you can learn here with craft beer brewing, meat smoking, bread making and fruit preserving classes all available. Vegetarians and kids are well-catered for too. Even better is that at the end of all your hard work in the kitchen there's a delicious meal (and matching wines) waiting for you! A not-to-be-missed thing to do in Hobart!
EAT AND DRINK
This West Hobart gem is the place to go in Tassie's capital for honest-to-goodness cafe fare. The Pigeon Hole proudly offers an ever-changing seasonal menu driven by local produce, serves up excellent coffee and bakes delicious breads (their rustic loaves are amazing). Stop in for a tasty breakfast to fuel up for a day of sightseeing.
If a five-course tasting menu with matching sake sounds like your kind of meal, you'll like Garagistes. One of Hobart's most sought-after restaurants, Garagistes is an relaxed yet elegant dining space. The menu changes regularly and features all the best Tasmanian produce served up with flair and creativity. Their wine menu is stellar as well, with one of the best collections of organic, natural, and biodynamic drops from around the globe.
You'll need to keep yourself from drooling when you step into Sweet Envy where sweet treats abound! Take your pick from glass cabinets filled with handmade candy, packages of crumbly cookies, freshly-churned ice cream, and, of course, one-of-a-kind cupcakes. If you're looking to balance out the sweetness there's loads of artisan baked goodies from breads to croissants and even a 'Tongue and Cheek' pie (sounds gross, but it's good!). Hobart snacking at its finest!
CASCADE BREWING CO
Drink you will at Australia's oldest brewery, where there are no shortages of ways to enjoy a cold one. Take it all in with a tour where you can see up close the process of brewing Australia's favourite bevvy (with a sample or three of course) or toast with friends at the Cascade Bar and Cafe. Pair your frosty beer with hearty fare from the kitchen and enjoy it all in the gorgeous garden. Cheers to that!
GRAPE BAR & BOTTLE SHOP
Tired of sightseeing and stuck for things to do in Hobart? Pop a cork, of course! If you're looking for a spot to enjoy top-shelf wines and tapas with friends while in Hobart, then Grape Bar is for you. You can enjoy a drop from the 650-strong menu, either in-house or take away. We recommend staying for a meal; the food here is delicious and perfect for sharing; think duck terrine, pates, and pizzas. The cosy dining room and relaxed atmosphere makes this the perfect all-rounder spot for a night out in Hobart.
The Islington Hotel abounds in bespoke luxury. The eleven guest rooms are all furnished distinctively and combine the charm of days past with the necessities (and luxuries) of modern living. Your room rate generously includes full cooked breakfast, WiFi, in-room iPad, as much barista made coffee and loose-leaf tea you can drink, free muffins and fruit (locally sourced of course) secure parking, and free calls from the room. No stone has been left unturned at this very special hotel.
Ideal for a weekend stay, Clydesdale Manor is a boutique B&B set among half an acre of quaint English-style gardens and close to major attractions. Guests can enjoy spacious suites in peaceful surrounds and for those chilly winter nights, a roaring fire in the guest lounge. You'll even be treated to complimentary port and Tasmanian fudge! Better yet, there's no need to go further than the sunny on-site verandah for breakfast — their morning fare is legendary.
THE HENRY JONES ART HOTEL
One of only a handful of art hotels in the world, and located on Hobart's impressive waterfront, The Henry Jones Art Hotel is very deserving of a place on this list. As the name suggests, art is at the centre of everything here, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for guests. Each of the 56 rooms have been individually designed with the hotel's characteristic fusion of art, nature, and heritage. With its top-notch dining, fabulous location and innovative approach, this hotel stands out from the rest.
Image credit: The Agrarian Kitchen, Islington Hotel