Explore the rich culture of this beautiful waterfront capital where the vibrant atmosphere belies the city’s harsh origins.
Hobart, Tasmania’s capital city, has come a long way since its origins in 1804. The first settlers were British and its population was made up of convicts and soldiers, but over the next century, wealth poured in from the lucrative whaling and boat-building industries. This legacy is still visible today in the city’s impressive Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian buildings. The original settlements were located at Sullivan’s Cove on the Derwent River. This area is now downtown Hobart, a busy and vibrant district best explored on foot or by bike, with popular bars, cosy pubs and eateries that reflect the diversity of Hobart’s inhabitants.
Lovers of drama and entertainment will be impressed by the programme of plays, opera, live music and cabaret on offer at the city’s historic theatres. Take a tour of the Theatre Royal to stand on the stage graced by stars such as Lawrence Olivier, explore Vivien Leigh’s dressing room and get under the skin of this “dream of a theatre”, as Noel Coward described it. The performers at the Playhouse Theatre may not be from Hollywood, but you never know – they might end up there! This repertory theatre offers great performances at a great price and hosts an annual festival of original one-act plays “oneFest”.
Tour the fascinating Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery for insights into the indigenous Tasmanian history and culture. The exhibition features artefacts, stories and displays bringing to life the rich heritage, as well as charting the devastating conflicts between this people and the European settlers.
Tasmania’s historic connection with the water, stretching all the way back to the indigenous aboriginals who fished from wooden canoes, is explored at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania. See artefacts from the boatbuilding industry and hear tales from fishermen and women across the years. The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is also just a short ferry ride away, and its lively and provocative exhibitions make this a must-see attraction.
Explore Tasmania’s natural beauty with an excursion to Mount Wellington in Wellington Park. Spend the day hiking, mountain biking or horse riding surrounded by picture-postcard scenery. This vantage point will give you some the most spectacular views across Hobart and the ocean beyond.
Jump on the free HobartHopper shuttle bus from the city centre and spend a few hours in Salamanca Place. This area has a thriving arts community with plenty of galleries to explore. Visit the popular markets held every Saturday to browse the huge selection of arts, crafts, fashion, gourmet food and locally grown produce.
Hobart is the base for many Antarctic explorers, and the community of scientists here has brought plants back to the world’s only subantarctic plant house at the beautiful Royal Tasmania Botanical Gardens. Classic garden design from Asia and Europe sits alongside Tasmania’s natural beauty, and the focus on conservation means you’ll discover some rare specimens from this unique environment.
Round off your day with dinner in one of Hobart’s many restaurants, which serve some of the most innovative cuisine in the country. The quality of the locally produced food, along with the beer and wine, is renowned throughout Australia.