Hobart, the state capital of Tasmania, is a modern city of exceptional beauty. Set on Derwent River at the foothills of Mount Wellington, it is a charming metropolis that boasts rugged bushlands and idyllic waterways.
Aside from its breathtaking landscapes, a major tourism drawcard for Hobart is that it is home to a contrasting blend of attractions that bring art, history, and culture to the forefront. This up and coming city – once a penal colony – now skillfully combines heritage attractions with a modern yet easygoing lifestyle that makes it highly popular among visitors from the world over.
As a travel destination, Hobart offers something for everyone. Both interstate and foreign tourists will love its old yet handsome buildings that stand side by side with modern structures. The city also has a vibrant café culture and restaurant scene, thanks to its mild temperate oceanic climate and plentiful food sources. It is also home to a collection of museums, galleries and art spaces making it a favourite among art-lovers.
It is easy fall in love with Hobart because there is so much to see and do even without ever leaving the city. But for those looking to have an extra dose of adventure, know that it makes for an excellent base for exploring Tasmania’s varied offerings. So if you’re travelling to this harbourside capital anytime soon, make the most out of your grand vacation by visiting these top attractions in Hobart and surrounds.
The site of one of Australia’s earliest penal colonies, Port Arthur is of prime importance to the country’s history. Just a short drive or boat ride from Hobart, the Heritage-listed attraction is home to a collection of more than 30 buildings scattered over 40 hectares. Most of the original structures are in ruins but you can still visit some of the buildings in the penal facility like the penitentiary and the convict church.
Easily accessible from Hobart, the gorgeous Bruny Island is an attraction that makes for a wonderful day tour option from the city, and with good reason. Being the home of South Bruny National Park, it is popular among those who want to have an authentic Tasmanian outdoor experience. The island is alive with wildlife on land and offshore. Spot fairy penguins, fur seals, wallabies, wombats, and abundant birdlife during your visit.
A historic precinct in Hobart, Salamanca Place is known for its lovely Georgian sandstone buildings that date back to the 1830s. These lovely heritage buildings once functioned as warehouses for the port of Hobart Town but have since been transformed into antique shops, boutiques, art galleries, and waterfront cafés and restaurants, making this part of the city a tourist hotspot. Be sure to visit Salamanca Place on a Saturday to experience the famous Salamanca Markets. There will be more than 300 stalls selling everything from Tasmanian fresh produce to handicrafts, artworks, jewelry, and more.
Also worth visiting within the area is the Salamanca Square, a sheltered public square that features fountains, play areas, and numerous shopping and dining options.
One of the most popular attractions in Tasmania, Mount Wellington or kunanyi towers over Hobart like a giant out of a fairy tale. The 1270-metre beauty offers a challenging terrain and awe-inspiring mountain scenery that can be experienced in a multitude of ways. Trek to the summit and you’ll be treated to stunning panoramic vistas of Hobart and Derwent River.
Mount Wellington is also home to Wellington Park, a nature attraction that provides for outdoor activities like biking, trekking, and rock climbing, in addition to opportunities for wildlife encounters.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
There are several noteworthy art galleries in Hobart and one of the most popular is the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The art space is devoted to showcasing Tasmania’s rich heritage, history, culture, and art and its collections include displays and exhibits relating to Aboriginal and convict heritage.
Another must-visit when in Hobart is Battery Point, an affluent suburb where you will find many historic colonial-style houses. Take a step back in time with a leisurely stroll through the streets around the suburb to see architectural highlights like the neoclassical St. George’s Anglican Church and Arthur Circus, a collection of old cottages that were built as dwellings for the officers of the garrison during the earliest days of Hobart.
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
Opened to the public in 1818, the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is a 14-hectare green space set on top of a hill. Offering scenic views of the Derwent River, the majestic gardens is home to many different species of exotic flora and plants native to Tasmania. The top-rated tourist attraction also houses the Subantarctic Plant House, the world’s first purpose-built environment created to mimic the look and environmental conditions of a subantarctic island, specifically the Macquarie Island. The controlled climate building houses mosses and plants collected from the island.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
A short drive from the city centre, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is a haven for animal-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The sanctuary also makes for a great child-friendly attraction and gives visitors opportunities for memorable encounters with wildlife native to Tasmania like the Tasmanian devil, wombats, and wallabies. Guests will also get to see old favourites like koalas, kangaroos, and echidnas.
One of Hobart’s landmark attractions, the Tasman Bridge is a five-lane bridge that crosses the Derwent River and links the Hobart CBD to the eastern shore. It is flanked on each side by dedicated footways so pedestrians can safely walk across the bridge and take in great views of the river and harbour.
Mount Field National Park
A must-see for outdoor enthusiasts visiting Tasmania is Mount Field National Park, one of the state’s oldest national parks. Roughly a 1.5-hour drive from Hobart, the park is a nice place for exploring different terrains and diverse vegetation types. Take a hike through its ancient rainforests and marvel at the towering beauty of the trees and giant ferns. Check out the national park’s waterfalls and watch in amazement as these spectacular gems – hidden into the woods – pour down from the tops of craggy cliffs.
Ready to try a range of fantastic experiences in Tasmania? Here are the best Hobart tours to add to your itinerary!
By: Brendelyn Balaga