From the celebrated sights to under-the-radar neighbourhoods, our Aussie travel experts show us around their hometowns.
I moved to Hobart from New South Wales when I started university, and I’m still here eight years later; a testament to the pull of this unassuming capital.
I love Hobart’s intimacy. You’re only 20 minutes’ drive from the mountain, the beach, and the bush, and there’s always something going on, yet you never have to fight huge crowds or traffic to get there.
It almost goes without saying that Hobart’s food and drink scene is one of the best in Australia, a shout out to Tasmania’s pristine surrounds and a breed of creative locals pushing culinary boundaries.
Food plays a starring role in any Hobart itinerary and the best place to start is breakfast. Coterie and Co. is my favourite spot, tucked away on Liverpool Street in the city. I always order the zucchini fritters with haloumi, avocado and chili jam or the breakfast burger.
I also love the Small-fry Hobart, a tiny hole-in-the-wall eatery on Bathurst Street – dining here is like sitting around your friend’s kitchen bench. The menu (and fresh donuts) changes frequently, so you can guarantee you’ll be tucking into the best produce of the season.
While I’d always recommend first-time visitors check out the Saturday Salamanca Markets, locals know the best market is the Sunday Farm Gate Market on Bathurst Street. Despite its simple set-up, you can get your hands on the best free-range meat, dairy, veggies and baked goods from the area. With coffee carts and food trucks also in the mix, Farm Gate Market is an ideal spot for brunch on a Sunday.
When I’m after some wine and nibbles, I visit Willing Bros. Wine Merchants in North Hobart. This cosy wine bar has a long list of local wines to try, along with tasty small plates to share with friends.
Jack Greene in Salamanca Place is another top spot. The burgers are hearty, the beers are cold and the live music makes for an excellent Sunday session soundtrack. During cocktail hour, Gold Bar and Rude Boy get my vote.
We have many amazing wineries, distilleries and breweries around town, too. I always take my friends to the Cascade Brewery and Coal River Valley Wine Trail when they visit.
Excellent wineries are scattered along the Coal River Valley Trail on the short drive to the heritage town of Richmond. My must-visit cellar doors are Puddleduck Vineyard, Frogmore Creek and Pooley Wines. In Richmond, call into Richmond Tasting House to try Tasmanian ciders, followed by a scallop pie from the bakery.
It’s not all about wining and dining, however. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is a great day out, just 30 minutes outside of the city. The wildlife preserve rescues and rehabilitates endangered animals before they are released back into the wild. Every entry ticket ensures Bonorong can continue their great work and allows you to get up close, but not too close, with animals including wombats and Tasmanian devils.
For a breath of fresh air, the summit of Mt Wellington offers the best views of the city and surrounds on a clear day. The really energetic can cycle or hike up.
Hobart is one of Australia’s drier capitals, so rainy days aren’t as common as you might expect. On those rare drizzly days, there’s nothing I like doing more than catching the Mona Roma ferry to Australia’s most talked-about art gallery. Mona is a James Bond-esque subterranean lair of weird and wonderful art, complemented by a cellar door, bar and restaurants. The ferry is an experience in itself – buy the Posh Pit ticket to cruise in style.
There’s still a pretty big misconception that Hobart is a backwater town, but it really punches above its weight. When I moved to Hobart, all my friends from the mainland thought I was crazy. “Why would you move to such a tiny place with nothing going on?”, they’d ask. Now they’re all begging to visit.
By Kevin Miller
Travel Expert, Flight Centre Kingston, TAS
Check out the other cities featured in our Australia Series.