Enjoy excellent dining, world-class art and a bounty of natural attractions on this three day trip to Hobart.
By Ellie Schneider
Australia’s littlest capital city punches well above its weight when it comes to fine dining, cultural attractions and stunning natural beauty. On this three day trip to Hobart you’ll savour delicious local produce, follow mountaintop trails and day trip to beautifully-rugged Bruny Island.
Start your morning with a stroll along Hobart’s pretty working waterfront toward Salamanca Place, where rows of Georgian sandstone warehouses have been converted into galleries, theatres, restaurants and cutting-edge boutiques. On Saturday mornings you can wander around more than 300 stalls at the Salamanca Market (8.30am-3pm) for fresh local produce, handmade arts and crafts and antiques. Or browse the works of designers and artists at the Spacebar Gallery in Salamanca Arts Centre. Enjoy lunch at Smolt in Salamanca Square and dine on dishes such as Sicilian pork belly with blood orange and fennel salad or squid ink fettuccine with Southern calamari, grilled tiger prawns, Spring Bay mussels and white fish.
Leave two to three hours to explore the provocative collection at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Australia’s largest privately owned museum. The Mona ferry departs from Brooke Street Pier and takes roughly 25 minutes. The cavernous galleries are filled with controversial, thought-provoking works, and information and interviews with the artists is available via a free iPod touch for all visitors. Head back to Hobart for a waterfront dinner at Frank, dining on Argentinean-style dishes such as fire-roasted oysters, Southern calamari and charcoal-grilled meats. Afterwards catch a performance at the Theatre Royal, Australia’s longest-running theatre, or enjoy a tipple at Nant Whisky Bar + Kitchen in Salamanca. Rest your head at the Henry Jones Art Hotel, which is housed in a converted 19th century warehouse on Hobart’s waterfront.
Tuck into Belgium waffles or croque monsieur at Daci & Daci Bakers, before the 30 minute drive up to the summit of Mount Wellington, 1270 metres (4167 feet) above sea level. From the lookout you can take in sweeping views over Hobart, Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula. Wellington Park is threaded with tracks and trails for bushwalking, bike riding and horse riding. Hike to Silver Falls along the Pipeline Track (40 minutes return) or follow the Lenah Valley Track (45 minutes return) to Sphinx Rock.
Back in Hobart, join a one hour Historic Cruise up the Derwent River to see the city's notable landmarks including the Botanical Gardens, the Tasman Bridge and Government House. Or visit TMAG (Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery) to delve into Tasmania’s Aboriginal history and see objects from the country’s oldest scientific society, the Royal Society of Tasmania, established in 1843. The museum also houses an extensive collection of colonial and contemporary art. Book well in advance for 20-seat restaurant Templo, where chef Matt Breen delivers a tasting menu of Italian-inspired dishes. Then spend the night within a grand old Regency house at Islington Hotel, choosing from 11 lavishly furnished guest rooms, each with a distinctive character.
Drive 40 minutes south from Hobart to the sleepy seaside town of Kettering. From here you can catch the 20 minute ferry to Bruny Island, which sits in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel off the southeast coast of Tasmania. Explore the wild coastline, tall forests and gentle green hills on foot, or join a three hour wilderness cruise with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys to spot Australian fur seals, dolphins, migrating whales and sea birds. Climb the timber stairs to the lookout above the Neck – a narrow, sandy isthmus connecting north and south Bruny Island – to take in 360-degree views over Adventure Bay. Cross over to South Bruny Island, where you can walk along the coastal track to Penguin Island and Fluted Cape (2½ hours return), or stroll along the white sands of Sandy Bay.
Bruny Island is renowned for its food and wine. Sample artisan cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses at the Bruny Island Cheese Co. and freshly shucked oysters at Get Shucked, both at Great Bay. Call into Bruny Island Providore at Adventure Bay to stock up on chocolates and handmade fudge, then visit Australia’s southernmost vineyard, Bruny Island Premium Wines in Lunawanna. Stay the night in a bed and breakfast or intimate cottage amid wilderness at Hundred Acre Hideaway which offers two self-contained luxury properties nestled on Mount Mangana, each with a private hot tub filled with fresh mountain spring water. Alternatively visit Bruny Island on a day tour from Hobart, with Bruny Island Traveller or Bruny Island Safaris.