Hobart has always held a fascination for Australians and international travellers, with the island offering an enriching refuge for its diverse visitors. It might be a cultural experience that draws you to Hobart, or the seemingly untouched landscape that thrives under a unique climate, lending itself to a full calendar of events and attractions. Now that you have set your sights on Hobart, it’s important that you make the best use of your time and find the best things to do in Hobart. Here are some of our favourite things to do.
MONA (Museum of Old and New Art)
One cannot talk about the growth of this city without discussing the impact MONA has had on Hobart, showcasing an eclectic collection of art forms that can only be compared to MOMA (New York). The museum hasn’t only transformed the community, but the surrounding environment with its powerful facade visible from various vantage points in the low-height city. When looking for things to do in Hobart, make sure you stay in Hobart hotels that are a short distance from the ferry that transports you to MONA. Crowne Plaza Hobart is the newest hotel to open in Hobart and is already promising to be a progressive accommodation option, complete with every luxury. Only a short distance from the water, Crowne Plaza Hobart and a collection of other hotels will give you close access to the MONA ferry.
The MONA ferry is a scenic sail that you won’t want to miss. MONA also offers an upgrade option to the ferry (the Posh Pit) which includes drinks and canapés in the luxurious lounge or private deck, with the option for a Moorilla winery tour on arrival. There are certainly worse ways to travel!
Given that all eyes are on this incredible museum, MONA has invited a lot of international interest and so there will be different exhibitions throughout the year. Familiarise yourself with the exhibitions before you arrive to understand what you want to see and what you’re happy to miss. Fear not, artworks like the iconic Porsche Carter’s convertible are part of MONA now and will not be going anywhere.
Few markets have thrived like the Salamanca Markets in Hobart, which have been a permanent fixture since 1972. Welcoming more than 300 stalls every Saturday from 8:30 am-3:00 pm, visitors can expect to leave with fresh-baked pastries, vintage finds, organic produce, hand-made goods and just about anything else. The award-winning market, like MONA, is located by the water allowing visitors to wander through the markets and enjoy their wares and bites with a view of the waterfront. There are also a number of cafes and restaurants on the market fringe to spend more of the day absorbed in this bustling community-like atmosphere. The Salamanca area also has some incredible boutique shops that are housed in beautiful architecture and limestone buildings. There are countless things to do in Hobart in this pocket alone.
It’s not surprising that Salamanca Market has progressive roots, with the city of Hobart known to operate a little different from the mainland. Salamanca Markets was actually founded by the National Council of Women at a modest six markets and has grown exponentially over the years with these women eventually handing over the reins to the new proud owner, the City of Hobart. It is also a highly sustainable operation, something that most markets cannot tie themselves to with a diverse mix of stall owners and thousands of visitors each week.
If you’re expecting Hobart to be a small village experience and are coming to terms with the fact that it’s more progressive than mild, Battery Point might be a place you want to visit. Here you will find heritage buildings and homes that look like they are from a Jane Austen novel with an accompanying Victoria era feel. What’s not to love? Only a short walk from Salamanca, Battery Point is a small village and is a great way to spend an afternoon, particularly if you have a vintage persuasion and enjoy the finer things in life. This might also be a nice thing to do in Hobart if you have some older and younger travellers. There are some great parks for kids if you want to slow down and poke your head into these one-of-a-kind stores and lust after these beautifully maintained and restored homes.
Things to do in Hobart outdoors
Now all the fun doesn’t necessarily happen in these manmade attractions, as Hobart has a beautiful landscape that can be explored on foot or by car. Mount Wellington deserves a callout, with the views at the summit rewarding the work in getting there, and offering a 360-degree view of the green and blue Hobart spread. If you’re not one to hike, Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden is a bit more accessible and has a collection of historic plants and some picturesque eateries. Franklin Square and ZooDoo Zoo are great things to do with children, and the Tasman Bridge is the place to be to catch a sunset and venture to areas without tourists.
Farm Gate Market is another great outdoor activity and will have you believing you are in the midst of a bustling farm and contributing to the community environment. A simpler operation than the Salamanca Market, you should visit both and see whether you prefer the laid back farm vibe, or enjoy the creative melting pot that is Salamanca Market.
When it comes to spending a weekend in Hobart, there are so many rabbit holes to go down, with each experience offering a unique and memorable stay. Put some time into researching the lay of the land and decide what will be most enjoyable. Who knows, you might be tempted to make it a longer weekend adventure. Be sure to read more about our Travel picks and tips.