February 16, 2024
Make the most of your trip to Hobart, Tassie’s increasingly popular capital city where superb dining and rugged natural beauty meet.
Hobart’s popularity continues to peak. One of the big allures of the Tasmanian city is the food scene which has totally transformed in the past five to ten years, as well as the generous buffet of cultural offerings and the stunning, stark natural environment.
You don’t have to go far before you find yourself hiking up forest-covered mountains or swimming in hidden coves. It’s perfect for those wanting the perks of city living with plenty of outdoor beauty and adventure.
If you want to do it all, here’s our guide to Hobart to ensure you get the most out of your next trip to Tassie’s capital.
Hobart is a bonafide goldmine if you want to make a boozy discovery. Cascade Brewery sits pretty at the foot of Mount Wellington and takes home the trophy for Australia’s oldest operating brewery. For a reasonable fee you can tour the 185-year-old building before enjoying a selection of ice-cold just-pulled beers and ciders from the Cascade portfolio.
If whisky’s more your thing, Lark has won countless awards for its single malt, a dram that holds its own on the global market. For $69, take a tour of the distillery (15 minutes northeast of the CBD) and discover the intricacies of the production process. Whisky tastings are included in the ticket cost, and you’ll round off the tour with a well-earned G&T made with their tremendous Forty Spotted Gin.
Wine lovers based in Hobart a heap of fantastic wineries to explore in the surrounding areas. Brothers Matthew and Jonathan Hughes own the gorgeous Mewstone Winery in the fancifully named Flowerpot region. They create incredible single-site and lo-fi wines on their patch of land, a former cherry orchard with incredible views out to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
Back in town, Preachers is your go-to for craft beer (16 on tap), cider and boutique wines. It’s a laidback pub with a vibe suited to all seasons – they have open fires to warm you up on cold nights (and the nights are very cold). There’s even a vintage school bus parked on the front lawn — a gimmick that doesn’t seem to wear off.
Those wanting something a little more intimate can try the Sonny wine bar. Squeeze into this little local haunt to take advantage of the specially curated wine list – no basic vinos here. And they also do excellent grub. You can easily spend your whole night here, drinking and eating top-quality stuff while listening to some great vinyl music.
Tassie is blessed with so much brilliant local produce and Hobart’s restaurants have taken full advantage of this, serving world class food while championing locally sourced goodness.
Try some of the finest at Salamanca Market. Every weekend, the harbourside spot becomes a bustling marketplace showcasing a broad and delicious range of artisanal crafts and food stalls.
Drop by Machine Laundry — a cafe that doubles up as a laundromat — serving some of the best coffee in town. Another honourable mention for coffee and brunch is Room for a Pony located up the hill in North Hobart.
While Salamanca is a famous weekend tourist stop, it’s worth noting that the market can get very busy. A quieter but quality alternative is the Farm Gate Market, which closes off Bathurst Street every Sunday from 8.30am until 1pm (late enough for you to sleep away the sins of the previous night).
If you’re still searching for a mid-morning meal, head to Sault Cafe, a cosy meeting spot located in bustling Moonah on the edge of Hobart. The relaxed and unpretentious menu offers a range of approachable eats, so mark it out as a place for a proper feed rather than a small bite. The homemade hash browns are the main draw but they’re clearly doing something right with their coffee too, as Sault Cafe was named a Toby’s Estate Local Legend in 2023, meaning they can officially claim to be serving some of the best coffee in the whole of Tasmania.
One of our very favourite spots, which really represents the full growth of Hobart’s gastronomy scene, is Dier Makr. This small restaurant celebrates local and seasonal produce so much that you won’t be able to look up the menu beforehand. It changes every day. You’ll simply sit down for their tasting menu and receive an onslaught of creative dishes made by true food experts. Challenge your tastebuds a little too.
Fico is yet another Hobart gem. The room is full of upbeat energy and warmth, with talented head chef Federica regularly making the rounds to tables — either just to have a chat or take orders herself. Beyond the good vibes, you’ll also experience some damn good Italian cooking where every ingredient is honoured to bring out its best. As well as wonderful food, you’ll find a wine, vermouth and digestif menu that’ll knock your socks off.
If you’re dining with a group of friends or family, hit up the equal parts child-and adult-friendly Peppina, the signature restaurant from Chef Massimo Mele on the ground floor of the Tasman hotel. Here you’ll find decent pasta, pizza, and some of the best Italian desserts made outside of Italy— all enjoyed within the lovely light-and-tree-filed interior that somehow manages to capture al fresco vibes while, you know, not forcing you outside in below-freezing temperatures.
We could go on and on, but we will end our recommendations with the famous Me Wah Restaurant. It’s traditional Chinese cuisine in a lavish setting, celebrating local Tassie produce with a particularly emphasis on exceptional seafood. Come for an epic yum cha or go full hog at their dinner banquet. An exceptional wine list and spirit selection will round out your unfailingly excellent dining experience.
Now we can’t speak of things to do in and around Hobart without mentioning MONA. For many, this art institution is reason enough to visit Tassie.
You can either drive here or arrive in style, by riding their very own ferry —camouflaged and decked out with bars, sheep and tigers to sit on—which departs from the Hobart waterfront regularly. Then you can take your time exploring Australia’s largest privately owned museum and art gallery full of David Walsh private collection of weird and whacky art.
You’ll also be able to explore the Moorilla vineyard and winery, several bars and restaurants, Moo Brew craft brewery, luxury accommodation pavilions, library, cemetery and tennis court — all located on the MOMA grounds.
And those wanting to reconnect with nature are spoilt for choice. Get your body moving on a small, eco-friendly bike trip with Under Downunder Tours — either opting for short trips just outside Hobart or full-on sojourns around the entire island of Tassie.
Those wanting something altogether more luxurious, can take to the skies in one of Par Avion’s planes or choppers. You’ll take in some of the most breathtaking and vast expanses of scenery during one of these tours, seeing exactly why people love this island so much.
But there’s also stacks of stuff to experience within the city itself. Our favourite spot to check out is the Theatre Royal. This is Australia’s oldest working theatre, located right in the heart of Hobart. Come here for ballet, circus, comedy shows, family-friendly event and (of course) theatre. There’s always something good happening here.
If you’re travelling solo or you’re in a pair, look no further for cosy inner-city accommodation than The Barn TAS, a multi-award-winning barn conversion you can find on Airbnb.
This late 1820s sandstone barn has been renovated by a pair of architects to a stunning modern standard — while still keeping several of the original features. You’ll feel like an absolute champion after building your own fire in the vintage fireplace and just 200m down the street you’ll find some of the best coffee in town (so say those in the know) at Pigeon Hole cafe.
Filling the gap between backpackers and budget chain hotels, the Alabama Hotel offers boutique, budget-friendly accommodation at the centre of Hobart. You won’t find elevators, fluffy robes or en-suite bathrooms here — rather, every room has its own decorative style, heaps of character and super-fast WiFi.
For a more luxe experience, you can’t go past The Tasman, one of Hobart’s newest luxury hotels. The opening of this architecturally stunning spot was delayed for a few years, but now it’s open and offering a staggering 152 rooms and suites across three buildings. You might stay in the original 1840s hospital heritage building, a 1940s Art Deco building or in the modern Pavilion. The mix of eras works seamlessly to create a luxe and modern marvel with a nod to the era’s rich history.
And we’d be remiss not to mention The Henry Jones Art Hotel. A jam warehouse turned dedicated arts hotel makes for an eclectic, luxury base to experience Hobart’s many spoils, with in-house restaurants and cocktail bars serving up innovative feasts and cocktails from Tasmania’s best seasonal produce.
Luxe amenities and foodie delights aside, what’s most intriguing about a stay at The Henry Jones Art Hotel is the unique opportunity it poses to stay inside a – very comfortable, very cosy – art gallery, essentially. Some 400 artworks (most by emerging Tassie artists) adorn hallways, guest rooms and public spaces here, and you might just spot an artist in residency toiling away on their masterpiece in the lobby.
Top image: Luke Tscharke
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