Hobart is a beautiful city. It seems that no matter how prepared you think you are, first-time visitors are nearly always amazed by the pure eye-catching, breath-taking visual splendour that is Tasmania’s capital.
It nestles beneath the towering magnificence of Mount Wellington and boasts a deep water port to rival that of
Sydney Harbour … it’s a stunning combination.
As major cities go, Hobart is fairly small, with a population of around 200,000.
But there is no shortage of great caravan parks to pull up for a while, and no shortage of things to keep you busy while you’re here.
Hobart retains a distinct flavour of its colonial past … there are many buildings boasting an unmistakable Georgian or Victorian influence. Hobart is famous for its 19th-century waterfront warehouses which now play host to an array of cafes and restaurants. It’s a wonderful place to walk and soak up the atmosphere, imagining days gone by when seamen living in nearby Battery Point would have strolled the same streets.
Probably the best place to learn about the city’s history is at the excellent Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery on Macquarie Street. Hobart’s past and present collide most spectacularly and most satisfactorily at nearby Salamanca Place, which consists of rows of sandstone former warehouses. This scenic spot is now full of restaurants, shops, pubs, art galleries and craft shops and is reputed to be Tasmania’s foremost entertainment hotspot.
And every Saturday – unless it falls on either Anzac Day or Christmas Day – the famous Salamanca Market gets into full swing. Hundreds of stalls selling crafts, produce, art and everything in between make this a must-visit while you are in town.
But while Hobart’s man-made beauties and attractions are impressive enough, it is the setting that Mother Nature has bestowed upon this city that makes it truly special.
It is situated right on the mouth of the River Derwent and, as previously mentioned, the magnificent Mount Wellington – which rises 1270 metres (around 4,000 feet) above Hobart’s harbour – is a dominant presence. If you take the 21-kilometre drive to the summit – and you should – you will be rewarded with spectacular views over Hobart and the Tasman Peninsula.
Hobart has got the lot and somehow – despite its incredibly natural beauty and its vibrant heart – it retains the air of a leisurely and understated country town. Linger if you can.
IN THE AREA
Mount Wellington is contained within Wellington Park, which also boasts dramatic cliff faces, boulder fields, waterfalls and amazing natural rock sculptures. The park covers an area of more than 18,000 hectares and, while a range of great activities including bushwalking, are encouraged, camping – sadly – is not and so there are no established camping areas. Just take care when out bushwalking … even though you are on Hobart’s doorstep this is still a remote wilderness area where accidents can and do occur.
To the east of Hobart, the Meehan Range State Recreation Area which boasts many excellent bushwalks. There are no formal camping facilities.
About 25 kilometres to the capital’s north-east is the historic town of Richmond which is well worth a drive. The main attractions here are the old Richmond Gaol and, if you are so inclined, the vineyards and wineries of the nearby Coal River Valley!
MAKE SURE YOU …
Check out the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; spend a few hours at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens which includes the remarkable Subantarctic House; sit back in amazement as you drink in t the views form the pinnacle of Mount Wellington; hit the famous Salamanca Market and get yourself a bargain.