Folks. It’s time to shake things up a little and so I’m starting a new series of posts entitled ‘Destination of the Month’, where I will feature a destination I have visited and enjoyed muchly and talk about just why it deserves the ‘destination of the month’ tag. Well, this is the first one and I presume that I will have to streamline the process going forwards, so we’ll see how it all goes! So look out on the last Sunday of the month for this ongoing series of fun, mirth and, well, amazing places to visit.
Today we start with Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, and a city I was lucky enough to visit earlier this year in March. Getting there is usually going to be by plane, from another state capital in Australia as, even when in non-pandemic times, Hobart Airport is an international airport though and recently they started direct flights to New Zealand.
Anyways, the airport is somewhat out of town and there is a bus that takes you into Hobart. In Hobart your public transport though is somewhat limited I guess. The good news is though that walking around Hobart is very doable for a lot of things. Yes, it is a hilly city so take that into consideration, but it’s not really that bad in my opinion and I walked loads, and used Uber when I needed.
From the airport to the centre of town Uber or taxis could set you back anywhere from around $35AUD to around $50AUD, depending on time of day and traffic. The SkyBus is $19.50 which is worth it only if you’re on your own. If you are two or more, it may cost more in an Uber but not loads more and you will get dropped off exactly where you need to be.
The buses in Hobart are not too bad, there is fair coverage although the fact that many streets are one way makes it a little difficult to navigate. Also, buses are not as frequent as they could be, so you could be waiting 30 minutes or more depending on the time of day and your destination. If you want to use the buses, and we did, get a greencard at the shop near the Elizabeth st Bus Interchange – where many of the buses to other parts leave from, that will save you some money on each fare which is about 20-25% dearer if you pay cash on the bus – but this is also an option. All in all though, if you like walking through cities Hobart works okay for that.
Well, simply put, Hobart is a beautiful city and it’s full of amazing historical houses and buildings from the 1800s and early 1900s (some Art Deco in there!) It mixes nature with architecture and modern (ish) living, and on a sunny day the place is just breathtaking. The harbour area is lovely, with loads of sailing ships moored as if deliberately posing for a postcard. The air is fresh, you have the stunning Mt Wellington as a back drop, there is some good eating too. It’s a small and manageable city of just over 200,000 and people are friendly.
I would call the place progressive in the main too, you only have to visit MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art – to see that. This museum/gallery is full of the weird and depending on your points of view, wonderful art, and is reached by ferry from the docks of Hobart. The ride in the ferry itself is just spectacular!
I was surprised at first as it felt like a quiet sort of a place, but there is still a buzz about it. Saturday is market day and the Salamanca Market is one of Australia’s most famous markets. That’s just down from the suburb of Battery Point, which is a suburb on top of a hill filled with incredible historical homes. One such home is the Narryna House, now a small museum which is a great place to visit.
Around the Town
Around Hobart the visitor can enjoy a walk along the famous Rivulet. If you are courageous you might have a look in the tunnels under the hospital, where many explore although its not exactly on the tourist trail and it does involve jumping a fence which I wasn’t prepared to jump! However, the Rivulet soon comes above ground and you can walk along it into the hills. Where there are plenty of trails if you want to walk.
But also there is the Cascade Brewery – tours are available, although you’ll need to book I think. Also along the Rivulet is the Cascades Female Factory where you can see a prison that housed female convicts back in the 1800s.
The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is back in the heart of town not far from the waterfront, and it’s worth maybe two hours (at a stretch). The centre has a few parks too which are perfect on the right day for a picnic.
Also you don’t want to miss ‘Mawson’s Hut’, a replica of a hut in the Antarctic used in the early 20th century, faithfully recreated in Hobart with loads of information to digest about life in the Antarctic and Antarctic Exploration back in the day.
Well, you can certainly climb Mt Wellington although they warn you the weather can close in fast and stop any good views. Or drive to the top as I did – well I was driven. And if it is clear, the views are something to behold.
Of course, the most common day trip is to the convict settlement of Port Arthur, where you can see the buildings – some of them – as they were in the mid-1800s and you can see others that were partially destroyed by the fire in the late 1800s which took out most of the penitentiary and church in particular. The buildings are amazing but the location is just one of the more beautiful spots on this planet, a beautiful spot with a dark past – apart from housing prisoners for many years, this is the site of Australia’s worst ever mass-killing back in the 1990s.
Also in easy distance from Hobart is the historic town of Richmond with a famous bridge. It’s a lovely little town in the rolling green hills. And if you are there on the right night, not Richmond but somewhere just out of the city of Hobart to avoid the interference of city lights, well you might catch a glimpse of the Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights. I THINK winter is the best time of year for it.
Time of Year?
Speaking of time of year, well, Hobart is best between late October through to mid/late March. We were there this year mid-March and the weather was 24 degrees and sunny every day for six days. Summers don’t get very hot, not much over 30 degrees but winters can be very cold, and Mt Wellington sees snow each year. It’s the coolest state capital in Australia. But if you’re lucky like we were, well, you’ll find that it has the ability to turn on some sensational weather.
So, that’s why Hobart is this month’s ‘Destination of the Month!’. Thanks for popping by today, take care and of course – May the Journey Never End!