Located on the island of Tasmania, the farthest state to the southern of Australia, Hobart was once a notorious colonial city – where the Australian’s most dangerous prisoners are kept. But today’s Hobart has really removed all the chains of the past, rising, developing and became a dream tourist destination of the world. So, what to do and how to plan a perfect trip to Hobart? – the historical coastal city of Australia for the first-time? Let’s check out our hobart travel blog with the fullest Hobart travel guide (Hobart guide, Hobart tourist guide) from how to get, best time to visit, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do to find out the answer!
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Arriving in Hobart after an hour and a half flying from Sydney, I felt immediately at home, the other world going away. Located between Mount Wellington, and the banks of the River Derwent, Hobart is an eclectic, relaxing seaside city, a wonderful mix of art, history, natural landscapes – where I love the most.
Hobart city is located on the mouth of the Derwent River, in southeastern of Tasmania Island, located 240km to the south of the continent between Victoria and Antarctica. In addition, this place is also the capital of the state of Tasmania, which is Australia’s only peninsula.
Hobart travel guide: Overview of Hobart
With a population of about 250,000 (2020) and an area of 1,696 km², this is the second capital with least populous of the “beautiful land of kangaroo”. Established in 1804 as a criminal colony, Hobart is Australia’s second oldest city after Sydney, the city of Hobart has been thriving as the administrative center of a rich agricultural region with outstanding industry and business activities.
With inherent natural beauty, Hobart is extremely ideal destination for those who love nature and outdoor activities. However, thanks to the world-class museum MONA opened in 2011 that marked a new era for this city.
Hobart tourist guide: When to go?
Hobart city climate is temperate ocean, with four distinct seasons and the second driest city in Australia. December, January, February and March are the hottest months with average temperatures around 21 degree Celsius. In winter, the island receives southern winds blowing from Antarctica and has the coldest temperatures in Australia. However, the weather here is still considered quite mild, so you can travel at any time of the year.
Hobart has festivals all year-round, with the MONA FOMA annual music and arts festival held at the MONA museum, the distinctive Dark Mofo Winter Feast Festival that takes place in June attracting more people. In the summer, especially near the New Year, Hobart gets excited to welcome the yachts from Sydney to Hobart and the Summer Festival with plays, jazz, food and wine.
Hobart guide: How to get to Hobart?
There are two ways to go to Hobart in particular and Tasmania in general: By air and ferry (ferry but it’s as big as a ship).
Australian domestic flight tickets are usually quite cheap, if you plan to book early, it will be cheaper, I booked tickets quite close to departure date at $114/round-trip, if lucky you can hunt for a discount ticket at only $19/one-way. I flew with Tigerair, I usually see Tigerair has the cheapest tickets, in addition to Jetstar, but when I check the ticket price on Skyscanner or Google Flights, Tigerair is still the cheapest. Flying from Melbourne to Hobart takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Note: Flyging with low-cost airlines, it’s often delay (I was delayed with my both flights).
Getting from airport to city center
Hobart airport is about 17km from the city center. The traveling time to city center about 20 minutes.
There are many options and you should book in advance before you arrive.
- Airporter City Hotels Shuttle: 1300 385 511
- Hobart Maxi Connect: 0457 900 433.
- Taxi from CBD to Airport: About $40.
- Airporter Shuttle Bus: Take the Hobart Taxi Connect: Single trip is $11-14 / 1 person, 1 private car is $79 / car. This is the brand we chose. Note that you must ask carefully where the driver will pick you up after booking service. http://www.hobartmaxiconnect.com.au/
- Airporter City Hotels Shuttle costs $32/one-way to the Hobart city.
Tasmania Redline Shuttle buses serve all flights. One-way ticket price at AU$ 17 (adult), AU$ 13. While round-trip ticket at AU$ 30 (adult), AU$ 23 (child). (children 3-15 years old).
Tip: You should buy Urban Fare card and find a Metro Greencard Daily Travel Cap to saving more. See more and buy ticket here.
The ferry ticket can be booked here https://spiritoftasmania.com.au, It is usually more expensive than the plane ticket (if I remember correctly, the last time I checked it was almost $200/one-way). If you take a ferry, it will take about 8 hours, in addition the ferry will depart from Port Melbourne to Devonport which takes about 5 hours to reach Hobart.
Hobart travel guide: Transportation in the city of Hobart
Habart is small so you can easily reach many places on foot. If you prefer to ride, Metro buses have available connect the north, east and south of Hobart.
You can travel by private means of transport like renting a car because there are many public parking lots or you can also take a bus, in Hobart city there is a free shuttle bus HobartHopper on Saturdays when the streets restrict vehicles. HobartHopper bus stops at points in the city center, Salamanca Square and the coast, every 10 minutes with a trip, continuously from 8:30am to 4pm daily.
However, it is important to note that, during peak hours in the morning and evening, you should not use public transport between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. afternoon because it will be easy to get stuck in traffic. In addition, the public transport network is also quite limited in the evenings and on weekends.
In terms of costs for vehicles traveling within Hobart City: 1 liter of gas costs around AU$ 1.44, monthly train or bus tickets cost around AU$ 79 and taxi fare for 8km it will be AU$ 21.
Visitors can also take a water taxi on the MONA River from the boat dock.
So, if you have an international driver’s license and are in good health, you can rent a car right at the ferry terminal to drive back to Hobart. Of course you should rent a car in advance via some rental companies such as:
- Rentalcars.com: The largest car rental service in the world, this website compares all the big brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Enterprise, Europcar and Thrifty.
- Juicy is a campervans rental company that very popular in Australia and New Zealand, these cars are often painted in blue, in summer on the beaches you will see a lot of people using Campervans.
- The other websites you should consider: Gumtree.com.au; CarSales.com.au; CarPoint.com.au; AutoTrader.com.au; CarsGuide.com.au; TradingPost.com.au
Hobart travel guide: What to do and where to go?
Coming to Hobart city, a place you definitely must-visit is Salamanca Square, right next to the river, between Parliament Square and Princes Park and located in the heart of the city.
Since the 1830s, all life here has revolved around industry with warehouses to store grain, wool, whale oil and imports, but today this beautiful pebble area is the destination for food, arts, shopping and music. Hobart’s long historical and cultural life converged in this Salamanca Square.
You can look for small to luxury stores selling jewelry and clothing or wander through the underground bookstores and don’t forget to enjoy a meal or snacks under the rock arches where the sailors Whale hunters and workers once arrived.
Here you can also sit by the fountain and leisurely watch the flow of people passby. The neatly manicured lawns in the heart of Hobart’s Salamanca Square area are a great spot to relax after a long lunch.
The famous market of this Hobart city has presented here for more than 30 years (Since 1972), until now it still maintains its unique traditional culture. This is the place to selling of more than 300 stalls with a variety of products such as crafts, arts, home appliances, food (butter, jam, beer, snacks …).
Coming to the Salamanca market, visitors will surely have to amaze the works of artists, artisans and immerse themselves in the festivals held all year round here.
Salamanca Market is open from 8:30 am to 3 pm every Saturday, especially you can also taste it before you buy. Do not forget to visit the Cascade brewery to taste the best beer in the world. Besides, you should also take the time to choose to buy local products as gifts, or a wool scarf to prevent the cold winds during your Australian trip.
Address: Salamanca Pl, Hobart TAS 7001, Australia
Hours: Saturday: 8:30AM–3PM
This is Australia’s second oldest museum with a large space. It houses an interesting art collection, from traditional to contemporary, featuring a variety of images that recreate the city’s aboriginal and colonial style and discipline. You will surely be excited to learn about southern wildlife and those who have sought to conquer it.
Address: Dunn Pl, Hobart TAS 7000, Australia
Hours: 10AM–4PM/Monday: Closed
It’s also recommended place by Tripadvisor. Located on a pretty peninsula, MONA is Australia’s largest private museum and thanks to its boldness and rebelliousness, MONA has become one of the most talked about museums in the world. Not following the usual design and instructions, visitors were given a small touch screen like an iPhone with a headset, stop any spot the screen showed up at that point and provided information on that artifact/painting.
Combining traditional and contemporary arts, MONA’s works always invite visitors to ponder, admire, or even become part of the work. In other words, each work at MONA is an experience, not just an artifact. The exhibitions are so shocking and daring, so MONA is also known as “Disney for adults”.
Address: 655 Main Rd, Berriedale TAS 7011, Australia
Constitution Dock is located at the top of southeastern of Franklin Wharf, in Sullivan Bay and a 5-minute walk from Hobart city center. Here, you can enjoy fresh seafood, dining at one of the restaurants on the water or choose some catches of the day by local fishermen and enjoy it right on boat is not bad at all.
Address: 1 Franklin Whrf, Hobart TAS 7000, Australia
And to make your Hobart trip more dynamic and complete, you can experience the sea by yourself on a Kayak and explore the natural beauty along the coast of Tasmania with more than 300 large and small islands.
From the observatory at the windy summit of Wellington, you can get panoramic views of Hobart city, Bruny Island, South Arm and Tasman Peninsula. Mount Wellington is 1,270 meters above sea level, but it only takes about 20 minutes to easily getting from the city center.
Here, you can participate in exciting activities such as: Walking through the runnels along the historic Pipeline trail, horseback riding or mountain biking across the Wellington Range, Sphinx rock climbing and admire the tallest Octopus Tree in the forest or climb up the dangerous Dolerite Organ Pipe Tower.
Battery Point – Experience life in Hobart’s oldest suburb
When you have the opportunity to travel to Hobart, you can experience living in a guesthouse next to the old castle or in the simple wooden houses of Battery Point fishermen – this place is named after guns was placed on this land in 1818. Although these guns were dismantled long ago, the Battery Point land still retains some of this unique feature.
Here, visitors can visit ancient architectural works such as Arthur Circus Cottages, Anglican Church of St. Joseph. George and Van Diemen Folk Museum – a building built in the architecture of King George’s time, located on land with very beautiful scenery.
Visit Richmond and Kettering
You will have the opportunity to cross the oldest bridge in Australia and stand in the cell of the oldest prison in the beautiful city of Richmond, just about 30 minutes from the northeast of Hobart by car. Exploring the cobblestone streets in the dim light of lanterns or going for a picnic by the Coal River will also be experiences that you should not miss.
In addition, there are also many local handicrafts that place in galleries and cafes. On the way back to Hobart you can stop at one of the many wineries in the Coal Valley. And from the south of Hobart you will find the peaceful coastal towns of Kettering. Better yet, you can also have lunch while watching the wonderful yachts or fishing boats bobbing on the harbor.
Some other outstanding Hobart places you should visit
- Princes Park
- Tasman Bridge
- Walking from the Tasman Bridge across the Derwent River
- St. David’s Park (on foot)
- St. David’s Cathedral (church)
- Parliament House
- Sullivan’s Cove: Hobart’s first ferry (15 minutes walk from Parliament House)
- St. George’s Church
- South Hobart at the foot of Mt. Wellington
- Cascade Brewery (by bus)
- Treasury Building and Franklin Square
- GPO and Hobart Town Hall
- Penitentiary Chapel and Court
- Hobart Aquatic Center
- Queen’s Domain and Government House (by bus)
- Visit Cascade Gardens (5 minutes walk from Cascade Brewery)
- Visit Rosny Hill with views overlooking Hobart, Sandy Bay, Mt Wellington, The Tasman Bridge and Glenorchy
- Royal Tasmania Botanical: Australia’s second oldest botanical garden. Since the metro lines are no longer active, call the Metro hotline 132.201 to ask for other routes to get there.
Other attractions outside Hobart
Maria Island is located in the east and 4km from Tasmania, becoming a must-visit place when coming to Australia’s only island state. Maria Island has a deep and wide bay, majestic cliffs landscape and rich flora and fauna, leaving an indelible mark for visitors. Maria Island has an area of 115.50 km2, is a national park, home to many species of animals, birds and marine life. The sandstone cliffs attract anyone with vibrant colors, many beautiful shapes, including Painted Cliffs, which is the island’s distinctive highlight.
It will take you more than 1 hour by ferry from Hobart to Bruny Island. This is an island with beautiful beaches and fresh seafood. On the island there are very few people living so Bruny is the ideal place if you want to find a place to rest. The most unique feature of Bruny Island is the narrow strip of land call The Neck that connecting the two ends of the island, with two beautiful white sand beaches on the both sides. On this island, visitors can easily find many beautiful places to check-in. There are also restaurants selling delicious fresh oysters, wineries, cheese and a few other spots to visit.
Port Arthur is a small town and old prison on the Tasman peninsula, Tasmania, Australia. It is one of Australia’s most important heritage sites, as well as an open-air museum and an important archaeological site.
Port Arthur holds historical values not only of Australia but also of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries when empires scrambled and shared the exploitation of remote colonies. That is the result of a policy of sending prisoners to hard exile and making use of their labor to reclaim wasteland, mine and build infrastructure in extreme conditions of extreme poverty. Port Arthur’s exile process ended in 1877. But since the early 20th century, Port Arthur has been a favorite destination for tourists. The coal mine, the hospital, as well as the church or watchtower become ruins. Some have been renovated into attractions. Until now, Port Arthur is by far one of the most famous historic sites in Australia, attracting more than 250,000 visitors a year.
Hobart travel guide: What to eat?
Enjoy delicious seafood and wine
Enjoy classic temperate wines in the cellars or wineries in the Coal River Valley, Derwent Valley and Huon Valley … will be an experience to make your Hobart trip more excitement. Visitors can enjoy wine with fresh fruits right at a restaurant in the sunlit vineyard. Or savoring freshly shelled oysters at Barilla Bay and fresh fish at Salamanca Market will also be a great choice.
Tasmania Food & Wine Festival: And yet, Hobart also holds visitors by the unique and fun Tasmania Food & Wine Festival. This is a 7-day and 7-night activity, offering international flavors ranging from Persian, Indian to Spanish. Join the festival, you have the opportunity to enjoy the famous dishes made from salmon, oysters, tuna, lamb …
Some delicious dishes that you must try when coming to Hobart are: grilled kangaroo, grilled crocodile, beetroot burger, pavlova cake, bush tucker, abalone …
Hobart travel guide: Where to stay?
The hotel I stayed at the Best Western Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com) located in the center, but also about a 10-minute walk from the busy, bustling neighborhood. 4-star hotel but a bit old, not deserve 4-star, next time if I come back, you won’t stay at this hotel. But the room rate is quite cheap, averaging about $55/person/night.
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- MACq 01 Hotel, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $211/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- The Henry Jones Art Hotel, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $137/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Grand Chancellor Hotel Hobart, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $161/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Salamanca Inn, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $149/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Tasmania you can refer to
- Tasman Island Experience
- Bruny Island Day Tour from Hobart
- Wild West Coast Tour
- 3D Tasmanian Highlight Tour: Hobart, Port Arthur, & Bruny Island
- iVenture Tasmania Flexi Attractions Pass
- 2D Best of Tasmania Sightseeing Tour: Hobart & Bruny Island
- Wineglass Bay and Wildlife Aeroplane Tour from Hobart
- Port Arthur Historic Site Two-Day Ticket in Tasmania
- Five of Hobart’s Best Sightseeing Day Tour
- Hobart City Scenic Aeroplane Flight Experience
- Wineglass Bay and Surrounding Areas Day Tour from Hobart
- Hobart City Kayaking Tour
Are you looking for more top things to do in Hobart: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here. And Tasmania travel blog — The fullest Tasmania travel guide for a great budget trip for first-timers.