Things to do in Hobart City Centre
There’s plenty to do by foot in Hobart’s city centre. Thankfully the CBD isn’t large, and is a joy to wander around.
Jumping on the City Explorer Bus is an easy way to see Hobart without a car. This double-decker ‘hop-on hop-off bus will take you around the city’s main attractions so you can sit back and simply enjoy the scenery.
These attractions include the Salamanca Markets, Botanic Gardens, Cascade Brewery and many more. Commentary is included along the way, and you can choose between a 24 or 48-hour bus pass.
Salamanca Market is Tasmania’s most well-known marketplace, operating for over fifty years. You’ll find local produce, coffee and artisan products at over two hundred stalls. Held every Saturday morning, it’s a bustling atmosphere.
Salamanca is near Princes Wharf and easily accessible from the city centre on foot. It’s also close to Battery Point.
Our Tip: Some stallholders may put their prices up to account for the market fees. In select cases, it may be better to order directly from their store online, or in person.
Tasmania’s first attempt at whisky was in 1822 when the Sorell Distillery opened on the banks of the Hobart Rivulet. Sixteen more distilleries opened soon after.
Tasmania is ideal for whisky producers. The state was a large producer of barley, intended to be used for bread to feed Sydney and the rest of the colonies.
However, in 1838 things changed. Lady Jane Franklin proclaimed that “I would prefer barley be fed to pigs than it be used to turn men into swine.” Her Husband, Governor John Franklin, quickly outlawed the distilling of spirits in Tasmania.
In 1992 Bill Lark began to inquire about obtaining a distillation license. This led to the antiquated distillation laws being amended, and Bill went on to open Lark Distillery.
Lark Cellar Door is in the city centre, near Franklin Wharf. It’s easy to walk to while exploring the city.
Fun Fact: Lark Distillery utilises a 1800L wash still and a 500L Spirit still. Both stills operate seven days a week.
Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum is a replica of the wooden huts built in Cape Denison, East Antarctica. These huts were used from 1911 to 1914 by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Douglas Mawson.
Heritage carpenters took hundreds of photos of the original hut. It was reconstructed faithfully and erected in Hobart, just 200 metres from the water where Mawson’s original expedition departed.
The replica museum is open to the public. It is near the waterfront, a five-minute walk from the CBD and close to Salamanca Market.
The Drunken Admiral is a family-run seafood restaurant, open since 1979.
It sits on Hobart’s waterfront near Constitution Dock and is popular with land-lubbers.
The inside will transport you to the seven seas; the walls are dark wooden panels, and there’s netting, barrels and bottles.
The menu features seafood chowder, oysters, prawns and scallops. It’s an enjoyable way to experience Tasmania’s local seafood.
Battery Point is immediately south of Hobart’s city centre and is named after the battery of guns that once formed Hobart’s coastal defences.
The guns were used for ceremonial purposes but never to defend against attackers and were ultimately de-commissioned in 1878.
Battery Point is now premium real estate. The small cottages have been converted into gorgeous homes.
It’s a lovely place to walk around and explore.
Our Tip: take the self-guided Battery Point History Walk. This walk will you around land initially granted to the Reverend Robert ‘Bobby’ Knopwood in 1805 to build his home, Cottage Green, and establish his famous garden.
Outside Hobart’s CBD
There are many attractions outside of Hobart’s city centre. They’re probably too far to walk, but easily accessible by bus, taxi or ferry.
When in Hobart, it’s highly recommended that you visit Mount Wellington.
The mountain looms 1,271 metres (4169 feet) above the city and provides a jaw-dropping lookout accessible by car and several bushwalks, including The Organ Pipes.
Don’t have a car? Fear not. A regular bus will take you to the peak and back. The Mount Wellington Explorer Bus departs from Hobart’s waterfront and provides commentary on your ascent.
You’ll have 30-mins to visit the observation shelter and take in the panoramic view from the lookouts.
It is the only tour company with access to Mount Wellington when Pinnacle Road is closed due to snow.
The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens are the second oldest botanical gardens – the Sydney Botanic Gardens were founded two years earlier.
Popular features are the conservatory (built with sandstone walls), the Lily Pond and the Anniversary Arch.
Access to the gardens is free; however, you can book a fifty-minute guided tour. There’s also the Succulent Restaurant, showcasing Tasmanian wine.
Cascade is the oldest operating brewery in Australia and produces Tasmania’s most popular beer, Cascade Draught. Just a ten-minute drive out of Hobart, Cascade Brewery offers several experiences for beer lovers.
Take a guided tour, learn about their brewing process, visit previously unseen areas, and then finish with a beer paddle. You can also stroll the lush gardens and settle in at Cascade Brewery Bar.
Cascade is easily accessible by bus from the city centre. Take the 446 from near the waterfront, and there’s a stop at the brewery.
Fun Fact: Cascade limits the production of its beer and sells it mainly in Tasmania. They use excess production to brew for other brands.
MONA, where do we start? Maybe Tasmania’s most prolific attraction. David Walsh, a multi-millionaire gambler, created the Museum of Old and New Art to (in his words) ‘bang above [his] weight’. MONA showcases Walsh’s $100 million private art collection and hosts some quirky events.
The building design is incredible; it is etched into the side of a cliff on the River Derwent.
MONA has several restaurants, a bar and a hotel. It is a wacky experience. Entry is free to Tasmanian residents, and there is a small cost for inter-staters/foreigners.
Our Tip: Catch the twenty-five-minute ferry from Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier. The ferry will take you straight to MONA; there will be ninety-nine steps to climb on arrival.
The coolest (and actually the most efficient way) to get to MONA is via their private ferry.
This custom catamaran sails regularly and will take you straight from the Brooke St Pier to Mona, via the River Derwent.
It’s covered in a ‘camouflage’ design, but ironically it’s very hard to miss. In true MONA fashion, the inside is a spectacle too.
You can choose their Standard ticket or book in for the ‘Posh Pit.’ A ticket to the Posh Pit will grant you a private lounge, bar and deck. It also includes free drinks & tiny food.
According to MONA you will also receive ‘an inflated ego.’
Moorilla was one of Tasmania’s first wineries – opened in 1958 by Claudio Alcorso, an Italian immigrant who, “during WWII was incarcerated by the Australian government an alien enemy.”
In 1995, Moorilla was purchased by David Walsh, with the intent of using the grounds for an art warehouse.
He accomplished this vision when he opened The Museum of Modern & New Art, within the grounds of the Moorallia vineyard.
A visit to Moorilla is easily paired with a visit to MONA. You will need to book a separate ticket to both.
Day trips from Hobart
There are many well-renowned attractions a short drive from Hobart. Join one of these day trips and you will have the chance to enjoy them, even though you do not have a car.
The Iron Pot Lighthouse is the oldest original lighthouse in Australia. It sits alone on Betsy island, its sharp corners contrasting the surrounding rocks.
The Iron Pot Lighthouse Cruise will take you to Betsy Island and then along the isolated coast. Over the two-and-a-half-hour cruise, you’ll see hundreds of seabirds and maybe even a dolphin.
The cruise departs from Constitution Dock on Hobart’s waterfront. Along the way, you’ll pass the historic Battery Point and the Shot Tower.
Bruny Island might be Tasmania’s most popular island. Getting there isn’t simple; you’ll need to load your car onto the ferry at Kettering. Instead, let someone else worry about all that.
This highly regarded tour departs from Hobart and takes you to the best parts of Bruny Island. Enjoy morning tea on the beach, sample local cheeses and freshly shucked oysters.
Admire the scenic lookouts at Adventure Bay, The Neck and Cape Bruny. And meet the local wildlife, including echidnas, white wallabies and seabirds.
And take a tour of the historic Cape Bruny Lighthouse.
It’s a perfect day trip from Hobart, making accessing Bruny Island much easier.
Port Arthur is a town and former convict settlement on the Tasman Peninsula . The settlement began in 1830 and was the destination for convicts deemed the most hardened of British criminals. The remnants of the prison are a popular tourist attraction.
It’s a 1.5-hour drive from Hobart and easily accessible via a guided day trip.
This tour is full of contrasts – compelling tales of convicts’ harsh lives combined with the Tasman Peninsula’s breathtaking scenery.
You’ll cross the Tasman Bridge and into the Coal River Valley, and also through the historic town of Richmond.
Then you’ll explore the Port Arthur Historic Site; your ticket is included in the tour.
Taylor was born and raised in Tasmania. He moved to Melbourne to study Film & television, and went on to start a marketing agency for hospitality. Whilst in Melbourne he also founded a walking tour company. He has a love for rock 'n' roll bars & New York-style pizza. In 2020 he was amongst the top 1% of Frank Sinatra listeners on Spotify.