Things to Do in Hobart - page 2
Lark Distillery might not be the first of its kind in Tasmania, but prior to 1992 when Lark Distillery opened, the last time Tasmania had a whiskey distillery was 1839. Though 150 years may have passed, Tasmania still produces ingredients that go into premium whiskey, and as staff will tell you when taking a tour of the Lark Distillery grounds, it’s the premium, fresh, island-grown ingredients that make the whiskey a smashing success. Even if you don’t take part in the tour, Hobart travelers can enjoy a drink at the popular cellar door, where 150 different whiskeys create a premium tasting experience unrivaled by any in town.
It’s impossible to miss St. David’s cathedral when walking through downtown Hobart. Rising up from the quadrangle of one of Australia’s best Georgian streetscapes, St. David’s cathedral towers above the historic city center, its stones and turrets reflecting a time that dates to Tasmania’s founding. Some of Tasmania’s original pioneers laid the original foundation of St. David’s cathedral in this spot in 1817, when previous structures of St. David’s church were repeatedly blown down in gales. Completely rebuilt in 1868 by the Victorian architect George F. Bodley, the cathedral is considered to be one of his finest works found anywhere outside of England. When visiting St. David’s Cathedral today, visitors are welcome to wander inside and seek sanctuary from the city, taking time to admire the interior and famous St. David’s organ. Regarded as one of the finest in Australia, the organ pipes music to congregations that can number as high as 650, as concerts are regularly held in the cathedral for residents and visitors to Hobart. You’ll also find a small museum with relics from Hobart’s past, and on special occasions the cathedral staff will showcase pieces from the vault—some of which date to Medieval times before the modern, western world even knew Tasmania existed.
Sullivan’s Cove, a waterfront district on the western shore of the Derwent River, was the original settlement of the British in Tanzania. Boats from around the globe, including some traveling from as far as Antarctica, dock at this nautical site, which retains much of its original charm because of its historic architecture.
Visitors can explore the docks before heading to MONA—the Museum of Old and New Art, or spend a Saturday afternoon leisurely strolling through the stalls of nearby Salamanca Market. Travelers can also cruise along the River Derwent or wander through the historic villages of nearby Richmond, Pontville and Kempton, or catch a show at the Theatre Royal.
The Tasmanian devil is known around the world, and while the cartoon character of the same name may have helped it gain popularity, few will ever get the opportunity to see a real Tasmanian devil. TheTasmanian Devil Unzoo (formerly the Taranna Wildlife Park) is trying to change that.
Visitors here can learn what endangered devils are really like. The size of a small dog, these carnivorous marsupials are dwindling in population due to a devastating disease. Staff members at Taranna educate guests about the ongoing efforts to help save the devils at presentations and feedings throughout the day. And Tasmanian devils aren’t the parks only residents—visitors can hand-feed kangaroos or watch Tasmania’s only free-flight bird show.
In the Tasmanian capital of Hobart, hip locals head to North Hobart and its main strip, Elizabeth Street, to visit its restaurants and coffee shops, bohemian bars, boutiques, bakeries and live music venues. A real “eat street,” Elizabeth Street cuisine ranges from Turkish to Spanish tapas, Indian to modern Australian. It’s also popular to visit North Hobart’s delis which sell local Tasmanian produce. With plenty of atmosphere day or night, on 375 Elizabeth Street the independent State Cinema is an institution that’s over 100 years old. Inside there’s a curated bookstore, rooftop cinema, and coffee shop.
A good spot for brunching and people watching, from North Hobart there are great views of downtown with Mount Wellington towering over the city. Wander the back streets off Elizabeth Street to check out the old Hobart homes, and to check out the street art and murals along Tony Haigh Walk.
Hobart, Australia’s southernmost capital city in the country’s smallest state, sits at the mouth of the Derwent River -- the gateway for visitors to explore southern Australia. This picturesque harbor town set beneath the shadow of Mount Wellington was settled in 1804, making it Australia’s second oldest city and a destination brimming with colonial heritage.
Hobart's Sandy Bay is a quiet coastal community just past the central business district where sailing, the arts, and serene sea views unite. Hire a yacht and cruise along the coast, where rugged cliffs meet peaceful neighborhoods, or spend an afternoon relaxing on the spotless beaches and wandering the pristine boardwalk. Unique shops selling one-of-a-kind items and a number of local restaurants line the streets of Sandy Bay. After a day outdoors visitors can spend an evening gambling at the Wrest Point Casino, the first in Tanzania.
A tour of the historic Cascades Female Factory and a couple of beers at Cascade Brewery, Australia’s oldest brewery, top the list of attractions in this southern suburb of Hobart. But visitors willing to wander the streets will enjoy views of some of the most beautiful homes in the city, including the famous Ashleigh and Milton residences, as well as quaint cottages and historic townhouses.
The heritage site, All Saints Anglican Church, is also worth a stop. Afterwards, rent a bicycle and ride the path along the Rivulet, or wander the foothills of Mount Wellington via the trails behind Cascade Brewery, the oldest brewery in Australia.
A trip to Battery Point is only complete with a visit to this historic church built in 1836. Just thirty years after the founding of Hobart, residents petitioned to have a place of worship built at the town’s highest point—St. George’s Anglican Church. The sandstone structure is part museum, part religious institution, with a congregation that still gathers every Sunday to celebrate and worship. The church is surrounded by historic homes, residential streets, and incredible views of the bay.
Tasmania is known for its stunning scenery and wealth of natural beauty, and of the island’s 19 national parks, Mount Field National Park is the oldest of them all. Established in 1916, this area set an hour from Hobart offers tumbling waterfalls, backcountry hiking trails and diverse wildlife that includes the awkward-looking platypus and the famous Tasmanian devil. Of all the sights within the park, Russell Falls is one of the most popular thanks to its ease of access. A 20-minute, paved walk leads to the thundering three-tiered waterfall, and adjoining hiking tracks lead through gum forests and brilliantly green patches of ferns.
During the months of April and June, the upper slopes of the Mount Field National Park are ablaze in the colors of fall. Deep reds and bright oranges blanket the thinning treetops, and there is enough snowfall from July until September to sustain a popular ski lodge. Lake Dobson is another park favorite, located toward the upper reaches of the park, and the hiking trails that fan out from its parking lot take six to eight hours to cover. From the sweeping viewpoints of these glacially carved valleys that look out over the forests, it’s easy to see why Mount Field National Park is one of Tasmania’s most popular attractions.
More Things to Do in Hobart
Located in Tasmania, not far from Hobart, the Tinderbox Marine Reserve is ideal for snorkelers and scuba divers. The site is home to more than 30 species of seaweeds, and its abundant plant life provides habitats for a large assortment of marine life.
Swimming and boating are allowed in the reserve, and along with numerous types of fish, visitors may catch sight of sea dragons, urchins and sea-stars. Octopus, squid, shrimp and crabs also call the Tinderbox Marine Reserve home, so visitors are asked to leave the wildlife as is and to use care to protect the environment.
Though Australia as a country is relatively young when compared to the rest of the world, Hobart as a city is relatively old when compared to the rest of Australia. This scenic port town on the island of Tasmania is Australia’s second oldest city, and at Runnymede just north of town, visitors can walk through a domestic time portal to a Tasmanian era long gone.
Originally constructed around 1836 for Tasmania’s very first lawyer, the Runnymede House is a fascinating look at 19th-century Tasmania. Though an Anglican Bishop also lived in the house, it took the name “Runnymede” when a salty ship captain—Charles Bayley—bought the house and subsequently named it after his favorite boat. For 100 years the Bayley family lived in the humble homestead, and since the furniture and belongings are such prime examples of middle-class living at the time, the house is administered by the Australian National Trust as a well-preserved window to the past.
On a guided tour of the Runnymede House, hear tales of how settlers and early citizens spent their days in Tasmania, and learn how the house now plays a role in marine conservation and protection.
Whether it’s settling in for a sunset viewing of Bruny Island’s Little Penguins, or climbing the 273 steps up towards the Truganini Memorial, visiting the Hummock is a highlight of Bruny Island. At this windswept promontory overlooking Bruny Island Neck, visitors can get a panoramic view of the thin isthmus of white sand that connects the two parts of the island. Penguins are most commonly sighted on this shoreline between the months of September and February, and since they’re officially the world’s smallest species of penguin, there’s an undeniable cuteness factor to watching them waddle ashore. During sunny periods in the middle of the day, it’s possibly to make out the Tasmanian Mainland across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, and visit the memorial at the top of the stairs that’s dedicated to the last known, full-blooded Tasmanian aborigine to live on the island.
Originally, when this Georgian-style, 19th-century building was built near Sullivan’s Cove, it was destined to be a custom’s house for Hobart’s developing trade. As the politics of the island increased, however, and “Van Diemen’s Land”—as it was then known, grew as an independent colony, the building was chosen to house the customs, as well as the city’s Parliament. Today, Hobart’s Parliament House has been a hub of politics since 1841, and is still the site where Parliament and lawmakers gather to govern the state.
On a guided tour of the Parliament House, learn the fascinating history of the building and all of its renovations, as well as tour the underground basement full of history, legends, and lore. On the outside of the buildings, the surrounding Parliament House gardens are a relaxing place to either go for a stroll or rest in the shade of an oak, before venturing over to Constitution Dock or nearby Salamanca Market.
Sure you’ll find camels and Tasmanian Devils when you visit the Zoodoo Wildlife Park, but there’s so much more to this Hobart attraction than the dozens of species of animals. After hand feeding the zebra and ostrich aboard a thrilling safari bus tour, take the children to the indoor playland with the jumping castle and ball pit. When it’s time to go and see some more animals, choose from strolling past kangaroos or feeding the emus and lions. For an added fee you can join in experiences that get you right next to the animals, from the cute, cuddly meerkat encounter, to a scary, slithery snake encounter to petting a furry koala. At the aviary, hear a cacophony of squawking bird song raining down from above, as you crane your neck to see numerous bird species all flitting around through the branches. There’s an education center to help teach children about wildlife found in the park, and daily animal presentations when visitors really get “hands on” and interact with the wildlife. Although the Zoodoo Wildlife Park is just 30 minutes from Hobart, it feels like you’ve traveled to a faraway land where the Australian outback and African plains are literally brought to your fingertips.
Less than an hour from the Tasmanian capital and yet a world away from the busy streets of Hobart, Bruny Island draws a steady stream of weekenders from the mainland. The two islands, joined by a long narrow isthmus, are a wildlife haven of jagged cliffs and golden beaches swirling with seabirds. Both are dotted with sleepy villages and tranquil guesthouses, and main activities are hiking, fishing, and slurping fresh-from-the-ocean oysters.
Hobart is set on the River Derwentr estuary, which sets it apart as one of the world’s great sailing cities and harbors.
Take a cruise by jet boat or ferry on the Derwent, or cross the water by water-taxi. Cruises go upriver to Moorilla Winery or the Cadbury Factory, or out to Iron Pot Lighthouse near Bruny Island.
The harbor is indented with sandy bays and beaches and crossed by several bridges. From the water you can see Mount Wellington, the docks, botanical gardens and suburbs.
Sea kayaking is another way of experiencing the Derwent, leaving from the Hobart docks and paddling around the city.
Tasmania’s apple orchard, the Huon Valley is a lush and pretty region on Hobart’s doorstep.
Centering on the little riverside town of Huonville, on the Huon River, it’s a region of hillside orchards and villages. The large orchard industry now embraces berries, vineyards and stone fruit, and the towns offer tearooms and antique shops.
Book a jet-boat ride on the river, sample hundreds of varieties of apples, drop into a cellar door for some wine tasting, go fishing or relax at a country-style cafe.
The Huon Valley also makes a great base for exploring Tasmania’s wild national parks and going for a stroll on the Tahune Forest AirWalk.
Extending between Richmond and Port Arthur, the Convict Trail traces the history of Australia— which was initially founded as a convict settlement—back to its origin. Learn about how convicts developed the country’s infrastructure as you pass some of the tallest and most-scenic sea cliffs on the planet.