Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart
Set on the banks of the River Derwent and overlooked by Mount Wellington, the Tasmanian capital of Hobart offers an enticing blend of culture, scenery, heritage, and entertainment. Accommodation options in Hobart, like in the rest of Tasmania, range from budget-friendly hostels to upmarket hotels although self-catering apartments are also popular. Wherever you choose to call home during your time here, a holiday like no other awaits at Australia’s second oldest city.
Although Tasmania was once home to a semi-nomadic tribe, history perhaps best remembers the area as the site of a British penal colony. Tasmania is home to five of Australia’s eleven UNESCO World Heritage-listed Convict Sites and you won’t need to travel far to find one; the Cascades Female Factory in South Hobart once housed 1,000 convicts, each one responsible for providing needlework and laundry services to colony inhabitants. If you’re prepared to travel further afield during your stay, the former penal settlement at Port Arthur and the Coal Mines Historic Site are both within a 90-minute drive of Hobart. Budding historians should also schedule a visit to historic Battery Point, where the streetscape has remained largely unchanged for more than 100 years.
Hobart has a vibrant arts and culture scene to offer visitors. Such attractions are numerous but the icing on the proverbial cake must be MONA (The Museum of Old and New Art) - the Southern Hemisphere’s largest private museum and described by the Sunday Times as “the most important addition to Australia’s cultural landscape since the Sydney Opera House”. Smaller but offering interesting visits nonetheless are the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Salamanca Arts Centre, and the Bett Gallery. Explore the area in style by hiring an ART Bike from Rosny Barn on the eastern shore and don’t forget to cycle to the Henry Jones Art Hotel, Australia’s only dedicated art hotel that also holds the accolade of standing on the spot where the city was first settled.
Tasmania knows how to tantalise the taste buds and the onus here is on fresh local produce. Never is this more apparent than when in Hobart. Foodies can immerse themselves in a dining scene that includes everything from quaint cafes to upmarket chef-led restaurants. Seafood fans will want to head down to the waterfront where the famous Fish Frenzy (home to the best fish and chips in Australia, according to Time Magazine) serves up the catch of the day and amazing seafood chowder; order to go or sit down and relax for a while. If you prefer a picnic, stock up on goodies at the Farm Gate Market (held every Sunday come rain or shine on the corner of Elizabeth and Melville Streets), then head out to Cornelian Bay or Wellington Park to enjoy your spoils.
Shopaholics won’t be sorry that they made the trip to Hobart. This waterfront city is the perfect tonic for retail enthusiasts. For quirky shopping, explore the laneways in and around the CBD or head to the waterfront on Saturday for the outdoor Salamanca Market. This historic market features around 300 stalls, with everything from second-hand books to handmade artisan gifts sold against a backdrop of Georgian sandstone buildings and live entertainment. A short drive from Hobart lies Eastlands, which with more than 90 stores is Tasmania’s largest shopping centre. And just a little further afield, is the Margate Train; this former passenger train now plays host to a variety of small retail business. Plus, there’s a massive antiques warehouse nearby.
You might say we’ve left the best to last in our guide to Hobart. There’s plenty to keep you entertained in this historic city but some of the best times can be found by heading out to explore the great outdoors. Many guests choose to stay reasonably local by hiking or cycling through Wellington Park although, for the more adventurous, Tasmania’s diverse landscape means the opportunities for outdoor fun are seemingly endless. You might combine a trip to the Huon Valley with a Tahune Forest Airwalk Tour, enjoy a boat trip to Bruny or Maria Islands, or view the island’s stunning coastline from a sea kayak. Those with a little more time on their hands can take a flight from Cambridge Airport to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Southwest National Park.
Hobart: Everyone’s kind of happy place.