Yeehaaa! Tasmania’s borders are open again! So keep this list of Hobart things to see and do handy for when you head down to the awesome Apple Isle. Going there for Christmas or in the New Year? Well, there’s even a section in this post on things to see and do in Hobart over the festive season.
However, if you feel like ducking over to Tassie right now then simply bite into this juicy blog about the things we saw and did while in Hobart. (We’re foodies.) Plus get some travel inspiration from a few other places we’ve been to around Tasmania.
In this “Hobart Things to See and Do” post you’ll get:
- The feels for Hobart’s rich history
- Insight into Hobart’s activities, sights and sumptuous style
- A taste of Hobart’s hive of creativity
- What you can see and do in Hobart during Christmas/New Year
- Things to see and do there all year ’round
- A selection of stuff we’ve seen and done around the greater state of Tasmania
(NOTE: Bold, aqua words are useful links, but not these ones right here 😊.)
Feel Hobart’s rich history
The first thing you’ll do in Hobart is see history all around you. The second thing you’ll do is feel it.
From my Melbourne perspective, Hobart is a delightful “dollhouse” city . This is because so many buildings there are refreshingly low with carefully preserved facades, that whisk you away to yesteryear. So, most of the sights you’ll see and the activities you’ll do in Hobart will have the backdrop of a rich historical setting.
However, while you’re seeing and doing in old Hobart town you can also lap up the creamy luxury that the eclectic city has to offer you.
Hobart activities, sights and sumptuous style
Besides the clever ways in which Hobart brings to life its history almost everywhere you go, Hobart has plenty of modern luxury on offer with its upmarket restaurants, bars, cafes, accommodation, galleries, educational institutions and more. So seeing and doing Hobart with panache is right in the palm of your hand.
Although Hobart is big enough to explore, it’s small enough to make you feel like you’re a unique individual getting intimate with an alluring storytelling town.
Also, Hobart’s an active harbour city. Therefore, the water plays a big beautiful part in what you see and do in Hobart. For example, fine dining on the waterfront, rocking up to food and music festivals, taking the Mona Ferry to MONA in Berriedale, and buying fresh seafood from the locals.
Hobart’s hive of creativity
Incidentally, Hobart is also a city full of nice creative surprises that will tickle your imagination.
For instance, some of the CBD lane signs appear to be embossed on metal. However, on closer inspection you’ll find that they’ve been specially painted to create a 3D matte metallic yesteryear effect.
Also, you’ll also stumble across cool statues where you least expect them.
One of the things we did was walk across Hunter St from our MACq 01 Hotel room to see Henry Jones Design gallery in the old IXL Jam Factory. The artwork there was gorgeous, sophisticated, expensive and well worth seeing. Pieces include locally made sculptures, furniture, jewellery, ceramics, glass, and clothing.
Below: Danae with the “Unwilling Pioneers” statues outside MAC1 01 Hotel. They are across the road from the old IXL Jams Factory, which houses Henry Jones Design gallery and 5 star hotel.
Things to see and do around Hobart
during Christmas/New Year
We were delighted to start the new year off by strolling around Constitution Dock. Naturally, we enjoyed marvelling at the magnificent Sydney to Hobart yachts docked opposite our MACq 01 Hotel room.
Below, see the 1947 and 1948 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race Winner, Westward.
Take a Tall Ship Tour
One of the things you can do from the Hobart Waterfront from 25th December to 3rd January is “sail the Derwent aboard Tasmania’s largest tall ship” called Windeward Bound (www.windbound.com)
Get the Taste of Tassie
Another Hobart thing we saw and did was The Taste of Tasmania festival ( around 28th December – 3rd January). It’s located in and outside a huge warehouse type venue at Princes Wharf, Salamanca Place, just a few minutes walk from MACq 01 Hotel, Hunter St.
About to go into The Taste of Tasmania…
The Food and Drink
While at the festival, we slurped up fresh oysters and compared fine local wines. Alongside this, we indulged in delectable dishes from local restaurants and eateries. Needless to say, the atmosphere was inviting and exciting.
You purchase a plastic The Taste of Tasmania wine glass for $8 and use it to go around the stalls and sample the grapes.
Unfortunately, some of the Pacific oysters we tried were spawning, which didn’t go down with us too well. However, others weren’t, and they went down a treat. (BTW – Pacific oysters are best eaten April – September and spawn in January and February. Native oysters are best May – August and spawn November to March. Sydney Rock oysters are best September – March, but spawn in winter. Did you know that triploid/sexless oysters never spawn so taste good all year round, but are rarer?)
We saw Big Bessie at The Taste of Tasmania too…
…selling ice cream made with flaming passion! (Sounds tricky, hahaa!)
Also, the entertainment was fun and quirky. Check out the washboard tie:
Visit the Hobart Psychic Expo
An unusual Hobart thing to do is visit the Hobart Psychic Expo, which is a weekend-long event at Best Western Hotel, usually held in the first week of January and at times throughout the year. In fact, you can visit the Psychic Expo event in different locations around Tasmania.
Things to see and do in Hobart all year ’round
Experience Salamanca Market, Salamanca Pl, Battery Point
A popular Hobart thing to see and do is visit Salamanca Market, which is on EVERY Saturday 8.30am to 3pm. Of course, you’ll see lots of great Tasmanian made products ranging from woodcraft to soaps to condiments.
By the way, it was packed when we were there in January (Australian school holidays) and very hot, but we spent a happy afternoon at the big, bustling market. Check out the Salamanca Market Map (up to May 2020), which shows all the stalls and marks the ones that sell Tasmanian made products.
Here’s what we bought…
Drink at The Whaler, 39 Salamanca Pl, Battery Point
After a hot and sweaty afternoon at Salamanca Market, we stumbled into The Whaler with our bags of Tassie-made products.
Not surprisingly, the small pub was packed. Luckily, we fluked a couple of high stools in the centre with a tiny, but convenient bar ledge.
As expected, the meals I saw around us were your usual type of generous pub fare, like “REALLY GOOD” burgers (an appealing cross-section), fries, steaks, and seafood baskets. I hear they’re also serving Tasmanian Spring Bay mussels in a chilli, white wine, and garlic sauce at the moment. Incidentally, The Whaler prides itself on serving fine, fresh, locally sourced food.
Besides the food, I recommend visiting The Whaler to have a closer look at the leadlight above the bar and to feel as if you’re one of the Hobart locals, making history in the moment.
“An iconic Tasmanian bar and restaurant rich in tradition and infamy since 1829.” The Whaler
Venture into Cracked & Spineless Bookshop, 9/138 Collins St, Hobart
A niche Hobart thing to do is visit the new/used books shop creatively called Cracked & Spineless, in Imperial Arcade. However, a word of warning – you’ll encounter a stuffed tarantula. The blood-chilling spider, visible upon entry, stopped me in my tracks and I couldn’t go in any further, being arachnophobic and all. I know it’s dead, but that makes no difference.
By the way, the owner of Cracked & Spineless told me that he only sells “cool stuff” (i.e. definitely NOT books on spiritual/metaphysical/self-help topics). But, you can visit here for old books that are hilarious in today’s context. For example, a book entitled “Be Bold with Bananas” (cook book, if you’re wondering). You’ll also find legendary classics, odd ball and new novelty books, and pretty much books on anything that captures the imagination (but, again, definitely NOT of the spiritual realm or self-help stuff!)
Visit Barilla Bay Restaurant and Oyster Farm, and
take an Oyster, Abalone & Ginger Beer Tour, 1388 Tasman Highway, Cambridge
Barilla Bay Restaurant, which is also an oyster farm, is located about 18km from Hobart. Therefore, it’s a great little drive if you feel like an easy venture out of town for a bit. You’ll travel about 19 mins by car/taxi or 49 mins by bus along the Tasman Highway, over the Derwent River (which is lovely) to Cambridge.
You’ll need to ring (03) 62 48 54 58 first to pre-book a public one hour Oyster, Abalone and Ginger beer tour. Unfortunately, we arrived too late for a tour, so went upstairs to the restaurant overlooking the bay and enjoyed a cocktail before getting stuck into the oysters!
Indeed, we highly recommend the Shucking Oyster Tasting Platter – 30 oysters with the chef’s selection of hot and cold of toppings.
Lemon, pepper & parmesan (gf)
Beijing style Chilli (gf)
Spinach, brie & pistachio (gf)
Blood orange gel, fennel & salmon tartare (gf)
Wasabi Granita with flying fish roe (gf)
Cucumber, Ginger & Chilli pickle (gf)
Barilla Bay Shucking Oyster Tasting Platter – we think it’s great value for money. (Not to mention, a lot of aphrodisiac on one plate!)
30 freshly shucked oysters for only $59!! Less than $2 per oyster? Besides being very happy with that, the toppings proved to be gourmet scrumptious.
Dine at Cinnamon Indian Gourmet, MACq 01 Hotel, 18 Hunter St Hobart
On our last night in Hobart, we dined at Cinnamon Indian Gourmet, which is a lovely, large fine dining restaurant that’s part of the MACq 01 Hotel complex.
We loved the food! Not only were the dishes fresh, vibrant and hearty, delighting the senses, but they were generous – not morsels of meat swimming in a sea of sauce, which we experience a lot in Melbourne. Also, the service was great and authentic (a regal older gentleman of Indian appearance in a turban served us).
We hope Cinnamon Indian Gourmet keeps up the standard. If so, we highly recommend dining there.
So happy with the food at Cinnamon Indian Gourmet, MACq 01 Hotel!
Hang out at Republic Bar & Cafe, 299 Elizabeth St, North Hobart
After Barilla Bay Restaurant we went to Republic Bar & Cafe because we were told by locals that it’s a renowned popular waterhole that’s a cool Hobart thing to see and do. Republic Bar showcases a variety of great local/international, upcoming/established bands/solo artists on deck with live music every day of the week “featuring Cool Jazz and Blues”. Furthermore, the Bar is comfy, has character, and takes pride in serving good food sourced locally.
Unfortunately, we arrived only to hear the band of the day’s soundchecks, so we needed ear plugs, which they had on hand. Jim liked the selection of whiskies here. About a half hour walk from MACq 01 Hotel.
Indulge at Bar Wa Izakaya, 216-216 Elizabeth St, Hobart
Jim had heard that this little Japanese bar restaurant was well worth visiting, so off we went. We found the place to be cosy, comfy and tastefully casual. Plus, as foodies, we were delighted with the standard of Bar Wa Izakaya’s delectable dishes. You can also enjoy a massive range of drinks including Sake, Japanese and Australian beers, Japanese whiskies, and cocktails. Prices were great. So was the service.
Sent this big box of sushi socks to one of our sons while he was studying in Japan.
Needless to say, he and his share house friend were highly amused!
Fill up at FILOS Cafe Restaurant,39 Elizabeth St,Hobart
Jim and I know a perfect souvlaki when we eat one.
To our joy, FILOS served us authentic, traditional, succulent, generous souvlakia, so were better than what we’d normally expected.
Also, the place had such a friendly atmosphere that we felt like we were eating at a Greek relative’s house. There was banter between staff, owners and customers, which is reminiscent of Greek villages. Well, “filos” does mean friend in Greek! (Did you know that the word philosophy is derived from Greek? Philo=Filos + sophy=sofia means wisdom. Philosophy = love of wisdom.)
Furthermore, FILOS has such a wide range of souvlakia to choose from. For example, there were many variations of the traditional lamb/chicken/pork souvlaki including bolognese sauce and beef souvlaki. However, on this occasion we stuck to what we know – the true king (in our opinion), the original lamb Greek souvlaki with tzatziki (garlic, cucumber, yoghurt sauce).
This cafe restaurant also sells other traditional, home-made Greek food. For instance, gemista (stuffed capsicum and tomotoes with rice), dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), keftethes (meatballs), casseroles, baked lamb, lemon chicken, mousaka and more. Additionally, there were vegetarian and breakfast dishes, along with an alluring selection of pastries and desserts.
In our opinion, this modest eatery is the real Greek deal and prices are fair.
Hang loose with style at IXL Long Bar, Henry Jones Art Hotel, 25 Hunter St, Hobart
Listen to silky smooth jazz at IXL Long Bar…
Remember the IXL Jam boys? I didn’t think they’re appearance was anything unusual when I was a girl, but seeing them again as an adult they strike me as a little risque for yesteryear. (BTW – love their manicured eyebrows 😍). I guess this isn’t surprising, though really. Apparently Henry Jones, founder of IXL Jams, was always ahead of his time!
Hmmm… Nant Salamanca Whisky Bar, Shop 3G, 63 Woobys Lane, Salamanca
WHAT THE..?! 🤷♀️
🙄For us, the Nant Whisky Bar was not one of our favourite Hobart things to see and do.
It started off well. I mean, the bar looked decadent and inviting. Subsequently, we walked in, Jim eager to taste some Lark and Nant whisky. However, our indulgent-to-be experience quickly turned into a “whiskey sour” incident:Nant Whisky Mini WHAT THE
Relax at Lark Distillery, 14 Davey St, Hobart
Well, after that mini WHAT THE..?! at Nant Whisky Bar, Jim was eager to head straight over to Lark Distillery.
After the elegant but uptight Nant Bar, it was relaxing to stop by Lark Distillery Bar. Although considerably less elegant, it was much more welcoming and therapeutic. Also, it’s in a top spot near the waterfront, next to the CBD. So, I recommend Lark Distillery Bar for its convenient location, down-to-earth atmosphere and selection of drinks available
Fine dine at Aloft, Brooke St Pier, Hobart
This cool “dining room is on the top floor of the award-winning Brooke Street Pier on Hobart’s majestic waterfront”, so you enjoy a great view.
Plus, staff made us feel very welcome and they looked after us extremely well all night despite the restaurant being jam-packed. Plus, the food was elegant, delectable and curious. For example, “master stock pig’s ear and prickly ash” is on the menu. In addition, the ambience was lively and the surroundings stylish – a hot spot to be. In comparison, the high quality gourmet dishes were of a similar standard to Landscape Restaurant & Grill‘s, but the place had a much more casual, bubbly vibe and has bay views.
Indulge at Landscape Restaurant & Grill, 23 Hunter St, Hobart
This restaurant has sophisticated ambience, being lowly lit, classy and artfully decorated while serving incredible dishes with impeccable service. By the way, they even ran Jim’s phone across to MACq 01 reception after he’d left it behind. In summary, you won’t be disappointed whatsoever, provided that Landscape is still achieving this high standard.
Hmm… Peacock and Jones, 33 Hunter St, Hobart
Unfortunately, our dining experience at Peacock and Jones, next to the IXL Jams building, was a steep step down from the flawless experience we enjoyed at Landscape Restaurant & Grill. This was despite it being a few doors down and part of the same restaurant group.
On entering the restaurant, we told the maître d’hôtel that we had made a booking under Jim’s name and she showed us to our table. Soon after, she rang Jim to find out if we were still coming… After Jim replied that she’d already shown us to our table, the maître d’hôtel bee-lined through the restaurant back to us while still on the phone to us and then goofily apologised.
We sat opposite the kitchen and got the feeling that the head chef and assistant weren’t on good terms. This was because they didn’t appear to speak or look at each other at all throughout our entire evening there. Perhaps they were so in tune with each other that they didn’t need to communicate outwardly whatsoever. However, I just didn’t sense the love between them or in our food.
In summary, the food was okay, but not exceptional. For example, we weren’t impressed that Jim received an entree purely consisting of some prosciutto and bread for $25. Sure, the prosciutto had been aged for 2 years, but there were no accompaniments to jazz it up, like some olives or dip. For this reason, we felt that the dish was lazy and very uninspiring. Needless to say, we could’ve made the same thing at home in two seconds with some aged prosciutto from the supermarket.
When we told the maître d’hôtel that we’d booked a table at The Point Revolving Restaurant, she dissed The Point by pulling a face and saying that it was so eighties and really nothing special. We felt that this was very unprofessional (and unkind).
Do a 360 view of Hobart at The Point Revolving Restaurant,
Wrest Point Casino, 410 Sandy Bay Rd, Sandy Bay
First, about thirty years ago…
Ironically, the first and last time we were at The Point Revolving Restaurant was in 1988.
Back then, we had taken a friend, S, with us who complained when the waiter sat us at a table in front of a wall. After all, there was so much view to be had being on the seventeenth (top) floor.
At this, the waiter said, “Please give me a few minutes, Sir, and I’ll be back”.
Consequently, S became a deep shade of crimson and laughed like Muttley.
Obviously, by that stage the restaurant had revolved so that now we were enjoying a FABULOUS VIEW of Sandy Bay.
“No, thank you,” mumbled S. “This table is fine.”
Based on my recollection, The Point Revolving Restaurant hadn’t changed significantly in appearance since we were there in the eighties. However, that’s not to say it’s shabby or hideously outdated. In fact, it’s the contrary.
Expecting an evening of eye-sore after the Peacock and Jones comments, I was pleasantly surprised by the clean-cut, elegant ambience that The Point still possesses. Anyway, we loved the eighties.
Furthermore, the maître d’ was warm, welcoming and seemed genuinely excited to be there. Notably, she took an interest in us and was doting throughout the evening. Also, she knew her stuff, which made us very happy.
In addition, the staff were attentive and professional. To top it off, we loved the quality of the food, every single dish.
Above: Eighties inspired smokin’ dish from The Point.
Plus, they had Howard Park Chardonnay, one of our favourites.
Also, we enjoyed the novelty of the revolving restaurant and appreciated the changing views as day became dusk and then night. Later, I found out that the restaurant takes 77 minutes to complete one full revolution…
In conclusion, we had an extremely pleasant evening at The Point Revolving Restaurant in every way and I recommend that you give it a visit.
Get a room with a view at Wrest Point Casino!
See and do MONA – Museum of Old and New Art, 655 Main Rd, Berriedale
Click here for my cool travel review on MONA! What might you see and do at this eccentric establishment a short ferry ride from Hobart? Find out about the Shit Factory, Fat Car, paper planes on steroids and so much more! Would you love MONA or not?
My glass moved across the table by itselt! (MONA’s camera surveillance team verified this unexplained incident.) I doubt that this is a particularly common Hobart thing to see.
I’d love to hear your theories on how the glass moved. You can comment at the bottom of the MONA WHAT THE..?! Moving Glass post.
Take the MR-1 Mona Roma Ferry from Hobart to MONA, Brooke St Pier, Hobart
Riding the Mona Roma Ferry is an extremely enjoyable Hobart thing to do.
However, on our trip we were left wondering whether or not the delightful Boobarella had committed a public nudity offence. What’s your verdict?
Leave your comment at the bottom of the Mona Ferry WHAT THE..?! post.
Chill at MACq 01 Hotel‘s Old Wharf Restaurant and Story Bar, 18 Hunter St, Hobart
Read my review on Old Wharf Restaurant and Story Bar by visiting my MACq 01 Hotel post.
You’ll also find out about the crazy thing that happened to us during our first night’s stay there.
Go to the MACq 01 Hotel WHAT THE..?! post and leave your comment at the bottom about Jim’s weird experience there!
My Hobart Things to See and Do Review
I give 5 stars for Hobart things to see and do.
The reason for this is that Hobart’s an easy get-away (when not in lockdown!) that allows you to dial yourself down, yet indulge and delight in top class luxury. As you can see, a week off in Hobart seeing and doing stuff is a week well spent because you can experience all sorts of cool and interesting things while relaxing and recharging in a historical ambience.
Also, I love how Tasmania lies over the water, giving you that “I’ve been somewhere” experience – since you have to get there by plane or boat – while only being a hop, skip, and jump from the mainland. The air is fresh, the weather’s pleasant, and Hobart has character, charm, charisma, warmth and style. In my opinion, Hobart won’t disappoint you.
While we’re at it, you might be interested to look into…
A few of our things to see and do while in the Apple Isle, Tasmania
I love Tasmania in general, having seen and done a number of things there. For example, we’ve been to the Central Highlands to fly fish in Miena.
We’ve caught the Spirit of Tasmania cruise ship to Devonport,
and have ziplined at Hollybank Treetops Adventure in Underwood (near Launceston).
Also, we’ve visited Ashgrove Tasmanian Farm and tasted fine cheese,
have been to the Casinos. While at Cataract Gorge, Launceston, we chair-lifted down to the food shops and peacocks.
Not only have we relaxed at Leeawuleena (Sleeping Water), also known as Lake St Clair,
but we’ve explored Solomons Cave at Mole Creek.
In closing, the natural colours of Tassie are absolutely splendid, the water is pure, and the wildlife abundant. (However, I must say that we saw a lot of roadkill driving around Tassie.)
Furthermore, the people are down-to-earth and warm and the towns are steeped in stories. Truly, I believe that Tasmania is a gem. This state of Australia has a very special place in my heart.