There’s heaps to see and do in Hobart.
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.
While you’re seeing and doing in historical Hobart, you can also lap up the creamy luxury that the city has to offer you.
Hobart activities, sights, and style
Besides the clever ways in which Hobart conjures its history almost everywhere you go, Hobart has plenty of modern luxury on offer with it’s upmarket restaurants, bars, cafes, accommodation, galleries, buildings and more. So seeing and doing Hobart with style is right in the palm of your hand.
For instance, 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, (includes locally made sculptures, furniture, jewellery, ceramics, glass, clothing) and well worth seeing.
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, it’s an active harbour city. Therefore, the water plays a big beautiful part in what you see and do in Hobart. For example, dining on the waterfront, rocking up to food and music festivals, taking the Mona Ferry, and buying fresh seafood from the locals.
You’ll enjoy the hive of Hobart 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 metal yesteryear effect.
Also, you’ll also stumble across unexpected statues in nooks.
Things to see and do around Hobart during Christmas/New Year
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.
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. (Pacific oysters are best eaten April to September and spawn in January and February. Native oysters are best May to August and spawn November to March. Sydney Rock oysters peak September to March, but spawn in winter. By the way, Triploid/sexless oysters never spawn so taste good all year round, but are more rare.)
We saw Big Bessie at The Taste of Tasmania too…
…selling ice cream made with flaming passion! (Sounds tricky.)
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.
(Polaroid aura photo by Kristi Beams, Hobart Psychic Expo)
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 novelty new books, and pretty much books on anything that captures the imagination (but, again, definitely NOT spiritual/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.
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 were gourmet scrumptious.
(Image borrowed from Barilla Bay Restaurant website.)
Kilpatrick (gf) Natural (gf)
Lemon, pepper & parmesan (gf) Blood orange gel, fennel & salmon tartare (gf)
Beijing style Chilli (gf) Wasabi Granita with flying fish roe (gf)
Spinach, brie & pistachio (gf) Cucumber, Ginger & Chilli pickle (gf)
Dine at Cinnamon Indian Gourmet, MACq 01 Hotel, 18 Hunter St Hobart
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 somewhat 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! And yes, J wears them…
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, which were better than we 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!
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.
(Images borrowed from FILOS fb page.)
In our opinion, this modest eatery is the real Greek deal and prices are fair.
Hang loose and listen to silky smooth jazz at IXL Long Bar, Henry Jones Art Hotel, 25 Hunter St, Hobart
Remember the IXL Jam boys? I didn’t think they were anything unusual when I was a girl, but seeing them again as an adult they strike me as a little offbeat (pardon the boy band pun).
Also, their facial expressions are a little risque for yesteryear. (BTW – love their manicured eyebrows). I guess it’s not surprising, though. Apparently Henry Jones, founder of IXL Jams, was always ahead of his time!
Avoid the Nant Salamanca Whisky Bar, Shop 3G, 63 Woobys Lane, Salamanca
For us, the Nant Whisky Bar was not one of our favourite Hobart things to see and do.
It started off okay. 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 “whisky 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”.
Aloft 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 interesting. 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.
and 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.
Wonder about 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.
- Upon entering the restaurant, we informed the maître d’hôtel that we had made a booking under Jim’s name and she showed us to our table. Not long after, she rang Jim to see if we were still coming… Then Jim replied that she’d already shown us to our table. Subsequently, the maître d’hôtel stayed on the phone with Jim while she bee-lined through the restaurant back 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 there or in the food.
- In summary, the food was okay, but not exceptional. For example, we weren’t impressed that Jim received an entree purely and simply 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. 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 by saying that it was so eighties and really nothing special. In effect, this was unprofessional.
See Hobart while fine dining 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 a little 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. 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. Plus, they had Howard Park Chardonnay, one of our favourites.
We also enjoyed the novelty of the revolving restaurant and admired 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 enjoyable evening at The Point Revolving Restaurant in every way and I recommend that you give it a visit.
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!
Will you love MONA or not?
My glass moved across the table by itself! (MONA’s camera surveillance team verified this unexplained incident.) I doubt that this is a particularly common Hobart thing to see.
Why not vote in the Moving Glass WHAT THE..?! Poll and offer a theory for this strange occurrence.
Certainly, I’d love to hear from you on this.
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?
Vote in the Boobarella WHAT THE..?! Poll. Do you think she was WOW, WACKY, WORRYING, or WHATEVA?
Chill at MACq 01 Hotel‘s Old Wharf Restaurant and Story Bar, 18 Hunter St, Hobart
To read my review on Old Wharf Restaurant and Story Bar, visit 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 WHAT THE..?! at MACq 01 Hotel.
Vote in the MACq 01 Hotel WHAT THE..?! Poll. Was Jim’s strange incident WOW, WACKY, WORRYING, or WHATEVA?
Our Hobart Things to See and Do Conclusion
I give 5 stars for Hobart things to see and do. It’s an easy get-away that allows you to dial it 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, 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 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. Furthermore, the people are down-to-earth and warm and the towns are steeped in stories. Truly, I believe that Tasmania is a gem . Indeed, this state of Australia has a very special place in my heart.