There’s heaps to see and do in Hobart.
N.B.: Bold green words are links (but not this sentence 😉 ) and mobile phone landscape viewing’s best.
Get immersed in the history…
…and the luxury
Besides the clever ways in which Hobart conjures up its rich history almost everywhere you go, it also has plenty of modern luxury on offer with it’s upmarket restaurants, bars, cafes, accommodation (read my review on MACq 01 Hotel here), galleries, and more.
For instance, we walked across Hunter St from our MACq 01 Hotel room to Henry Jones Design gallery, which is in the old IXL Jam Factory. The artwork there was elegant, and expensive, as you’d imagine. (Includes sculptures, furniture, jewellery, ceramics, glass, clothing.)
Hobart is big enough to explore, yet small enough to feel like you’re a unique individual getting intimate with an alluring, storytelling town. In addition, it’s an active harbour city where the water plays a big beautiful part in your experience.
Enjoy the creativity
Incidentally, Hobart is also a city full of nice creative surprises.
For example, some of the CBD lane signs appear to be embossed on metal, but on closer inspection you’ll find that they’ve been specially painted to create a 3D matte metal yesteryear effect.
You’ll stumble across unexpected statues in nooks.
Things to do and see around Hobart during Christmas/New Year
Jim and I were delighted to find that we could start the new year off by strolling around Constitution Dock and marvelling at the magnificent Sydney to Hobart yachts docked opposite our MACq 01 Hotel room.
Below, the 1947 and 1948 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race Winner, Westward.
Take a Tall Ship Tour
From 25th December to 3rd January you can “sail the Derwent aboard Tasmania‘s largest tall ship” called Windeward Bound (www.windbound.com)
Get the Taste of Tassie
We lapped up The Taste of Tasmania festival ( around 28th December – 3rd January) 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.
At the festival, we slurped up fresh oysters and compared fine local wines. We indulged in the delectable dishes from local restaurants and eateries. The atmosphere was inviting and exciting.
You purchase the plastic The Taste of Tasmania wine glass for $8 and use it to go around the stalls and sample the local wines.
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. Triploid (sexless) oysters don’t spawn so taste good all year round, but are more rare.)
Big Bessie was at The Taste of Tasmania too…
Ice cream made with flaming passion! (Sounds tricky.)
The entertainment was fabulous. Check out the washboard tie:
Hobart Psychic Expo
The Hobart Psychic Expo 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 do and see in Hobart all year round
Salamanca Market, Salamanca Pl, Battery Point
Salamanca Market is on EVERY Saturday 8.30am to 3pm. You’ll find lots of great Tasmanian made products ranging from woodcraft to soaps to condiments. It was packed when we were there in January (Australian school holidays). We spent a hot, but very happy afternoon at the big, busy market. Check out the 2019 Salamanca Summer Market Map (up to May 2019), which shows all the stalls and marks the ones that sell Tasmanian made products.
This is what we bought…
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. We were lucky to fluke a couple of high stools in the centre with a small, but convenient bar ledge.
The meals I saw around us were your usual type of generous pub fare, like “REALLY GOOD” burgers (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. 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
Cracked & Spineless Bookshop, 9/138 Collins St, Hobart
You’ll encounter a stuffed tarantula in the new/used books shop creatively called Cracked & Spineless, in Imperial Arcade. The 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.
The owner of Cracked & Spineless told me that he only sells “cool stuff” (i.e. definitely NOT books on spiritual/metaphysical/self-help topics). 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!)
Barilla Bay Restaurant, Oyster Farm, and
Oyster, Abalone & Ginger Beer Tours, 1388 Tasman Highway, Cambridge
Barilla Bay Restaurant, which is also an oyster farm, is located about 18km from Hobart. It’s a great little drive if you feel like an easy venture out of Hobart for a bit. You 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 need to ring (03) 62 48 54 58 first to pre-book a public one hour Oyster, Abalone and Ginger beer tour. 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!
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. (That’s a lot of aphrodisiac on one plate!)
30 freshly shucked oysters for only $59!! Less than $2 per oyster? We were very happy with that plus 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)
Cinnamon Indian Gourmet, MACq 01 Hotel, 18 Hunter St Hobart
We loved the food! The dishes were fresh, vibrant, and hearty, delighting the senses. Plus, 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!
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 in Hobart. 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”. 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.
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. The place was cosy, comfy, and tastefully casual. 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.
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 – many variations of the traditional lamb/chicken/pork souvlaki – such as with 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 such as gemista (stuffed capsicum and tomotoes with rice), dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), keftethes (meatballs), casseroles, baked lamb, lemon chicken, mousaka and more, along with vegetarian and breakfast dishes and 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.
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!
Nant Salamanca Whisky Bar, Shop 3G, 63 Woobys Lane, Salamanca
It started off okay. The bar looked decadent and inviting. 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
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, which was considerably less elegant but much more welcoming and therapeutic. Also, it’s in a top spot near the waterfront, next to the CBD. I recommend Lark Distillery Bar for its convenient location and down-to-earth atmosphere and selection of drinks available
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. The food was elegant, delectable, and interesting. For example, “master stock pig’s ear and prickly ash” is on the menu. The ambience was lively and the surroundings stylish – a hot spot to be. 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.
Landscape Restaurant & Grill, 23 Hunter St, Hobart
Superb, superb, superb in every way. For us, this ultimate fine dining experience was conveniently located opposite MACq 01 Hotel, in the Henry Jones building. Lowly lit, elegant and classy, artfully decorated, incredible dishes, impeccable service. They even ran Jim’s phone across to MACq 01 reception after he’d left it behind. You will not be disappointed provided that Landscape is still achieving this high standard.
Peacock and Jones, 33 Hunter St, Hobart
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, a few doors down and part of the same restaurant group.
- 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’s phone to see if we were still coming… Jim informed her that she’d already shown us to our table. The maître d’hôtel stayed on the phone with Jim while she bee-lined 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. 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.
- The food was okay, not exceptional. For example, we weren’t impressed that Jim received an entree simply of prosciutto next to some bread for $25, even if the prosciutto had been aged for 2 years. We felt that the dish was too easy and not inspiring at all. We could make 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.
The Point Revolving Restaurant,
Wrest Point Casino, 410 Sandy Bay Rd, Sandy Bay
Thirty years ago…
Ironically, the last time we were at The Point Revolving Restaurant was, in fact, the eighties, 1988, around 30 years ago.
We had taken a friend, S, with us who complained when the waiter sat us at a table in front of a wall, considering there was so much view to be had being on the seventeenth (top) floor.
“Please give me a few minutes, Sir,” said the waiter, “and I’ll be back”.
S became a deep shade of crimson and laughed a little like Muttley.
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. The maître d’ was warm, welcoming, and seemed genuinely excited to be there. 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. They had Howard Park Chardonnay too, 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. I found out that the restaurant takes 77 minutes to complete one full revolution…
We had an extremely enjoyable evening at The Point Revolving Restaurant in every way and I recommend that you give it a visit.
MONA – Museum of Old and New Art, 655 Main Rd, Berriedale
Click here for my cool travel review on MONA! 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.)
Vote in the Moving Glass WHAT THE..?! Poll and offer a theory for this strange occurrence.
I’d love to hear from you on this.
MR-1 Mona Roma Ferry from Hobart to MONA, Brooke St Pier, Hobart
Did she commit an offence or not?
Vote in the Boobarella WHAT THE..?! Poll. Do you think she was WOW, WACKY, WORRYING, or WHATEVA?
MACq 01 Hotel‘s Old Wharf Restaurant and Story Bar, 18 Hunter St, Hobart
Vote in the MACq 01 Hotel WHAT THE..?! Poll. Was Jim’s strange incident WOW, WACKY, WORRYING, or WHATEVA?
As you can see, a week off in Hobart is a week well spent. I love how Tasmania lies over the water, giving you that extra get-away feeling, while only being a hop, skip, and jump from the mainland. The air is fresh, Hobart has character and there’s plenty to see and do.
I love Tasmania in general, having been, for example, to the Central Highlands to fly fish in Miena…
…having caught the Spirit of Tasmania cruise ship to Devonport,
having ziplined at Hollybank Treetops Adventure in Underwood (near Launceston),
having visited Ashgrove Tasmanian Farm and tasted fine cheese,
having been to the Casinos, and to Cataract Gorge, Launceston, where we chair-lifted down to the food shops and peacocks,
having relaxed at Leeawuleena (Sleeping Water), also known as Lake St Clair,
and having explored Solomons Cave, Mole Creek.
The natural colours of Tassie are absolutely splendid, the water is pure, and the wildlife abundant. I truly believe that Tasmania is an underrated gem. This state of Australia has a special place in my heart.