The Perfect Weekend In Hobart | Everything You Want To See And Do

The perfect weekend in Hobart. Everything you want to see and do

Hobart in Tasmania is a hidden little gem! I absolutely fell in love with this beautiful city during my very first visit. The city has the charm of an old harbour town, with lots of historic buildings, a cute harbour and lots of pretty views.

Just a short scoot over Bass Straight and you’re in a magical land that’s so naturally beautiful it takes your breath away. There’s mountains, forests, national parks and rustic oceans for days. In my opinion, this makes Hobart the perfect place to relax from city life making it ideal for a weekend getaway.

Though you possibly can’t see everything within a weekend in Hobart, with this handy guide you will get very far! In the ideal world, I do advise you to hire a car, as heading out of the city and explore a bit of Tasmania is a must!

BASIC INFORMATION ON HOBART AND TASMANIA

Underneath I have collected some basic but important information for you. From the best time to visit, where to stay and where to eat. Just to get you started.

TASMANIA WEATHER AND WHEN TO VISIT?

Summertime is the best time to head to Tasmania. During this period, it is warm and dry, so perfect for island exploration.  Yes, summer is also the peak period on the island, but that’s for good reason. Winter season in Tasmania is from March-May and can be quite chilly. But that allows you the best chance of seeing Aurora Australis and probably even some snow.

WHY SHOULD I VISIT TASMANIA?

Tasmania has recently shaken off its reputation as Australia’s sleepy backwater. The countries smallest state is buzzing with art, has an exciting food scene as well as breathtaking national parks, is littered with some of the best walking trails. Not only this, but Tasmania has an interesting history, littering the island with beautiful old buildings. And let’s not forget the sprawling and interesting wildlife.

Fine foods and cuisines like high-quality cheeses, wines, and chocolates can be found in abundance in Tassie. The island is also home to breweries of some of Australia’s most respected modern beer brands, such as Cascade and Boags.

If these are not enough reasons to visit Tasmania, then maybe Aurora Australis – also called the southern lights – might pull you over the line?

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO SEE AURORA AUSTRALIS IN HOBART?

The best time of year to see the lights in Tasmania is around winter and the equinox in September, but you can theoretically see the Southern Lights from Tasmania all year round.

WHERE TO STAY IN HOBART

When I was looking into my accommodation, I noticed that there is not a shortage of hotels. From the famous hotels’ chains to small boutique hotels, Hobart has a smear of accommodation.

I stayed at the Ibis Styles hotel, which is easily located and has lots of amenities.  The hotel room was pretty standard, nothing wrong with it, and the amenities were great.

Some other options of hotels that are located in or near the city centre that was recommended to me whilst I was in Hobart

  • The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel | Hobart’s multi-award winning Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel has built a reputation among travellers as one of Australia’s most welcoming and relaxing inner-city hotels. Renowned for spacious rooms and friendly hospitality, the property has centrally located a block from Hobart’s waterfront and just a gentle stroll to Salamanca Place
  • Zero Davy Boutique Apartments | Their location is perfect since they are right at The Dock, which means you can walk practically everywhere. There are also lots of restaurant options around the area. Plus, because they are apartments you can save some costs by dining in every now and then.

WHERE TO EAT IN HOBART   

Given Hobart arguably does some of the best fish and chips in Australia, it would be rude to visit and not try their famous foods. The best way to do this is straight from one of the floating fish punts selling seafood at Constitution Dock.

If you want your seafood in fancier surroundings then check out Hobart’s historic waterfront, it is littered with restaurants that will happily oblige. Underneath are some great restaurants that you could try:

  • Mures Upper Deck | Had some of the best scallop and white fish I had in my life. You can tell that there were fresh from the boat as the tastebuds had a great night. Reasonably priced and absolutely delicious
  • Fish Frenzy | For Fish and chips, this is one of the best places to go to in Hobart.

GETTING AROUND IN HOBART   

The city centre is actually quite small and totally walkable! I pretty much walked everywhere. If you are not much of a walker, or you just need to rest your feet, then there are buses going everywhere pretty regularly.

I went to Mount Nelson (a 30-minute bus ride) for $3.50 each way. You can either pay cash on the bus or get a card from the tourist office. But if you only want to hop on the bus once or twice don’t bother getting a card. The hotel did advise me to get small notes, if you pay in large notes, the bus driver might get a bit upset.

For some of the places, it is handy to get a rental car, but it is not required, you will be able to get to all destinations without a car.  Underneath are just a couple of rental places you could hire your car from:

A good comparison site to check for cheap cars is vroomvroom. Also worth checking out.

GETTING TO HOBART FROM THE AIRPORT   

Getting to the city from the airport is pretty easy. I wished I looked into this prior to arriving because it would have saved me a pretty penny. Get tickets for the sky bus, this will drop you off at 1 of the 6 stops in the city, so there is always one close by your accommodation. This ticket costs $18,50 one way and it a hell of a lot cheaper than a taxi. I got on at stop 4 and it took about 25 minutes to get to the airport.

WEEKEND IN HOBART ITINERARY – WHAT TO DO IN HOBART IN 2 DAYS 

For the purpose of this guide, I will assume that you have arrived in Hobart the night before and have 2 full days at your disposal. I will also assume that your first full day in on a Saturday, as I will include the Salamanca markets which are run outdoors every Saturday’s.

DAY 1 | CITY EXPLORATION

On the first day of your weekend in Hobart, it is time to explore the city. Home to lots of culture, cute harbour and Beautiful parks. So enough to see.  First on your first day will be the famous Salamanca Markets in Salamanca Place.

SALAMANCA MARKET + Parliament House Gardens

The cities biggest outdoor market is held every Saturday and it is a true treasures cave. First of all, it is massive and it can take you hours to wander around. Secondly, it is filled with amazing local produce, alcohol, stunning designer’s items, trinkets, cheeses, art, and lovely antiques.

A lot of the stalls have EFTPOS facilities, which is handy if you don’t carry cash like me.  The market is held on Salamanca Place from 9 AM-3 PM.

I loved wandering around here and checking out the local goods. It has a lovely and peaceful vibe and it is a cool place to start your weekend away.

After the markets head to Hobarts Parliament House and the Parliament House Gardens. This is a lovely park next to Salamanca with seats, paths, and grass. Parliament House on one side and the Sullivan’s Bay boat docks on the other. You won’t spend hours there, but since you are walking past it to go to your next destination, you might as well check it out.

WANDER AROUND SULLIVANS COVE

A Weekend in Hobart: beautiful and tranquil Sulavance Cove

Up next it is time to check out Sullivan’s Cove. It makes up the majority of the downtown harbour area and is the quintessential Hobart tourist spot. It offers the best of both worlds! Food, and sites!

This was a part of Hobart to not be missed! The original downtown and settlement area in Tasmania and it was always a great place to meet locals, tourists and people from all walks of life!

Sullivan’s Cove now encompasses Victoria Dock, Constitution Dock, Franklin Wharf, Elizabeth Street Pier, Brooke Street Pier, Murray Street Pier, the Princes Wharf, etc where there are masses of boats – yachts, fishing boats, Antarctic Research Vessels, Ice breakers, cruise ships, the Mona Rona, whale watching boats, etc -, plentiful restaurants, bars, shops and hotels.

I loved wandering around the harbour and soaking up the fresh air and the lovely sights. Some of the best seafood restaurants are located in this area as well.

SHOPPING

The city has some cool antique shops. There are second-hand books, maritime trinkets (which made sense since Hobart is Australia’s second oldest settlement after Sydney), household tools, old vintage prints, vintage maps, and cutleries.

Some recommended vintage/antique shops in Hobart:

    • Kookaburra Antiques Collectables | 113 Hampden Rd, Battery Point TAS 7004, Australia
    • Antiques Warehouse |64 Warwick St, Hobart TAS 7000
    • Archive Antiques | 170 New Town Rd, Hobart, Tasmania 7008, Australia

THE SOLDIERS MEMORIAL AVENUE | QUEENS DOMAIN + ROYAL TASMANIAN BOTANIC GARDENS 

A weekend in Hobart: There were bushfires in the areas, hence the strange clouds/smoke in this picture.

The Soldier’s Memorial Avenue forms part of the Queens Domain. The Avenue of Honour comprising 520 trees planted in 1918 and 1919 to commemorate soldiers, mainly from Hobart, who died in World War I (the Great War) 1914–1918. Additional trees were added in the Soldiers Memorial Avenue Extension in the Cenotaph precinct in 1926. In all, there are 533 individually named trees plus one for an Unknown Soldier and three trees planted by dignitaries.

It is an impressive way to remember fallen soldiers.

Additionally, the venue is absolutely stunning with lots of nature around it and it offers amazing views of the Derwent River and the Tasman Bridge.

In the queen’s Domain, you can also find the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens. If you still have the motivation to keep on walking, then I do suggest you check out this garden. I found it was an absolutely lovely botanical garden, not too big but big enough to see amazing plants and flowers. Beautiful and tranquil environment with plenty of variety of floras. You can easily spend half a day here wandering around, taking in the peaceful spaces. Most of the paths are also wheelchair accessible as well, which is amazing. I particularly loved their Japanese garden!

CENOTAPH NATIONAL PARK

Next up is cenotaph park, this is the main commemorative military monument for Tasmania. This Cenotaph is located in a slightly elevated park just out of the centre of town (about a 15-minute walk)towards the Tasman Bridge, with stunning views over the Derwent River, the Tasman Bridge on one side and Mount Wellington on the other side of the park.

The walk up to the cenotaph is quite lovely. There are dual pathways across the large grassed area with trees on either side and a large grassed lawn area between the paths. At the place where the paths join there is a small monument to the unknown soldier with an eternal flame burning.

Further on there are two very large triangular-shaped sandstone rocks on an angle. These almost form a guard of honour on the pathway to the actual cenotaph.

A weekend in Hobart: Commemorative military monument

On the front side of the Cenotaph, there are references to the two World Wars, the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, the Indonesian Confrontation, the Vietnam War and Peacekeeping operations. On another face, there are references to the Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Let’s hope that there are no more wars added to the list, it is already too long. But the park is a lovely remembrance for those who fought for our freedom. I went to this park around sunset and it was absolutely lovely.

If you get hungry, above in the post I have listed some amazing restaurants. Most good ones are located at Sulavance Cove, which is not too far from Centoph National Park.

WANDERING THE STREETS AT NIGHT

A weekend in Hobart: Wandering the streets and night, enjoying the beautiful building.

Don’t forget to put your walking shoes back on after dark cause this city is quite beautiful after dark as well. Wander along Macquarie Street, check out Franklin Square and wander to the Piers at night.

I was in the city by myself and I felt completely safe, even alone at night as a female with an expensive digital camera. So if you are planning to head to Hobart by yourself, then don’t worry too much about it being unsafe. Of course, be smart and take care of yourself, but in general, I would say that I felt super safe in this city, even alone at night.

This wraps up day one. It includes quite a bit of walking, but this is the best way to explore the city. Since it is not that massive, it is no Sydney, you can get away with walking pretty much everywhere today. The only attraction that is pretty far is the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens. And they are located in a hilly section, so possibly get a taxi back to save your feet a little.

DAY 2 | MOUNT WELLINGTON + MONA

Today is the day to head out for a bit and go to the cities most famous mountain. Here we will enjoy the views and breath in the fresh air. Today we are also heading to an interesting museum!

MOUNT WELLINGTON

A weekend in Hobart: Mount Wellington

Today it is time to go up to the peak of Kunanyi, aka Mount Wellington

The pinnacle of Kunanyi (The aboriginal name for Mount Wellington) is only an easy 35 minutes drive out from Hobart. The winding road takes you up to 1,200m elevation, overlooking Hobart and its stunning surroundings.

If you do not have a car then you can go with a shuttle bus. These shuttle buses often offer you a 2-hour return tour from Hobart to Kunanyi/Mt Wellington, including 30 minutes on the summit. they offer two types of tickets

  1. A return ticket ( 2-hour return including 30 minutes at the summit)

    PRICE:

    Adult (17+ years): $35
    Concession (Students/Seniors): $30
    Child (6–16years): $25
    Infant (<5 years): No charge

  2. The one-way ticket which is great for bushwalkers and mountain bike riders our if you have more time to explore Hobart and its surroundings.

    PRICE:

    Adult (17+ years): $25
    Concession (Students/Seniors): $20
    Child (6–16years): $15
    Infant (<5 years): No charge

Since this is an itinerary for a weekend in Hobart, I suggest getting the return ticket. This allows you to still experience this amazing mountain and enjoy its incredible views without losing an entire day hiking down.

CHECK OUT QUIRKY MONA

A Weekend in Hobart:  MONA. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett

After checking out Hobart’s famous mountain it is now time to check out one of the most interesting museums I have ever been too. This is a love-hate museum, you either absolutely love MONA or roam around in a constant state of WTF. But, if you’re visiting Hobart, and it is a gloomy and rainy day, then a quick visit to this museum should definitely be on your to-do list. 

The museum is perched on the River Derwent, the privately-funded MONA is unlike any gallery experience in Australia. With obvious exhibits designed to confront people, the large expanse and range of the items make this quite extraordinary. It’s eccentric, whacky and provocative.

The best way to get to MONA is by ferry, which departs from Brooke Street Pier and takes about 30 minutes.

These two attractions combined will pretty much take up your entire day.

MORE DAYS TO EXPLORE IN HOBART? 

If you are lucky enough and got some more days to explore Hobart then underneath I have listed some more amazing things to see and do in Hobarts and its surroundings. Including some must-see day trips and cruises.

If you are planning to do a self-drive road trip on the island, then have a look at my extensive 10-day itinerary for the ultimate Tasmanian road trip experience. 

DAY TRIPS 

Tasmania is an incredibly beautiful island that has so much to offer. Underneath are a couple of day trips that you can do from Hobart. I have listed self-drive options for these destinations and if there are organised tours or busses I have listed those as well.

PORT ARTHUR HISTORIC SITES

A Weekend in Hobart: Port Arthur Historic Site Image credit: Port Arthur Historic Site
A Weekend in Hobart: Port Arthur Historic Site Image credit: Port Arthur Historic Site

The Port Arthur Historic Site is the best-preserved convict settlement in Australia and among the most significant convict era sites in the world. It has won many awards and has been called one of Australia’s great tourism destinations. The Site combines a rich history and scenic beauty to tell the stories of the harsh discipline and determined industry of the settlement. It is a place to discover Australian history and connect with the origins of Australian culture.

Side note | In 1996 Australia’s worst massacre happened at Port Arthur, changing our country and its laws dramatically, so I ask if you are to visit Port Arthur, to please remember to be respectful at all times, it is an incredible historic site but for so many people in this country, it is also a painful reminder of the terrible events that happened not so long ago.

If you are driving then it is about a 90-minute drive from Hobart to Port Arthur. Since it is not too far this should allow you plenty of time to get there and back within a day.

The Three Capes Bus Service offers a shuttle from Hobart to Port Arthur for $35 each way. Underneath their timetable (April 2020)

Hobart to Port Arthur Bus
8.00 am Departure from Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Hobart.
8.30 am Pickup at Hobart Airport (prior arrangement only)
9.45 am Drop off at Port Arthur Historic Site
Port Arthur to Hobart Bus
4.45 pm Departure from Port Arthur Historic Site
6.15 pm Drop off at Hobart Airport
6.45 pm Drop off at Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Hobart

There are also many amazing day tours available that include Port Arthure, underneath just a couple of options for your consideration:

  • Port Arthur: Day Tour from Hobart | Spend an action-packed day on the Tasman Peninsula. Enjoy a clifftop walk and a cruise, and explore historic Port Arthur and picturesque Richmond from $129,-.
  • Port Arthur With Gray Line |  A wonderful day tour full of history, amazing scenery and maximum time at the Port Arthur Site. A compelling and dramatic reminder of our convict past and the early settlement of what was the Colony of Van Diemen’s Land –
    now Tasmania. From $137,-
  • Port Arthur Cruise with Gray Line | Cruise Tasmania’s rugged coastline, rich with wildlife before arriving in the historic site of Port Arthur where you will step back in time and learn about life on the island as a convict. From $260,-

WINEGLASS BAY + HONEYMOON BAY AT FREYCINET NATIONAL PARK

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

This one is a bit of a stretch as a day trip, but if you are willing to wake up early and drive back late, Freycinet National Park is doable as a day trip from Hobart. It takes about 3 hours to drive up and most of the sights can be seen in one day.

The most famous sight in this National Park is Wineglass Bay.

Wineglass Bay is considered one of the top ten beaches in the world. Pristine beaches, crystal blue waters, and stunning views are just some of the reasons why. Make sure to head to the lookout, for one of the most amazing views you will see during your trip. 

There are also many amazing day tours available to Freycinet National Park, underneath just a couple of options for your consideration:

  • Wineglass Bay Tours Via Discover Tasmania | Tasmania’s most entertaining and informative tour from Hobart to Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet National Park, on Tasmania’s East Coast.
  • Explore Freycinet National Park on foot |  Interact with the wildlife, smell the native plants and rub the powder-soft white sand between your fingers and toes. This is the tour for those that want to truly feel the region and complete several of Tasmania’s Greatest Short Walks. From $115,-
  • Sea and explore tour | Access Wineglass Bay by boat and then explore Freycinet National Park on foot; This entertaining and informative tour from Hobart to Wineglass Bay offers maximum beach time (2+ hrs) and saves you hiking up hills.

WINE & BEER TASTING

When in Tasmania, you must drink the local pride. There are many amazing wineries that you can visit.. and of course… taste test a lot of local wines of course.

Additionally, Tassie also does amazing Ciders, Beers, and Whiskies. Who knew! I certainly did not before I decided to go to this amazing island.

Beer-lovers will swoon on a brewery tour of Cascade Brewery, which is Australia’s oldest house of beer. A Tour is a great way to experience the proud heritage and brewing craft of the Cascade Brewery, a Tasmanian icon.

Anyone who is crazed for a cider will have a lot of fun following the Tas Cider Trail | Here you will discover the people behind the drink, their characters and the stories, the love and the passion that goes into crafting every bottle of Tasmanian cider.

I hope you have enjoyed this guide to the perfect weekend in Hobart. Are you planning to travel to Hobart for the first time? What are you looking forward to the most? Let me know in the comments below. And if you have been to Hobart, what was your experience? Where you just as surprised by its beauty as I was?

Additional Tasmania Resources

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