I visited Hobart, and Tasmania, for the first time last week for a girl’s weekend (during the week, cos that’s how we roll). It is such an incredibly short flight from Melbourne — a little over an hour. With cheap flights, there was no reason not to go. I didn’t know a lot about Hobart, the city, before venturing south. I did, however know Tasmania has some of the best naturally beautiful landscape in Australia. I will definitely be checking it out in the summertime.
So what did I find in Hobart? I discovered a relatively-small country town that seemed similar in size to the town I grew up in, but with prettier architecture and cooler temperatures. At the pub on the first night I Googled just how big it was. It turns out only 200 000 people call Hobart home, compared to the millions in Melbourne. Although I am enjoying the city at this time in my life, I can see why Hobart is an attractive place to live. You are surrounded by nature, only a short flight from the mainland and there are some excellent things to do in the area. This is what I got up to during my brief two day mid-week Tasmanian sojourn and a list of my favourite things to do in Hobart. Don’t worry, I will be back to eat more and visit my uncle and his partner who recently moved to Bruny Island — in summer, that is.
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Stay at Pickled Frog Hostel
I thought I would start with the accommodation. Through staying at the Pickled Frog my friend and I were able to see a lot of the sights below for free or with much more ease. The rooms here range from $25 for a dorm bed to $35 for us in a twin room with a shared bathroom. Although the room was small, it was comfortable and included a wash basin as well as a dressing table. This made two girls getting ready each morning a lot easier. I was so used to my free breakfasts at basically every hostel in America that I was disappointed to find this wasn’t included at Pickled Frog. But seeing as I haven’t stayed in many hostels in Australia, perhaps this is normal?
Instead though, there was a comfortable common area, complete with a fire, because Hobart is cold — just in case you hadn’t figured that out yet with all my promises to return in summer, but not a minute before. They also have a free shuttle bus that takes guests up to the top of Mount Wellington for free, which saved us at least $30. The same shuttle also took us to a wildlife sanctuary so we could see a Tasmanian devil, and then onwards to MONA. These extras definitely made our time in Hobart infinitely better. We were able to fit in so much more to our short trip, which I appreciated.
The Pickled Frog is also very centrally located close to the city’s mall. It is within walking distance to Hobart’s main attractions, including Salamanca and Battery Point. The hostel offered everything you could want at a very reasonable price.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
Thanks to our accommodation we got a shuttle to Bonorong, which is located about 30 minutes from Hobart’s city centre. Entrance is $25 for adults and the park is quite small. But you know that your money is going to support these native Australian animals who have all been rescued. During their daily morning tour, we met Tina the wombat, whose mum was killed in a car crash when she was a baby.
I finally got to see a Tasmanian devil, which is most certainly an odd-looking creature. They unfortunately don’t have a long life-span due to their love for eating and then becoming road kill. Plus a cancer strikes many of them down before they reach four years-old. The sanctuary looks after them and also breeds the devils, so they don’t become extinct like a certain Tasmanian tiger. The way they move is kind of hilarious. Their hind legs kind of hop together as they scurry along.
Next there were koalas, which aren’t actually native to Tasmania. I had never felt a koala (or I have and I can’t remember) but their fur coat is so soft. The tour leader mentioned that they are related to wombats, although Tina’s coat wasn’t as cuddly. There are also a few birds being rehabilitated and a lot of kangaroos. Upon entry you get some food that you can hand feed to the kangaroos, who definitely weren’t shy. They were coming right up to us for a feed and I did try to take a kangaroo selfie, but they were too fidgety for me. I did have quite a few hold my hand though, but just for the feed — so sly.
MONA + its Ferry
MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) was the place everyone said we had to visit in Hobart, because it MAKES Hobart. So we went along and got a cheaper ticket because part of the bottom floor wasn’t operational. The museum is underground, which adds to the creepy factor, but then you see the artwork on display. The words I would use to describe what I saw? Odd, thought-provoking, mind-boggling, interesting, curious. I don’t want to give away what you will find. But what you see will have an impact on you, and you definitely won’t ever be able to forget many of the exhibits. I think all visitors just need to enter with an open mind.
Beside its underground lair, MONA also has a cafe and wine bar. We had lunch at the cafe, which had amazing views over the water. Outside you can get some fantastic photos of Hobart, or perhaps jump on a trampoline — another one of MONA’s exhibits. Apparently the grounds are host to free music festivals too (in the summer, of course).
Although we got a free lift there, we decided to take the ferry back to Hobart. It was worth it because the views were spectacular from the back deck, and I got to sit on a sheep. Yes, the ferry continued the weird MONA theme with graffiti everywhere, including in the toilets. If you are heading to MONA, go via the ferry.
Although we missed out on the Salamanca Market it was still the place to spend a Hobart evening. It is not only on the water, a winner in my books, but is home to many art galleries, gift shops and boutiques. It gave me the impression Hobart has a very creative community.
One evening we went for pre-dinner drinks at Grape. We then walked past the crowd sitting on the heated patio at Cargo and decided on dinner at BarCelona. I am going to write a separate post on the awesome food and drinks on offer in Hobart, because I was wowed. A teaser? $10 steins of cider on Wednesdays at BarCelona. F yeah!
I had read that Battery Point was the place in Hobart to just wander through, so that is what we did. We walked, I photographed and we ate another delicious meal at. We passed many historical homes and I admired the colourful facades, the wrought iron second-floor balconies, the vintage bikes parked so perfectly outside the front doors. Battery Point is actually a really nice walk around the corner from Salamanca. If you have time in your itinerary just follow the road and the water around the bend.
I am so glad we got the chance to visit Mount Wellington as it is renowned as one of the top things to do in Hobart. The guy from the hostel who drove us said it was the best day he had seen in six months, and he does the tours twice a week! He told us about the Bridgewater Jerry (which Google just told me is a word in the Australian Macquarie Dictionary). Jerry just made for better photos I think. Up the top was the first time I had seen snow since I was frozen in Portland in November last year. I don’t want to live somewhere covered in the white stuff for months on end, but I did enjoy experiencing it again.
Although I don’t think there are enough things to do in Hobart to last a tourist a week, I think two days is a sufficient amount of time to see the city’s best sights. I would recommend anyone looking at staying longer to definitely rent a car and go exploring, there is no other way.
Do you recommend any other things to do in Hobart?