Tasmania’s tiny capital is the perfect minibreak destination – or, for those visiting Australia from overseas, a detour-worthy tack-on to any itinerary. The city’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is already having a ‘Bilbao Guggenheim effect’, pulling in a cultured crowd, but there’s also hot shopping, tasty food and natural wonders galore. Here are our top five Hobart travel tips…
1 BREAKFAST IN BATTERY POINT
Kick off with breakfast at Jackman & McRoss Bakery (57–59 Hampden Road), a laid-back café with a photo-worthy array of muffins, tarts, croissants and cakes (left), and energy-revving coffee. It’s in Battery Point, Hobart’s historic port quarter, dotted with vintage boutiques.
What next? Check out the quaint cottages in Arthur Circus before descending Kelly’s Steps to the Georgian warehouses of Salamanca Place.
2 SCOUR SALAMANCA PLACE
Held Saturdays from 8.30am to 3pm, the famous open-air Salamanca Market (right) is awash with Tasmanian produce, crafts and collectables.
Stretching along Salamanca Place, its 300-odd stalls sport foodie souvenirs, including fudge, leatherwood honey and Jostaberry Jam (a cross between gooseberries and blackberries).
What next? If you get peckish, snack on satays, woodfired organic pizza at Mountain Pepper Pizza or fresh juice (this is the Apple Isle). Scour the adjacent Salamanca Arts Centre, home to jewellery, fashion and book stores as well as dinky deli A Common Ground, run by gourmet farmer Matthew Evans. Handmark Gallery (77 Salamanca Place) sells Tasmanian arts and crafts, including wow-worthy wooden accessories.
3 BOARD THE BOAT TO MONA
We’ve raved about Hobart’s art scene before, but MONA (left) at 655 Main Road, Berriedale (+61 (0)3 6277 9971), really is a must-see. The 30-minute boat ride from the city’s Brooke St ferry terminal (book early online) adds to the thrill of arrival at this monumental cliffside gallery, where you descend into catacombs to view interactive installation art. Smith tips for permanent show ‘Monanism’ include the eerie Death Gallery, a water-filled tomb with an Egyptian mummy cheek-by-jowl with a modern digital version. Entry is two by two, so get here early before the queues. Don’t miss Cloaca Professional, a Wim Delvoye digestive machine that has regular feeding times (this stinky art piece loves cupcakes but won’t eat tuna for ethical reasons).
What next? New temporary exhibition ‘Theatre of the World’ runs until 8 April 2013, and there’s a café, two bars, a cellar door and restaurant on-site, as well as Smith-approved hotel stay MONA Pavilions.
4 SIP AT SIDECAR
New little sister to hip eatery Garagistes, Sidecar (+61 (0)3 6231 1338), open daily from 5pm at 129 Bathurst Street, is a stylish bar for a nightcap, with a sharp edit of wines, cocktails and snacks such as delicious wagyu hotdogs, chips and pickles, and cheese plates.
What next? Sidecar makes a handy hangout if you’re waiting for a table at Garagistes (right), renowned for its local produce, communal dining and no reservations policy. Sidecar also opens for lunch Wednesday to Friday.
5 MOUNTAIN-BIKE MOUNT WELLINGTON
Need to work off those Sidecar snacks? Mt Wellington Descent (+61 (0)3 6272 9884) will take you freewheeling down the rocky peak that looms over Hobart (left). Small-group van tours leave at 10am or 1pm daily from central Brooke St Pier for the AU$75, two-and-a-half-hour thrill ride, with bikes, helmets, jackets and gloves provided.
What next? Views from the summit are spectacular, and the buzzy trip down takes in rainforest, an optional off-road section, and heritage sites the Cascade Brewery and Female Factory prison, before returning via pretty Battery Point.