I recently spent a long weekend in Hobart, Tasmania (or Tassie, as we say in Australia). It was my first time there and I really didn’t know what to expect. Some people say it’s a bit dreary, but if you like fresh air, good food and stunning nature, it’s heaven.
After a few days of exploring, eating, (coffee) drinking, and walking in some of the most beautiful national parks and forests, I was in love. So I thought I’d share some of the places I visited and things I did in case you’re in the mood to plan a little getaway!
If you’re coming from Melbourne, you can catch the Spirit of Tasmania across the Bass Straight to get there. But I personally hate boats (something about being trapped on the thing in the middle of the ocean) so we flew into Hobart (we got cheap flights with Jetstar).
We hired a car at the airport, which I highly recommend. We went for an economical one, which was about $120 for four days. There are so many beautiful places to visit in the Hobart area, which are easiest to access by car. We stayed at St Ives Serviced Apartments, which had free on-site parking.
Places to eat (+coffee)
Pilgrim Coffee: If you’re after a Melbourne-style breakfast with great coffee, Pilgrim is the place to go. I had the Middle Eastern Grain Bowl with chickpeas, house-made tahini, quinoa tabouli, purple pickled cauliflower and charred eggplant. Twice. Their coffee is spot on and they also offer cold-pressed juices and organic teas.
Straight Up: 100% gluten-free and vegetarian cafe in the Hobart CBD. If you need a vegetable fix, this is your place! I had their nutrient-packed roast veg salad and finished off with some of their delectable raw desserts. Matt had their toasted corn bread with grilled haloumi, olive oil scrambled egg, avocado and herb salsa and loved it.
Urban Greek: This was one of my favourites. It’s a sleek looking family run restaurant serving traditional Greek food. We met the owners, Sava and Pablo, who emigrated from Greece. All of the food is made according to the traditional recipes of their mothers. They make everything from scratch, never cut corners and take immense pride in what they serve up. The result is delicious, clean and fresh. The moussaka was the best I’ve ever had (perfectly balanced flavours and texture and not too oily).
Frank: A restaurant and bar on the waterfront with a South American influence. They have a charcoal grill and a beautiful selection of vegetable dishes. I loved the blackened carrots with labna, oregano and lemon dressing and the sautéed greens with roasted quinoa and queso blanco. The interior feels special, but still relaxed and the staff were super friendly.
Tricycle: A tiny little cafe tucked away behind Salamanca Market. We went on a market day so it was pretty busy, but luckily scored a table. I had the Mexican-style baked eggs, which was tasty.
Villino: One of Hobart’s best specialty coffee roasters. If you want a great coffee, this is your place. They supply coffee to a bunch of cafes around Hobart and you can pop into their cafe at the top of Criterion St for an awesome filter or espresso. They also have a little hole-in-the-wall down the road called Ecru if you just want a quick takeaway coffee.
If you want to pick up supplies for snacks or a picnic, Hill St Grocer has a wide selection of fruit, vegetables, cheeses and gourmet products. You could also try Wursthaus Kitchen, which is a European-style deli with a selection of antipasto, cheeses, crackers etc. One night, we bought some olives, grilled eggplant, cheeses, dips and rice cakes and had a picnic-style dinner. City Organics also has a heap of health food snacks and products.
A few more places that we didn’t get to, but were keen to try: Templo, Franklin, Ethos, Providore by Ethos and Aloft.
Things to see
MONA: The incredibly popular Museum of Old and New Art is a must-see. There is really no other way to describe the exhibits than to say that they are “unique”. Just go and see for yourself. I loved it. To get there, you can catch the special MONA ferry from the Brooke St ferry terminal or it’s about a 20 minute drive from central Hobart. The grounds surrounding the museum and the on-site winery are stunning. The Source Restaurant is also located on-site (which we didn’t get to unfortunately), but we had lunch at the Wine Bar, which was fantastic. I had a beautiful smoked trout salad with lots of fresh vegetables.
Fortescue Bay: Nestled in the Tasman National Park, Fortescue Bay is absolutely stunning (pictured at the top of this post). It’s about a 1 hour 30 minute drive from central Hobart and there are a number of walks that start from the Fortescue Bay Campground. For more info on how to get there and the walks, head over here.
Mount Field National Park: If you want to go for a relatively easy walk through an incredible forest, head to Mount Field National Park. It’s about a 1 hour drive from central Hobart and well worth it. We did quite a long walk from the visitor centre to Russell Falls and beyond.
Richmond Village: This historic little village is about a 30 minute drive from central Hobart. We went there because I wanted to visit the old Richmond Gaol, which was built in 1825 and is still standing (I’m a nerd like that). You can learn about what life was like as a prisoner and walk into the cells where the prisoners were held captive, including the solitary confinement cells. If you believe in ghosts and spirits, I can tell you I felt a distressed presence in one of the solitary confinement cells. The village itself is gorgeous, with cute little houses, antique shops and a picturesque bridge. I highly recommend a trip there if you like that sort of thing.
Coal River Farm: We stopped off here on the way home from Richmond for a wine and some cheese. They also make chocolates and offer fruit picking when in season. The location is gorgeous and it was so nice sitting outside enjoying the view.
Salamanca Market: This market has over 300 stalls with local produce, art and craft, second hand books, clothing and music all on offer. It’s on every Saturday. I loved all the produce, antique trinkets and handmade soaps. (Plus an epic cheesecake, pictured below).
Farm Gate Market: This farmers’ market, held on Sundays, specialises in local produce and gourmet food. It was one of my favourites. There were things like local honey, fresh fruit, artisan breads, cheeses, fresh sushi and gluten-free donuts.
So that’s what we did. We were limited to things in the general vicinity of Hobart, but I’m keen to plan another trip as there are so many more things to see (and eat) in Tasmania!