48 hours in Hobart? Read on for how much you could pack into your time in this fair Tasmanian city.
Hobart is the second oldest capital city in Australia and is the capital of the state of Tasmania. As a destination, Hobart offers a wonderful combination of natural beauty, heritage, culture and fine food experiences – all of which makes it one of my favourite places for a weekend trip from Melbourne. Together with two other lovely couples, The Poolboy and I recently spent 48 hour in this fabulous city. And we discovered once again, that Hobart really does have something for everyone.
First up, a pit-stop in Pilgrim Coffee – one of Hobart’s many cool cafes for a cruffin and coffee while we planned the finer details of our weekend. If you haven’t planned ahead, there is a heap of brochures available in the arrival hall at the airport.
A short walk away was the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. There we were intrigued, among other things, by the many examples of taxidermy animals and birds. In the ningina tunapri gallery, a guide gave us a fascinating insight into Thomas Bock’s paintings of Tasmanian Aboriginal people (1831–35) and other colonial representations of Indigenous inhabitants.
After the Gallery, we took the ferry up the Derwent River to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) for an art experience that really defies description.
I’ve written about MONA before in this post, so I’ll leave you to read more details about it over there. However, MONA is a definite must-see on any Hobart itinerary.
We timed our visit so that we were there for the last three hours of their day, and were able to go straight on to The Source restaurant at MONA. The Source Restaurant is named for the John Olsen painting that hangs from the ceiling of the foyer, but it could equally apply to the fact that much of the produce is sourced locally and then created into fresh, shared plates that can be eaten while looking out over the museum grounds.
We returned from MONA by taxi, as it is just a short 20 minute car trip from the centre of the city.
The next morning, we were up and out to find a nearby spot for breakfast before tackling the famous Salamanca Markets.
We just walked out of our hotel and along the road until we found somewhere for breakfast – Zero Davey Cafe. We weren’t disappointed. Good value breakfast and coffee which set us up for the day ahead.
Salamanca Place is just a short and enjoyable walk along the waterfront from our breakfast location. There you’ll find 1830s Georgian warehouses converted to galleries, craft shops and restaurants. And if you happen to be there on a Saturday, like us, the hustle and bustle of the Salamanca Market, one of Australia’s best outdoor markets. I was so caught up chatting and checking out the goods on sale that I didn’t take any photos of the market itself!
After a wander around the market, we collected our rental car and headed south out of the city to see some of the surrounding countryside, with our first stop at the beautiful Woodbridge Nursery in Woodbridge.
Woodbridge Nursery specialises in perennial plants for the home gardener and landscaper, with all the plants grown in the open air so they are healthy and robust when they are transplanted to other gardens. Woodbridge Nursery ships plants from its selection of over 1,000 varieties to all states in Australia except WA.
The perennial display beds at the Nursery were stunning and made me want to buy a large property to create my own perennial garden display! The nursery and display garden are normally open year round for visitors on Fridays and Saturdays 9am-5pm, except for public holidays.
The drive along the Channel Highway was quite magnificent, and our next stop was the Art Farm Birchs Bay, which has a walk with 12 permanent outdoor sculptures acquired by the farm. However, if we had been visiting later in the year (i.e. 14 Apr 2017 to 31 Jul 2017) we would have found a special event of about 30 scupltures forming an art trail, which winds its way through pear orchards, bush tracks and across open fields with views of Bruny Island and the D’Entreacastaux Channel. The trail is open everyday. The ‘Art Farm’ is located at Five Bob Farm, which is a working native pepperberry farm and home to Pepperberries Garden Cafe.
Pressing on, we made a quick stop in the picturesque town of Huonville for a late lunch before our final road-trip destination of the Tahune AirWalk.
The Tahune AirWalk complex offers a variety of forest walks, including the spectacular AirWalk itself, a suspended walkway at treetop level about 20-30 metres above the forest floor.
The final part of the AirWalk is a cantilevered structure, 50 metres above the Huon River and offering panoramic views of the valley.
You need have basic fitness to do the AirWalk which is 619m in length and does contain some stairs (although I believe there are disabled access options). It takes about 50 minutes to do the return walk from the cafe, along the AirWalk and back, but we also tacked on a couple of other walk trails, including The Huon Pine loop along the Huon River which takes you among the ancient Huon Pines, and stopped for lots of photos, so we took a lot longer.
It is about 90 minutes drive direct from Hobart to Tahune AirWalk, and we took the direct route back, stopping only at Mount Nelson signal station reserve which is 10 minutes (5 km) south of Hobart. The signal station was built in 1811 and was one of a chain of signal stations that once linked Hobart Town with the penal settlement at Port Arthur. Apparently, a message from Hobart to Port Arthur and return reply could be completed in approximately fifteen minutes, if ithe weather was clear. Alas, the invention of the telegraph spelled the end for the signal station and it was closed down in 1880. However, the reserve is a fantastic place to look out over Hobart City and Bruny Island.
With all the wonderful fresh produce in Tasmania, we were looking forward to another great dinner and we weren’t disappointed by our choice of Peacock and Jones which is at the water-front in a converted sandstone warehouse. With just a few hours to spare on Sunday morning, as The Poolboy and I had a midday flight back to Melbourne, we squeezed in another great breakfast at Harbour Lights Cafe, before a stroll around the pretty streets of Battery Point. The old village of Battery Point which is just behind Salamanca Place, is a filled with great examples of 19th-century stone cottages. Plus, if you’re wandering around there and feeling a bit peckish, I highly recommend Jackman & McRoss in Hampden Road – an excellent bakery/cafe.
So, all up 48 hours in Hobart offered a great combination of spectacular natural scenery, heritage encounters, fine dining and a dose of culture. Add it to your list!
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