Feel the chill at the subantarctic collection, Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens
The spirited traveller likes to dig a little deeper – but how about as far as the Antarctic? This is literally and figuratively one of the coolest spots in Hobart: a one-of-a-kind plant house that showcases flora of the sub-Antarctic region. The climate-controlled space is thick with icy fog and mist, creating the perfect environment for the specimens which have been collected by hand-selected by gardens staff and scientists on field trips to Macquarie Island.
Discover history and art on the Battery Point Sculpture Trail
Its name, inspired by the addition of a battery of guns added to the site in the early 1800s, is a nod to the storied history this waterside suburb enjoys. In fact, it may feel like nothing much has changed since this time as you navigate the quaint streets and laneways lined with 19th-century cottages. Today this trendy spot is home to some of the most sought-after real estate in Hobart, upmarket boutiques and achingly-cool eateries, all waiting to be uncovered. The award-winning sculpture trail winds through some of the city’s oldest residences and tells the story of each place through thought-provoking art.
Experience the extraordinary at Museum of Old and New Art (Mona)
The addition of this avant-garde museum to Hobart’s Berriedale waterside really upped the ante for the city, gaining it recognition on an international scale. As Australia’s largest private museum, Mona houses an awe-inspiring curation of contemporary and historic pieces, all within an architectural marvel that is a work of art in itself. The site is also home to gourmet restaurants and luxe riverside accommodation. And did we mention there’s wine to sup from the onsite vineyard?
Browse Salamanca Market for artisanal produce
The beating heart of the city can surely be found at this vibrant outdoor market, held every Saturday at Battery Point. Mingle with the locals as they peruse the wares of more than 230 stallholders, which include regional artisans, designers and producers. Jewellery, homemade jams, pottery, clothing, books, fresh fruit veggies, coffee, ciders, beers… the very best produce Tasmania has to offer is all on display here. It’s perfect for stocking your pantry if you’re enjoying a self-catering, self-drive escape.
Dance with the locals at Rektango, Salamanca Arts Centre
Every Friday, the pretty courtyard of Salamanca Art Centre comes to life with fabulous live music, and locals dancing to the sounds of everything from disco to funk and Latin sambas. The chill of winter is offset with mulled wine and fire pits, while sunshine brings the sangria out. The best part? This musician-led event is free of charge – after all, you can’t put a price on pure, unbridled joy.
Go kayaking through sea caves
Kayaking may not be the first activity that springs to mind for a city break, but this is a fabulous way to immerse yourself in Hobart’s beauty off the beaten track if you’ve already conquered Mt Wellington. Roaring 40s Kayaking offers a full-day experience to Storm Bay on the Derwent River just 20km from the city, home to pretty bays, sea caves and soft, sandy beaches all waiting to be explored – if you’re lucky, you might even spot resident seals, whales and dolphins. This is a favourite spot for locals, who head here of a weekend for adventure and relaxation.
Hunt for ghosts at Penitentiary Chapel
There are countless ways to immerse yourself in Hobart’s history – from the Cascades Female Factory to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site – but perhaps the most fun of all is a ghost tour. Walk in the footsteps of the incarcerated at the Penitentiary Chapel, one of Australia’s most significant convict sites that provides a fittingly eerie setting for a ghost tour. Built in the early 1830s, the building features 36 unlit cells beneath the chapel floor, once used for the solitary confinement of prisoners.