Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Hobart...

We return home to Hobart every year  - sometimes two or three times. And it is still always called home... which could perhaps have something to do with our constant moving.
This week my fellow blogger Kerry mentioned she was heading to Tasmania so I sent her some tips. They ran to two pages... poor woman!

Anyway here's my Hobart... you may agree or disagree.

Firstly Kerry is going to MONA and it seems a lot of people are heading to Hobart to do just that. Good. It's amazing. Beyond amazing. The Museum of New and Old Art. The building is amazing in itself. 
My advice? Get a ferry there. Skip the fancy restaurant, it's all fancy froth and foam. If you can afford it stay the night.
Right, to Hobart...

Hobart's waterfront
You will/should (bossy aren't I?) spend most of your Hobart time in Salamanca Place, browsing the galleries shops and drinking coffee, shopping for food and wine. All the following are on Salamanca's main strip:
- Retro Cafe has been there forever and was the first cool cafe (saw Bob Brown there this trip - does he count as at all cool? If not my Dad is always there and he's pretty cool, say hi.)
- Grape is a good bar for a nice glass of Tasmanian vino.
- Maldini is always reliable for a good breakfast, lunch or dinner. 
- Zum Cafe is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Just two (or three) doors up the hill from the Retro is Wursthaus Kitchen - a fabulous deli and butcher selling lots of very good things. Some of the same things can be found at a cheaper price but not as beautifully laid out in Fresh mini market back down on Salamanca Place next door to Knopwoods Retreat pub. 

Round the back behind Salamanca Place is the Quarry with a large fountain your kids will love. Here you will find:
Bar Celona - a very popular spot - great for an afternoon drink in the sun.  
Laundromat Cafe - across in the far corner behind the large chess board. 
The Hobart Bookshop is a favourite - excellent selection of Tasmanian books.
Rectango play each Friday evening in an even smaller quarry behind Salamanca just near the Peacock Theatre.  Great relaxed vibe, it's outside with a relaxed crowd, non-intrusive live music with kids dancing, sangria and beer available.
Walk up Kelly's Steps from Salamanca Place to Battery Point - the steps lead to Kelly Street and in turn to Hampden Road - admire the houses (and the front doors). Turn right and you'll hit Jackman and McRoss - fabulous baked goods and oh-so village cool. Turn left and find the new Jam Jar cafe down on the next corner. Wind your way through to the sunny back courtyard and it's a little bit of bookish/Melbourne-ish cool. Free wi-fi and good brownies.

Salamanca Market if you're there on a Saturday is a must (bossy again). There is lots to look at but for me it's mostly about the food.  Seek out scallop pies (opposite Knopwoods in the middle row) and tempura mushrooms (in the middle opposite Aspect Design)... if on holiday the rule is you can have both, twice. 
Kids and men love the Bratwurst sausage stall. Also excellent for hangovers. It's up the other end of the market near the Supreme Court. If you like seeds our friends run an amazing little stall called Southern Harvest Seeds - opposite the steps of the Supreme Court on the far left as you walk up.
We usually bribe the kids with a visit to the boat park at the southern end of the market - looking over the Derwent with lovely trees it's a beautiful spot to rest your feet for a moment or ten.

Hobart City
I used to avoid the CBD on holidays home but there are now some lovely little shops worth checking out and you can do it all on foot in an hour.
Store and Co (my favourite) in Davey Street just up from the corner with Murray Street. Beautifully styled vintagey bits and bobs. I could buy the whole shop.
Ruby's Room - across the road on the opposite corner. Owner Anjanette has a fabulous eye for lovely toys and gifts. Kids of all ages love it. She's also opened a stationery shop right next door.
Love and Clutter - half a block down Murray Street on the right (sweet name and just as sweet inside)
Then traverse town (with your eyes closed) past the site of the burnt down Myer - continue down Murray St, right into Liverpool and then left into Elizabeth Street (the bottom end is the mall which like all malls should be buried under a mass of concrete). Just a block up Elizabeth Street is Ethos a cafe/tapas place which is fabulous. It's a little hidden but so worth finding. It's next to the Tasmanian Map Shop. Further up on the left is the CWA shop - quaint and no not all Tasmanians are so country... or quaint...

Dinner options on the waterfront
Maldini, Rockwall, Zum, Smolt, Monty's in the Salamanca area...
Suwan Thai in the arcade upstairs from the Retro in Salamanca 
One of our favourites is Fish Frenzy over on Elizabeth St Pier (near the ferry departure point for MONA) Casual but excellent fish and chips and scallops/oysters/calamari. Mures is an icon in the fish and chip world. Been there forever... I carried thousands of plates in its Upper Deck Restaurant in my old life.

Dinner in the city
Ethos as above and I haven't even mentioned the buzzy restaurant strip in North Hobart at the top end of Elizabeth Street at the top end of town.
Piccolo for dinner, Annapurna for Indian and the Raincheck Lounge for coffee or dinner.
Sweet Envy by day for cakes - the chef used to work in New York and for Ramsay somewhere in the world. The State Cinema for a flick.

Right then now.... out of Hobart... Driving?
Drive up Mt Wellington on a clear day - the view is astounding and it takes half an hour to get to the top (if that). A few beautiful short mountain walks you can do too.
Richmond (over the Tasman Bridge and halfway out to the airport turn off and it's about a thirty minute drive - history in abundance and charm too.... touristy but nice. Feed the ducks under Richmond Bridge.

Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula - an hour and half from Hobart. Stunning scenery, very do-able day trip and incredible history. Although when we were there last week our three year sighed dramatically and gave us grief about all the 'broken buildings' being 'booorring'....
If you don't fancy the Sydney-Hobart route there are other options...
Take the cruise to Peppermint Bay down the Channel (as we locals call the area around the narrow D'Entrecasteaux Channel that runs between Bruny Island and mainland Tasmania). The restaurant has a new chef and is getting very good press.
Bruny Island Cruises - great eco wildlife tour down to the outside of Bruny where you'll see Seals etc - can be a bit wet and wild. Might just tickle the adventurer in you. The company also runs a similar trip to Tasman Island.
Further afield - Freycinet is of course fabulous but it's not a day trip - stay at the Freycinet Lodge or in Swansea. Walk to Wineglass Bay. Go to the Friendly Beaches. Stop in Swansea and eat and browse. Swim.

I should stop now... that gives you a little bit too much to think about already. 

But take this Design Files walking guide for the city. 
And read this from The Age although I wish every review about Hobart didn't  sound so surprised that it's not some quaint town still serving devonshire teas at every opportunity.

Oh and for those still reading and hoping for some mention of Launceston? 
No idea. Last visited 15 years ago. I am Tasmanian after all.


  1. Ann you have made me so homesick! Brisbane son and DIL both carried their share of plates too. I think Mures might be a right of passage before you leave!
    We have been gone 17 years now and it has grown and become far more sophisticated but on each of our few visits the charm remains.
    If only I could convince one of my kids to move back I would return in a flash. Thank you for the memories. xx

  2. Hi, I just popped over from Kerry's blog. I live in Hobart and agree with all your suggestions. In fact Jane and I are taking Kerry to Suwan tonight. Excellent post :)

  3. thankyou for this. planning our first trip to Tas sometime this year with the maybe one day plan of moving there (maybe?) so this is perfect. Makes me want to go NOW. Great inspiration for saving what we need to make it a reality

  4. It has been years since I was in Hobart.... you have me inspired to plan a holiday there very soon! X

  5. I had already earmarked Tasmania and Hobart as a next holiday spot after reading Jane's (Planet Baby) post about the food festival. You have just cemented that idea. I will have to file this post and it can replace any guide book I'll need -thank you.

  6. Ann, your guide is my bible! We're off to Port Arthur today and on Friday I'm hitting those shops. Jane and Sarah concurred with your entire list...not that you need the validation! Hobart is magic :)

  7. Oh Ann, you make me smile. I could have written this - verbatim! Loving it, you old Hobartian you ☺. J x


Thanks for taking the time to write, Ann x


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