I finally made it! After 4 months of various lock downs throughout Australia happening I managed to secure flights and an outbound ferry ticket to Hobart from Melbourne. Summer is on its last legs and I wanted to get over to Tasmania before the season turned. As it is further south it is really much colder than Melbourne which is much colder than Sydney. Not that any of this is actually considered freezing but after living in these warmer climates for 2 years your body forgets what negative temperatures feel like.
Hobart is the largest city in Tasmania but is still relatively small in terms of city standards. It is the perfect getaway trip just an hour from Melbourne. Here’s a sample itinerary for those looking to head down to Tassie and looking to check out the city of Hobart specifically.
Explore the city, see the street art
With easy streets to navigate and a beautiful port Hobart is the place to walk around and enjoy. I grabbed a coffee and explored the harbor watching the boats float as the sun set over Mt Wellington. There is a small street tucked away with incredible street art down the whole way.
If you have a car, grab yourself a ferry pass and drive the 30 minutes down to Kettering. Otherwise take the $85 tour I took – The Fluted Cape Walk. Leaving from Hobart it includes the transportation, coffee and a muffin, and two stops on Bruny Island. It is the perfect day trip and I loved not having to stress about finding a car, sorting out the ferry times etc. When you are traveling alone paying for the tour normally ends up being the cheaper option.
The trip stops at the Neck, which connects the North island which is mostly agriculture and the South island which is mostly wild. 200 stairs lead you up to the deck to see the full extend of this sand accumulation that has occurred over time connecting these two islands.
After driving 20 minutes down south we stop at the park where half the tour heads to a boat cruise and then a lunch. I opted for the cheaper trip which was no lunch and no boat. That left me 4 hours to explore.
This park had a 2.5 hr walk through the forest and then along the cliffs back down. The views were stunning and even though the morning was brisk I ended the walk hot ready to jump into the crystal clear and crisp water to cool off. Since there have not been many tourists able to get to Tasmania and even less probably to Bruny island I had the forest almost to myself. The walk started with a wallaby sighting and ended with a swim – what could be more Australian.
Wineries, Breweries & Zoodoo Wildlife Park & South Hobart
Hobart has many wineries located in the north of the city. Unfortunately thursday’s are not good days for them because most were closed when we tried to go. The ones that were open were already booked up for tastings. Due to COVID restrictions most places are still operating at half capacities or do not have the staff available to support full capacity. Even though Australia has no locally transmitted cases of the virus they are still extremely cautious. After enjoying the views and a glass of rose we decided to go play with some animals.
The Zoodoo Wildlife park has everything, tasmanian devils, birds, lions, camels, kangaroos, etc. We spent a couple hours there on a sunny afternoon with just 2 other people onsite. Traveling during a pandemic really makes most experiences feel like private ones.
We ended the day at Cascade Brewery in South Hobart, all the tours were sold out but we enjoyed a tasting board and the gardens.
MONA & North Hobart
The Museum of Old and New Art is probably the biggest hyped attraction of Hobart. It is located just north of the city and can be reached by either ferry from the city or car. We headed up Friday right when it opened. After spending the past couple days basically alone being in an overcrowded museum was a bit jarring. Additionally there are no signs to read now, I guess to support social distancing, and everything is located on their app. This means that literally everyone is walking around looking down at their phones. I felt like I was in a zombie movie with robots moving. I decided to just take it all in not specifically worried if I “missed the point”. Art is for looking to me, not starting at my iPhone screen.
Besides that the exhibits are engaging, unique, and really at sometimes crazy. Definitely worth a visit! Also the grounds have food trucks, beer, and live music. The day was wildly warm for Tasmania standards though so when we finished we headed towards the beach. We went to Bellerive which is a long beach with very swimmable waters. From there it was easy to get to Rosny Hill for sunset. The sunset should be seen from the Northside because you can take in the entirety of the mountain and the surrounding landscapes.
Another “must see” of Hobart are the Salamanca markets. This market stretches across the harbor and hosts loads of local vendors. It also hosts literally every human on this island. After spending the last year mostly not in a crowd being elbow to elbow with everyone was pretty horrible. I tried to see the different vendors but everyone’s on top of each other. Is this what life used to be like?? I was able to check out a couple booths with wood carvers, local whisky distilleries, and products made from merino wool, lots of sheep farming here.
My biggest takeaway with Tasmania is pre-planning. With COVID the spontaneous nature of travel is lost. I got the last ticket on my Bruny island tour, lucky since I was traveling alone, getting a single ticket is pretty easy. I also didn’t have to get a rental car with my friend arriving. If you want to save the almost $1,000 a rental car can come to you have to take the 10 hour ferry from Melbourne. Currently sold out for the entire month of March and April. Traveling in 2021 looks different but I promise it is still rewarding.