So you’ve been traveling all over Australia. You sailed around Sydney, learned to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, hiked in the Outback, and dreamed of moving to Melbourne. You’ve also tried Vegemite and held a koala. Now that you’ve checked the well-known adventures off your list, it’s time to explore some Aussie favorites. Starting with Tassie.
Not many tourists make it all the way to Tasmania. Separated by the Bass Strait, Australia’s smallest state is 150 miles south of the mainland. But quick flights from Melbourne and Sydney make Tassie’s capital, Hobart, an easy long weekend for Aussies looking to get out of the city. Especially now that spring has arrived.
Like Sydney, Tassie’s largest city was founded as a penal colony. Old seamen’s quarters are still in Battery Point. Warehouses from the 1830s whaling industry still stand along the waterfront. And Georgian and Victorian architecture still lines the Derwent, the river that splits Hobart. Today, the green city is known for its clean air, fresh water, and close proximity to nature. Mount Wellington dominates the skyline. And Antarctic expeditions depart from the harbor. That’s how far south you are.
The best way to see the city is from the mountain or the water. Ride a bus to Fern Tree, and follow the steep track to the summit of Mount Wellington for amazing views of Hobart, the Derwent, the outer islands, and the Tasman Sea. Or see the city, migrating whales, and the Alum Cliffs from a cruise to Peppermint Bay that includes a clambake with clam chowder and rock lobster. Back in Hobart, stroll through the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens to see the sub-Antarctic plants. See a stuffed Tasmanian devil–it’s probably the closest you’ll get to the endangered marsupial–and an extinct Tasmanian tiger at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. Tour the Cascade Brewery (Australia’s oldest brewery), the Lark Distillery (Tassie’s first whisky producer), and Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory (Australia’s most popular chocolate)–and stay for the tastings. No matter how you spend the day, you’ll end up in Salamanca Place in the evening. The dockside warehouses are now filled with art galleries, lively cafés, and even livelier pubs.
By your second or third day on the island, you’ll be ready to follow the Aussies outside of the city. Head up the Derwent and visit MONA–the recent opening of the Museum of Old and New Art caused a stir in the international art world. Visit Moorilla Winery, the Charles Reuben Estate, and Coal Valley Vineyard to taste light varietals like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in the Coal River Valley. Explore Bruny Island to see fairy penguins, fur seals, and white wallabies. Or hike along the Freycinet Peninsula’s rugged coastline.
Once again, Australia has thoroughly impressed you. It’s too bad Hobart is so far away, or you’d make it a regular long-weekend destination, too.