Hobart, the Tasmanian getaway

September 13, 2023
By Patrick Cros

With its expansive stretches of world heritage-listed wilderness, a captivating coastline, and a rich diversity of fauna and flora, Tasmania stands as a premier destination in Australia. Take a stroll through its capital, Hobart. This gateway to the island was voted "Best City in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific" at the 2023 Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards in September.

One of the assets of the capital of Tasmania is the quality of accommodation, with several high-end establishments that promise a comfortable stay, like the Crowne Plaza Hobart (IHG Hotel) and the Vibe Hotel Hobart, which opened in 2020 and are among Goway preferred hotels in Hobart.

Perched atop the city's arcades, the Crowne Plaza boasts Hobart’s first rooftop bar, Aura, and stands tall enough to offer every room great views of the harbour or Mount Wellington. Guests are greeted by a collection of Tasmanian fine art, curated throughout the hotel's lobby by local artists. You can dine at Aura or the fourth-level Core restaurant and bar, or explore the surrounding area, as the hotel is perfectly located in the heart of the city.

Also situated in the heart of Hobart, the Vibe Hotel surprises with its towering, sophisticated exterior and sleek modern décor. It incorporates a historic building dating back to the 1930s when it was better known as the Belvedere Ballroom. In the lobby, striking golden curved chandeliers cast warm lighting over a large open-plan room, adorned with hints of Art Deco style. The hotel features a fitness center, heated pool, a restaurant – The Belvedere - and a bar. There are two-bedroom rooms, some with interconnecting doors (must be requested in advance), offering nice views of the city and surroundings. All the furniture has been sourced from local Tasmanian oak and crafted by local artisans.

Another interesting part of Hobart is the waterfront, along the bay of Hobart and the River Derwent, with a few nice hotels like the MACq 01, offering guests awe-inspiring views on the bay, as well as Mount Wellington, especially from the Premium suites and their balconies etched into the roof (see picture).

Also not to be missed on the waterfront is the Henry Jones Art Hotel, a true landmark situated in the Hunter Street precinct. This venue, one of Hobart's most venerable waterfront warehouses, has been artfully repurposed into Australia's first dedicated art hotel, intertwining history and modern luxury.

South of Hobart, The Islington is also a good place to stay for clients looking for arts and luxury. This former stately residence has been transformed into an opulent 11-suite boutique hotel, where guests can enjoy panoramic vistas of Mount Wellington and dine on locally sourced produce. One of the city’s best art collections is dotted around the halls and walls of this elegant place.

Picturesque villages and wildlife

Embarking on a day of exploration in the Hobart region promises a delightful blend of scenic landscapes and close encounters with Australia's unique wildlife. The journey begins with a visit to the quaint village of Richmond, situated just 26 kilometers north-east of Hobart. This picturesque spot invites visitors to step back in time, embracing the charm and serenity that pervades its historic streets.

For those with a penchant for gastronomy, a culinary delight awaits at the Frogmore Creek Cellar Door & Restaurant, a mere 10 kilometers from Richmond. Here, patrons can savor dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients, accompanied by the acclaimed "Frogmore Creek" labeled wines, all while enjoying picturesque views of the valley and its sprawling vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see.

The adventure continues along a scenic country road, leading to the remarkable Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, about 30 kilometers away. This sanctuary serves as a haven for Tasmania's rare and fragile wildlife, offering visitors an unparalleled opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich biodiversity of the region. Prepare to come face-to-face with unique creatures such as the tawny frogmouth, the lovable wombat, the spiky echidna, the ringtail possum, the cuddly koala, and, of course, the infamous Tasmanian devil. A visit to Bonorong is not just a journey through Tasmania's stunning landscapes, but an intimate encounter with the island's treasured and diverse inhabitants.

Cruise and historic site

As the sun rises, the journey heads southeast towards the Tasman Peninsula, about a hundred kilometers from Hobart, paving the way for a three-hour cruise that promises stunning vistas and rich biodiversity. This tour, setting sail between Eaglehawk Neck and the Port Arthur Historic Site, grants travelers the chance to glide on crystalline waters alongside some of the tallest cliffs in the southern hemisphere, with some towering as high as 300 meters. The specially designed vessel ensures optimal views of cascades, quirky rock formations, arches, and caves that dot this picturesque coast, part of the world heritage-listed Tasman National Park.

This coastal paradise is a sanctuary for a rich array of wildlife including hundreds of seals, migrating whales from May to December, and countless seabirds like gannets, albatrosses, sea eagles, cliff-nesting cormorants, and peregrine falcons. Adding to the spectacle, dolphins often grace visitors with playful displays, dancing in the waves at the bow of the boat.

Post-cruise, a delightful lunch awaits at the Port Arthur Lavender Farm, offering a serene setting to relax and rejuvenate before the afternoon's adventure.

The day's journey culminates with a visit to the Port Arthur Historic Site, a world heritage-listed location and one of the best-preserved penal settlement sites in Australia, ranking among the most significant globally. Steeped in history, this site, which operated as a penal colony from 1830 to 1877, stands as one of Tasmania's most popular historic locations. It invites visitors to delve deep into Australia's convict past, offering a poignant glimpse into the lives and experiences of those who resided there so many years ago.

The old-world charm of Hobart

Nestled at the foot of Mount Wellington, Australia's southernmost capital radiates tranquility, untouched by the troubles of pollution and retaining its delightful old-world charm. This serene sailor's haven, characterized by its colonial architecture and expansive parks, is straddled by the Derwent River, where the earliest settlers established their homes in 1803.

One of its highlights is Battery Point, a historic neighborhood whose roots trace back to the city's inception. The area is home to around forty historic buildings, setting the stage for a nostalgic walk down the lanes of the past. Adding to its appeal, a picturesque Salamanca market comes to life every Saturday at Salamanca Place, beckoning locals and tourists alike with its nice atmosphere.

Another asset of Hobart is the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), an artistic haven nestled within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula, just eleven kilometers north of the city. Open from Friday to Monday, visitors have the option to drive or take a scenic ferry ride from Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier to MONA. This swift journey, aboard a high-speed catamaran, unveils nice views and delivers visitors to the museum in roughly twenty-five minutes. Once there, art aficionados can immerse themselves in over 1,900 works of art, all part of David Walsh's private collection, housed in this famed establishment.

But Hobart is also famous for its Mount Wellington that dominates the cityscape. Situated about twenty kilometers to the west, this mountain towers over the capital, offering breathtaking panoramas of Hobart and its surroundings from an impressive altitude of 1,270 meters. Visitors during the winter months may even be treated to the picturesque sight of its snow-capped summit, adding another layer of beauty to the capital of Tasmania.

View of Hobart from Mount Wellington
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