No doubt about it, Hobart’s future is looking rosy. Tourism is booming and the old town is humming with low vacancy rates, high real-estate prices and new-found self-confidence.
On the Waterfront
Hobart is a harbour town – a port city where the world rushes in on the tide and ebbs away again, bringing with it influences from afar and leaving the locals buzzing with a global zeitgeist. Or so the theory goes. These days Hobart’s waterfront precinct is certainly abuzz, with old pubs alongside new craft-beer bars, myriad cafes, museums, festivals, ferries, fishing boats, yachts, accommodation and a floating pier upholding fine restaurants…all of it washed with sea-salty charm and a sense of history. On a sunny afternoon, there are few more pleasant places to find yourself.
Up the Mountain
Riding high above the city is kunanyi/Mt Wellington, a craggy basalt beast seemingly made for mountain biking and bushwalking. Known as kunanyi by local Aboriginal people, and just 'the mountain' by everybody else, this 1271m-high monolith both defines the city below and shelters it. Drive to the summit in any season – you're assured of either a show-stopping view or an out-of-time, lunar, cloud-shrouded experience, wandering around between snowdrifts, lichen-dappled boulders and the stunted plants that somehow survive in these lofty skies. Finally, barrel back down to the waterfront on a mountain-bike tour like no other.
Eating & Drinking
Watery cappuccino? Lukewarm sausage roll? Maybe a deep-fried, reconstituted squid ring? Forget it: the bad old days of Hobart food and drink are long gone. The new order of service here focuses on top-quality local and seasonal produce, turned by deft chefs into marvellous restaurant, cafe and pub meals. Coffee culture is also firmly entrenched, with double-shot pick-me-ups available at every turn. And booze? Cascade Brewery leads Australian's mainstream brewing brigade, but an under-fleet of creative craft-beer breweries is also bubbling up here. And with dinner, cool-climate wines from the nearby Coal and Derwent river valleys are hard to beat.
Hobart's summer festival season is an absolute blast! For a few weeks circling around New Year's Eve, this little city goes berserk with travellers, foodies, musicians, and sailors from the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race turning the town upside down. The Taste of Tasmanian festival, highlighting local produce, is the summer centrepiece. Then, in the depths of winter, Hobart's more macabre, unhinged side comes out to play: the Dark MOFO festival shines a pale gothic light on the city's past and present, with visitors revelling in offbeat performances, feasts, bonfires, installations and plenty of good red wine.