Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans - John Lennon
Published May 29th 2014
Hobart in a nutshell
This article would benefit readers who are visiting Tasmania for the first time and only have a few days to spend in Hobart. Here I will share with you our experience on planning and allocating our time in Hobart, which hopefully will help you in planning your trip!
We decided we would fly into Hobart and fly out of Launceston so we get to visit both cities. Many people would recommend driving in Tasmania as it is far easier to get to places. But if you don't drive there are buses available, although you will need to plan your activities around the bus schedule. The two main bus operators in Tasmania that will be helpful to keep in mind are Redline and Tassielink.
Once we arrived at Hobart airport, we took a taxi to our hostel which cost about $45. If you have less than 3 people, it makes more sense to take the Hobart Airport Shuttle as a single trip is $17 pp and $30 for a return trip.
We stayed at Hobart Hostel for $30 pp per night. Overall it was a decent hostel. After checking in, we walked around the town and went to Daci & Daci Bakers, which served really good pastries.
The cafe is close to Franklin Wharf so we stopped by the wharf before heading to the Visitor Information Centre, where we booked the Bruny Island cruise tour. The full day tour cost $195 pp but it was totally worth it (will go into further details later).
After that we decided to rent a car to visit Port Arthur and Mt Wellington the next day. Tassielink provides bus services to Port Arthur but there is only one bus to and from on Saturdays so planning beforehand is strongly recommended. For Mt Wellington, there is a bus service that takes you there and back for $25 but the bus only operates twice, at 10.15am and 1.30pm.
Next, we walked to Battery Point where we found lots of quaint-looking buildings and had dinner at Da Angelo, which served really good pasta and pizza. Tasmania is famous for its fresh seafood so remember to order some! After dinner, we took a short stroll past Salamanca Place before heading back to the hostel. Salamanca at night was surprisingly romantic, with sparkling lights, sandstone buildings, and live music (it could also just be a Friday night thing).
The next morning, we managed to squeeze in some time for Salamanca Market. The market only operates on Saturday, from 8.30am to 3pm. It was well worth a visit, with lots of quirky things to buy, from local produce and handmade animal sculptures to the famous lavender bear.
We then drove 1.5 hours to Port Arthur. We bought the Bronze pass ($35 pp) which entitled us to a free introductory tour and also a free ferry cruise. Port Arthur retains so much history and with up to 32 ruins to visit, I would recommend a full day or even an overnight stay if you have the time. There are also little towns you can visit near Port Arthur. On your drive back from Port Arthur to Hobart on the A3 highway, do keep an eye out for Pitt Water as you might witness one of the most breathtaking sceneries.
Next, we drove up to Mt Wellington. Despite being told the drive would only take 35 minutes, it took us an hour to reach the summit due to the winding road and speed limit. The view from Mt Wellington was definitely well worth the drive, but get there before sunset! We reached the summit just after sunset and the wind was so strong and freezing cold which made the experience a little unpleasant. Do wear a windbreaker if you have one!
We then visited The Fish Bar as we really wanted to have a seafood feast for dinner. The Fish Bar offers good value for money for the variety of seafood, but don't expect a fancy looking restaurant or fine dining quality.
On our third day we did the Bruny Island tour, where we were very fortunate to spot the rare blue whale, a school of dolphins, seals, and some amazing caves. The cruise was perfectly safe, but at times due to the crashing waves it felt like an adrenaline ride!
After the tour, we took the Redline coach to Launceston. If you book early, it only costs $19.90 pp. Last minute booking is twice the price, so do plan ahead.
Overall, Hobart is definitely well worth a visit. I have been to almost every city in Australia and there is no other city quite like Hobart. For one, autumn in Hobart is really pretty, albeit cold. There are a few other attractions that are probably worth visiting but we didn't have the time, such as MONA, Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay. I might consider writing a detailed review of some of the attractions mentioned above, but in the meantime do check out my next article on Launceston!