Words Iris Wong
*Featured in Crave’s Issue 90, December 2017
Best time to visit: November to January
Beat the winter blues by heading south to Hobart, the waterfront capital of Tasmania, Australia’s southerly island state. Situated on the Derwent River estuary, this small but vibrant city offers an eclectic mixture of culture, heritage and scenery.
Tucked below the snow – capped, 1,200 – metre high Mount Wellington, in southeast Tasmania, Hobart is the gateway to the island’s unspoiled wilderness of rainforests, valleys, national parks, rivers, mountain ranges and beautiful beaches. Historic sites such as the former penal colony at Port Arthur are redolent of the state’s colonial past. Today, however, Hobart is famous as a food and cultural hub.
Take a camouflage catamaran (splash out on Posh Pit seats) 11 kilometres upriver to the Museum of Old and New Art, or Mona. Opened in 2011, it draws visitors with its annual festivals and weird and wonderful pieces such as a rain – painting machine, a wall lined with casts of female genitalia, and a cinerarium where “eternity” members can have their ashes interred and displayed.
Hobart’s vibrant food scene celebrates Tasmania’s fresh produce and culinary diversity: think oyster farms, food markets, hipster coffee shops and fine – dining establishments. On Saturdays, hit outdoor Salamanca Market for mouth – watering food, artisanal jewellery, handmade clothing and vintage ephemera, then take a stroll along the waterfront, past elegant sandstone buildings and ultra – modern architecture, or relax on the lawns, people – watch and soak up the city’s sunny, laid – back vibe and effortless beauty.
How to Get There
From Hong Kong, fly to Hobart via Melbourne or Sydney.
What to Do
Unesco World Heritage – listed Port Arthur is the best – preserved former convict site in Australia. Visitors can learn more about the colonial era and the brutal penal settlement.
Not for the easily offended, the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) houses some of the world’s most controversial art in a subterranean space privately funded by multi – millionaire Australian gambler David Walsh. Since opening in 2011, it has quickly become the state’s biggest tourist attraction.
For unmatched views, head up to the rocky summit of Mount Wellington, 1,200 metres above sea level. Take a shuttle bus, a bike or hike to the top and be rewarded with incredible views of Hobart and an ice – cold beer at the Cascade Brewery on the way down.
Where to Stay
In an 1847 Regency building, Tasmania’s most – awarded luxury boutique hotel is furnished with antiques and decorated with fine art. Enjoy a cuppa in its tranquil garden as you gaze at majestic Mount Wellington
321 Davey Street, Hobart 7000
T +613 6220 2123
Love the Mona museum? Then you’ll also like its luxury accommodation on the banks of Derwent. Each room is named after an influential Australian artist or architect, and features artworks from the museum’s collection.
655 Main Road, Berriedale, Hobart 7011
T +613 6277 9900
Salamanca What Hotel
Drop anchor at Tasmania’s art and culture hub. The Salamanca Wharf Hotel is a contemporary boutique property on the Hobart waterfront, just minutes from historic Salamanca Place and its 300 – stall Saturday market packed with crafts, homewares and fresh produce.
17A Castray Esplanade, Hobart 7000
T +613 6224 7007
Where to Eat and Drink
Two minutes from Hobart airport is Barilla Bay Oyster Farm. Tour the farm, then dig into briny, meaty Tasmanian oysters.
Made from the nectar of the leatherwood tree, which grows in rainforest valleys in western Tasmania, this amber – gold honey has a rich, complex, musky taste and a thick, creamy texture.
Mention Tasmania and whisky is unlikely to be the first thing that comes to mind – indeed, distilling spirits was outlawed in the state until 1991. Distilleries have been busy since then, however, and one of our favourites is Lark Distillery near Salamanca wharf, where visitors can try an award – winning single malt.