Welcome to the Finish Line, where we celebrate the arrival of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race boats.
Hobart’s waterfront is busy and buzzing, anticipating and celebrating the arrival of the boats. Come and enjoy the packed program of entertainment, food and drinks, family fun, displays and information at the Hobart Race Village. Nearby, The Taste of Tasmania festival is in full swing celebrating the best Tassie food and drinks on offer and Hobart’s hot spots are within walking distance. Once the boats start rolling in, the atmosphere at Hobart’s Constitution Dock rises excitingly, culminating in the celebration of New Year’s Eve on the waterfront.
Quiet Little Drink
You may have heard the story of the two freshly salted sailors who walked up the hill from Constitution Dock and straight into the Shipwrights Arms Pub in Battery Point in 1969 – they shouted the bar 200 beers. The tradition of the Quiet Little Drink (QLD) was born and continued to flourish year on year with the biggest shout in history recorded by an Irish crew who bank-rolled 3,333 beers in 1979. While licensing laws have put the QLD out to pasture for now, the tradition of a post-race beverage lives on – with Shipwrights Arms and Customs House being the current favourites. Or why not start your own QLD tradition? How do freshly shucked oysters and a Tassie Sparkling on the docks sound, or head somewhere really quiet for a few days of seclusion tucked away in Tasmania’s wilderness at Lake St Clair accommodation Pumphouse Point?
The Taste of Tasmania
Set against the backdrop of the historic waterfront precinct, The Taste of Tasmania is Australia’s oldest and largest food and wine festival – notching up 30 years this year. Running from Friday 28 December 2018 - Thursday 3 January 2019, the festival program features over 30 diverse events such as cooking classes, workshops and tastings from world-famous chefs; as well as over 100 stallholders showcasing Tassie’s finest food, and drinks from Tasmanian vineyards and distillers. There’s live bands and performers of all kinds, as well as the traditional New Year’s Eve party, complete with glittering fireworks. Entry to The Taste of Tasmania is free, with the exception of some premium events (including New Year’s Eve) being ticketed. Those tickets will go on sale mid-October.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and all hours in between, Hobart’s growing reputation as a food and drink destination can be explored one meal at a time. Start the day the caffeinated way with quality coffee all over town – try local favourites Park Lane and Machine Laundry Cafe in Salamanca, Yellow Bernard, Small Fry or Pigeon Hole Bakers in the city or venture further afield to one of the suburban gems like Ginger Brown in South Hobart or Sweet Sassafras in North Hobart.
Some big name chefs have been lured down south by the fresh produce and lifestyle, others are home grown. Either way, the food they produce is simply outstanding, taking superb ingredients and somehow making them even better. Try Templo, The Glasshouse or Fico for a chef’s table experience, get into quality pub grub at Tom McHugo’s or the New Sydney or travel further afield to Agrarian Kitchen for kitchen garden cooking at its award-winning best. Don’t forget to get your Tassie seafood fix at one of the fish punts on the docks behind the Hobart Race Village and The Taste of Tasmania runs from the 28 December until 3 January nearby. It’s a good idea to book your lunch and dinner options ahead at this time of year, or just follow your nose (and taste buds) to discover our local flavours.
A little time to spare
Using Hobart as your base, there’s so much to explore. Take the ferry from Brooke Street Pier (near the Hobart Race Village) to Mona to explore the controversial art collection and architecture of Australia’s largest private museum. Opt for the Posh Pit to enjoy complimentary drinks and canapes as you explore further up the River Derwent, or try the newest dining offering, Faros, while you’re there.
Tasmania is known for high quality markets. Salamanca Market is one of Australia’s most-loved markets and runs every Saturday morning from 8:30am-3pm, packed with local art, craft, produce and street performers. On Sunday morning, head where the Hobart locals do and grab a bite at the Farm Gate Market or head further afield for one of the many markets held regionally each week.
Get out of town for the day and head south to explore the Huon Valley. This area is known for fruit production, apples in particular, so start the day with a pit stop at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed, then onto Franklin to visit the fascinating Australian Wooden Boat Centre. You can even get back out on the water on a traditional sailing ketch, Yukon. Keep on the road to Geeveston where you might recognise some of the streets from ABC’s hit comedy Rosehaven, which is set here and enjoy a refuel at Masaaki’s Sushi. Alternatively, explore the wine region of Coal River Valley, or head to Mt Field to walk and explore the wilderness.
A few days to explore
With more time up your sleeve you can head further afield. Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is about four hours from Hobart and one of the state’s most extraordinary places. You can stay at one of the comfortable highland lodges or book a campsite or cabin and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wombats, pademelons, echidna, platypus and quolls. Walk the two-hour Dove Lake Circuit track, or scramble to the summit over the course of a day and take in the epic views. Spend some extra time in the area exploring the rolling green hills of the North West Coast or head back to Hobart via the West Coast Wilderness.
Follow the Convict Trail to learn more about another group of people who sailed here - the 70,000 men, women and children who were transported here in the 1800’s as convicts. The trail takes in historic Richmond and the famous bridge there, stop in for fresh oysters at the Bangor Vineyard Shed, then down to Tasman National Park to see some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world, explore the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Port Arthur Historic Site and visit the natural rock formations dotted through this area.
If more adventure is what you’re after, head north to change from sails to wheels. Blue Derby MTB Trails is fast becoming known one of the best mountain bike parks in the country with over 80 kilometres of track to explore. Or get swinging and enjoy a round of golf at Barnbougle Dunes or Lost Farm, ranked in the top courses in Australia. There’s comfortable onsite accommodation, as well as golf clubs for hire. Wrap up your northern adventure with one last Quiet Little Drink, following the Tamar Valley Wine Route to Clover Hill, one of Tasmania’s finest.
For more Tassie travel inspiration visit www.discovertasmania.com.au