Hobart & Beyond
The finish line is just the start of your Tassie journey, at race time and year-round.
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 into the Shipwrights Arms Hotel in Battery Point in 1969 – and casually shouted the bar 200 beers. The tradition of the Quiet Little Drink was born and continued for decades. The biggest shout was recorded in 1979 by an Irish crew who bankrolled 3,333 beers. While licensing laws have ended a shout of these proportions, the tradition of a post-race beverage lives on at places including the Shipwrights Arms and Customs House. Why not start your own Tassie tradition? How about a dozen freshly shucked oysters and a glass of local sparkling on the docks? Or just head off for a few days of rest and recovery at Pumphouse Point, a central highlands retreat on Lake St Clair surrounded by World Heritage-listed wilderness.
From breakfast to late-night snacks and all hours in between, Hobart’s reputation as a food-lover’s destination should be explored one meal at a time. Start the day with good coffee – try local favourites Parklane Espresso and Machine Laundry Cafe in Salamanca; Yellow Bernard, Small-Fry or Pigeon Hole in the city, or venture further afield to suburban gems such as Ginger Brown in South Hobart or Sweet Sassafras in North Hobart.
High-profile chefs have been lured south by the fresh produce and lifestyle, while others are home grown. Either way, the meals they produce are outstanding, taking superb ingredients and somehow making them even better. Local favourites include the 20-seater Templo, The Glass House on Brooke Street Pier, and Fico for a chef’s-table experience. Try the quality pub meals at Tom McHugo’s or the New Sydney, or travel further afield (35 minutes’ drive, to New Norfolk) to Agrarian Kitchen Eatery for kitchen garden cooking at its best. Get your Tassie seafood fix at one of the fish punts on the docks behind Hobart Race Village. And plunge into The Taste of Tasmania, Australia’s oldest and largest food and wine festival. Close to 100 stallholders offer the state’s finest food and drink from 28 December to 3 January.
It’s a good idea to book ahead for tables at this time of year.
A little time to spare
There’s so much to explore with Hobart as your base. Take the ferry from Brooke Street Pier, near the race village, to Mona, Australia’s largest private museum, to see its provocative art collection and dramatic architecture. Opt for the Posh Pit ferry ride for complimentary drinks and canapes with River Derwent views, and follow up with all-day grazing at a clutch of cafes, restaurants and bar, including Faro, Mona’s newest bar and restaurant.
Tasmania is known for high quality markets. Salamanca is one of Australia’s best-loved markets and opens every Saturday at 8.30am-3pm, packed with local art, craft, seasonal produce and street performers. On Sunday morning, follow the Hobart locals to Farm Gate Market in the city centre (8.30am-1pm) or head further afield to one of the many markets held in surrounding regions each week.
Plan a day trip to explore the Huon Valley, south of Hobart. This area is known for its orchards, apples in particular, so make a pit stop at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed, an easy 25-minute drive from Hobart, for tours and tastings of apple cider and brandy. Head to Franklin to see the fascinating Wooden Boat Centre; and get back on the water on the traditional 1930s oak ketch, Yukon. Further south is the town of Geeveston – you might recognise some of the streets from the ABC TV’s hit comedy series Rosehaven.
For a day outdoors, head to Mount Field National Park, the state’s oldest and most diverse park and just over an hour’s drive from Hobart. Russell Falls is the park’s star attraction.
For a different kind of day trip, explore the cool-climate wine region of Coal River Valley, dotted with vineyards and cellar doors. At its heart is the charming town of Richmond, an easy half-hour drive east of Hobart. The town has more than 50 Georgian buildings, many restored as cafes, galleries and lodgings. Its most photographed landmark is the convict-built Richmond Bridge, Australia’s oldest bridge and a perfect picnic spot beside the Coal River.
A few days to explore
With more time up your sleeve, head further afield. Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is about four hours’ drive from Hobart and one of the state’s most extraordinary places. Stay at one of the lodges in the highlands, or book a campsite or cabin and keep your eyes peeled for wombats, pademelons, echidnas, platypuses and quolls. Walk the two-hour Dove Lake Circuit track, or scramble to the summit of Cradle Mountain over the course of a day and take in the epic views. Spend some extra time exploring the rolling green hills and wild coastline of the north-west, and head back to Hobart via the Western Wilds, a drive that links the three World Heritage areas of Cradle Mountain, the wild rivers of the Franklin and lower Gordon, and Lake St Clair.
Follow the Convict Trail to learn more about another group of people who sailed here – some 76,000 men, women and children who were transported to Van Diemen’s Land in the 1800s as convicts. From the historic town of Richmond to Tasman National Park and the World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site, this trail is rich in convict history and natural beauty. The Tasman Peninsula has breathtaking seascapes, with some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world and wild ocean views.
If you’re after adventure, head north-east to change from sails to wheels. Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails, near the town of Derby, about 80 minutes’ drive from Launceston, has a network of 125 kilometres of world-class uphill and downhill trails. Nearby at St Helens, a network of 12 trails spans wilderness terrain – end your ride at spectacular larapuna/Bay of Fires.
Or get swinging at the golf course at Barnbougle Dunes or Lost Farm, ranked among the top courses in Australia. There’s comfortable onsite accommodation, as well as golf clubs for hire. And wrap up your northern adventure with one last Quiet Little Drink on the Tamar Valley Wine Route.
For more Tassie travel inspiration see discovertasmania.com.au