This post is a bit overdue, since I’ve been back for a number of weeks now, but I recently had the opportunity to escape Brisvegas (leaving hubby at home!) and head down to the bottom of the beautiful, vast country I call home to visit a dear friend I hadn’t seen in a few years. What I discovered there was a wonderful city full of things to do and see, and the trip felt like a much-needed break from my everyday surroundings. I came back feeling refreshed and ready to go back to work with a clear head. Oh, and slightly chilled to the bone…it’s freezing down there!! Luckily I didn’t declutter my thick winter jacket (which I wear about one day per year here in Brisbane).
Much like our trip to France earlier this year, I tried to keep my luggage, as well as my the way I approached my time in Hobart, in keeping with my minimalist philosophy. Instead of purchasing extra luggage so I could take a suitcase, I took just one carry-on backpack with all my clothes, toiletries and other bits and pieces for the trip. When it came to approaching my time away minimalistically, for me this meant doing less rather than more so I could enjoy each experience fully, and not taking too many photos so I could be present in the moment (the ones I did take were mediocre, so I apologise in advance).
So here’s how my five-day sojourn in Hobart went down. I have included things to do and a few spots where we enjoyed the food for any readers who might be visiting Hobart soon!
Our first stop was the the Farm Gate Market on Bathurst Street in the CBD, just a short walk from my friend’s house. This was a great way to discover the artisan products such as cheeses that Tasmania is famous for, as well as lots of fresh produce proudly displayed by stallholders who are actually the growers, too. After this we prepared for our first tourist destination: MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art (adult entry $28; free for Tasmanian residents and under-18s). This is a cutting-edge kind of gallery where you will only find a few paintings and artefacts of the old world and a wide variety of intriguing and often confronting works by contemporary artists. Displays we saw included a machine that mimics the processes of the human digestive system (which is ‘fed’ by MONA staff daily, and has a bowel motion at 2pm daily), a contraption that writes words with falling water, a bizarre room full of flashing lights and eerie sounds (we dubbed this one the epilepsy room…I couldn’t bear to be in it) and a wall displaying hundreds of plaster casts of real women’s labia.
MONA was a strange experience for me; I enjoyed some exhibits and really didn’t enjoy others, and left there with a huge headache but knowing that I had experienced something I wouldn’t likely experience anywhere else in the world. Fortunately, the café attached to MONA was great, with yummy food (I had the soup of the day – $14 or thereabouts), cloth napkins (yay!!!) and a beautiful view of the Derwent River – a great way to refresh after the sensory overload of the museum itself.
We travelled to MONA on the ferry ($22 return), which departs from the Brooke Street Pier and takes about 25 minutes. The trip itself is well worth it, with much to be seen as you wind your way down the Derwent River towards MONA. Oh, and the staff looking dashing in their boiler suit uniforms!
Here’s the beautiful view of the waterfront and Mt Wellington as you leave the pier:
Since it’s so small (for a capital city, that is), Hobart is a great city to discover on foot, so we spent the second day wandering around the CBD, people-watching and eating. We enjoyed a delicious and wallet-friendly lunch at Bento, a Japanese eatery on Harrington Street which filled the deep-fried-tofu-sized hole in my stomach thanks to the vegetarian bento box ($11.95). The afternoon was then dedicated to watching Pride and Prejudice while we warmed our toes in front of the fire…absolute bliss.
On Day 3 we visited Mt Wellington, the iconic mountain which overlooks Hobart – an absolute must-see! The photo below really doesn’t do any justice to the view from the top.
I was excited to find that there was snow at the summit!
Later that day we headed over to Battery Point, a popular waterfront neighbourhood known for its Salamanca Market on Saturdays (unfortunately I missed this market, as I arrived on a Sunday). We enjoyed wandering through the area, which is full of trendy cafés and cute gift shops, and had lunch at The Whaler pub, where I made an excellent choice with the delicious miso eggplant bowl (a little pricey at $16.50 but well worth it!).
In the evening we headed to the State Cinema on Elizabeth Street in North Hobart (adult tickets $15 each), an adorable boutique cinema which has its own café, bar and bookstore. We were lucky enough to see our film (The King’s Choice) from one of the more intimate of the cinema’s screening rooms, featuring luxurious leather armchairs and glass walls so we could enjoy Hobart by night throughout the screening.
We enjoyed a lovely day trip to Richmond, which is a short drive from the city since it is located only about 25 km north-east of Hobart. This historic village is home to Richmond Gaol, a relic of Tasmania’s convict era. Exploring the gaol was interesting (entry $10) – we saw the flogging yard, solitary confinement cells, men’s quarters and women’s quarters – and there was a fascinating array of artefacts on display throughout the site. Another famous landmark in the village is the Richmond Bridge, built in 1823 to 1825 by prisoners of the gaol, which is Australia’s oldest bridge still in use.
Being a big tourist spot, there are plenty of places to eat in Richmond; we discovered Ashmore on Bridge Street, a vibrant little café with good service and reasonable prices. The pumpkin and ginger soup of the day ($10.50) was excellent!
Later that day, back in the city, we explored the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery (free entry), which has a number of great exhibitions; I really enjoyed Islands to Ice, a permanent exhibition all about Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
On my final day in Hobart we went for a scenic drive north-west of the city, following the Derwent and Tyenna Rivers with no real end-point in mind, just stopping to enjoy the scenery along the way. This was definitely my kind of slow living-themed day! That evening we went out for dinner at Pizza Traders, a new establishment on Elizabeth Street in North Hobart. I had the Pumpkin Eater pizza on a gluten-free base ($24), which was a little less flavoursome than I anticipated but I was impressed with the texture of the base.
Well, that’s about it. There was a Day 6, but it was spent travelling back to the sweltering heat of Brisbane! Hobart impressed me with its great food, relaxed atmosphere and excellent outdoor and indoor tourist offerings. I would definitely like to take my husband there in the future and continue exploring!