Head to the capital of Australia’s stunning island of Tasmania for a blend of city life, culinary delights, and easy access to amazing outdoor experiences. The food and wine scene deserves a nod too, with fresh culinary opportunities and lovely vineyards ready to fill you up in the best way.
From exploring the picturesque Derwent River to immersing yourself in nature outside of the city, Hobart is a rich destination worthy of adding to the top of your travel list. Here are some of the best things to do in Hobart.
1: Hike in Wellington Park
Bushwalking opportunities abound in Wellington Park, just outside of Hobart. It’s the perfect place to stretch your legs while taking in the scenery and views surrounding the resident Mount Wellington. Embracing nature in Wellington Park is one of the top things to do in Tasmania, especially if you’re spending summer in Australia.
A 13-mile (21-kilometer) drive will bring you to the summit, where you can embark on various walking tracks to discover the wondrous beauty of the region. Trails range from easy to very difficult, providing a diverse selection of paths for people of all interest and skill levels.
Take the 30-minute Zig-Zag Track for panoramic views overlooking the city without too much effort. If you’re looking for a longer trek, the four-hour Pinnacle to Mount Wellington route will reward you with views of the “Organ Pipes,” a cliff of rocks resembling columns, the city, and the East Coast. Tree ferns, waterfalls, eucalyptus forests, and streams are just some of the gorgeous highlights you’ll encounter on these trails.
2: Experience Culture at the Museum of Old and New Art
The Museum of Old and New Art, located on the Berriedale Peninsula, is one of the best things to do in Hobart for art lovers. This mix of modern and contemporary privately owned works, collected by David Walsh, provides much to see outside of a typical art museum.
The single-story building itself is a lesson in architecture appreciation, making it one of the best museums in the world. Inside the museum, the space is known for its famous spiral staircase connecting the exhibitions, as well as the unique lack of windows, which creates a dark atmosphere. An onsite bar and restaurant offer refreshments. Make sure to enjoy the Moorilla Winery on the property during your visit.
3: Birdwatch at Betsey Island
A nature reserve perched at the start of the Derwent River, Betsey Island is an uninhabited birdwatching haven composed of salt marsh, sedgeland, and Tasmanian blue gum forest. This spit of land is a breeding area for little penguins native to Australia and New Zealand. You’ll also have the chance to spot shearwaters, kept gulls, cormorants, and white-bellied sea eagles.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of this group of islands is that it also serves as a ship graveyard. A pair of previous freighters used in the 1930s now rest offshore of Little Betsey Island, creating a lively underwater world teeming with marine life perfect for divers. There are even more harbor shipwrecks and a portion of the old pontoon bridge positioned to the west. A boat trip around this rugged island will have you feeling worlds away from the city.
4: Get Splashed by a Waterfall at Mount Field National Park
This lush destination just an hour and a half outside of Hobart is one of the best things to do in Tasmania. The main draw of the island’s first national park is Russell Falls, a very accessible example of Mother Nature’s splendor. This tiered cascade is one of the most photographed waterfalls in all of Tasmania.
A 20-minute round-trip stroll along the boardwalk through giant trees, wet forests, and fern forests will land you in front of this beauty, making it the perfect adventure for people of all ages. If you’re up for a bit longer of a trek, tack on Lady Barron Falls and the Tall Trees Walk to really immerse yourself in this World Heritage Wilderness Area. This will have you gazing at the Eucalyptus regnans, soaring Australian trees, and the tallest flowering plant on Earth.
5: Dive into History in Port Arthur
This UNESCO World Heritage Site, located on the gorgeous Carnarvon Bay, is a portal to the past. The very well-preserved Port Arthur Historic Site was previously built as a timber station and convict settlement in the 18th century. Learn about the country’s colonial history and the stories behind this famous Australian landmark that held numerous convicts in its prisons.
Tour the grounds and see the church, guard tower, and main penitentiary while learning about the harsh treatment of former prisoners. Specialty events like ghost tours and reenactment performances often take place here. You can take a boat to the site’s graveyard too, called the “Isle of the Dead.”
6: Enjoy Local Cuisine on Bruny Island
This scenic island is a food-lover’s paradise. Sampling the area’s fresh farm-to-table cuisine is one of the top things to do in Tasmania. Farms and wineries abound with local produce at the ready. Enjoy fresh oysters and other seafood, berries, cheeses, honey, wine, and beer. For dessert, resident bakers create amazing fudge, truffles, and handmade chocolates.
The talented chefs at the island’s restaurants offer creative dishes that will have you swooning. Artisan cheese shines at the Bruny Island Cheese & Beer Company. Sample single malt whiskey at the Bruny Island House of Whisky after indulging in freshly shucked oysters at the Get Shucked Oyster Farm and Bar. Stock up on chocolate at the Bruny Island Chocolate Company.
7: Sip Wine in the Countryside
Just a quick 15-minute trip outside of Hobart will have you in the gorgeous countryside region of Coal River Valley, where local wineries await. You’ll have your choice of wine estates, farms, and vineyards to sip some of their top-produced varieties, including pinot noir, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc, and locally produced goods.
Picnic at Puddleduck Vineyard, pair wood-fired pizza with wine at the famous Pooley Vineyards, and taste the French influence at Frogmore Creek. Historic properties, shops, galleries, and cute little bakeries await in the town of Richmond, one of the alluring stops along the route through one of the main wine-producing regions in Tasmania.
If you have some extra time, spend some time exploring this historic village, admiring the Gregorian architecture and well-known Richmond Bridge, built in the early 1800s.
8: Explore the Botanical Gardens
An oasis of flora and fauna in the city of Hobart, the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is the perfect way to spend the morning or afternoon, where you’ll find native trees and unique plants indigenous to Tasmania.
Explore the subantarctic plant house and its collection of plants transplanted from Macquarie Island. Enjoy an educational tour through the gardens and learn about how plants survive with only a few hours of daylight in extreme cold and wind.
Over 140 species thrive in these gardens, including plants from the east coast of Tasmania, Huan Pine (found in the rainforest), as well as rare and endangered species. See the French Memorial Fountain, which pays homage to French explorers that visited Tasmania like Jacques Labillardiere, who uncovered 100 new types of plants.
9: Embark on a Sculpture Scavenger Hunt in Battery Point
The perfect place to stretch your legs at a leisurely pace, the neighborhood of Battery Point on Hobart’s eastern edge is filled with art and culture. Its name hails from the gun battery that aimed to protect the city from possible nautical threats since 1818.
The old quarter is set up like an outdoor museum with its history on display in its colonial-era architecture and art galleries. Check out the main street, Hampden Road, lined with restaurants, tea houses, and bakeries, as well as the Narryna Heritage Museum.
See how many of the nine sculptures you can spot along the waterfront trail. Some are easier to spot than others, making it a true scavenger hunt. Maps are available online or in print—you choose if you want to attempt it on your own or with a little guidance.
10: Visit Australia’s Oldest Brewery
Built in 1824, Cascade Brewery in the southern portion of the city snags the title of “Australia’s Oldest Brewery.” Taking a guided tour of this historical brewery and learning about the production of Tasmania’s well-known beer is one of the best things to do in Hobart. Taste various brews along with a selection of non-alcoholic drinks such as sodas and fruit syrups.
Trying the famous Cascade Pale Ale is a must—it’s the oldest continuously brewed beer in all of Australia. Aside from sampling brews, you can wander the surrounding gardens or stop by the onsite restaurant, which features menu items that pair perfectly with the brewery’s beer.
11: Discover Bruny Island’s Wild Side
Although Bruny Island is known for its amazing food scene, it’s also an outdoor lover’s paradise. A plethora of walking tracks are available all over the island with the option for more challenging treks or strolls on one of the best beaches in Australia.
South Bruny Island National Park, a wildlife sanctuary with many endangered animals and plants, is a great place to start. The island is host to many fur seals, albatross, white wallabies, and fairy penguins. Explore the scenic coastline cliffs eucalyptus forests, and take in the view of the second oldest lighthouse in the country, the Cape Bruny Lighthouse.
From Adventure Bay, it’s possible to walk to Penguin Island. The sheltered bay is the starting point for many other tracks and a popular place for swimming. For a longer hike, consider the Labillardiere Peninsula Loop, a five-hour trek scattered with wildflowers that features sprawling mountain and coastal views.
Ready to explore the capital city of Tasmania? A luxury cruise is a fantastic way to discover some of the best things to do in Hobart. From historical neighborhoods and landmarks to incredible outdoor adventures and fresh culinary delights, Hobart is a destination that appeals to all types of travelers. Browse our Tasmania cruise itineraries to plan your Tasmanian adventure today.