Hobart

For other places with the same name, see Hobart (disambiguation).

Hobart is the capital city of the Australian state of Tasmania and is Australia's second oldest city, after Sydney. Situated along the Derwent River and with humble beginnings as a penal colony, Hobart is now a small and intimate city with a population of around 220,000 in the Greater Hobart area. The city is renowned for its many historic buildings, including the famous Salamanca Place, and is the gateway to Southern Tasmania. Hobart played a major role during the heroic age of Antarctic exploration and is one of the five gateway cities to Antarctica.

Understand

History

Founded in 1804 by Colonel David Collins, Hobart is the second oldest city in Australia. It grew out of the penal settlement on the island at Risdon Cove, eight kilometres up river, which was founded in 1803 and abandoned five months later for the present site of Hobart.

In the first half of the 1800s, the whaling boom generated a surge in maritime support industries and infrastructure. Whaling ceased in the late-1800s, but Hobart never lost its boat-building, ship-chandlery and provedoring legacy. This made Hobart a logical staging post in the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. France’s Dumont d’Urville, Australia’s Douglas Mawson, England’s James Clark Ross, and Norway’s Carsten Borchgrevink and Roald Amundsen all paused in the Derwent on their way to Antarctica.

In December 1911, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by Mawson was given a rousing send-off from Hobart’s Sullivans Cove. A few months later, Amundsen brought Fram into Hobart in order to send a telegram to the King of Norway with the news that his party had reached the South Pole. After sending the telegram, Amundsen publicly announced his feat from the Hobart General Post Office sandstone steps. A few months later, Mawson’s Antarctic party sent the first wireless messages from Antarctica to the outside world – to a receiving station on Hobart’s Queens Domain.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 22 22 20 17 14 12 12 13 15 17 19 20
Nightly lows (°C) 12 12 11 9 7 5 4 5 6 8 9 11
Precipitation (mm) 47 40 45 51 47 54 52 54 54 61 54 57

Check Hobart's 7 day forecast at BOM.gov.au

Hobart has a mild temperate oceanic climate owing to it's fairly high latitude (42.88°S) and proximity to the Southern Ocean. As such, daily temperatures rarely reach above the low 20's, except during rare heat waves in summer. Nightly lows typically range around 10-12°C during summer and 4-5°C in winter, so cold weather gear is recommended all year round. It is not unheard of for temperatures to drop below zero during winter, with Hobarts lowest temperature on record being a chilly -2.8°C. Interestingly, Hobart has the second fewest daily hours of sunlight out of all Australian cities, at 5.9 hours on average for the year. However, during the summer it has the most hours of daylight of any Australian city, with 15.2 hours on the summer solstice.

Rainfall is fairly similar year round, averaging 50 mm per month, occurring around 15 days a month during winter and 10 days a month during summer. Despite the cold weather and occasional rainfall you should not expect to see any snow within Hobart, although it is not unheard of. The city itself will receive snowfall at sea level on average only once every 15 years, caused by cold masses arriving from Antarctica. More often, some outlying suburbs of Hobart at higher elevation can receive snowfall. The nearby Mount Wellington is often seen snowcapped year round and temperatures are much colder than Hobart; typically 10 degrees colder and can easily reach below zero during winter.

Visitor Centre

Get in

By plane

  Hobart International Airport (IATA: HBA) is the primary airport serving southern Tasmania situated 15 km north east of Hobart in Cambridge. Despite being called an international airport there have been no scheduled international flights since 1998. Airlines serving the airport include Jetstar, Qantas, Tiger Airways and Virgin Australia with flights from:

Ground Transportation options from Hobart Airport include an airport shuttle operated by Redline which meets every arriving flight and serves most accommodation within Hobart. Reservations are not necessary for Hobart bound trips on this shuttle, but are required for the return leg to the airport. A ticket costs $17/30 for Adults and $13/23 for Children or pensioners for one-way/return trips respectively. Those wanting a faster or more direct option should consider taking a taxi. Depending on traffic the journey should take around 20-25 minutes and cost approximately $38-45. Car rental is also available at Hobart Airport with rental companies including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Red Spot and Thrifty. All of the car rental offices are located opposite the terminal in a separate building near the airport carpark.

Hobart has a small airport for the volume of passenger traffic it often accommodates. You'll have no problem finding the cafes, bars, and bookshops that are mandatory airport fare, and a souvenir shop. On the positive side you can expect to get your luggage quickly through onto the conveyor. On the negative side, there isn't enough seating in the departure lounge for a few full flights departing simultaneously. You'll still be walking across the tarmac to get on your flight.

By car

Hobart can be easily reached from all other cities and towns in Tasmania by car. Driving from Launceston via National Highway 1 takes around 2.5 hrs with car hire available from the airport or in the Launceston itself. You can also take a car from mainland Australia via Devonport, with a ferry departing nightly from Melbourne. The journey from Devonport takes around 3.5 hrs.

By ship

Hobart offers a beautiful deep-water port with cruise ship berths in the heart of the historic Salamanca area of the city. Large cruise ships dock at Macquarie Wharf. Volunteer greeters meet the cruise ships, answer questions, and point the way. The immediate area, which includes Constitution and Victoria Docks, was once the heart of Hobart's shipping industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Now the Constitution and Victoria Docks area offers shopping for art, crafts, clothing and souvenirs; light snacks and food; fishing boats; a yacht basin; and the maritime museum. Much of the offerings are housed in the buildings of the former Henry Jones IXL (I excel) Jam Factory.

Visit the Tasmania Travel & Information Centre at the corner of Davey and Elizabeth Streets, three blocks from Macquarie Wharf, and pick up a map that shows points of interest. You'll also find a self-guided walking route that includes Franklin Square, Parliament House and Square, St. David's Park, Battery Point historic residential neighborhood and Kelly's Steps to Salamanca Square. If going ashore independently and planning a trip out of Hobart to Mt. Wellington, Cascades Female Factory, Cascades Brewery, Museum for Old and New Art, or Richmond, be sure to carefully check the return schedules as some transit routes have infrequent departures. However, if the service is sponsored by the local tourist centre, you should be okay.

Get around

By foot

Walking is the best way to explore the downtown area. It is easy to walk between the city centre, Salamanca, and the port/harbour area. If you are staying in the Salamanca area, you may not need any other form of transport. Between the City Centre and Sandy Bay via Battery Point is only half an hour to walk (although there are some hills).

By bus

Hobart has a sufficient public bus system. The main interchange is in front of the GPO (General Post Office). Ticket prices depend on the distance and start slightly above a dollar. Services are considerably less frequent on Sundays. Timetables are all available online from the MetroTas website.

By bicycle

Hobart is hilly any which way you choose to head, so bike riders should be prepared for hills. There is a poorly developed network of off-road cyclepaths, but Hobart drivers tend to be tolerant of cyclists, and most roads tend to be wide enough to accommodate them. One old railway line from the city as far as Claremont has been converted to a first-class cycle and walking path (take care from motor vehicles at intersections).

By car

To see areas further afield, a car is useful. Roads are generally not congested, although you can expect to pay for parking in the city areas. Avoid driving in the Salamanca area on a Saturday, due to road closures and traffic snarls due to the markets.

By boat

Numerous ferries, sightseeing harbour cruises and a water taxi service operate from the Hobart docks (Brooke St Pier) to outlying attractions including MONA at Berriedale. Some of these include dining on board, while others may terminate at a site with a restaurant such as Peppermint Bay and MONA.

See

Buildings and landmarks

As one of Australia's oldest cities, Hobart is home to a multitude of historical buildings that often showcase splendid examples of Georgian and Victorian architecture. In fact, over 90 buildings within Hobart are classified by the National Trust, with around 60 of these located along Macquarie St and Davey St alone. Many, but not all, of the historical buildings are located within or near Hobart's Central Business District (CBD) or around Battery Point.

Cascades Female Factory
The sandstone facade of Parliament House

Museums and art galleries

One of Hobart's biggest cultural drawcards is the multitude of Museums and Art Galleries that are dotted around the city. Many of the exhibits, particularly in the museums, have a distinct Antarctic theme, a result of Hobart's long history of being a Gateway City to East Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The recently built Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is arguably one of the best museums in Australia has and has fast become a Hobart icon.

Arriving at MONA on the ferry
The colonial style exterior of TMAG

Nature and wildlife

The stars

Hobart is one of the most easily accessible places to view the Southern Lights or Aurora Australis. Your chances depend on the space weather, and to have a good chance of seeing the aurora you'll want a K-Index above 6. You can see the current K-Index (updated every 20 minutes) at the Australia Space Weather Services. They have forecasts there for space weather for the next several days.

Do

Hobart waterfront statuary: Antarctic explorers

Cinema

Gambling

Wrest Point Hotel Casino, looking very 1970's

If you find gambling and betting entertaining then Hobart has a modest set of venues for you to explore. The most well known is Wrest Point Casino, which happens to be the very first legal casino built in Australia. Other options also include the local racecourse for horse and hound racing along with various lotteries and statewide betting agencies.

Factory tours

Scenic tours

Theatre & music

Hobart is fast becoming a cultural hub within Tasmania and boasts some well known theatres and music venues, including the famous Theatre Royal. Those looking for local music gigs should check out The Dwarf Gig Guide for Tasmania. The guide has information on all live music gigs for the next month in advance.

Wineries

It's nearly harvest time

The Greater Hobart region is part of the Southern Wine Route in Tasmania. Owing to the cool climate this region is known for producing a superb range of cool-climate wines including cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, gewurztraminer, pinot gris, pinot noir, riesling and sauvignon blanc. Hobart's primary wine growing region, Coal River Valley, lies just east of the Derwent River around Cambridge and Richmond. There are also other wineries around Hobart, including north around the Derwent Valley and west around the Huon Trail. Be sure to check out Wine Tasmania, which has further information on Tasmania's wine regions.

Wine tours

Due to the distances and lack of public transport to many of the wineries, the best way of visiting them is by car. There are also places that do organised tours, usually on weekends, such as Boutique Wine Tours and Classic Car Tours

Buy

Malls

Markets

The bustling Salamanca Markets

Bookstores

Providores

Sure you could head on over to one of the national supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths, but why do that when Hobart is brimming with plenty of unique providores, delis and specialty food stores for you to sample some of Tasmania's finest food and produce.

Eat

Hobart has a profusion of eating establishments ranging from the cheap to the luxuriously expensive. Freshly caught seafood is a specialty of the region, and there are several excellent seafood restaurants. Deep-sea Trevalla is unique to Tasmania and must be tried. Tasmanian lobster is also excellent. Scallop pie is also unique to Tasmania and can be easily purchased from the Salamanca Market food stalls. Restaurants are concentrated in the Salamanca and North Hobart areas.

Cafés

Drink

Bars

Pubs

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

The Service Tasmania & Parks and Wildlife office on Macquarie St. has free internet. Hadleys Hotel foyer has a free WiFi hotspot and excellent public bar for sheltering from the cold in comfort. There are numerous internet 'cafes' in the city centre. Many coffee shops offer free wireless internet with a purchase.

Go next

Hobart is a good base for exploring Southern Tasmania and a great starting point if you plan to explore the rest of Tasmania. Many nearby destinations are close enough to allow for a day trip from Hobart or even a few days away if you wish.

Casey station from the air
This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, February 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.