Written by guide Magic Mike
So, you’ve booked an Inspiration Outdoors tour in Tasmania and you’re about to see the state with us… Congratulations! I honestly can’t remember how many times I’ve been to Hobart, or how long I’ve spent there, but I love it and keep going back. There are loads of things to keep you occupied, whatever your interests are. So here is my take on a few ways to get you fired up for your walking tour, or to unwind after….
1.Kunanyi/Mt Wellington. You’re here for a walking tour, right? Almost anywhere you go in Hobart, you’ll have Kunanyi – it simply means mountain in the indigenous palawa kani – looking over you. Why not get up close and personal with this spectacular 1271 m high mountain and spend a day walking up, down or around it. Honestly, there are so many walking options it’s impossible to list them all here. But wherever you go, be sure to pack the essentials like your phone, water, snacks and some warm clothes. Even a rain jacket as it’s a lot cooler up top. Check out https://www.wellingtonpark.org.au/ for more info, but I’ll get you started! You can catch the Kunanyi/Mt Wellington Explorer bus from the city there and back, or take the 448 Metro bus to Fern Tree and walk from there. The stop is conveniently right outside the Tavern, which just might be a welcome sight at the end of your day walking while you wait for the bus back to the city. Be sure to check the timetable as they can be infrequent outside of peak hour. Yes, even Hobart has a peak hour!
2. Cascade Brewery and tour. The Cascade Brewery Company, established in 1824, is Australia’s oldest operating brewery. It’s open to visitors every day of the week and is worth a visit just to see the historic building underneath Mt Wellington. But hey, don’t stop there, take a tour and learn all about the history and brewing of beer and cider. You may even have your arm twisted to try some! The tour costs $30 and includes some tastings. Ps go with a couple of friends who don’t drink beer and they can give you their samples! See https://www.cascadebreweryco.com.au/pages/cascade-experience for full details. Bonus – the 446 Metro bus goes right past the door! If beer isn’t your thing then there’s the 2.4 km Cascades walk trail that starts behind the brewery. The vegetation along this track is quite diverse from open forest to fern-filled gullies and you might even spot a wallaby or two.
3. Mona – This is a very interesting, intriguing and thought provoking Museum (of Old and New Art). Be prepared for some exhibits to test your conventional boundaries and that not all exhibits are for everyone. The owner David Walsh made his fortune by exploiting mispricings in betting odds ie gambling. Walsh says he established MONA to repay a “debt for getting lucky in a way that does no one any good”. Carved out of 250 million-year-old Triassic sandstone, the architecture and building itself is amazing (entry fee applies). Take the Mona Roma ferry there ($27-$32) for a scenic river trip on the way, then catch the Metro bus back (Metro numbers 510, 520, 521, 522 and X20 pass Mona. From Stop 33, Main Road). https://mona.net.au/visit
4. Cultural Hobart – The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery – otherwise known as TMAG. I have a look most times I’m in Hobart to see what’s new and refresh my memory. It’s relaxing (and entry is free). The ningina tunapri Tasmanian Aboriginal gallery explores the journey of Tasmanian Aboriginal people of all generations, while another tells the story of Aboriginal people and colonists through this dark period of history. The story of the Thylacine reminds us of how easily a species is lost, while in the gallery artworks highlight significant periods of Tasmania’s history. PS there’s a café there too. For all the sailors, fishermen and wannabe pirates out there, the Maritime Museum is just up the road and displays an array of artefacts from Tasmania’s extensive nautical and whaling history. The museum’s timber trading ketch is moored at Constitution Dock. Also nearby is the replica of Mawson’s Hut. Sir Douglas Mawson, Australia’s greatest polar explorer, led two trips to Antarctica and this is an exact replica of the buildings on Antarctica. See and feel what it must have been like to live there. The entry fees go toward preserving the original buildings at Cape Denison.
5. Just a block away is Constitution Dock and the Hobart Waterfront, where the Sydney to Hobart yachts end up. Those that finish, anyway and you want to be there around the end of December for that. Explore around here and check out the old and new boats, from fishing trawlers to various wooden boats to the sail training ships Lady Nelson and Windeward Bound, all the time breathing in the salt air and imagining you’re a pirate or catching a massive tuna. Now, where was I?
Oh that’s right, the salt air was making me hungry. So, while you’re there, eat some great seafood on the Waterfront. The waters around Tasmania provide a variety of delicious fresh seafood, with blue eye trevalla, flathead, trout, salmon, abalone, scallops and southern rock lobster on the menu. Whew! There are a variety of places to indulge, from historic pubs to the floating fish and chip van and Mures, who catch and cook their own seafood.
6. When you’ve filled up on the delights of the Waterfront, head across to Salamanca Square. Although the famous and well-loved Salamanca Markets are only open Saturdays, pop into warehouse art galleries, theatres, cafés and bars anytime. Continue on to explore historic and picturesque Battery Point and its Sculpture trail, location to some of the city’s oldest surviving residences. Hobart in the 19th century was a rough place – a whaling and sailors’ town. In Battery Point, mansions were built for the wealthy and conjoined terrace houses for the workers. This walk takes about an hour one way with some nice views of the Derwent and estuary as well. https://www.greaterhobarttrails.com.au/assets/battery-point-sculpture-trail.pdf.
7. If the weather is inclement, you can catch a movie at the historic State Cinema on Elizabeth St, North Hobart and have a glass of wine while you’re at it. It’s been entertaining people for one hundred years and is a Hobart icon. Elizabeth St is also the restaurant strip of the city with something for everyone, including Thai, Chinese, Arabic, Indian, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Mexican and Turkish. If you don’t fancy going to North Hobart and you want some amazing, authentic Japanese food, I can highly recommend Rin on Harrington St. Word of advice…you might need to book but it’s worth it.
8. Enough of food, back to walking! Check out the Botanical Gardens in the Domain. Here you can stroll through the wide variety of native and exotic plants at your own pace. It’s about a 30 min walk from Franklin Square in the CBD or any of several buses can drop you at Stop 2, Tasman Highway. Take in the Derwent estuary views and the impressive Tasman Bridge – rebuilt after a fateful collapse that occurred on the 5th of January 1975, when a bulk ore carrier travelling up the Derwent River collided with several pylons of the bridge. This caused a large section of the bridge deck to collapse onto the ship and into the river below killing twelve people, including seven crew on the ship and the occupants of the four cars which fell 45 m.
9. And lastly, this one’s not for the faint hearted. If you’re a cyclist then why not try the descent of kunanyi/Mt Wellington? There are a couple of ways of going about this – one is to book a tour which supplies you with a guide, mountainbike, helmet and instructions https://underdownunder.com.au/tour/mount-wellington-descent/. They’ll take you to the summit, kit you out (don’t forget the warm layers – there’s not much pedalling on the way down!) and off you go back down the mountain! It’s a mix of breathtaking views and heartracing excitement, ending at the Waterfront. The other way is to hire a bike and book on the Explorer bus with it, for a bit extra. Then you’re on your own. Oh, I guess there are three ways! This one is my favourite that I try and do every visit to Hobart. Get hold of a bike and ride all the way up, it takes two to three hours, with the mandatory stop at the Lost Freight café. Once at the summit, layer up, enjoy the views then roll back down! Carefully of course.
Well, that should keep you busy! And if you can do all this in two days: One, I don’t believe you and two, why?! Better save something for the next time you visit….
Guide Magic Mike
Inspiration Outdoors Tasmania Hiking Tours that depart from Hobart: