Hobart Tourist Attractions
Capital of TasmaniaThe most southerly city in Australia is Hobart, the Tasmanian capital. It is beautifully situated at the foot of Mount Wellington (1270m), straddling the estuary of the Derwent River, which here flows into the Tasman Sea.
The city covers an area of 70 sq.km and has a population of some 183,000. The wider catchment area of Hobart extends over almost 1000 sq.km, adding some tens of thousands to the population of the city itself.TransportHobart's international airport lies 22km southeast of the city and has excellent connections with the Australian domestic air network (in many cases via Melbourne and Sydney) and with Christchurch in New Zealand.In view of the relatively short distances within Tasmania itself regional air services, apart from special cases (e.g. tourist flights into the interior), are of minor importance.The car ferry, Spirit of Tasmania, sails from Melbourne three times a week, reaching Devonport 141/2 hours later. The return journey is on the other weekdays. Flights to Hobart go from all Australia's main airports.The bus services run by the Metropolitan Transport Trust (MTT) link the city with its widely scattered outer suburbs.There are special Day Rover tickets which are of particular interest to visitors.Information about services can be obtained from the MTT desk in the Tasmanian Travel Centre (TTC) at 80 Elizabeth Street.From Hobart there are overland buses to all places of any size in Tasmania. The Tasmanian Redline Coaches have a dense network of services; their Super Tassie Pass, for either one or two weeks, is a good buy. Information: 96 Harrington Street.A wide range of city tours and sightseeing excursions in the surrounding area are on offer. During the main holiday season (December to the end of April) there is a wide choice of package tours to Port Arthur, Mount Wellington, Richmond, Launceston, the Hastings Caves, the Huon valley, the Derwent valley, Lake Pedder and the Russell Falls.Food and drinkNumerous restaurants in all price categories; very popular fish restaurants on waterfront.EventsWrest Point, with dinner theater; evening performances in the well-reputed little Theatre Royal in Campbell Street; Playhouse, 106 Bathurst Street; ABC Odeon, 163 Liverpool Street. Many pubs in the central area have live music in the evening.ShoppingIn addition to the shopping arcades and department stores in the city center (in particular Liverpool Street, Murray Street, Elizabeth Street, Collins Street with the Centrepoint Arcade and the Cat and Fiddle Arcade, Elizabeth Mall) there are many shops and galleries on the waterfront selling craft objects (particularly of Huon pine), glass and jewelry. A Tasmanian specialty is leatherwood honey (from the flowers of the leatherwood tree).SportThe most popular sports in Hobart are water sports (particularly sailing), fishing, golf, cricket and above all tennis. Real tennis is played at the Royal Tennis Club at 45 Davery Street (the only other place where it is played in Australia is Melbourne). Cycling and jogging are also very popular.There is plenty of scope for adventurous bush walkers on nearby Mount Wellington.Popular spectator sports are football (Australian rules), rugby, association football, cricket (November to March) and horse-racing (particularly on Elwich racecourse).Central Hobart, between Battery Point in the southeast and the Domain in the northeast, has a clear and regular layout, based on Governor Macquarie's plan of 1811. The main shopping and business streets are Liverpool and Collins Streets and two cross streets, Elizabeth Street (with the pedestrian zone, Elizabeth Mall) and Murray Street. In the central area many 19th C buildings have been preserved.Every Saturday morning the National Trust runs sightseeing walks in the harbor quarter led by knowledgeable local people.
Tasmania was first settled in 1803 and then experienced slow growth until 1825 when Hobart was a young thriving town. Mining activity increased growth in other towns as people flocked to the area.
Battery Point maintains many old warehouses and houses built by convicts.
Davey Street runs northeast along the harbor, which was and still is the hub of the city's life. Constitution Dock, now a boating harbor, attracts many visitors in the first week in January, when it is crowded with smart yachts after the annual Sydney to Hobart race.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Part of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery has extensive collections illustrating the history of seafaring in the southern hemisphere and the development of whaling, Aboriginal culture and relics of the convict settlement. The art gallery displays mainly 19th C art as well as rare prints of different periods.
Address: Box 1164M, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
Opening hours: 10am-5pm
Always closed on: Anzac Day (Australian & New Zealand Army Corps) (Apr 25), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Admission is free, there may be charges for certain special exhibitions.
The imposing Customs House (1902) features a neoclassical façade.
Franklin Square is a trim public garden.
The Town Hall was built in 1864 to the design of Henry Hunter, an architect much influenced by Italian architecture. It occupies the site of a house built in 1804 by David Collins, founder of the town, as his official residence.
St David's Cathedral
The foundation stone of the handsome neo-Gothic sandstone St David's Cathedral (Anglican) was laid in 1868. It has beautiful stained glass.
Cat and Fiddle Arcade
The Cat and Fiddle Arcade is one of Hobart's busiest shopping streets. On the walls of the arcade are figures from nursery rhymes. Many tourists are attracted by the gem-cutting workshop, where attractive jewelry is on sale.
Elizabeth Street Mall
The Elizabeth Street Mall, north-east of the Cat and Fiddle Arcade, is a street full of temptations for shoppers.
State Library, Allport Library and Museum
North-west of the Cat and Fiddle Arcade, in Murray Street, is The State Library, with the Allport Library and Museum. The collection (art, furniture, silver, books and writings on Asia) was presented to the state by Henry Allport, whose ancestors had come to Tasmania in 1831. The State Library also contains the State Archives.
St Andrew's Church
St Andrew's Church (1836) is architecturally interesting. The adjoining Scots Church Hall, built 13 years earlier, is one of the oldest religious buildings in Tasmania.
The oriental-style synagogue, built in 1843, is Australia's oldest synagogue.
The Theatre Royal, designed by John Lee Archer, is an architectural jewel. The foundation stone was laid in 1834, making it the earliest theater in Australia. It has an impressive neoclassical façade and a charming interior (rebuilt after its destruction by fire in 1984). Many international stars have appeared in the Theatre Royal, which Lawrence Olivier rated 'the best little theater in the world'.
Penitentiary Chapel (Criminal Courts)
The former Penitentiary, with a chapel built by John Lee Archer in 1831, is now thoroughly restored. Few Georgian church buildings are as well preserved as this little chapel. In 1860 two wings of the Penitentiary were converted into the criminal courts, and still used until 1983. There are conducted tours of the cell blocks and the execution court.
Address: Corner of Brisbane and Campbell Streets, Hobart, TAS 7000, Australia
Opening hours: 10am-3pm
Always closed on: Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee in AUD: Family $16.00, Adult $8.00, Senior $6.00, Students $6.00, Pensioners (OAP) $6.00
Useful tips: Tours available between listed times.
Guides: Guided tour available as optional extra.
Map of Hobart Attractions