Popular Hobart Shore Excursions
Visit the Tasmania Travel & Tourism Centre tourist office 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 neighbourhood and Kelly's Steps to Salamanca Square.
The Maritime Museum of Tasmania offers a good survey of the city's connection to the sea and outside world through paintings, photographs, maps and ship models of early sailing vessels, steam merchant ships, whalers, naval and fishing vessels, and the shipbuilding industry. (Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; admission charge; corner of Davey and Argyle Streets.)
Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, housed partly in the city's oldest existing building, features aboriginal art and artifacts, colonial era landscape paintings, Huon pine furniture and views of the frozen wilderness continent of Antarctica. (Hobart is a base for Antarctic exploration and studies.) (Open daily except Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; 5 Argyle Street; free admission.)
After a short walk along the harbourfront, you'll find shops selling creative Tasmanian arts and crafts made of wood, ceramic and glass, some with off-island aboriginal designs at Salamanca Place and Salamanca Arts Centre. One block inland is Salamanca Square, where indoor and outdoor breakfast, lunch and dinner places abound in former sandstone port warehouse buildings. Just up the hill, walk the charming and prized residential neighbourhood of Battery Point for a peek at the one- and two-story wrought-iron-fronted row houses and near mansions, as well as examples of more traditional Victorian architecture.
Mt. Wellington tops off at 4,176 feet and gives an outstanding view of Hobart, its harbour, the Tasman Peninsula and Derwent Valley. It may seem enshrouded in clouds from the city, though it is not always possible to tell from down below whether the view is worth the drive up. Even if it looks iffy, there are views at lower levels, plus you pass through attractive leafy neighbourhoods and scenic forests. The Mt. Wellington Express operates a shuttle bus from the information centre in the morning and afternoon, allowing 40 minutes of sightseeing at the top.
MONA, the Museum for New and Old Art, is considered by some to be a repository of blasphemous exhibits that are openly anti-religious or explicitly sexual and don't deserve to be classified as art; others think it's a place of most intriguing installations. It's a three-level underground stone setting that exhibits a waterfall, window displays to peer into, videos on the ceiling to watch while lying on billowing cushions, bas reliefs, statuary and even some traditional art, such a small collection of ancient Egyptian statuettes. The Morilla Estate on which it stands is located about eight miles north of Hobart and occupies a headland peninsula that also offers a microbrewery, a winery, the Source (a top French restaurant), cafe and attractive grounds with a view of the Derwent Valley. Onsite parking is extremely limited, so it is advisable to take the Mona Roma Fast Ferry, a 30-minute ride with six departures a day from the Brooke Street ferry terminal in Hobart. (03 6223 6064; open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 655 Main Road, Berridale.)
Cascades Female Factory is a historic site just outside Hobart where up to 1,000 English and Irish women, and in some cases their children, were imprisoned and forced to do hard manual labor. The site, still under archeological study, includes a guided tour with costumed actors who bring alive what life was like within the confines of the buildings. From Hobart, take bus 43, 44, 46 or 49 to stop 16. (Open Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; admission; reservations needed; 16 Degraves Street.)
The Cascades Brewery, just a stroll further up the road, is Australia's oldest, established in 1832 and still operating. Cascades Premium is the best-known label, but the brewery also produces soft drinks. Tours last two hours, with the machinery working on weekdays but not weekends. From Hobart, take buses 43, 44, 46 or 49 to stop 18. (Open for daily tours, offered several times a day; 140 Cascade Road.)
Richmond, just 20 minutes northeast from Hobart, is a former military post and convict station en route to Port Arthur. It's also a repository of early- to mid-19th-century buildings, which run along its main street. They include the Richmond Goal (1825), Courthouse (1825), Old Post Office (1826), St. Luke's Church of England (1834) and the country's oldest Catholic church, St. John's (1836). When walking north along main street, pass over the oldest (1823) bridge in Australia, a solid stone arch structure that spans the Coal River and was built by convicts. A model of Hobart in the1820's is on display, having been built from the original plans. (Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; admission charge; 21a Bridge Street.) Hobart Shuttle Bus Company provides transfers in the morning and afternoon from the Hobart Information Centre.