Hobart, Australia’s oldest city, is a beautiful place at the foot of the Qunee / Mount Wellington, at the bottom of the Dwayne River. This vibrant capital of Tasmania was once a brutal penal colony, where convicts were punished for hard labor.
But today, the city eclipses its rich history and culture, and its beautiful criminally built architecture and attractive museums and galleries are some of the city’s top tourist attractions.
Top Tourist Attractions in Hobart
View from the summit of Kunni / Mount Wellington
To the west of Hobart is a soft fringed mountain surrounded by the waves of Mount Wellington, which lies in the rugged jungle beyond this cultural capital. You can peruse old photographs at the conclusion shelter and enjoy breathtaking views over the city, the sea, and the stunning World Heritage forest in the distance.
A distinctive feature of the mountain is organ pipes, the rock of dolerite columns, and a well-known rock-climbing site. Walking from the Sphinx to the Sphinx Rock to the summit provides impressive views of these shark-like rock formations.
Salamanca Place and Salamanca Market
Once the commercial center of Old Hobart, this Cobblestone Strip is now a tourist destination. From Battery Point, Kelly heads towards this busy complex, where cafes, restaurants, antique dealers, and shops adorn the old Georgian warehouses. The Salamanca Arts Center is a cultural center, with galleries, performing arts venues, and artists’ studios.
One of the most popular attractions at Salamanca Place is Saturday Salamanca Bazaar. Over 300 vendors sell everything from handcrafted wood and jewelry to ceramics, glassware, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Salamanca Place adjacent to the Parliament House, originally built by the Convention Labor from 1835 to 1840, welcomes visitors when the Parliament is in session.
Port Arthur day trip
The brutal penal colony history of World Heritage-listed Port Arthur, 95 kilometers southeast of Hobart, seems strange with its stunning location at the tip of the Tasman Peninsula. In 1830, Governor Sir George Arthur established the settlement, where Tasmania’s most notorious criminals were sentenced to backbreaking labor.
Today, Port Arthur is one of the top tourist destinations in Tasmania and is reminiscent of the hardships of fragile life. You can visit Guard Tower, Sandstone Church, Hospital, Jail, and Museum. At night, ghost trips lit by lanterns are sure to calm your spine.
Mona: Museum of Old and New Art
Opened in 2011, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is one of Hobart’s most popular attractions. This provocative personal collection of modern art and antiques is housed underground and provides interactive interpretation through portable touch screen devices.
Described as a “subversive adult Disneyland”, the gallery displays works of art ranging from an Egyptian satirist to a machine that turns food into brown.
Walk along the Battery Point Sculpture Trail
Battery Point’s old harbor quarter is like an open-air museum, and you can explore its fascinating history and beautifully built architecture on the two-kilometer Battery Point Sculpture Trail.
Named after the gun battery, once occupied by the provincial, this charming seaside Hobart suburb houses 19th-century cottages, boutique hotels, and restaurants. Begin your tour at Salamanca Place, and as you stroll this scenic route, see nine sculptures, each linked to a story about a historical attraction referring to a date, volume, weight, or distance.
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden
A walk around the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is one of the best freebies in Hobart. Situated on a hill, with a glimpse of the Derwent River, these beautiful gardens were originally laid out in 1818, and they change with the seasons, especially in the autumn, displaying a kaleidoscope of colors.
One attraction is the tranquil Japanese garden, but you will find everything here, including native and exotic plants. Other popular collections include Tasmanian furnishings, and you can also explore a subantarctic plant house, conservatory, fuchsia house, vegetable patch, and lily pond.
Children will love the antique steam carousel. After a walk in the beautiful gardens, save time to enjoy Devonshire tea at the cafe.
Hobart Convention Penitentiary
The Hobart Convention Penitentiary, with a chapel built in 1831 by the venerable Irish-born architect John Lee Archer, provides a poignant snapshot of the guilty life. In 1860, the two wings of the peninsula were converted into criminal courts and used through 1983.
Today, you can join an excellent guided tour of the courtroom, cell, execution court, and well-preserved small chapel. Even better now, if you’re looking for things to do in Hobart at night, sign up for an hour-long evening tour. The excellent guides here bring to life the fascinating history of Hobart.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
The state’s oldest public building, the 1808 Commissariat Provision, offers a more traditional replica for the state-of-the-art Mona at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
It is one of the top Hobart attractions for families and has a great one-stop dose of tribal and ancient heritage, natural history, and art. Fascinating details about the history of sea voyages and whaling, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, and a particular interest in the extinct Tasmanian tiger are displayed.
Bruni Island Day Trip
A winding forest of beautiful Bruni Island, a 35-minute drive south of Hobart, and a 20-minute walk from Kettering to the D’Antercasto Channel. The island is a place to eat elephants with chocolate and nougat, artisan cheeses, local berries, and fresh seafood. Many day trips include a taste of these local treats.
At the southern tip of the island is South Bruni National Park, which is reminiscent of Northern Scotland with its green coastal cliffs. Eco-cruise and bushwalking are popular activities in the park. Offshore, fur seals, and fairy penguins bloom in cold water, where bananas flow into the forest streams.
One of Hobart’s most distinctive sites, the Tasman Bridge spans the Derwent River in an adventurous arch that spans multiple levels. It connects the queen’s domain with the suburb of Montagu. Eleven years after opening in 1964, a cargo ship feared the bridge collapsed, causing the bridge to collapse. A replacement bridge opened in 1977. You can walk the bridge on dedicated paths and enjoy the beautiful views of the river and the harbor.
St. David’s Cathedral
St. David’s Cathedral is an oasis of peace and beauty amidst the city center. A good example of the Neo-Gothic style, the cathedral began in 1868 and was anointed in 1874. Today, you can admire its beautiful stained glass windows, gaze at its square tower of Oatland stone, and hear its bells.
Theater Lee, designed by John Lee Archer, is an architectural jewel. The foundation stone was laid in 1834, making it Australia’s oldest theater. It has an impressive neoclassical facade and an attractive multi-level interior (rebuilt after its destruction by fire in 1984).
Several international stars appeared at Theater Royal, considered by Lawrence Olivier to be “the best theater in the world”. The best way to appreciate this intimate little space is to attend a performance during your visit.
Real estate in Hobart
Northern Hobart has been named the most lifestyle-friendly suburb of Tasmania and with its prime position adjacent to the Hobart Central Business District (CBD), heritage buildings, and bustling restaurant bars, it is easy to understand why.
Residents of North Hobart have an easy commute to the city center by car or public transport in five minutes.
In North Hobart, 88% of residents have parklands within 500 meters of the front doors and 71% have education facilities within easy reach.
This report combines data from ABS location databases that rank the nearest CBD along the beach or river, schools, and parks, as well as several factors including transit time. The Hobart Riverside suburbs have called for large-scale facilities for North Hobart as well as the suburbs Goodwood, Bellerive, and Battery Point.
These are the best lifestyle suburbs of Hobart:
- North Hobart
- Good wood
- Battery point
- New City
- Sandy bay
- Geilston Bay
- Rose Bay