Hobart: Essential Info
Updated: October 2021
Hobart is a small city and therefore really easy to get around - you can walk anywhere in or near the city centre.
Food and events are very much part of the culture, taking advantage of the fantastic produce made in Tasmania, and welcoming the open-minded nature of MONA and the major events it presents, MOFO and Dark MOFO.
Take a look through our list below of all the essential information you will likely need before visiting Hobart and you will be ready for an incredible trip.
Hobart Essential Info
Getting Around Hobart
Hobart is ideal as a walkable destination. The city centre is small enough to walk around with ease between all the CBD attractions, and to the notable adjacent suburbs like Battery Point and North Hobart. You will not need alternative transport for anything in the CBD as everything is at most a 10 minute walk.
Waterfront, Hobart © Travel Unpacked
Hobart has an excellent bus network and it can be used to get to most attractions that are outside the CBD, often with just a quick 15min ride. This includes Cascade brewery, Cascades female factory and MONA.
Fares can be paid in cash to the driver or you can 'tap on' using a prepaid 'Green card'. Cash fares are $4.80 across 2 zones (most attractions are in a separate zone to the CBD).
A green card can be bought at the Metro shop or Travel centre, both in the CBD, and costs $25 to get a card with $20 credit but it can be topped up further. It gives you a 20% discount on fares and has a daily fare cap. This cap, if traveling after 9am is only $4.80, so very worthwhile. More info here.
Should I pay cash or get a green card? - That depends how many return journeys you will make. If it's just one or two, it will be easier to pay cash. The green card will save you money once you take three or more, especially with the daily fare cap.
Example - paying cash costs $4.80 over 2 zones, so to go to MONA and back will be $9.60. If you then go to Cascades brewery the next day, at an additional $9.60, you will total $19.20. A third day of travel would take you over the $25 cost of a green card. With this green card, due to the daily fare cap, you could travel on buses all day over four days for the same cost as those initial two days.
Ferry to MONA, Hobart © Travel Unpacked
There is a ferry service directly to MONA that is operated by the museum, so you can expect a few wacky things on board such as plastic tigers or sheep. This departs from the Brooke Street pier and makes for a great entrance to MONA. Tickets are $23 return. More details here.
The government are trialling a commuter ferry at the moment, between Brooke Street pier and Bellerive, which is on the other side of the Derwent. This is only really useful to you as a tourist if you want to do a 25min walk up to the Rosny Hill lookout point or take a 10min walk to the Blundstone arena for a tour or to visit the cricket museum or take a bike for to ride the easern shore cycleway. It is a cheap way to get out on the water with fares at $3.50. More info here.
Due to a lack of good cycle paths, Hobart is not generally well suited to using a bike to get around, but there are good cycle routes to MONA, the botanic gardens and Cascade brewery.
Cycling as an activity is a good idea, with plenty of coastal areas to take a slow path along, plus there are lots of mountain biking options close by if you want a more exciting option. Bike hire starts at $30 for a full day.
Bike hire and tours are available - more details about cycling in Hobart here.
Taxi / Uber
There are both Uber and taxis available in Hobart. Distances are never that far, so they can be a reasonable option.
The walkable nature of the city centre and quality of the public bus network make driving an unnecessary option for a city break in Hobart, but it can be useful for those further out attractions like Port Arthur, Richmond or Bruny Island.
Traffic outside of rush hour is not too bad and there is reasonable city centre parking available, including a 3hr paid parking site directly outside the Tasmanian museum. There are many electric car charging parking spaces available, including ones where the charging is at no extra cost to the parking - check locations here.
Car Rental / Share Car
All the major car rental companies have locations at the airport and in the city centre.
There are no car share companies, but there are apps where you can rent peoples private cars. Try 'Car Next Door' or 'Drive My Car'.
Food at Frogmore Creek, Waterfront, Hobart © Travel Unpacked
Food in Hobart
Hobart has a rich connection to the land and sea around it which comes alive through the many options to enjoy the local produce.
Salamanca market and the Farm Gate market are both great places to get a taste of what Hobart has to offer. There are also a few stalls in the Brooke Street pier.
Seafood by the waterfront is very popular, especially from Mures, which is located right in the middle of the dock, or from the many floating stalls alongside here. The Drunken Admiral, on the northern side of the docks, has an elaborate nautical theme that is worth sticking your head in the door to look at, even if you don't end up eating there.
There are plenty of top class restaurants spread around the city. The options at Mona, such as Faro, are also worthy of note. Check out this guide for some options.
You can visit many places on the outskirts of the city, such as Coal River Farm, vineyards, breweries, distilleries or an oyster farm.
Shopping in Hobart
Hobart is a great place for boutique shopping and picking up local and handmade products.
Salamanca market is the undisputed king of shopping in Hobart, with dozens of markets full of local crafts - open on Saturdays. Click here for their website.
During summer, the Hobart Twilight market operates on Friday nights in Sandy bay, 5km south of the CBD, and have live music, food and stalls. This then moves to the Brooke Street pier during winter. More info here.
Boutique stores can be found around the city, but especially in the more touristy areas of Salamanca and the waterfront. More info here.
For high street shopping, head to Elizabeth street mall and the adjoining Cat and Fiddle arcade.
Street Eats at Franklin, Hobart © Travel Unpacked
Events in Hobart
FOMA (also called MOFO)
Ran by MONA, this festival usually takes place in January and is billed as Tasmania's largest contemporary music festival. It features a diverse range of acts including music, dance, theatre, performance and new media. More info here.
MOFO's winter sister festival takes place in June with things mostly going off at night time. It has musical acts, light installations and celebrates the winter solstice. Some of it's events and performance art often court controversy. More info here.
Taste of Tasmania
A large food festival that takes place over new years with over 70 stalls inside a big shed on the waterfront. More info here.
Sydney to Hobart Yacht race
This famous race sets off from Sydney on boxing day and ends in Hobart over the following 3 or 4 days with an eye on celebrating New years eve. The yachts finish at the waterfront.
Festival of Voices
This is a winter choral festival noted for the inspiring spectacle of hundreds singing around a bonfire in Salamanca square. Many individual events take place over a two week period. More info here.
Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival
A large two day pagan festival that centres around music, storytelling and burning giant effigies. More info here.
Tasmanian Whiskey Week
A week long state-wide celebration of whiskey with tastings, tours of distilleries and masterclasses. More info here.
Tasmania is the best place to try and see the southern equivalent of the norther lights, but you should ideally be away from the city and artificial lights to see them. More info here.
Take a look here.
Nightlife in Hobart
In line with Hobart's small city, relaxing destination, vibe, there is not a massive night life in the city. You will find quite a few drinking spots though, particularly around the waterfront, a few of which stay open late into the night, especially on weekends. The Republic bar and cafe in North Hobart may be worth checking out too.
Have a look here for some tips on bars to try.
Weather in Hobart
As Hobart is near the bottom of Australia's most southerly state, it is understandably a lot cooler than the rest of the country. That doesn't mean the weather is bad though, it just means you have to dress appropriately.
In summer, don't expect it to get that hot. 20 degrees is a good day.
In winter, temperatures can top be 5 or 10 degrees. Expect the nights to turn dark a lot earlier than they do in more northerly states like Queensland too.
More info here.
Best Time To Visit Hobart
There is no bad time to visit Hobart as they have mastered the art of enjoying both ends of the seasonal spectrum. Winter and summer do of course have their own vibe though, and Hobart feels this more so than anywhere else Australia, so choose based on your own personal preferences.
Make note of the events above in case you wish to time your visit to coincide with any of them. Many of the major attractions though are open year round and largely indoor - MONA, Cascades brewery, Tasmanian Museum - so can be enjoyed at any time.
Live music, Salamanca Place, Hobart © Nico Smit
Safety in Hobart
There are no particular safety concerns about Hobart beyond what you would experience elsewhere in Tasmania.
If you venture beyond the city for some hikes or adventures, the wilderness can be unforgiving. See these tips about visiting Kunanyi / Mount Wellington and these tips from parks Tasmania about visiting national parks.
History of Hobart
The area where Hobart is located has been occupied by 'Palawa' indigenous aboriginal people for at least 8,000 years, and possibly much more.
The city was established in 1804 by British colonists as a penal colony. The settlement was the capital of the southern part of Tasmania from the beginning, and from 1812, all of Tasmania.
The expansion of settlement in Tasmania caused major clashes with the indigenous population which resulted in the 'Black war'. By 1831 there were only 200 natives left and in 1876, the last full blooded aborigine died. Today, whilst most of the original languages have been lost, thousands of descendants living in Tasmania describe themselves as Aboriginal Tasmanians.
Besides being the administrative centre for Tasmania it also grew from whaling and ship building, then later from mining and agriculture. There is also a strong connection to Antarctica as it has been used as a launching post for expeditions.
The city is now home to over 200,000 people and is the largest settlement in Tasmania, being twice the size of the net biggest place, Launceston.
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania © Travel Unpacked
The rest of Tasmania is waiting to be explored, so grab a hire car or bring your own on the ferry from Melbourne and do a loop of the whole island. The highlights can be seen in roughly two weeks but stay longer if you want to really get into the states landscape and do some hiking or enjoy the isolated beaches on the east coast.
The highlights of a tour of Tasmania are, going clockwise from Hobart, the wilderness of the Franklin-Gordon river and Tassies west, Strahan, Cradle Mountain (pictured above) and it's overland track, the north coast (from Stanley to Penguin), Launceston, the bay of fires, Freycinet National park (with wineglass bay), and Maria island.
If you go to Tassie with your car via the 'Spirit of Tasmania' ferry, you may as well spend a few days in the vibrant city of Melbourne, where the ferry departs from. See our guide here.
Need info on 'How to get to Hobart?' or 'Where to stay?'
Go to the second page of our travel guide for the full run down.
Or, go to page 1 to discover all the 'Things to do'.