Hobart City Guide Introduction
Being the second oldest city in Australia, there’s an amazingly rich colonial heritage to explore around Hobart. Not to mention some of the world’s most underrated natural charms – watch out Sydney Harbour.
The 220,000 folks living in the capital of Australia’s ‘detached’ state are an independent minded bunch (Australia’s 21 million big island inhabitants are officially known as ‘mainlanders’), but they’re also some of the friendliest and most welcoming people you’ll ever meet.
In fact, across the board life’s fairly laid back down here - which makes it even harder to resist for families, couples and friends from the bigger smokes.
One morning you might be at cafe with locals poking fun at the peak-minute traffic, before an afternoon festival, dinner by the harbour and bar hopping into the single digits. Then, the next day, after all that big city chaos gets too much, drive an exhausting ten minutes into the heart of the Tasmanian wilds. Or escape all the way to the top of the island in an epic two hours.
Best time to visit
The island formerly known as Van Diemen’s Land is pretty stunning any time of year.
Hobart itself can get chilly in winter (12C) when a duvet of snow covers nearby Mount Wellington. Even on 22C average summer days you wouldn’t come to work on your tan (unless you’re a fan of slightly depleted ozone layers). However, one of the great advantages of being so far south in the ‘hot’ season, are those magic 15 hours of daylight.
And while the weather reports seem to have cartoon clouds permanently glued over Tasmania, Hobart actually has the second-lowest annual average rainfall of any Australian capital – most of it tumbling in Spring.
But if you MUST put us on the spot, late summer (February-Early March) is exceedingly hard to beat.
Major events in Hobart
We’re not sure who influenced who first - the celebrities or the eggs - but these days Hobart is a sports, arts and culture haven. While cricket legends Ricky Ponting and David Boon were both born up in Launceston, they spent their early professional days making bowlers cry while playing for their state in Hobart. Meanwhile, fashion designer Allannah Hill, Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, Princess Mary and celluloid pants-man Errol Flynn all popped into, or learnt the ways of, the world here.
In late December, early New Year, the internationally renowned Sydney to Hobart yacht race finishes with huge celebrations around the harbour.
The yachts arrival up the Derwent River kick off 10 glorious days of Hobart Summer Festival fun, including the Taste of Tasmania Festival filled with food and wine tastings of the region.
In April, celebrate the beauty of autumn leaves at the one-day Derwent Valley Autumn Festival, with over 200 stalls, dancers, singers and more.
In late April, early May, revheads can catch the final legs of the tarmac rally Targa Tasmania eatin’ the dust of over 300 cars.
Later in May you can dig into Tassie’s history during the annual Tasmanian Heritage Festival. There are different themes each year with events and activities at libraries, schools and historical societies around Hobart and beyond.
In October, when Spring outdoors events such as the Royal Hobart Show and the Tulip Festival reach full bloom.
Getting around Hobart
Hobart doesn’t have a rail network or ferry service, but the public transportation bus system can get you around the city sights. And if you’re behind the wheel, there are highways heading to most nearby towns. Around the harbour there are plenty of walkways and cycle paths to wander around and enjoy the view.
Hotel.com.au Staff Favourites
The Hotel.com.au team have road-tested some of our Hobart hotels and here are a few personal recommendations of their favourite places to stay.
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- The Sebel Hawkesbury was excellent. Great friendly staff and excellent rooms. 11/10 Highly recommend this Hotel A Denman
- .... reservation process was fast and smooth. Grand Hyatt hotel has met our expectations. Our flight was very late and they allowed us to have late check out at 4 pm without extra charges. Definitely we will book again with Hotel.com.au D Purnamasari
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- The resevation service was simple to use and efficient. L Britz