A comprehensive travel guide outlining the absolute best things to do in Hobart Tasmania. Explore all of the well-known Hobart attractions as well as some off-the-beaten-path hidden gems!
Hobart is Tasmania’s capital and one of Australia’s most historic cities. Situated on the estuary of the River Derwent and nestled beneath the towering Kunanyi, (Mount Wellington), Hobart is a favourite getaway destination for millions of Aussies and international visitors every year.
Hobart, Australia’s southernmost capital city serves as the major entry point to Tasmania. This makes it a perfect base or starting place for travellers looking to explore this incredible island. But, did you know that there are plenty of things to do in Hobart itself for both adventure travellers and brief visitors.
In this guide to the 26 best things to do in Hobart, I aim to highlight all of the best Hobart attractions to help you better plan your Tasmania trip. I’ve also written comprehensively about many of these itinerary highlights so make sure to check out the individual post for each as well.
Also, at the bottom of this post, I’ve included a detailed Hobart travel guide. This outlines everything you need to know about visiting Hobart including how to get here, when to go and where to stay.
So, without further ado, let’s get into my Hobart travel guide: 26 Awesome Things to do in Hobart Tasmania.
Update 2021: Make sure to read my detailed accommodation guide to find out where to stay on your next visit to Tasmania’s capital city.
26 Things to do in Hobart
1. See Hobart from Atop Kunanyi (Mount Wellington)
Kunanyi, also known as Mount Wellington, dominates the Hobart landscape. No matter where you go, you’ll see this powerful 1271 metre mountain soaring over the cityscape.
Kunanyi is very important to the people of Hobart. It protects the city from devastating winds, soaks in rain clouds and distributes fresh drinking water from the thousands of creeks and tributaries in Wellington Park.
If you ask anyone for ideas for things to do in Hobart, especially for first-time visitors, then a common answer will always be a trip up to the summit! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to reach the peak, known as The Pinnacle.
One option for the adventurers is to take one of the many walking tracks in Wellington Park. Below you’ll find a link to what I believe is the best circuit loop to the summit.
If you’re not a keen hiker but still want to experience one of the best attractions in Hobart, then it is also possible to drive or take a bus to The Pinnacle. This bus service is known as the Wellington Explorer and departs from Franklin Square near Salamanca Place. There are plenty of stops along the way, including The Springs, which is a popular base on Mount Wellington for many hikes and walks.
2. Go Hiking in Wellington Park
The Pinnacle on the summit of Mount Wellington isn’t the only awesome hike in Hobart. In fact, there are several dozen trails in the surrounding Wellington Park.
If you’re up for short walks or even long, full-day hikes then I recommend heading to The Springs. From here, there is an information board outlining several of the best hikes and tracks in Hobart.
My favourite hike from Hobart: Wellington Falls and the Disappearing Tarn
3. Explore Hobart’s Waterfalls
Just as there are loads of hikes, there are also plenty of waterfalls to explore near Hobart. The largest, and one of my personal favourites is Wellington Falls, which requires a long, full-day out-and-back hike.
Otherwise, there are plenty of smaller but equally scenic waterfalls that are within walking distance of the Hobart suburbs. Some of these include O’Grady’s Falls, Silver Falls, Secret Falls and Strickland Falls. You can read about how to get to each in the link below.
4. Take a Day Trip To Bruny Island
Bruny Island is perhaps the best and most-visited Hobart attraction. This adventure-packed 362 km² island is accessible via a 15-minute car-ferry from Kettering, just half an hour south of Hobart.
From rugged coastlines to unique wildlife to world-class gourmet food and produce, it’s no wonder why a visit to Bruny Island is on the top of many people’s list of things to do in Hobart.
To be fair though, Bruny Island deserves much more than just a quick day trip. But still, if you’re short on time then it’s possible to book an organised tour from Hobart that manages to cram in a fair bit.
ALSO ON BRUNY: The Fluted Cape Walk
Mona is definitely one of the weirdest attractions in Hobart. The acryonym MONA stands for “The Museum of Old and New”. This quirky mix of ancient, modern and contemporary art is the largest privately-funded museum in the southern hemisphere. I’d argue that it’s also the strangest.
So, if you’re in town, make sure to plan a trip to MONA if you’re up for the experience!
6. Take a Day Trip to Port Arthur
If you haven’t noticed yet, Hobart is a great place to base yourself when exploring day trips to some of Tasmania’s best areas and attractions. And, for history lovers, a trip to Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula is a must.
The World-Heritage listed Port Arthur Historic Site is a well-preserved penal colony site where thousands of convicts were sent during the early colonial period in Tasmania. A ticket to visit to the Port Arthur historic site includes a guided tour and allows visitors to explore the grounds, prisons, homes and messes of early convicts and colonists.
7. Go Camping in South Hobart
Are you travelling Tasmania in a van or motorhome? We spent several months exploring Tassie in our van and let me tell you that it’s one of the best ways to explore the island state.
If you’d like to find a nice campsite that allows a campfire, then I can highly recommend the Gordon Foreshore Recreation Reserve. This waterfront campsite is only 45 minutes south of Hobart and overlooks Bruny Island across the deep passage. The campsite at Gordon Foreshore runs on a donation-only principle which means staying here can also be one of the cheapest options near Hobart.
8. Check out the Cascade Brewery
The Cascade Brewery is Australia’s oldest brewery. Established and running since 1842, Cascade is also one of Tasmania’s most iconic brands. The brewery is located just a short drive from Hobart central and visitors can join guided tours or just taste the beer at the Cascade Bar.
9. Jump on the Best-Rated Three-Hour Hobart Sightseeing Tour
For visitors to Hobart who would like to see as much as possible in a short window, I’d highly recommend the famous 3-hour coach tram sightseeing tour.
These trips run daily on both morning and afternoon trips. The coach tram is a converted historic tram that offers visitors a unique experience. It visits over 40 of Hobart’s historical sites, landmarks, tourist attractions and city highlights. Also, the experienced guide is known for his in-depth and humorous commentary that makes this tour a great way to experience the best of Hobart in just three hours.
10. See Hobart from Mount Nelson Lookout
While The Pinnacle lookout on Mount Wellington offers arguably the best views of Hobart, there is another lookout that is worth checking out too.
The Mount Nelson lookout features a historic signalling station that was used since 1811 to send messages from Hobart to the penal colony at Port Arthur. And, it’s no wonder they chose it. This spot features uninterrupted views of the city, Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula in the distance.
To get here, you’ll can either use your own transport to drive up Mount Nelson via Proctors Road, walk from Sandy Bay or take a bus.
11. Visit the Salamanca Markets
The Salamanca Markets are held every Saturday morning at Salamanca Place near Hobart harbour. This market brings together artists, craftsmen, food stalls, farmers and many Tasmanian small business owners to sell their unique wares and famous street foods.
If you happen to find yourself in Hobart on a weekend, make sure to save time for the Salamanca Markets, one of the best markets I’ve been to in Australia.
12. Take a Day Trip to Wineglass Bay & Freycinet National Park
Easily the most iconic beach in Tasmania and even maybe in Australia; Wineglass Bay is a must-visit for anyone coming to Tasmania. If you find yourself in Hobart for a few days, then it’s possible to visit Freycinet National Park on a self-drive or an organised day trip.
Freycinet National Park is a hiker and bushwalker’s paradise. There are beautiful coastal trails and incredible viewpoints like the Wineglass Bay Lookout, Cape Tourville lighthouse, Mount Amos summit, and Mount Freycinet. I’d say that a visit to this jaw-dropping peninsula is one of the best things to do in Hobart and even in all of Tasmania!
13. Visit Mount Field
Located approximately 1 and a half hours from Hobart is Mount Field National Park, one of Tasmania’s most scenic parks. This lush, fern-filled rainforest is home to some of the tallest trees in the world. There are also several waterfalls to check out making Mount Field a prime attraction near Hobart.
You can get to Mount Field by driving to the Visitor Centre, where you will find information and trails to many of the waterfalls and tracks.
If you don’t have your own vehicle, then relax, I’ve got you covered. The below tour is one of the only offerings from Hobart that includes Mount Wellington and a trip to Russell Falls in Mount Field.
14. Marvel at Some of the World’s Tallest Trees at the Styx
Near Mount Field is the Styx Forest Reserve. This is a special conservation area that is also home to some of the tallest trees in Tasmania. Some of these giant ash trees (eucalyptus regnans) are over 500 years old and stand over 90 metres in height!
Unfortunately, getting to the Styx requires your own transport as there are no tours or public transport options. However, if you find yourself with a car and looking for epic things to do near Hobart, definitely add the Styx Tall Trees walk to your list.
15. Splurge at the Richmond Cheese Factory
Tasmania is well-known in Australia and around the world for its incredible produce. A great place to try Tasmanian made dairy products and cheeses is the Richmond Cheese Factory (Wicked Cheeses).
They offer tasting tours and sell direct to the public some of their prize-winning cheeses like their creamy triple brie.
Explore More: Small-group Hobart Cheese and Wine Tour
16. Visit the Botanical Gardens
A visit to the Botanical Gardens in Hobart is a great way to relax and learn about Tasmania’s unique diversity of plants, flowers and trees. While not the first attraction on my list of things to do in Hobart, I’m very glad that I made the visit. The Antarctica room and seeing some giant Huon Pines were definite highlights.
17. Walk down to the Harbour
Conveniently situated between Salamanca and the city centre is Hobart’s scenic boat harbour. Taking a stroll by the harbour is a great way to wind down an evening. Constitution Dock is the most famous attraction at Hobart Harbour and from here you can see some of the Tasmanian ship icons like the Lady Nelson.
18. Take a Boat Cruise
While you’re at the harbour, why not take the chance to book a boat cruise? There are several options from short sails up the River Derwent to epic coastal cruises on Bruny Island. You will find a tour and information desk just near Constitution Dock but you’ll also find most of the offerings online at Get Your Guide.
Book: Bruny Island Cruise
19. Experience Tasmania from Above on a Scenic Flight from Hobart
Perhaps one of the most epic and memorable things to do in Hobart is to take a scenic flight over one of Australia’s most beautiful coastlines. This particular flight tour departs from Cambridge, just 15 minutes from Hobart and cruises over both the Freycinet Peninsula and Maria Island.
Also included on this epic 3-hour flight is a landing on Maria Island where you will be shown some of the best attractions and enjoy a complementary lunch.
20. Spend a Day on the Tasman Peninsula
The Tasman Peninsula is an easy and incredibly scenic 70-minute drive from Hobart. Unfortunately, most people head straight to Port Arthur and skip the rest of this beautiful part of Tasmania.
The Tasman Peninsula is a hiking and outdoor mecca! From powerful sea caves to soaring, jagged coastlines, the peninsula offers a wide range of outdoor activities for all levels. For hikers who are staying in Hobart for a while, then I highly recommend checking out The Three Capes Track!
21. Experience Glamping in the Huon Valley
Located 30-40 minutes south west of Hobart is Huonville and the Huon Valley. This region is famous for fresh farm produce including cheese, wine, apples, honey and more. A visit to the Huon Valley is a great way to spend a day-trip away from the city.
If you have another night to spare, then I highly recommend checking out Huon Valley glamping. This is a luxury camping experience and definitely one of the most unique places to stay in Tasmania!
22. Stock up on Fresh Produce at the Farm Gate Market
Often overshadowed by the extremely popular Salamanca Markets is the fresh produce market on Bathurst Street. This inner city street is transformed every Sunday morning to a bustling farmers market where visitors can stock up on local Tasmanian produce.
There’s also always great street-food options and coffee carts, so spending a bit of time exploring the Farm Gate Market is a great bet.
23. See Abundant Wildlife on a Trip to Maria Island
Maria Island is known for rich convict settlement history and abundant wildlife. For those visiting Hobart interested in seeing some iconic Tasmanian wildlife like wallabies, wombats, possums and even Tassie Devils, make sure you include a trip to Maria Island.
There is a ferry that departs to Maria Island from Triabunna, approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes drive from Hobart. However, if you don’t have your own car you can still get to Maria Island on an organised day tour.
Book: From Hobart: Maria Island Active Tour
24. Eat Street
From the months of November to April, Franklin Square turns into a vibrant food and music scene every Friday night! Named Eat Street @ Frankos, this bre-booked, ticketed event only costs $5.50 but is well-worth your time and money.
Food lovers in Hobart rejoice, Eat Street is one of the tastiest attractions and easily one of the best things to do in this incredible city.
25. Go Mountain Biking
Hobart is Australia’s best answer to New Zealand’s downhill-loving Queenstown. The foothills of Kunanyi/Mt Wellington and the Queens Domain has several epic downhill tracks definitely worthy of checking out.
The most well-known track is the North-South Track. This begins from The Springs and connects to Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park for hours of downhill adventure.
If you don’t have your own pushy, you can rent one from Roll Cycles or book a downhill bike tour on Viator.
26. Make Hobart a Trip to Remember with an Evening Sunset Dinner Cruise
I’ve recommended a few tours and paid options in this list of things to do in Hobart. But, by far the most bang-for-buck experience you can buy is an Evening sunset dinner cruise departing from Hobart harbour. This 3-hour sunset cruise includes a three-course meal and one alcoholic beverage as you cruise up the River Derwent.
Also, you’ll be guided by an experienced skipper who points out all of the historic landmarks and buildings along the way. All this for less than $60, I’d say that’s one of the best deals in the city!
Hobart Travel Guide: All Your Questions Answered
As I mentioned at the beginning of this guide to the best things to do in Hobart, I’ve dedicated this section to help you plan and prepare for your upcoming trip.
Here, you’ll find answers to things like where to stay, how to get around, the best time to visit and more!
Where to Stay in Hobart
I’ve written a separate, comprehensive accommodation guide for where to stay in Hobart. But, below are 3 of the best-rated and most popular accommodation options for varying budgets. They’re a good starting point but make sure to check out the complete guide before you book!
The area closest to most highlights in Hobart is called “Salamanca Place“. This area has great restaurants and bars and is close to the markets, wharf, museums and the Elizabeth Mall.
However, Hobart is a relatively small city of just over 200 000 and consequently, most accommodation options in the inner suburbs provide easy access to most of the highlights.
Best Mid-Range Hotel: The Rivulet
The Rivulet is an awesome 19th century, heritage-listed manor. It offers some of the best suites in Hobart without a ridiculous price tag.
The location is perfect and accommodation includes the best-ranked breakfast in Hobart.
Best Budget Hostel: Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse
For budget travellers and backpackers, Montacute is by far the best place to stay in Hobart. This is a great hostel that is ranked as having the best vibe in the city.
Dorm beds are as little as $30 a night which is a great value. Especially considering most of the other hostels are the same price or more!
Best Luxury Accommodation: The Grand Chancellor
Centrally located on the waterfront overlooking Constitution Dock, the Grand Chancellor Hotel is one of the most prominent accommodation options in Hobart.
You’ll get harbour views and access to the heated, indoor pool with mountain views. There’s also an in-house gym, restaurant and bar that will make you not want to leave the hotel!
COMPARE ALL ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS IN HOBART OR SAVE 15% ON ALL HOTELS BELOW:
When is the Best Time to Explore Hobart?
The great thing about Hobart and Tasmania in general is that it makes for a great place to visit all year round. However, unlike many other parts of Australia, and due to the extreme distance from the equator, Tasmania experiences greater seasonality, or seasonal variation.
If I had to pick the best time to visit Tasmania, I’d have to choose Autumn or early Winter. Autumn offers a great mix of beach weather and occasional alpine snow. However, it’ll really depend on what out of the many things to do in Hobart you are keenest for.
Seasons in Hobart
What this means is that the difference between Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter are all very noticeable. Below is a summary of what you might expect if you visit Hobart during different times of the year.
Summers in Hobart are comfortable and mostly warm. The average temperatures range from a dry 11.5 – 21°C. This is a great time to visit for swimming on day trips to the coast or longer hikes in the surrounding mountains.
Autumn is a great time to visit Hobart because you will experience many calm, sunny days with temperatures averaging between 9 – 17°C. The city turns a beautiful yellow and orange. Look for the Tasmanian Fagus, or Deciduous beech, which is the only deciduous tree (trees that shed their leaves for Winter) in Australia.
Winter is a great time to visit Hobart, especially for Aussies, who will get to experience a domestic trip that feels like you’ve left the country. Mount Wellington is often peaked with snow and temperatures range between 5 – 12.°C.
Spring is a beautiful time of year in Hobart. It’s also the wettest time with average temperatures falling between 7 – 16.°C. Due to the increased rainfall, many of the waterfalls around Hobart are in peak flow during Spring.
Weather in Hobart
I don’t usually comment too much on weather in blog posts about attractions or things to do, however Hobart’s weather is so unique that I feel that all visitors should consider it. Weather in Hobart is extremely localised. This makes planning activities a little difficult.
To explain, it could be pouring with rain on Kunanyi, while Hobart is sunny and cloud-free less than 10-kilometres away. So, when planning your activities and must-see tourist attractions in Hobart, check weather forecasts (although often unreliable and unpredictable) at precise locations.
Getting to Hobart From the Airport
Both domestic and international visitors flying into Hobart land at the Hobart International Airport in Cambridge. This is approximately 19 kilometres from Salamanca (Hobart). Skybus offers a shuttle bus service from the airport for $19.50 per person.
Van Travel in Hobart
One of the best and most popular ways to travel in Hobart and Tasmania is to do so in a motorhome, caravan or camper. This is because Tasmania has what I believe to be the best “van-life” facilities in Australia. Due to the wide range of things to do across the island, it’s also really economical to travel this way since you’ll have your own transport.
If you’re travelling to Hobart and plan on bringing or renting your own van, then you might benefit from reading about our experience travelling around Tasmania for several months in our van.
Where to Next? More Tasmania Travel Guides and Adventure Inspiration
I hope that this comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Hobart Tasmania has been useful for planning your adventures. Beyond Hobart, Tasmania has so much to offer in terms of adventure, must-see tourist attractions, hiking, nature and more.
I’ve spent several months exploring Tassie and along the way have photographed and documented hundreds of adventures. Below are some more of my favourites.