I FANCY BREAKFAST WITH A VIEW
Settle in at one of the curvaceous steel-and-timber tables inside or sit outside on the protected terrace at Brooke Street Larder. Either way, you'll be able to soak up glorious harbour views over your first meal of the day. If you're lucky, a magnate's mega-yacht or a hardworking research ship will be moored in the vicinity for added visual interest. The larder's all-day menu includes such winning dishes as caramelised french toast with organic blueberries, whipped mascarpone, maple syrup and candied lemon; and pork-and-fennel sausage with Tuscan braised beans, kale, egg, pecorino and seeded toast. Take away some picnic provisions for later, chosen from the temptation-filled cabinet of cheeses, charcuterie and more.
I WANT TO STEP BACK IN TIME
The Cascades Female Factory is a World Heritage site that tells the gripping and often confronting stories of the female convicts sent to Van Diemen's Land. Between 1828 and 1856, women and girls as young as 11 were incarcerated within the factory's cold stone walls, which originally housed a distillery. They were assigned to soul-destroying menial work and those perceived as better-behaved or "reformed" were assigned as servants to colonial land holders. Life on the outside, however, wasn't always great either. The best way to experience the site is with a combination ticket for a heritage tour followed by Her Story, a roaming performance by two actors from Live History Hobart who bring the past to vivid life.
I NEED TO BUY GIFTS
Hobart's legendary Salamanca markets are a great place to satisfy this aim. You'll find everything from striking cheese boards made from huon pine to striped dog-jackets that will make your hound look like a cartoonish Tasmanian devil. If your wallet and energy aren't exhausted by the markets, step into the Salamanca Arts Centre in the historic sandstone warehouses nearby. Here, you'll find a seductive range of boutiques and galleries where you can buy original creations – including paintings, ceramics, clothing, jewellery and more – from local artists and makers, some of whom have studios on the buildings' upper levels.
I LONG TO BE SPIRITED AWAY
Evolve is a luxurious lounge bar with a focus on high-end spirits from around the world. Its decadent, moodily-lit interior includes glass cabinets of fossils and ancient artefacts, including the skeleton of a Russian cave bear. The libations on offer include cocktails and a 68-page list of whiskys, gins, rums, tequilas, cognacs, brandies and more. The Tasmanian whisky selection alone ranges from a Belgrove aged rye that will set you back $25 for 30 millilitres to a French-oaked museum release from Sullivans Cove that costs $220 for 30 millilitres. Soak up some of the alcohol with a cheese plate, a charcuterie board and a selection of handmade chocolates.
I'D LIKE A STIRRING ART EXPERIENCE
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is the jewel in Hobart's arts-and-culture crown, and no trip to Tassie's capital is complete without a visit. Even if you've been before, odds are you'll encounter something new and notable. Siloam, the museum's $27 million underground extension, for example, opened in June. It is a series of tunnels and galleries displaying large-scale works by artists including Alfredo Jaar and Ai Weiwei. Mine – an exhibition by Simon Denny described as "a theme park of mining, data collection, and augmented reality" – also opened in June. When you get hungry, Faro, MONA's new bar and restaurant, offers a range of sharing plates, oodles of Iberico ham and signature sangria by the litre. Faro means lighthouse in Spanish and, while you're there, you can encounter some new works by light artist James Turrell.
I'M KEEN TO EAT LOCAL WITH LOCALS
Street Eats @ Franko is a lively, easygoing Friday night event that runs from late November until mid-April. It features live music – mostly funky, soulful and danceable – and a wonderful variety of locally-produced street food, beer, wine, spirits and cider. Choosing among them is the evening's great challenge. Tangy butter chicken served in a cone of naan from Pocket Curries or Indigenous cuisine with a contemporary twist from Palawa Kipli? Or perhaps a vegan feast from Orlando Plenty. The single-serve pavs from We Love Pavlovas are tempting in the extreme. The event takes place in Franklin Park in central Hobart, which makes it popular with the after-work crowd, local families and visitors alike.
I'VE A YEN TO SEE YE OLDE HOBART
Climb the standstone Kelly Steps from Salamanca Place to Battery Point, one of Hobart's oldest areas. Its winding, atmospheric streets are home to a range of Georgian buildings, including easy-to-love seafarers' cottages with beautifully-restored exteriors. The Shipwrights Arms Hotel on Trumpeter Street, built in1846, is one of Hobart's oldest pubs and still going strong. Narryna, a merchant's house built on Hampden Road in the 1830s, looks like it belongs in a Jane Austen novel. It has operated as a boarding house, a hospital and home to various of Hobart's elite over the years. These days, it's a folk museum with an enticing collection including costumes, jewellery, furniture and textiles that provide a glimpse into everyday life in Hobart's days of yore.
I'M HUNGRY FOR FRESH PRODUCE
The luscious fruit and vegetables grown by Tasmania's Hmong community and sold at Salamanca Market are a good place to start, particularly if your accommodation includes a kitchen and you can do a bit of cooking with this colourful, Instagram-friendly booty. On Sunday mornings, central Hobart's Farm Gate Market is the place to be for all things fresh, seasonal and artisanal, produced by passionate locals. Take a bag with you and stock up on everything from micro-herbs, cheese and seafood to pastries and rich, home-made sauces.
I'D LIKE AN OVERVIEW
A certain element of suspense accompanies the decision to head to the summit of Mount Wellington. What sort of weather will you get? It's been known to snow up there on Christmas Day and the weather changes quickly. Go anyway. The fresh air and outlook – which on a clear day can include Bruny Island, the D'Entrecasteux Channel and the South West wilderness – are a feast for the eyes and the spirit. If you're up for some heavy breathing, you can hike up or you can take it easy and drive. The Springs, just below the summit, is the spot to picnic on the cheese and charcuterie you picked up at Brooke Street Larder earlier in the day.
ONE MORE THING
If you plan to visit the Cascades Female Factory, and you most definitely should, check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. The site is open to the elements and Her Story takes place in the middle of the day so you'll probably want a hat at least, even in the less-cold months.
I WANT THE FACTS
Hobart is Australia's second driest capital, after Adelaide. Summer is typically its driest period; spring its wettest. You'd be wise to carry a warmish top layer even in summer and the city's proximity to the Antarctic means you'll want plenty of layers of all types in winter.
The Indigenous Muwinina people are the original inhabitants of the Hobart area. About 260 British people, most of whom were convicts, settled the area in 1803. Hobart became the capital and administrative centre of Tasmania in 1812.
Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin fly direct to Hobart from both Sydney and Melbourne. Flight time from Melbourne is about 75 minutes; from Sydney it's about two hours. For those who like to take it slow, the Spirit of Tasmania ferry service departs Melbourne at 7.30pm most days of the year and arrives in Devonport at about 6am the following day. Hobart is about 260 kilometres south of Devonport via the A5 and the drive time is about 3½ hours.
Somerset on the Pier's serviced apartments are ideally located on the Hobart waterfront. The units are dual-level and have kitchenettes. The MONA ferry departs from the pier next door and most of central Hobart's attractions are within easy walking distance. Eating options galore, from fine-dining to a take-away fish and chip shed, are moments away. Rooms from $230 a night.
Lissa Christopher was a guest of Somerset on the Pier.