Hobart, Tasmania, travel guide and things to do: Nine highlights


It's been 10 years since Hobart's great moment in art, Mona, burrowed its way into the cliffs of the city's northern suburbs, and its evolution continues apace. After closing for nine months in 2020, Mona reopened after Christmas with all the old favourite works – Cloaca Professional, Bit.fall, Sidney Nolan's Snake – but also, as the flags out front laconically promise, "some new stuff". Among them is a perplexing House of Mirrors maze, a burger bar on the gallery's lawns, and a large bronze sculpture-cum-playground. See mona.net.au


The best things in life sometimes have unprepossessing origins. The beauty of Sullivans Cove Distillery is all in the bottles and flavours, with this chart-topping whisky maker located in a glorified warehouse shed near Hobart Airport. That hasn't prevented its single-malt whisky from being crowned as the best in the world. Step into the shed and there's a cosy, lodge-like tasting room, while tours unveil the inner workings from a platform overlooking the stills and the barrels of liquid gold. See sullivanscove.com


You might think the best Hobart view would come from the 1271-metre mountain that rises immediately behind the city, but it arguably comes from centimetres above the water in a kayak. Roaring 40s Kayaking's Hobart City Paddle skirts around the Battery Point coastline and into the city dock's, mingling with the yachts and fishing boats, with Hobart and kunanyi/Mt Wellington towering above. The coup de grace is the floating feed of fish and chips, ordered from the dockside fish punts and eaten in the kayaks. See roaring40skayaking.com.au


There's handsome history wherever you look in Battery Point, where Hobart's colonial past feels written in literal stone across the sandstone facades of the 19th-century cottages. Tucked behind Salamanca Place, the suburb is best explored on foot. Walk a lap around Arthur Circus, with its English-style cottages ringed around a village green, or follow the Battery Point Sculpture Trail – each installation tells a tale of Hobart history, from local boy Errol Flynn to a floating sculpture honouring the 313 ships launched from the local slipyards. Hampden Road is where the food's at – local favourites include Jackman and McRoss bakery and Da Angelo Ristorante. See daangelo.com


xxHobart One & Only Hobart Tasmania ; text by Andrew Bain ; SUPPLIED Tourism Tasmania ; *** ONE TIME USE ONLY *** Summit of kunanyi/Mt WellingtonMandatory credit: Luke Tscharke

Photo: Tourism Tasmania

When Hobartians talk of 'the mountain', they mean one thing: kunanyi/Mt Wellington, the imposing peak that presses the city against the River Derwent. There's a multitude of ways to experience kunanyi/Mt Wellington and its slopes. Walkers have numerous trails to choose from – the Organ Pipes Track cuts beneath the rib of cliffs so prominent across the mountain, while the Zig Zag and Ice House tracks are good approaches to the summit – while the most fun way off the mountain is the Mt Wellington Descent. This cycling tour returns you to the city from the summit with barely a turn of the pedals. See underdownunder.com.au


There's been a rash of hotel openings in Hobart in the last 12 months – Crowne Plaza, Vibe, Mövenpick – but still there's something compelling about the refined Islington Hotel. Just removed from the city centre in South Hobart, the 11-room luxury hotel, built in 1847, is a picture inside and out – works by Henri Matisse, David Hockney, Brett Whiteley and Andy Warhol form part of the hotel's impressive art collection, while the Conservatory looks across an infinity pool and Murano glass sculptures to kunanyi/Mt Wellington. Forget the quest for dining options – the Islington's in-house restaurant is as good as any in town. See islingtonhotel.com


As a luxury lounge bar, Evolve offers a sophisticated and intimate hospitality experience on Hobart??s historic waterfront. Its ornate design, rare spirits list and engaging service are befitting of Hobart??s most enviable wharfside location, within the MACq 01 Hotel building. Evolve Spirits Bar features an extraordinary collection of artefacts from across the globe, dating back to the Cambrian period 550 million years ago
xxHobart One & Only Hobart Tasmania ; text by Andrew Bain ; SUPPLIED Tourism Tasmania ; *** ONE TIME USE ONLY *** Mandatory credit: Evolve Spirits Bar and Adam Gibson

Photo: Tourism Tasmania

Even the 25-year-old single malts look spritely at Evolve Spirits Bar, inside the waterfront MACq01 hotel. The name is a nod to the decor, with the bar doubling as a showpiece for an intriguing private collection of fossils, ranging from a 550-million-year-old trilobite, to a mineralised mammoth tusk, to a dinosaur egg and the horn of a triceratops. The bar peers across Hobart's docks, and the drinks list is as absorbing as the fossils – the whisky list alone stretches to around 35 pages, and there are more than 500 spirits and wines on offer. See evolvespiritsbar.com.au



Traditionally, Salamanca Place has been Hobart's eat street, but it's been usurped in recent years by Elizabeth Street in North Hobart. In a cluster between Burnett and Federal streets are the likes of the Day of the Dead-styled Pancho Villa, quality Korean at Kalbi, the Italian tastes of Capital, and bar favourites such as Boodle Beasley and Willing Brothers Wine Merchants. Wander from the main pack towards the city and there are outliers along Elizabeth Street such as the Vietnamese street eats of Cyclo and the craft-brewery bars at T-Bone and Shambles.


Australia's second-oldest botanical gardens, created just two years after the first gardens in Sydney, are a short stroll from the city centre. The cool-climate gardens shield a number of botanical treasures, most notably the Sub Antarctic Plant House, which replicates plant life and conditions on Macquarie Island. A few hundred metres from the gardens' main entrance are the ramshackle remains of the former Beaumaris Zoo, where the last Tasmanian tiger in captivity died in 1936, the year before the zoo closed. See gardens.rtbg.tas.gov.au


Visitors fan far and wide from Hobart to find convict relics and reminders. The city's  Cascades Female Factory  housed female convicts for nearly 30 years and a new interpretation centre that will include an open "empatheatre" (empathy theatre) will open late in late December. See femalefactory.org.au

Andrew Bain travelled at his own expense.