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Four volumes of SUITCASE Magazine, with a new issue delivered to your door each quarter
Hobart is a small city located on Australia’s “Apple Isle”, more commonly known as Tasmania. With Melbourne to the north and Antarctica to the south, the island of Tasmania is remote, rugged and wild, full of natural wonders and ripe for adventure. Hobart, its capital, is perched on the edge of the Derwent River and is a laid-back place with a strong sense of community. The air is clean, the pace is slow, the standard of living high. It’s no wonder so many artists, musicians and other creatives call it home.
Once considered a rather sleepy town, Hobart is making waves thanks to flourishing gastronomic and creative scenes, meaning there has never been a better time to visit.
You probably don’t know much about it, so we’ve rounded up 21 reasons why you should factor it in if you’re heading to Oz.
This tiny neighbourhood joint is a highlight of any trip to Tassie. Seating just 20 people, it’s a cosy space with a tiny menu (about eight items). Go with the chef’s choice – Matt Breen showcases local, seasonal flavours and produce in interesting and dramatic combinations. Templo also offers an exquisite list of local, natural and organic wines. Booking ahead is essential.
This is undoubtedly the best way to spend a sunny Sunday morning in Hobart. With the market kicking off at 8:30AM whatever the weather and endless food stalls to choose from, it’s the perfect spot to grab coffee, breakfast and some fresh local produce. Our pick for breakfast is fresh sushi (yes, really) from Masaaki Koyama’s Japanese stand. There’s always a queue, but the authentic fare is well worth the wait.
On touchdown in Hobart, be sure drive to by the Gasworks Cellar Door on the historic waterfront, where you can pick up some local wine for your trip. James Hordern has an incredible selection of Tasmanian wine and spirits, with generous tastings and informed recommendations.
It may be slightly out of Hobart in the Derwent Valley, but this is one of those experiences that will stay with you forever. A paddock-to-plate cooking class on a farm, The Agrarian Kitchen is run by lovely husband and wife duo Rodney Dunn and Severine Demanet in a former 19th-century schoolhouse just 45 minutes outside the city. Sign up for the full-day agrarian experience – a celebration of the seasons in which you will forage, harvest, cook, learn, eat and drink. The couple are soon to open a restaurant down the road.
It’s a long way to the top along a very steep and winding path, but the views from the summit of Mount Wellington are pretty spectacular (the pinnacle observation shelter will get you the best shot). Choose from an array of hiking trails, while mountain biking and horse riding are also popular. Pack a coat – it gets very cold and windy at the top.
North Hobart is where it’s at when it comes to eating and drinking, with many of our favourite spots cropping up in this somewhat grungy neighbourhood. For an awesome breakfast, it’s straight to Berta. A bit further down the road you’ll find Born in Brunswick – which has a Melbourne feel to it with bright, airy decor and fantastic coffee. If you happen to be in West Hobart, head to Pigeon Hole and make sure you order the “green eggs and ham” baked eggs.
Hole up in on one of the outdoor window seats at Small-Fry for coffee before sauntering down the hill to the Farm Gate Market on a Sunday morning. This place is also known for its open kitchen and private dinner parties – a good opportunity to meet locals.
Run by an ex-Gordon Ramsay alumni, Sweet Envy is a little cake shop is a haven for all things sugary. Great coffee, croissants and homemade ice cream are also available. We love it.
MONA (the Museum of Old and New) was founded in 2011 by local man, David Walsh, using the proceeds of his gambling habit. An innovative art site perched on a hill overlooking the river, it’s full of contemporary, confronting art in cavernous galleries. At the weekend, look out for the charming little growers markets that are held on site, music festivals, and in June, Dark Mofo, a festival which delves into centuries-old winter solstice rituals. Grab a glass of wine on a sunny day and sit out on the lawn after spending an hour or so perusing the gallery. Other galleries worth popping into include the Tasmania Museum and Art Gallery and the Salamanca Arts Centre.
This is by far our favourite place to sleep in the city. Available on Airbnb, this 1820s sandstone barn was recently renovated by a young architect couple and is now a beautifully light and open architectural dream. We are suckers for its timber-shingled roof, while it’s conveniently located right in the heart of Hobart.
There are lots of pretty neighbourhoods surrounding Hobart’s central business district; take time to explore the happening suburb of North Hobart, picturesque Battery Point with its colourful cottages, marina-side Sandy Bay and the more touristy Salamanca.
For the best bread in town, visit Pigeon Hole Bakers in Argyle Street. Located next to the popular Franklin restaurant, this beautiful space makes incredible organic sourdough – they sell out early, so make sure you’re at the front of the queue.
Despite the fact this iconic music and arts festival is one hour outside Hobart in Marion Bay, it would be a travesty to leave it out. Held over the New Year holiday, The Falls Music and Arts Festival takes place on a farm overlooking the water and out to Maria Island. A backdrop of native forest and the Tasman Sea coupled with an incredible line-up of local and international acts – it doesn’t much better than this.
It’s not just about wine and whisky in Tasmania. If you’re a beer aficionado, you’ll certainly get your hop fix here. With more than 20 breweries and microbreweries to visit, you could easily fill a day following the craft beer trail. Some of the popular ones include Shambles, The Winston and the Hobart Brewing Company. On the larger end of the scale, Boag’s and Cascade are also good options.
If you want to see a gig while in town, check out either The Republic (they have live music everyday) or the Brisbane Hotel. You will find a mix of local acoustic bands and jazz musicians, as well as alternative and grunge music from established and up-and-coming artists.
Housed in a building that’s more than 180 years old, the Alabama Hotel is located smack bang in the middle of the city and is a budget-friendly sleeping option. The hotel was recently revamped and reopened in 2013 after an almost 10-year hiatus. Cute retro touches, plastic flamingos and local art on the walls make for playful interiors to match the atmosphere, with a small bar and plant-filled balcony looking over Hobart’s main street.
A great place to pick up some edible souvenirs, visit Wursthaus Kitchen in Salamanca for deli goods such as cheese, meat and Tasmanian truffles. Daci & Daci Bakers, is a good one for breakfast, then get some lamb pies, homemade sausage rolls and orange cake for takeaway lunch. If you’re having a barbecue, pay a visit to the friendly butchers at Vermey’s Meats in Sandy Bay – their butterflied quail is ideal, while Tasmanian beef is always a winner.
Stock up on picnic supplies (see above) before finding a quiet spot along the Derwent River to for a lazy waterside lunch.
You will no doubt have heard of Salamanca Market before your trip to Hobart. One of the city’s most famous tourist attractions, the market is made up of 300 food and craft stalls. It runs every Saturday, rain hail or shine, in historic Salamanca Place. It can be a bit overwhelming, but if you’re in Hobart for the first time it’s certainly worth a wander.
If you plan on doing your own cooking while in Hobart, stop by Ashmore Foods, a local seafood producer, wholesaler and retailer. Call ahead to order whole salmon, ocean trout, snapper, southern rock lobster and oysters, or go Japanese with some wakame or mekabu.
If you’re looking to lounge in the lap of luxury, bag yourself one of the 11 rooms at Islington Hotel. A perfectly private retreat, The Islington is set in a restored 1847 house and is surrounded by a lovely garden with incredible views of Mount Wellington. A world of marble, sandstone and glass, this stately property is the dream base for any Hobart adventure.
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