The art of relaxation in Hobart

How to spend a weekend in Tasmania's capital.
Sullivan's cove of Hobart harbour with historic fishing boat in front of heritage houses on city waterfront.

Hobart is a city of stories. Some tragic, some triumphant, but all of them fascinating. In recent years, Tasmania’s capital has reinvented itself as a top tourist destination, and all you need is 48 hours to find out why.

Here’s how you can write your own memorable chapter in the space of a weekend…

A suite in The Henry Jones Art Hotel. (Photo: The Henry Jones Art Hotel)

Where to stay in Hobart

The Henry Jones Art Hotel is the ideal base for your Hobart adventure. Located on the city’s picturesque waterfront, it’s a perfect blend of history and contemporary style. Beautifully realised in the heritage warehouses of the former IXL jam factory, the hotel offers daily 60-minute art and history tours, as well as their new Palawa Connection experience.

Palawa Connection with Allan Mansell. (Photo: The Henry Jones Art Hotel)

The word ‘Palawa’ refers to all Tasmanian Aboriginal people and the experience is presented by celebrated Aboriginal artist Allan Mansell. While conducting a printmaking demonstration, Allan shares stories about everything from his nomadic childhood, to being a member of the Stolen Generations, to the genetic memory he believes informs his wonderful, powerful art. All tours, as well as Palawa Connection, are free for guests and $20 per person for non-guests.

Best place to dine in Hobart

You don’t have to go far to discover one of Hobart’s best culinary destinations. Landscape Restaurant & Grill, which is also housed in the 1830s IXL building, is a firm favourite with locals and tourists alike. So named because of the amazing collection of John Glover paintings on the sandstone walls, the restaurant specialises in steaks and seafood, predominantly cooked on a woodfired grill powered by a blend of Tassie hardwood and a selection of sherry, bourbon or port casks that infuse the dishes with a unique flavour. There’s also an extensive wine list and drinks menu, making Landscape an excellent choice for a special occasion or celebration.

Lark Distillery (Photo: Supplied)

Best bars in Hobart

If you feel like venturing beyond The Henry Jones’ fantastic IXL Long Bar, you’ll find plenty of craft distilleries and breweries all within easy reach. Fans of spirits can’t go wrong with Lark, Australia’s oldest single malt whisky distiller. The Lark cellar door and their swish whisky bar, The Still, are located in downtown Hobart, but if you want the full experience, you can visit the distillery itself in Pontville, which is a 30-minute drive north of the CBD. And for beer lovers, the Fox Friday taproom is definitely worth a look. Proudly founded in Hobart, the funky brewery offers an impressive selection of delicious brews, along with US-inspired food for a reasonable price.

Salamanca Market

Where to shop

No trip to Hobart is complete without a visit to the famous Salamanca Market. Every Saturday from 8.30am until 3pm, more than 300 stallholders descend on historic Salamanca Place with a huge selection of fresh produce and locally made products, as well as artisan coffee and food. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re bound to find it here. Keep an eye out for items crafted from Tasmanian blackwood, a particularly beautiful local timber. Talented buskers provide the soundtrack and it’s just a nice day out, even if you don’t buy anything. Big readers should also check out the charming Hobart Bookshop, which has a lovely, laidback vibe.

(Photo: The Henry Jones Art Hotel)

Attractions to explore

There’s no shortage of places to explore. Of course, Mona is at the top of the list for a lot of travellers. The Museum of Old and New Art is the wacky brainchild of David Walsh, a professional gambler, art collector and businessman. The museum prides itself on not taking art – or anything else – too seriously and has to be seen to be believed. Another Hobart institution worth your time is the Cascade Brewery. Located in the foothills beneath Mount Wellington, it’s Australia’s oldest operating brewery and features gorgeous landscaped gardens. Tours are available. Finally, Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum provides insights into Douglas Mawson’s 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition and the city’s ongoing role as the gateway to the South Pole.

The writer was a guest of The Henry Jones Art Hotel.

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