AM: “Start with the market,” said our local friend Simon, so with a weekend up our sleeves after attending an industry event we strolled a few hundred metres down the Hobart waterfront to Salamanca Wharf. We were staying nearby at Sullivan’s Cove Apartments in the iconic old IXL Building, a former jam factory. It’s a great place: central, quiet and spotlessly clean, with great views of the waterfront.
Salamanca Market is reputed to be the largest weekend market in Australia and is a cornucopia of food and beverage stalls, crafts, knick-knacks and fascinating oddities. The highlight for me was the beautifully preserved old sandstone buildings from the 1830s which once housed the businesses of whalers and traders. Mary McNeill of Gourmania Food Tours offers an excellent three-hour walking tour (with a snack and lunch included) – highly recommended.
Simon next took us on a quick “tiki tour” of the city through Battery Point (once working-class, now gentrified) and South Hobart to the Alexandra Battery Lookout at Sandy Bay which has excellent views towards Bruny Island and back over Hobart. We also saw the Cascades Brewery, whose famous beer you should make a point of enjoying when in Tasmania.
Hobart also has a fine collection of colonial architecture including lots of stone churches.
PM: Much has been written about MONA, the revolutionary Museum of Old and New Art since its 2011, and the only thing to do is go and see it for yourself, if you don’t mind a bit of adults-only content. It’s an extraordinary place, dug deep into a hillside on the Derwent River like something out of a James Bond movie. You can take a water taxi from Hobart, reach it easily by car and even stay there – there is good accommodation on-site.
EVENING: Dinner was more amazing, cutting-edge food at Garagistes restaurant in downtown Hobart. (The night before, we dined at Ethos in
Elizabeth Street, also recommended.) In recent years Tasmania has gained a worldwide reputation for the quality of its produce and top chefs now come to live and work here. Tasmanian wines are also fantastic and the pinot noirs give Central Otago’s a run for their money!
AM: More markets, this time the excellent Farm Gate Market held each Sunday on two blocks of Elizabeth Street, and which specialises in food. Lots of locals come to buy their weekly fruit and veges here and you can see why. Hobart’s hinterland now supports a host of enthusiastic growers following their passion for raising the perfect turnip or potato or shallot, and all manner of butchers, bakers and condiment-makers also sell their products here. You’ll also find incredible seafood, including big fat oysters from Bruny Island.
PM: We held off from nibbling too much (it was hard) because we knew were having lunch at Frogmore Creek Winery near Hobart Airport before we headed home. Frogmore has a lovely rural setting and the restaurant’s Executive Chef, Ruben Koopman, has worked under the guidance of Michelin-starred chefs such as Raymond Blanc, Marco-Pierre White and Albert Roux. I thought the food I had enjoyed in Hobart couldn’t be bettered, but the best came at the last. It’s worth noting too that the distillery of Lark, Tasmania’s most famous whisky, is visible across the fields from Frogmore’s dining room. 48 hours in Hobart wasn’t nearly enough and I am definitely going back!
Have you ever been to Hobart before? Tell us what you liked about this Tasmanian city in the comments below.