Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hobart visiting guide

My first impression of Hobart was formed through a haze of 4.30am weariness, but the barbarity of the 6.00am flight was more than made up for by the chance of catching the view as we descended: the sunrise’s last glows over layers of rolling hills, mountains and glimmering bays. Below, snatches of lovely straight white beaches, green farmland, and forest. First thing to note: Hobart really is pretty!

The city is small enough that you can get around easily by foot (although I would suggest a car if you want to do anything much beyond Hobart itself, which you will if you’re there for more than a handful of days), but large enough that you don’t quite feel you’re in a country town. It’s a little bit of a mini Adelaide, with a hint of Sydney’s waterfront charm, some green country prettiness, and good smatterings of Melbourne’s style and culture — that’s a pretty good mix. Throw in a day (or two!) at MONA, and we’re talking a real nice getaway.

Over the next few days I’ll write up in more detail some of the best spots I found for eating, drinking, shopping, and art loving (MONA MONA MONA!!), but for now just a quick word and some pretty pictures to whet your appetite…

(Update: check out my shopping guide here!)

Salamanca Place
Most of the good stuff to do and see in Hobart is in a small area around the waterfront. Salamanca Place is where you’ll want to head first — most of the loveliest little shops are here, as well as the coffee and drinks spots we found ourselves circling back to. It's here that the Salamanca Markets take place from 8am to 3pm every Saturday, so put aside a couple of hours for a browse if you can. There's also the Salamanca Arts Centre, which oversees a variety of education, art and performance exhibitions and events. While we were there, we caught an unusual installation by Elizabeth Woods in the courtyard behind the centre (have a look here); it was part of the Kelly's Garden Curated Projects, a series of installation projects by emerging and established artists.

salamanca place, hobart, tasmania
hobart, waterfront, tasmania

Battery Point
Battery Point — up and behind Salamanca Place via Kelly’s Steps — is just perfect. Here, the historic houses and charming cottages have views of the water and of Mount Wellington. Hampden Road is well worth a stroll and a coffee or lunch stop, and residential Arthur Circus is a must to include in your walk.

hobart, arthur circus, tasmania
hobart, hampden road, battery point
hobart, hampden road, battery point

A really nice way to explore Battery Point is by following the ‘Sculpture by Numbers’ walking tour — okay, the sculptures themselves aren’t super amazing, but the trail takes you to the prettiest spots of the harbour, down some gorgeous (and hilly) residential streets, and past some historically interesting sites that are all explained in literary style along the way. Grab a map from the information centre in town, though the whole treasure hunt is well signed (or you can download a copy of the brochure here). The trail is part of a noticeable presence of public art in Hobart — if you’re thinking of riding in the city, check out the Artbikes bike hubs project.

hobart, battery point, tasmania
hobart, waterfront, tasmania
hobart, 1909, errol flynn, tasmania

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