Hobart city break
With the giddy enthusiasm that comes with the start of a mini break, I decided to kick-off the day on a high with a climb up 1270m Mount Wellington. Hooking up with the Mount Wellington Descent tour guides, I was soon summit-bound having swapped the thickly forested foothills for a wild expanse of windblown gums somehow ekeing an existence out of the boulder fields. The tantalising views that had kept me glued to the van windows on the way up had only whet my appetite for more, and on a clear day Mount Wellington doesn’t disappoint. The panorama from the open viewing platform – far too wide for any point and click cameras – is easily the finest view anywhere in the southern capital. Below, the city nestled around its deepwater harbour and spilled along the Derwent’s shores to the familiar curve of the Tasman Bridge and beyond into Tasmania’s southern highlands. To the south, Wrest Point Casino’s iconic tower could be picked out, with Bruny Island, Storm Bay and the Tasman Peninsula a kaleidoscopic backdrop of blues, greens and browns. What goes up must come down, and as the name suggested, we were cycling back down to sea level. So with a silent prayer to the patron saint of mountain bikers, we mounted up for more than 20km of careering down the vertiginous face of the mountain on the narrow (but thankfully sealed) road. The two-in-one Mountain Descent lasts around three hours, but if you’re short on time or courage, the Mount Wellington Shuttle will whisk you from sea to summit and back with 30 minutes up top.
Freycinet and Mount Field National Parks
Cadbury Chocolate Factory
Having come back down to earth, I found myself in Salamanca Place. Forget the city, this is the real heart of Hobart. Once the haunt of sailors, whalers and workmen, Salamanca’s 19th century sandstone warehouses now bustle with artists, shoppers and tourists drawn to its galleries, theatres, cafés, craft shops and fashionably hip bars. Every Saturday, Salamanca morphs into one of the liveliest outdoor markets in the world as stalls set up shop under the leafy plane trees and buskers of every shape and sound hit the street. It’s a Hobart institution and top of any discerning traveller’s to do list. I admit I’ve never been one for markets. I tend to wander listlessly around the dog-eared books, comedy t-shirts, cheap jewellery and second-hand bric-a-brac. But pulled along by the crowds, I was side-tracked by stalls offering quirky homespun objects d’art, cutlery fashioned from scented Tasmanian sassafrass and blackwood, and colourful paintings sold by the artists themselves. Chocolate liquer-filled truffles, Bruny Island fudge, cool climate wines, cheeses, honey – lots of honey – lemon myrtle mustard, jams and sauces, I eyed them all with (ahem) relish. It’s not the sort of place to visit on an empty stomach. Ducking into the Salamanca Arts Centre, I followed the sound of clanging metal to the centre’s courtyard, where I came upon a blacksmith bent over his BBQ-size smelter hammering a coat hook into shape by hammer and anvil.
Hobart's unique cafés
Hobart Museum and Art Galary
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