Tasmania has risen higher and higher on my travel bucket list over the past year and so I didn’t hesitate when the opportunity to visit came up!
It was a holiday to celebrate – my birthday, my partners birthday (just days apart) and our 5 year anniversary the month before. With so much to be thankful for, we felt it was only fitting we treated ourselves to a short vacation, giving us some much needed time away together where we were able to enjoy a slower pace.
Only having five days to spare away from work, it was going to be a tightly packed trip, which included just an overnight stay in the city of Hobart. Having been there now myself, I would absolutely plan a longer stay in the city next time I visit! Not only is there more to see in the sleepy capital, but it’s such a great base from which to explore more of the states south.
Our accommodation for the night was a gorgeous boutique hotel in Battery Point, the Grand Vue Hotel. I will say right away that the photos online didn’t do this place any justice, as it was so unbelievably charming in person. From the large, brass handled front door, the kind elderly man who checked us in to the complimentary small sugar dusted muffins we came back to after dinner. Falling asleep that night, we left the curtains open, and drifted off as we gazed out at the twinkling lights on the far shore.
Waking up the next morning, in our brightly painted room, we stayed under the blankets watching sun slowly rise up over the water views down below, as boats bobbed about with the tide and the trees rustled their crisp, golden leaves.
Our little suite was so beautifully appointed, we were sad to only have one night there. With a large comfortable bed, small seating area by large bay windows, a pristinely clean and tidy kitchenette (with tea and coffee) and a gorgeous marble bathroom. On top of this, the service was wonderful – not only did we feel as though we were being invited into somebody’s home, but they went above and beyond – after we left I realised I’d left my travel envelope full of our bookings and itinerary in the bedside table (whoops!). They searched the room and even their bins in order to find it, then offered to keep it aside for us or shred the papers (I personally appreciated this, as I’ve never felt comfortable simply throwing papers with personal information in the bin, preferring to shred it up into pieces first!).
Playing tourist, with cameras slung over our shoulders and layers to combat the icy winds, we set about to explore a little of the nearby area in the short amount of time we had. It was merely a hop, skip and a jump down into town from where we were staying, past the historic homes in Battery Point, coming out through a laneway onto Salamanca Place. This precinct consists of rows of sandstone buildings housing retail, cafes, galleries, craft stores and bars. Across the car park there is a long grassy strip lined with trees, the ground littered with golden leaves. On Saturday’s, there’s a weekly market which is popular with both tourists and locals alike! They’re actually ranked as one of the most visited attractions each year, so if you find yourself in town on a weekend they’re certainly worth checking out (we visited mid-week so missed out this time around).
Brooke Street Pier
Just across from Salamanca is the port and access to Brooke Street Pier. A floating pontoon building, it was in fact constructed a distance away from it’s current home, before being brought down and docked at Franklin Wharf, near the base of Brooke Street. Primarily a ferry terminal, this building also houses a public space and market area for tourism operators and produce suppliers as well as a few permanent tenancies – it’s largest being a restaurant and bar, The Glass House (keep an eye out for it’s appearance in a feature post that’s coming).
A beautiful public space, lined with oak trees and featuring a large fountain in the centre, it’s here you can take a load off and enjoy a good book in a deck chair in the sunshine, play a game of novelty sized chess or catch rainbows in the fountain’s spray. This small green space was built on the site of the former government house of Tasmania and is listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register.
Another part of town that’s worth a visit is North Hobart. A slightly grungier suburb that oozes art, food and a buzzing atmosphere. The streets host a suite of intriguing public art in the form of sculptures, installations and pavement pieces, while wine bars, cafes and bakeries fill the store fronts serving up culinary delights with flavours from all over the world. There isn’t a very big nightlife in Hobart, with nightclubs practically non-existent – instead, there are funky bistros, whiskey dens and cocktail bars, creating the perfect spaces to make friends with the locals over a drink or three.
A few things we just weren’t able to fit in but have on our list for next time include: Mount Wellington – You can drive or take a tour to the summit and enjoy spectacular views over the city and harbour. MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art) – is Australia’s largest private museum that also offers visitors a vineyard setting! Heck, they even brew their own beer! Only a short drive or ferry ride from Hobart’s centre, MONA is a unique and intriguing space and one that I can’t wait to check out myself.
One of the things I love about the fact we planned our visit in winter, is that the cold temperature outside practically encourages you to seek out a fireplace or warm space indoors where you can wine and dine! Only further cemented by the fact that Tasmania has some of the freshest produce around, noted chefs and countless award winning vineyards and distilleries. I always say that enjoying local food is a great way to sample a new city/place, and Hobart is no exception! Because there was simply too much goodness to include in this post, I’ve saved it all for a feature post in it’s own right, where I’ll cover our favourite spots from the trip! Stay tuned for this…