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Hobart is the most southerly of Australian capital cities, yet its latitude compares with Rome in the northern hemisphere. Hobart weather is very seasonal – with four distinct seasons, in what climatologists call a mild temperate maritime climate. This allows Hobart visitors to experience both warmth in the summer and in the wintersnow on Mount Wellington cold and even skiing at Mount Mawson.
Hobart has a European feel noted by the Georgian influenced sandstone cottages and mansions. Built almost entirely with convict labour from Ireland and England, Hobart was first settled as a penal colony in 1804. Hobart was a harsh place to be then but has since come a long way from this dark past. However it is this history which gives Hobart much of its intrigue and it’s definitely one of the reasons to visit.The central areas are easy to explore on foot.
Battery Point represents original Hobart with properties made of sandstone with large, well built homes, apartments, and even historical cottages linked to Salamanca by Kelly’s Steps. Arthur’s Circus represents the “village” green that the entire area is built around. Close by is Narryna Heritage Museum a Greek Revival town house built by Captain Andrew Haig in 1837-40, now a folk museum.
Salamanca Place on Sullivans Cove on the Hobart Waterfront is a very popular cobblestone square with many options for dining and shopping. If you are in Hobart on Saturday then visit Salamanca Markets. Salamanca Arts Centre, hosts a mixture of exhibitions, events and performance
The Penitentiary Chapel on the corner of Brisbane and Campbell Streets built by John Lee Archer in the 1830’s as a Chapel for the convict population. Beneath were 36 solitary confinement punishment cells.
The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery situated on Hobart’s historical waterfront consists of nationally significant archaeological material, and displays to interest the whole family.
Built in 1811, the signal station at Mt Nelson 10 minutes south of Hobartprovides views over the city and mouth of the Derwent River. South of Sandy Bay is home to Australia’s first legal casino which still towers over surrounding grounds. Overlooking Hobart it Mount Wellington s twenty minute drive up the mountain.
Cascades Female Factory situated in South Hobart was built to reform female convicts, where the inmates made laundry and provided needlework services.
About 10 minutes’ drive from the centre of Hobart is The Cascade Brewery a very old brewery is 10 minutes south of the city and provides daily tours.
Six minutes north of Hobart waterfront are the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
A few minutes further on is Runnymede a stylish colonial homestead built in1836 for Robert Pitcairn, a leading campaigner in opposition to the transportation of convicts from Britain. When Captain Charles Bayley purchased the house in 1864 he named it Runnymede after his favourite ship. Runnymede has a large collection of whaling and maritime items.
Fifteen minutes further north on the road to New Norfolk is The Museum of Old and New Art, MONA an extremely contentious compilation of modern art and antiquities that attracts significant visitors and a major reason to visit Hobart.The collection ranges from ancient Egyptian mummies to very contemporary way out art inside a subterranean architectural masterpiece. A fast speed ferry links to the Hobart waterfront
Close by on the same road to New Norfolk is the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. Unfortunately it is now not possible to visit the factory itself and you are restricted to the Cadbury visitor Centre.
The Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park (GASP!), is a community project that’s brought colour and vibrancy to the waterfront with outdoor art, barbecue areas, open parkland and wetlands.
New Norfolk in the Derwent Valley, 30 minutes north of Hobart is one of the oldest settlements in Tasmania, established by evacuees from Norfolk Island after the island prison was closed and gaining significance for the growing number of antique shops.
Beyond New Norfolk going up the Derwent Valley enter a beautiful drive passing the Salmon Ponds, Redlands Estate and enter Bushy Park the centre of the hop growing district where visitors often stop for the Hawthorn Lodge Cream tea and experience what an 1869 farm house was like.
Mt Field, 20 minutes beyond Bushy Park is a major Hobart attraction and a very popular Hobart tour. Mount Field is the third oldest National park in the world with impressive views, awesome walks, plentiful wildlife and excellent visitor facilities.
Russell Falls is the leading tourist attraction and featured on Australia’s first stamp.
Many other waterfalls can be seen including Lady Barron Falls and Horseshoe Falls. High up you enter an alpine region with a number of walks from Lake Dobson. In the winter skiing is possible.
Maydena beyond Mt Field is famed for the Rail Track Rider, sit-down rail carts where you pedal along the old Maydena railway into the rainforest. Further on is Strathgordon.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, 30 minutes north of Hobart is a sanctuary for Tasmanian wildlife. Richmond with the oldest bridge in Australia is 15 minutes further on or a direct 30 minutes’ drive from Hobart by an alternative road.
Port Arthur, 90 minutes east of Hobart a well- known historic site with a Penitentiary, has been carefully restored over the years. Just over half way is Dunalley a fishing village and beyond is Eaglehawk Neckseparates the calm waters of Norfolk Bay with the popular surf waves of Pirates Bay. Just beyond is the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park.
Huonville 30 minutes south of Hobart has a collection of shops selling everything from local craft and second-hand treasures
Geeveston 20 minutes further on operates as a gateway for those exploring the Hartz Mountains National Park. The Tahune Forest Reserve is just west of Geeveston with the Tahuneairwalk.
Forty minutes beyond Geeveston is the Ida Bay Railway is the last operating bush “tramway ” in Tasmania.
Due south of Hobart is Woodbridge and can be reached on a Hobart cruise. The ferry to Bruny Island departs a few kilometres away in Kettering.
Over two hours to the north is Derwent Bridge the middle of Tasmania 10 minutes from Lake St Clair the start of the overland Track.Hamiltonis a half way stopover and a picturesque town on the Clyde River.
An hour along the road to Launceston is Oatlands famous for the fully operational Callington Mill and Georgian streetscape.
There are a number of wineries around Hobart including Nandroya Vineyard,Domaine and Stoney Vineyard. For whisky there is Nant Distillery, at Bothwell and Redlands in the beautiful Derwent Valley close to Bushy Park.