We started our Tasmania adventure in the state capital, Hobart. Hobart is absolutely packed with activities, perfect for little travellers. Our journey began in Sinagpore, where we flew with Qantas to Melbourne. After a short wait in the airport, we hopped on a 75 minute flight to Hobart. Hobart is a picturesque city, nestled beneath Mount Wellington. We spent 4 nights here, including a day trip to Port Arthur.
Where did we stay?
As always, I turned to my trusty airbnb as I didn’t want to share one hotel room. I found an incredible historic 1911 Manor House, which even came with a visiting kitten!
What did we do in Hobart?
- Every Saturday, Salamanca Market descends on Salamanca Place, with 300 stalls selling all crafts and foods. Knowing we were only in town for one Saturday, we made a beeline straight from the plane and to the market. Nothing like stuffing our faces with local goodies to beat the jetlag!
- When I first mentioned a Tasmania roadtrip to a friend, she said you must visit MONA. At that point, I didn’t really know who or what MONA was. Turns out it’s Australia’s largest privately funded museum and stands for Museum Of Old And New Art. And simply the best art show I’ve ever experienced.
MONA’s owner, David Walsh envisaged MONA to be reached by water. If I didn’t have Jetlag & Mayhem with me, I would have bought tickets for the MONA ROMA ferry (25 mins) and preferably traveled in the ‘Posh Pit’ with free canapes. Instead we drove so that I could have flexibility on when we could leave.We spent nearly 3 hours at MONA. It’s worth getting there early so you aren’t queuing to get into ‘The Museum of Everything’. Our favourites exhibits were the ‘Temple to the Fandom of Madonna’, a man called Tim showcasing a tattoo on his back and the silver grotto (didn’t realise at the time that glass dildos are part of the decoration!)
The museum is largely underground so bring layers. Each visitor gets an audio guide. My girls (age 8 and 6) really enjoyed having the guide and the audio is narrated brilliantly.
- If you’re keen to spot a Tasmanian devil, at 30 minutes drive north of Hobart Bonorong is the place to be! Bonorong is a wildlife sanctuary and operates Tasmania’s largest 24hr willife rescue service. Most animals in their care are being raised for release. It’s worth checking the schedule for the free tours.
We joined the 10am Tasmanian Devils tour which gave a fascinating insight into these famous creatures.
Kids will love Bonorong, especially as you get a complimentary bag of kangaroo food. Jetlag & Mayhem loved feeding the kangaroos that were roaming free within the Sanctuary. My favourite part was seeing a wombat in the flesh and spying sleeping koalas.
- Enroute to Port Arthur, we stopped off at Richmond, a picturesque Georgian village, 24km from Hobart. Just before you get into the main area of Bridge Street there’s a fabulous winery, Puddleduck Vineyard.
Best of all the kids can feed the resident ducks whilst their parents sample the wine. Close by is the Wicked Cheese company which offers up a huge amount of tempting samples. They sell cooler bags which means you can transport your cheese back overseas no problem (I’m still savouring the amazing brie I bought). Richmond is home to one of Australia’s oldest bridges (worthy of a snap). There’s also the Gaol which I would have liked to tour but we had a long drive ahead of us. We did grab a quick bite to eat at the Richmond Bakery, highly recommend their pull-apart breads!
- Whilst pottering around downtown Hobart, we stumbled across Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum. This is a replica of the historic huts in Cape Denison – Antarctica – constructed in 1911 by the men of the Australian Antarctic Expedition, led by Dr Douglas Mawson. We had no prior knowledge of Mawson or the Expedition but we loved looking around the hut and the kids even got the chance to dress up.
- The best way to view Hobart is from the summit of Mount Wellington, which looms over the city at 1271 metres tall. We drove up to the summit and were rewarded with majestic views. Take layers as it will be cold!
- A 90 minute drive South East of Hobart winds you to the village of Port Arthur. Port Arthur played an extremely important role in the Australian convict story. The Port Arthur Historic site contains more than 30 historic buildings, ruins, grounds and gardens. Plan to spend at least half a day here. The Day entry pass is valid for two consecutive days and includes an interactive museum next to the Visitor Centre, a 40 minute introductory walking tour, 20 minute harbour cruise, access to Museum and Convict Study Centre, access to the historic buildings and ruins.
We ate lunch enroute but you can eat lunch at one of the two cafes on site.We didn’t buy tickets in advance so on arrival were assigned to our boat and walking tour. We started with the Convict Gallery and Lottery of Life to learn about the history of Port Arthur and some of its convicts. Then we headed off for the Harbour Cruise which is a beautiful way to take in the isolation of the area and also see the Dockyard, Point Puer Boys Prison and Isle of The Dead.After the Harbour Cruise we went and joined our allocated complimentary walking tour. The tour doesn’t take you into the buildings, just gives you a bit more colour as to the history and life at Port Arthur. We then ran around a few of the more interesting looking buildings including Civil Officers Row and the Church.
If you have young kids, you aren’t going to get the chance to see it all. We gave the map to Jetlag & Mayhem and had them choose the buildings they were most interested to see (gift shop doesn’t count).
- I wanted to do a walk around historic Battery Point. Of course, Jetlag & Mayhem wanted to head back to our airbnb and play with the kitten. Luckily I bribed them with a trip to a little playground in Princes Park, which you can encompass on your walk!
Where did we eat in Hobart?
- Outstanding dinner at Urban Greek – be sure to book!
- Unbeatable homely Italian at Da Angelo – be sure to book!
- Ramen at Kobe
- Fish and chips from Flippers, located at the picturesque Hobart Waterfront
- Ice cream from Van Diemens Land Creamery, Constitution Dock
- Delicious artisan chocolate from Nutpatch