Worth getting out of bed for...
- At a knee-wobbling 1,270 metres, Mount Wellington, and its surrounding parkland, guarantees dazzling photos for even the least camera-capable. Head for the top if you dare and admire the incredible view. Layer up though – there’s a bone-battering wind chill on gusty days. If you’re feeling lazy, admire the mountain’s heady heights from Hobart’s harbour, while lapping up sea views (and fish and chips).
- Arts and culture
- Historians should head to Port Arthur and examine the craggy remains of Australia’s first penal settlement (www.portarthur.org.au). Hobart also has a rich hop-growing history, so visit the nearby Derwent Valley’s timber oast houses. Hops are still grown in the area; in autumn, the valley turns an intense amber gold, bathed in light. There are plenty of galleries dotted around Salamanca Market, or take the half-hour drive to the serene suburb of New Norfolk and browse the antique shops (www.newnorfolk.org).
- Something for nothing
- For free live music on Friday evenings (5.30pm–7.30pm), hightail it to the courtyard of the Salamanca Arts Centre (03 6234 8414; www.salarts.org.au) at 77 Salamanca Place. Wander artists’ studios, galleries and shops, and grab a mulled wine. To discover more about the island’s Aboriginal and colonial past, visit the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery (03 6211 4177; www.tmag.tas.gov.au).
- Hobart’s Salamanca Market (www.salamanca.com.au), Saturdays 8.30am–2.30pm, is ideal for gifts and souvenirs. Peruse locally produced arts and crafts and edible artistry: jams, honey, relishes, smoked fish, meats and delicious cheeses are all there for the tasting. It’s framed by historic Georgian warehouses filled with galleries, bars and coffee shops; allocate a day to potter around and admire the dockside setting. Make sure you sample some scallop pie – a Tasmanian speciality – from the Flatheads stall.
- It’s only a short drive to the historic, sandstone village of Richmond where Australia’s oldest bridge spans the pretty Coal River. The bridge was built in the early 1800s by – you’ve guessed it – convicts. Wander the antique shops, art galleries and boutiques, then finish off with a tasting of Tasmania’s superb cool-climate wines in one of the wineries of the beautiful Coal River Valley wine region. Meadowbank Estate (03 6248 4484; www.meadow bankwines.com.au) produces fine wines and has a restaurant.
- Perfect picnic
- In the Margate area of Hobart, Bicentennial Park has spectacular coastal views, rolling expanses of open grassland and playgrounds. There are also picnic and barbecue facilities, walking trails and secluded seating.
- Tasmania’s spectacular landscape is a walker’s dream. Choose from Mount Field, Lake St Clair, the Styx Valley (home to some of the world’s tallest hardwood trees), Tasman National Park and the spectacular Wineglass Bay, named for its curving shoreline (www.parks.tas.gov.au).
- To give your kids their very own golden ticket, take them to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory in Claremont (1800 627 367). Daily tours explain the history of cocoa and how the good stuff is made – but let’s cut to the chase: yes, there’s a shop at the end. Little ones who prefer wildlife to Wonka will love platypus-spotting: these elusive, bizarre-looking creatures are best seen in the morning or early evening when they are feeding.
- Hire a bicycle and explore magnificent Mount Wellington. Brake Out Cycling Tours (03 6239 1080) has a range of bikes and even provide a lift (in a van) to the top. The scenery on the way down is stunning and you barely need to pedal. Feeling thirsty? Head to the HQ of premium beer Cascade (03 6224 1117; www.cascadebrewery.com.au) for their guided tours and tastings. The brewery is set in a beautiful historic building surrounded by the gorgeous Woodstock Gardens; drink in the view, as well as the brew.
- For a guaranteed wildlife sighting, head to Something Wild (03 6288 1013; www.somethingwild.com.au), a sanctuary for orphaned and injured animals.
February The Clarence Jazz Festival is held in Bellerive, Hobart (www.ccc.tas.gov.au). March Don’t miss the Southern Vineyards Open Weekend, when the wineries welcome the public for cellar-door tastings and sales (www.winetasmania.com.au). A Taste of the Huon is a two-day celebration of the region’s fine food, wine, arts and crafts (www.tasteofthehuon.com). October Revel in all things nautical including shanties, seafood and grog at the Seafarer’s Festival on Bellerive Boardwalk (www.ccc.tas.gov.au). December The state’s largest food and wine festival, the Taste Festival (www.hobartsummerfestival.com.au), is held on the Hobart waterfront.