Tasmania is Australia’s only island state and the capital city, Hobart, is Australia’s second oldest capital, settled in 1804. It is located in the south-east of the state.
Hobart sits at the foot of majestic Mount Wellington, encompassing the deep water harbour of Sullivans Cove on the beautiful Derwent River. The city has a rich maritime history and a maritime culture that continues today. Hobart hosts the biennial Wooden Boat Festival, is the home port of the Antarctic icebreaker Aurora Australis and the destination for one of the world’s classic yacht races, the Sydney to Hobart.
The Sullivans Cove foreshore is Hobart’s dock area, a few minutes walk from the city centre. The docks and marinas are used by yachts, pleasure craft and the fishing boats that serve Hobart’s restaurants. Some boats sell seafood directly to the public from their anchorage at the docks.
In addition to the famous Salamanca Market that operates in Salamanca Place every Saturday, a range of events and activities take place around the waterfront throughout the year. Over the new year period, Hobart’s waterfront is home to The Taste of Tasmania, a festival that celebrates Tasmania’s fine wine and food. Following The Taste, is the annual art and music festival Mona Foma, featuring local and international performances. Mona’s midwinter festival Dark Mofo is an annual event celebrating the dark through public art, feasting and music. The Festival of Voices is Tasmania’s leading winter cultural event, staged in mid winter, it attracts choirs from around Australia for performances and workshops.
There are several easy walks fanning out from Salamanca Place. Kelly’s Steps, off Salamanca Place, leads into the suburb of Battery Point, Hobart’s oldest residential precinct. Here some of Hobart’s oldest Georgian-era cottages can be found alongside the coffee shops and galleries of Hampden Road.
Wander along the waterfront and you’ll find the wharf from which the MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) ferry takes visitors along the Derwent River to the gallery – a 40 minute boat ride. The waterfront is lined with historic buildings, including the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and the old IXL jam factory (now the Henry Jones Art Hotel). Parliament House, Tasmania’s seat of government, is located between the docks and Salamanca Place.
St David’s Park adjoins Salamanca Place near the Davey Street end. St David’s Park was the city’s first cemetery. Nine hundred people were buried under its sweeping lawns, but now only a few of the more important memorials remain, including that of David Collins, first Lieutenant Governor, who was interred in a casket made from Huon pine. The original old headstones are displayed in walls in the lower section of the park. A stroll around the park’s headstone walls paints a poignant picture of life and death in the early days of the settlement.
Hobart’s main tourist attractions include MONA the Museum of Old and New Art, Cascade Brewery, Mount Wellington and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, which are the second oldest botanical gardens in Australia, having been established in 1818.
Hobart is a eclectic blend of history, contemporary art, lifestyle, cultural events and breathtaking scenery. It is also the gateway to some of the state’s main tourist attractions, such as Port Arthur, the historic village of Richmond and the boutique wine regions of the Huon and Derwent Valleys.