Hobart, Tasmania – September 2000
Hobart is located on the temperate latitude of 42.5 degrees south and houses around 120,000 residents, in a state of around 450,000 people. Hobart is influenced by the weather coming over Mt Wellington from the west.
The city is generally clean and has fabulous old architecture, the skyline is undeveloped due to council policy and the bush is always only 10 minutes away. The biggest surprise about Tasmania is the range of travel activities on such a small island.
Events in September/October
A good snow cover on both Ben Lomond and Mt Field ensures rising river levels. Good spring rains have already brought the rivers up and rafting is all the go. The equinoxial winds of spring are the delight of the sailors, Opening Day is the first Saturday in October.
With university back in full swing, Hobart’s pubs start building up around about now for the Christmas bonanza. Beer is back on the menu.
What to See
Mt Field, Freycinet and Wild Rivers National Parks. Also contact Forestry Tasmania about the facilities at forest reserves across the state, you will be pleasantly surprised. There are a range of short, easy walks within one hour of Hobart. Ask the Camping Shops in Elizabeth St for suitable destinations.
For a quiet getaway, visit Strahan on the West Coast and take a tour to one of the many nearby wild locations. Strahan is four hours west of Hobart by car and there are interesting stops all the way. Be warned, the West Coast is three times as wet as Hobart. You’ll need a hotel room with heating, remembering of course that Hobart is a very dry city.
What to bring back…
There are some wonderful photography books of the wilderness areas, and although it won’t last long, some local cheese or honey will no doubt remind you of your trip when you use it at home. If you still have some space in your luggage there are some wonderful woodcarvings and turnings by local craftsmen.
Hobart was first settled in 1803, on the eastern shores of the Derwent River. The settlement was moved in 1804 to the western shore where there was a better supply of fresh water. This is the current site of Hobart, based around a reclaimed port area.
Hobart has many large hotels, however for the more serious independent travellers the Central City Backpackers, Youth Hostels or one of the many Colonial “Bed and Breakfasts” are equally pleasant to stay in.
“Airporter” bus services run regularly from the airport or $20 should get you a taxi fare to town. Several hire car companies run out of Hobart, however “Tasmanian Wilderness Travel” take people to all ends of the state, so visitors can access the major bushwalking trails.
Australian Dollar (currently low against the pound and greenback, making it cheap to visit this quality destination).
Cheap Eats/Dining Out
Hobart has too many restaurants to service the locals. There is a huge influx of tourists around Christmas and off season times mean they will treat you with A1 service. Fresh seafood from “Mures” fishmongers is always a favourite. Fresh fruit and vegetables are best purchased at Salamanca Market on Saturdays.
Pubs and Clubs
Most of Hobart’s good pubs are near Salamanca Place by Hobart’s Waterfront.
The local music scene is dominated by the Republic Bar (North Hobart) and the New Sydney (CBD). Classical concerts are held at the new concert hall adjacent to the Sheraton Hotel. The Tasmanian Museum is also by the docks and has a plethora of fantastic displays from nature to art.
Tassie is magic all year round, in winter and spring you can raft the wild waters of the Picton or North Esk rivers. In summer you could try an 11 day Franklin River expedition. Bushwalking is recommended in Summer and Autumn, highland areas should be avoided in winter unless you are well equipped.
Tasmania can not be seen in a week. Hobart could get a quick skim in that time, however there is much to see if you just ask and look around for yourself. There are plenty of nice beaches in the local area where you would be lucky to see 10 people in an hour.
I am geologist, contracted to the State Government. I wear lace-free Blundstone boots, Tassie originals. I love the state and Hobart in particular.