Visiting Tasmania has always been at the top of my bucket list and I was delighted when I finally got the chance, meeting a friend there to drive around the whole island in 3 adventure-filled days. It’s not an easy feat, and I’d recommend spending as much time there as possible to see everything this wild and diverse island has to offer.
I flew into Hobart from Melbourne and flights can be ridiculously cheap, or you have the expensive but scenic option of taking the Spirit of Tasmania ferry across the Bass Straight. Once you arrive in Hobart there are a few options for budget accommodation. I stayed at The Nook Backpackers for two nights and it was nice enough but really unsociable, I also spent a night at the slightly more expensive Pickled Frog Backpackers and had an absolutely amazing time.
Hobart itself is a tiny city with a few points of interest. You can get lots of useful information for your upcoming road trip at the Information Centre, see the history of Tasmania in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, go shopping at the Salamanca Market or relax in the Royal Tas Botanical Gardens. Finish the day with fish and chips from one of the floating restaurants by the Constitution Dock Bridge.
While I was walking around the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallary I saw an old painting that showed Hobart and Mount Wellington from across the estuary, so I made it my mission to find that spot in real life. It’s called Kangaroo Bay and it’s just a short drive out of the city, worth a visit if you have your own car. Don’t forget the drive to the top of Mount Wellington for wonderful views of the city below and rolling hills around you.
The highlight of any trip to Hobart has to be MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. I was incredibly sceptical about spending $50 to visit an art gallery… but it’s so much more than that. If you want to save a little money you can take the bus to MONA and just pay the entrance fee, but it’s well worth the extra £22 (return) to take the luxurious MR-I fast ferry. This camouflaged catamaran takes 25 minutes one way and you get an early glimpse of what’s to come with sit-on sheep and strange graffiti. Tickets cost between $20-28 ($15-25 concession) depending on the time of your visit.
The museum itself is a work of art, built into the cliffs within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula. Disembark the ferry, climb the 99 steps and maybe bounce on a trampoline. When you enter, collect your guide – ‘The O‘, an iPod full of detailed information on every piece, inside and out. Descend the spiral staircase, starting at the bottom. Treat yourself to a drink at the Void Bar and make sure you use the third toilet on the right for an interesting surprise.
The art is a mix of contemporary, abstract and sexually bizarre, with three floors to explore. Some exhibits are permanent, some change occasionally and some are interactive. Explore this place alone, lost in thought as you listen to your O and wonder how someone could create such impossible things. You’ll eventually find yourself back on the ferry, sat on a sheep, unable to comprehend what you’ve just seen. Give yourself around 3 or 4 hours for the museum when booking the return ferry but you can change it there if necessary.
Highlights of Hobart:
- Mount Wellington
- The Royal Tas Botanical Gardens
- MONA and the MR-I ferry
- Staying at The Pickled Frog Hostel
Read about the East Coast of Tasmania here, and the West Coast here.
You can view the full album here.