You have decided to mark Australia off your bucket list and you are asking yourself, “Should I visit Tasmania also?”. Your answer is most definitely! Tasmania is part of Australia but with a bit of a different feel.
Hobart is the capital of the Australian island state of Tasmania. It is the most populous city in Tasmania. Hobart was founded in 1804 as a British penal colony and is the second oldest capital city after Sydney. Tasmania is famed for it’s fine food and couisine. You can find high quality cheeses, wine, and chocolate.
When should you visit?
Summer (December – February) the average temperatures range from 52.7 to 69.8F (11.5 – 21C). January and February are the driest, and you a good time to visit the beaches and swim.
Autumn (March – May) the average temperatures range from 48 – 63.1F (8.9 – 17.3C). During the season you will see colors of deep red and yellow hues as the leaves begin to change.
Winter (June – August) the average temperatures range from 41 – 54.1F (5 – 12.3C). It is this time of year where you can experience some of the coldest temperatures in Australia. Mount Wellington will get snow.
Spring (September – November) the average temperatures range from 46 – 62.4F (7.8 – 16.9C). This is the wettest time of year in Hobart.
Here are just a few reasons to visit Tasmania:
A flight from Sydney or Melbourne is extremely affordable. You can get a round trip flight on Jet Star (partners of Qantas) for under $200. If you are traveling from separate cities, such as Melbourne coming and Sydney going, it is $100 or less one way. We flew from Melbourne to Hobart and then back to Sydney. It is a short easy flight from both places.
If you are visiting Australia during their summer, Melbourne and Sydney can be quite hot. Hobart weather is very attractive during this time of year. Not only will you cool down but you won’t experience the hustle and bustle of cities like Melbourne or Sydney. Hobart is much more laid back. Don’t get me wrong, the people of Australia are some of the warmest friendliest people we have met. Hobart just feels more like a small town.
Hobart is a great place to enjoy the outdoors. Whether you are hanging out at the harbor, hiking Mount Wellington, or taking a scenic drive to find a nice place for lunch, you will not be disappointed. The views are breathtaking and the atmosphere is relaxing. Fun fact: Most of Tasmania is made up of national parks and World Heritage sites.
Hobart is small and easily covered on foot. Whatever your needs are: shopping in Salamanca Market, dinner on the waterfront, or just hanging at a local pub – all easily done on foot.
I saved our favorite for last. Tasmania is home to the Tasmanian devil and Tasmania is the only place you will see these creatures in their natural habitat. Sadly, they are endangered.
Things to do in Hobart:
Take a trip to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Here you can mingle with animals such as Koala Bears, Wombats, Cockatoos, and many more wonderful Australian wildlife. You can also pet and feed Kangaroos, and see a real life Tasmanian Devil. This is our top pick – you won’t be disappointed.
Bonorong is a Sanctuary and not a zoo. They care for and rehabilitate wildlife along with proactively addressing problems surrounding environment and communities. As much as we love animals, zoos break our heart. Admission is $85 for a family of 2 adults and 2 children, $39 for 16 and older, $16 for 3 – 15 years old, and infant 2 and under are free. (as of Feb 2019) Note – all admission fees directly fund the running of BWS as well as the operation of all their conservation programs.
Open daily from 9am to 5pm – including weekends and public holidays. Bookings are not required for general admission. Daily tours at 11:30am, 2pm, and 3:30pm. Nighttime visits an be booked. If you didn’t hire a car you can book a tour. Here is one tour option from Hobart.
Hire a car and drive the country side. Car hire (renting a car) in Tasmania is very affordable. One thing to note before hiring a car is that they drive on the left-hand side of the road. If you do not think you would be comfortable with this, then forgo the car. Here is a good website to better understand driving in Australia. Traffic is not crazy heavy in or around Hobart like Sydney or Melbourne which makes driving a good choice.
Hiring a car will allow you to take an afternoon drive and stop for lunch with a view. Drive up to Wellington Mountain for some amazing views, and if you are feeling up to it, you can do a little hiking.
Salamanca Place is a precinct of Hobart. It consists of rows of sandstone buildings, formerly warehouses for the port of Hobart Town that have since been converted into restaurants, galleries, craft shops, and offices. Everything is in easy walking distance in Hobart.
Visit the MONA. Take a ferry to Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier and sail upstream to a unique museum called MONA. This is Australia’s largest privately owned museum and is cut into sandstone cliffs in the northern suburbs. They have both a restaurant and winery onsite. MONA stands for Museum of Old and New Art
Visit a convict site: Of the eleven sites included in the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage List, five are located in Tasmania.
Port Arthur Historic Site was a penal station for secondary offenders. Today the site is one of the most important cultural tourist attractions in the world. If you didn’t hire a car you can always do a tour.
Coal Mines Historic Site was Tasmania’s first operational mine. The convict site was also the place of severe punishment for up to 500 hardened criminals. Combine this in your Port Author Historic Site tour.
Cascades Female Factory is thought to be Australia’s most significant women’s convict site. The inmates provided laundry and needlework services for the colony. Located at 16 Degraves Street in South Hobart you can walk, bus, or Uber it.
Hobart is home to one of only two working gallows in Australia. They were salvaged from destruction when the old penitentiary was demolished in 1963. Hanging were public until 1856 when they moved out of sight to the Hobart Convict Penitentiary. Tour details here.
Tasmania is worth the visit.
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