IMMERSIVE. INDULGENT. UNEXPECTED.
Road-tripping in Hobart and Southern Tasmania.
Take the vibrancy of a capital city, add stellar bush walks and beaches, and start planning your next getaway.
Hobart is the starting gun on three glorious driving journeys across Tasmania. Nature comes on a grand scale on the Southern Edge, while the Western Wilds heads through untamed wilderness strung with tales of pioneering boom and bust. The Heartlands journey runs deep into history but with a view to the future.
Journey along the Convict Trail through the state’s south east, taking in some of the most impressive and evocative relics of the 19th century convict era. The beautiful town of Richmond features Australia’s oldest bridge, built by convicts, and as you cross to the Tasman Peninsula, make a stop at Eaglehawk Neck where a sculpture commemorates the “dog line” – fierce dogs were chained across the isthmus here to prevent convicts escaping inland from Port Arthur. Finish at Port Arthur Historic Site, the most beautiful and brutal of prisons, where about 12,500 convicts were exiled between 1830 and 1877.
Forage and feast
Head to the forest and beaches on seasonal foraging tours with Sirocco South. Wild produce might include springtime asparagus, autumn mushrooms and, in summer, bower spinach, seaweeds and sea urchins. Your harvest is then turned into a six-course lunch by owner Mic Giuliani and matched with Bream Creek Vineyard wines.
"Tasmania offers immersive seasonal foraging unlike anywhere else.”
Mic Giuliani, Sirocco South
Walk on kunanyi
From almost anywhere in Hobart, the familiar heft of kunanyi/Mount Wellington dominates the horizon, and it’s a favourite playground of Hobartians. Local tour operator Walk on kunanyi explores the secret history and beauty spots of the mountain on a series of walks, including Sea to Summit, starting at the harbourfront in the morning and rising to the mountain’s full height of 1271 metres a few hours later.
Walking in Tasmania's remote Southwest Wilderness is rewarding, but it comes more easily on a flight experience with Par Avion. Fly south west to Melaleuca, then explore Bathurst Harbour and the Bathurst Narrows by boat on the Southwest Wilderness Experience day trip. Get aerial perspective on Australia's highest sea cliffs on a flight with Osborne Heli Tours over Tasman Peninsula, taking in Port Arthur, Tasman Island's lonely lighthouse and the 300-metre-high cliffs around Cape Pillar.
Wooden Boat Centre Tasmania
Take a drive journey through the picturesque Huon Valley. Pause for a while at the Wooden Boat Centre on the bank of the Huon River in the village of Franklin. Learn about the traditional art of handcrafting timber boats and take a 45-minute tour of the workshop, watching students and shipwrights building boats.
Tasmania's edges are best explored by kayak. Roaring 40s Kayaking runs a range of day trips around the state's southern shores. Paddle to an audience with the Tasman Peninsula's famed Totem Pole and Candlestick sea stacks in the company of Australian fur seals (and perhaps even whales), and glide into Hobart's docks for a floating feed of fish and chips on the Hobart City Paddle.
Supplied courtesy Moss Hotel
Now spanning two Georgian warehouses on Salamanca Place, chic Moss is a happy paradox of central and secluded, with a soothing botanical theme throughout its heritage restoration. Rising tall from the centre of Hobart, the guestrooms at the 12-level Crowne Plaza Hobart have unusual CBD views - choose mountain or water. Dine above the city at The Deck, or head for the heights of Aura, Hobart's first rooftop bar. Vibe Hotel Hobart has opened on Argyle Street, transforming the city’s skyline, while Movenpick Hotel Hobart, the Swiss brand’s first property in Australia, is a new build behind the heritage façade of Elizabeth Street. Meanwhile, in Parliament Square, Marriott’s five-star The Tasman is due to open later this year.
Bruny Island Coastal Retreats
Choose from nine distinctive properties dotted across South Bruny Island. They include the rustic timber Bruny Island Lodge, with walls that peel back for open-air living and a chip-and-putt golf course, cinematic views from the glass-wrapped and contemporary Cloudy Bay Beach House, and a waterside fisherman's cottage at Taylors Bay.
Free Spirit Pods
Clear the mind and calm the soul at Free Spirit Pods on North Bruny. There are two luxury self-contained pods made from sustainable Tasmanian timbers, overlooking the beautiful Quarantine Bay. Wander the waterfront, go for a kayak, cast a fishing line or simply sit on the deck and take in the serenity.
Explorers Lodge B&B
Go upstream and upmarket at the new Explorers Lodge B&B bringing Hamptons styling to historic New Norfolk, 30 minutes’ drive from Hobart in the Derwent Valley. With four guestrooms and two self-contained apartments, it's a place to relax: in the sunroom's rocking chair or daybed, on the deck with river views, or in the tranquil gardens and orchard.
Step onto the wraparound veranda at the Villa Talia, open the complimentary bubbly and take in views of the Hartz Mountains and the Huon River. The house sits on three hectares about 10 minutes’ drive from Cygnet, amid orchards and fields of cattle.
Perched high on the Tinderbox Peninsula, the Tinderbox Retreat is a short 20 minutes' drive from Hobart - and yet so happily far away. There are views across the River Derwent from every room, along with a private gym and sauna, outdoor spa, fully equipped chef's kitchen and Tesla car charger.
Eat and drink
New in Oatlands
In a virtual blink, the heritage town of Oatlands has gone gourmet. The Imbibers wine bar, in an atmospheric former dispensary, serves wine, spirits and beer produced within 60 kilometres of town, along with platters of local produce, while the Kentish Hotel has reopened after seven years as a bakery - stay tuned for its new microbrewery in 2021.
Beer and cider are in their natural element at the farm bar of Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ale and Cider on the outskirts of New Norfolk. Ingredients for its complex, wild-fermented ales are grown on the 600-hectare farm, sourced from other Tasmanian growers, or even wild-foraged from the Derwent Valley.
"The farm gives us a sense of place, connected to ingredients we grow ourselves and source from other Tasmanian farmers for our ales." Jane Huntington, Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ale and Cider
The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery
Dine in or take-out at the celebrated Agrarian Kitchen Eatery set in a former ward of the Willow Court asylum in New Norfolk. Casual, kiosk-style takeaways have been added recently to the offerings - bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic on its lawns. And in the restaurant, the menus are now set. "They're a much better example of what we do - a real snapshot of our garden," says owner Rodney Dunn. "They allow us to tell our story a lot better, and are more representative of where we are in the world." Watch this space for a new market garden inside the asylum's walled exercise yard as the Agrarian Kitchen's famed cooking school shifts to the Willow Court site.
“Our new set menus are a much better example of what we do - a real snapshot of our garden." Rodney Dunn, The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery
Tasman Wine and Spirits Trail
Distil the Tasman Peninsula into a cellar-door experience, following this trail to Cape Bernier Vineyard and the Bangor Vineyard Shed, and to a constellation of artisan whisky and gin distilleries: McHenry, Hellfire Bluff , Nonesuch and Impression Bay.
Draw a circle 90 minutes' drive around Hobart and it spans almost a dozen distilleries. Hit the road to find the likes of Shene Estate, Old Kempton and the rye whiskies of Belgrove in the Southern Midlands, and Spring Bay on the east coast. On the way back to Hobart, slip into Cambridge-based Sullivans Cove Distillery, which has twice been awarded world's best single cask single malt as well as world's best single malt.
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