Hobart is the harbour city of Tasmania that sits on the estuary of the Derwent River and the finish line for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Flanked against the mountainside backdrop of Mount Wellington, at 1270 metres, Hobart is a city of colourful history and culture. The harbour district starts at fashionable Salamanca Place where you will find the arts district, pubs, cafes, sandstone warehouses and of course the popular Salamanca Market every Saturday.
It may seem hard to believe but Tasmania was joined up to the mainland more than 12,000 years ago, but due to melting glaciers the sea level rose and Tasmania became its own little island. The best way to see the harbour is from the water and you can jump on one of the cruises that depart from the piers. You don’t have to book ahead in many cases and you can buy a ticket on the day. This is great if you are a spontaneous traveller and you can choose to cruise on one of the tall ships or a historic ferry. For something more special there is lunch and dinner options too as you cruise along the Derwent River.
The cruise on the historic ferry will take you passed all the main sights along the river including the first Australian Casino, Wrest Point Tasmania. It was originally a family run hotel back in the 1800s. Over the years it has changed ownership but is still the best place for special dinners, functions and celebrations in the revolving restaurant seventeen floors above panoramic views of the city
Tasmania is known worldwide for having the cleanest air and sustainable environment which can be attributed to their ancestors. The Tasmanians were hunters and gatherers and managed their environmental footprint sensibly and resourceful for future generations to enjoy.
The Tasmanian diet consisted mainly of seafood, so it is little wonder today that you will find seafood on the menu in many restaurants, especially on the harbour. Some of the best cafes are located on Elizabeth Street Pier and Constitution Dock and if you want to eat like a local then Flippers is the way to go. It is a small floating boat connected to the pier and serves a variety of freshly cooked fish. But my favourite was Fish Frenzy on Elizabeth Street Pier where they served the best calamari I’ve tasted. There are many more cafes to choose from and I encourage you to explore as many as you can.
Take a walk along the waterfront after lunch and you will come across some bronze statues that represent an Antarctic expedition that included Tasmanian Louis Bernacch. The statue shows him with his pet dog and a camera to symbolise his photography published in the book “First on the Antarctic Continent” which was the first comprehensive collection of an Antarctic expedition. Originally from Plymouth in England he arrived as a seven your old and grew up to become a physicist trained in astronomy and terrestrial magnetism. He was a member of Borchgrevink`s (1898-1900) Southern Cross expedition and Captain RF Scott’s (1901-1904) British National Antarctic expeditions to the Antarctic continent.
Tasmania also makes some great wines and at the end of a long day of sightseeing the perfect spot to be is harbourside relaxing with a nice glass of wine. Try the Stormy Bay Sauvignon Blanc as you gaze out across the harbour.