If you’ve got a weekend in Hobart, get a shuffle on, you don’t have much time to fit everything in.
- 4:00 Get a beer. PLAN A SUMMER, Shambles These guys make their own beer and its great. Its in the bustling mid-town district but they have a funky beer garden at the front where you can watch the city go by. If you can’t get in here try Bah Wah, next door. Its a groovy Japanese bar with good food. PLAN B WINTER , New Sydney Hotel. The New Syd has a roaring log fire and a warm friendly atmosphere. A local favourite.
6:00 Fish Frenzy – Get some food with a view. You might think this an odd choice, its just a tourist trap fish and chippery – right? Well, yes but no. It’s fast, it’s fresh, it’s licensed, you can almost always get a seat. You get to enjoy one of the best locations in town for the price of fish and chips. In summer, sitting outside Fish Frenzy on the northern side by the water is one of my favorite places in Hobart. But don’t try and sit too long as they will move you on as soon as you’ve finished. If you can’t get in here, try the nearby fish punts or Mures.
- 7:30 State Theatre – Movie ( and a bubbly ). Not sure how many tourists find the State Theatre. Locals know and love it. It has an open-air theatre on the top, a cafe, a bar, a bookshop, and 12 cinemas. It shows mainstream films and art-house and best of all you can have a glass of your favorite while you watch. Cinema for grown-ups. If you can’t get in here try and book a later session or the next night, there is no substitute
- 10:00 Rude Boy – Night Cap. I’m a bit out of my depth here, its years since I’ve been up past 10pm but my friends Rohan and Kayla own Rude Boy, a Cuban rum bar, back in Mid Town. They’re lovely friendly people so I reckon Rude Boy must be too. But if you’re reading this Rohan – you need more beer and less rum ( who drinks rum anyway ).
Saturday ( lots to do )
- 7:30 ( yes 7:30, If you’re reading this you’re probably a mountain biker and if you’re a mountain biker and you’re not up at 7:30 HAVE A LONG HARD LOOK AT YOUR SELF ) The Stagg – Breakfast. This bustling place only has one U shaped bench and 5 seats so prepare to get friendly with the locals. Chances are you’ll strike up a conversation as you get asked to “pass the salt” or “are you finished with the paper”. Apparently they have the best Egg and Bacon Roll in Hobart and the coffee is as good as any you might find in trendy cafes in Melbourne or Sydney. If you can’t get one of the 5 seats try Criterion Street Cafe
- 9:00 Salamanca – Shopping?
You can go to Salamanca Market, but I wouldn’t. But what would I know, I measure the quality of shopping by how long it takes with a short shop being a good shop. Salamanca has crowds of people, hundreds of stalls, and too many food vans. It’s OK but you’ve only got a weekend, so maybe give it miss. Sunday Farmers Market is of similar quality and smaller and faster and therefore better. If you want to take shopping advice from me, try Kathmandu, Find Your Feet or Mountain Creek for outdoor gear. Try Ken Self, Avanti Plus or McBains for cycling. K&D on Melville Street if you like wandering through a hardware store ( I do ). Cracked and Spineless for 2nd hand books. I really should mention BikeRide on Harrington St. For years this was my favorite store in Hobart. It was owned by one of my best buddies, Mark but it was recently sold and I’m not over it yet….
- 10:00 Sandy bay- Roaring Forties Kayaking.
Mark and Jenny Grundy run a great operation. They take you on a scenic paddle around the waterfront to give you another perspective of Hobart. Paddle to Constitution Dock, enjoy some chips from a punt and Marks groan worthy jokes. Don’t work too hard as you’ll be riding in the afternoon.
- 12:30 Banjos – lunch on the run. Once again not an obvious choice but we’re in a hurry and these guys do a cracking beef and pepper pie. DONT DRINK THE COFFEE.
- 1:30 Hobart Mountain Bike Tours – Ride your bike. OK, Im biased but if I didn’t think riding with us was an awesome adventure I wouldn’t run the business and I wouldn’t be writing this blog. We take you up the Mountain, show you the stunning views at the top then take you riding. If you can handle yourself on a Mountain Bike we show you the best single track Hobart has on offer. If your happy and confident on a bike but not up to single track we show you a more relaxing and scenic way to ride back down to town. We finish at about 4:30 and guess what – we’re back drinking beer in MidTown but this time we’re at Grinners and now you’re a local. Don’t drink too much as you’ve got to drive to the next destination.
- 6:00 The FernTree Tav – dinner.
FernTree Tavern has been around for ever. It sits at the base of the Mountain, with a log fire and beer making a compelling sales pitch after an afternoon running, riding or rambling on the chilly slopes of Mount Wellington. Everything bar the roaring fire has fluctuated between mediocre and god awful for the 30 years – until very recently. A new owner and a celebrity chef has turned it around and now for the first time people with another choice of dining venue are coming to the Tav. Chef Steve Cumper’s food is top-notch and the cakes are irresistible. If you can’t get in here or you can’t be bothered driving the 15 minutes to FernTree or my description has scared you a bit try The Astor grill on Macquaire st – great service and food straight out of the ’70s or Tandoor Curry House ( my favorite Indian )
- I don’t get out much, If I had 2 late nights in Hobart I’d probably go to the State Theatre again. If you want a late supper there’s a dessert bar in Salamanca that’s very popular, Honey Badger. And if you like a rakish late drink try Kanbar on Elizabeth st. I like the idea of it but the guy behind the bar looks a bit scary so I haven’t been in there yet.
6:30 The Waterfront – up early and enjoy the sunrise. Head back down to the waterfront. Start at Hunter street and walk around and behind Maq01 for the best view of the Hobart waterfront with the Mountain as the perfect backdrop… Walk past fisherman’s dock and past constitution dock. Keep walking to Salamance, around Castary esplanade and up into Battery Point. Walk along Hampden road to Sandy Bay Road, turn right until you come to St Davids Park. Turn into St Davids Park and try and find the wall of old headstones before continuing on to the old Parliament building and back to the waterfront.
- 9:00 Ginger Brown – a well earned breakfast. 5 minute drive, 10 minute ride or 25minute walk up Macquarie street is South Hobart. Ginger Brown is like the Holden Commodore of Cafes, reliable, popular, consistent and no nasty suprises. By 9:00 you probably won’t get in so try Bear With me, over the road or Honey Brown, up the road. If you’re up for a short drive, go to my local the Picnic Basket in Taroona. I’ve never worked out why this place is so popular but a) it is and b) I go there every Saturday, so it must have something going for it.
- 11:00 MONA – MONA. This is why you really wanted to come to Hobart. See what $250,000,000 buys in Hobart real estate. This place is great! I can’t say enough good things about Walshy and MONA and what its done for my town. Do I actually like MONA as an art gallery and muesum? Well, Im a small town bogan and I don’t really understand any of it but I’ve been back many many times, so Yes, I like it. I might look at different things to the culture vultures and I might not have any critical perspective but I love the scale, I love that it’s under a tennis court. I love the p76 stuck in the car park and most of all I love that Sidney Nolan’s master peice, The Snake, resides in Hobart. Spend the whole day here and catch the last ferry.
- Sprint to the airport, fall asleep on the person next to you. Snore in there ear, drool on there shoulder. pay a fortune at the airport car park to get your car out and go home to plan your next Tassie adventure.