Hobart

Hobart is a city of fun, festivals and entertainment, from classical to contemporary, from pub bands to opera. The Derwent River has shaped the city, which becomes evident when you hop on a river cruise or drive to the summit of Mt Wellington or Mt Nelson for spectacular views. River cruises offer morning tea, afternoon tea, lunch or dinner.

Apart from the leisure yachts, the harbour is also a shelter for Antarctic supply vessels, catamarans, ocean racers, cray-fishing boats, square-riggers, dinghies and kayaks. The docks are at their busiest in December and January (Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and Hobart Summer Festival).

Sullivan’s Cove, the waterfront area, is probably the best spot to begin exploring the city. Here you’ll find Parliament House and the old sandstone warehouses of Salamanca Place. It’s a great place to get a feel for Hobart. Sit with a coffee under one of the striped, sun umbrellas. Take a walk through the 1830s warehouses, now home to galleries, studios, restaurants and cafés. The Salamanca Market on Saturdays is also a delight.

Nearby is the historic Theatre Royal. Being Australia’s oldest working theatre (1837), the designers/architects back then didn’t give much thought to patrons with disabilities, but it’s not too bad, really…

  • There’s level access to the Theatre Royal ground floor foyer and the Stalls level of the auditorium is available from Sackville Street (in-between the Theatre Royal and the Theatre Royal Hotel).
  • Accessible seats are held specifically for sale through the Box Office (phone 03 6233 2299) to meet the needs of patrons using wheelchairs or requiring access assistance.
  • The accessible seats are located in the Stalls, Row G seat numbers 22 & 23. These seats can be removed if a customer prefers to stay in their chair or can be retained if the customer prefers to use the theatre seat.
  • The Theatre Royal is only equipped with toilets on the Dress Circle level, this is up two short flights of stairs and the venue is not equipped with lifts. The Theatre Royal Hotel (next door to the theatre) has ground floor toilets available but one step must be negotiated.The nearest designated disabled toilets are located at Market Place Car Park diagonally opposite the Theatre.
  • The Theatre Royal Front of House staff are always happy to assist in any way they can.

A walk up Kelly’s Steps from Salamanca Place leads to many historic buildings at Battery Point, including Arthur’s Circus, a settlement of quaint and charming workers’ cottages.

The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is home to a variety of native and exotic plants.

Other parks and gardens nearby include St David’s Park, Fitzroy Gardens and Waterworks Reserve. You may have noticed that everything in Hobart is pretty much ‘nearby’ compared to most cities.

There is an excellent collection of colonial art and natural history at the nearby Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Also nearby, the Transport, Maritime and Allport Museums, which are nearby to the Narryna Heritage Museum.

The Old Hobart Gaol (in Campbell Street) will take you back in time, especially if you opt for the Ghost Tour (lots of people went to the gallows here!). For an interactive jump back into Australia’s past, check out Time Warp House.

The penal settlement of Port Arthur and the lovely town of Richmond are mentioned in the itinerary section as they aren’t technically ‘Hobart’ but they are just a day trip to explore from the city.

You can give the tastebuds a treat at the Cascade Brewery in South Hobart, the Island Produce fudge factory and the Cadbury chocolate factory in Claremont. Claremont also has a fine golf course, with the added attraction of the waft of chocolate.

For a variety of fine restaurants, head to Salamanca Place or Elizabeth St in North Hobart and, for those who like a flutter, Australia’s first casino at Wrest Point has had a facelift. Pity in a way. That lime green and bright orange carpet will make a retro comeback one day!

The hotel and casino facilities are wheelchair accessible.

The city bars, cafes and restaurants in Hobart are more sophisticated than some of their country cousins.  On one trip I saw a cafe that had a sign in the window, “Closed for Lunch.”