Out of Bed: A Design Lover's Guide to Hobart
The capital city of Tasmania is host to countless holidayers every year. Brimming over with a gamut of experiences, Hobart invites tourists to take in natural dreamscapes and relish in cultural design. If you’ve booked a weekend in Hobart and you’re looking to fill your itinerary—or looking for a reason to make one—clue in on the places to be and things to see for the design-savvy traveller below.
Where to stay
Overlooking Hobart’s vibrant waterfront, this converted 1820s IXL jam warehouse is an industrial interiors lover’s dream. Founded with a specific focus on art, the hotel boasts a 500-strong collection of Tasmanian artworks, and is nestled within a central hub of galleries and restaurants that overlook the picturesque Mount Wellington.
Nature and architecture coalesce in an old wharf market turned shipping shed cum luxurious waterfront hotel that is MACq 01. Sitting atop Hobart’s famous waterfront and only a short drive from the city’s centre, each of the hotel’s 87 rooms double as important vignettes informed by Tasmania’s rich history and offer stellar harbourside views.
What to do
Climb through peaceful forests to claim your reward at the peak: a dazzling view of Hobart and its surrounds from the Mount’s Pinnacle observation shelter. Alternatively, take in the sites of Wellington Range on horseback or mountain bike and keep look out for over 500 native species that call this treasured landscape home.
An itinerary mainstay for the design-inclined, Hobart’s world renowned Mona is the cultural hotspot not to be missed. From the cargo-clad boat that delivers you there to the eclectic and thought-provoking collections curated by David Walsh with the subterranean setting in mind, the gallery is a haven for art and design enthusiasts alike. Round out your visit with a glass or two at on-site Moorilla Winery before heading back home.
Part of the rich fabric of Tasmanian history and culture, Handmark Gallery has been a multimedia Hobart institution for a near-three decades. Showcasing paintings, sculpture, jewellery, ceramics and more from up-and-comers and established artists and craftspeople, the gallery also offers monthly exhibitions with over 90 Tasmanian artists regularly on show.
Established in 1975, the Salamanca Arts Centre is your local hub of theatres, galleries and art centres situated in the historic Salamanca Place. The centre calls seven heritage buildings home and hosts artists in residence there, working with art organisations and facilitating festivals and events across broad areas of film, literature and performing arts. Regular exhibitions, musicals and shows are put on throughout the year, making it an obvious pitstop.
Cape Hauy and Port Arthur
If time permits, enjoy the 90 minute farmland drive to picturesque Port Arthur and Cape Hauy. A welcome contrast to the bustle of Hobart, the cliffsides of Cape Hauy are opportune areas for abseiling and rock climbing, while the preserved convict site of Port Arthur paints a detailed portrait of Australia’s colonial history.
Located just south of Hobart’s CBD, Battery Point—an area settled in the early 1800s—offers tourists entrée into the colonial and environmental histories of Tasmania and wider Australia. Featuring colonial architecture preserved from its heyday alongside old streetscapes that have remained intact, a stroll through this part of the city will feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. Settle in for coffee at any one of the stylish cafes and relish in Battery Point’s old world charm.
Where to shop
A former army drill hall, The Drill Hall Emporium is home today to beautiful antiques carefully curated by a mother daughter team. From the useful to the decorative, the offerings at the Emporium will please even the most discerning vintage buyers who may be scouring the globe for Indian marble platters or Japanese bronze vases.
Hidden away in an unassuming laneway, Home Room Design is a one-stop boutique shop for timeless interiors, delicate jewellery and beautiful wares. International and local designers adorn the clothing racks, boasting labels like KITX, Lucy Folk and Kloke that are sure to please the sartorially savvy.
Founded by multiple award-winning interior designer Lucy Given, LUC. is Tasmania’s mecca of unique and eclectic homewares, art, fashion and furniture—it should be a go-to for all interiors aficionados. There, a considered mix of Cire Trudon, Tom Dixon and Dinosaur Designs—among many more established brands carried by LUC. —round out a retail experience that is second to none.
Where to eat
An Italian-inspired eatery serving up both lunch and dinner, Fico simulates the seating arrangements of European dining to offer a meal sitting unique to its locale. Handmade pastas are prepared on site, served alongside offerings like oysters, quail and risotto that change regularly depending on available produce, with a clear focus on maximising the best of local Tasmanian resources.
Situated atop the award-winning Brooke Street Pier overlooking Hobart’s famous harbour vistas, Aloft promises a dining experience that is as ambient as it is delicious. Here, the menu is prepared according to the produce du jour of the changing seasons, with vegan and coeliac amendments readily accommodated.
Previously a Ford showroom in the heart of the storied Mercury Newspaper Building, chef Analeise Gregory’s Franklin heroes the best that local Tasmanian produce has to offer against a uniquely industrial setting. Menus are constructed with the restaurant’s 10-tonne wood-fired Scotch oven in mind and change regularly to reflect what’s in season, with vegetables and seafood being year-round staples.
Indulge your caffeine hit and sweet tooth with quality coffee and decadent French patisserie at Daci & Daci, a popular crowd-pleaser since its establishment in 2011. Macarons and croissants are prepared in-house daily, with classic French pastries revised to champion local ingredients while simultaneously returning our palettes to Paris.
Pigeon Hole Café An emphasis on organic, biodynamic foods and sustainable farming takes precedence at Pigeon Hole Café, where a no-fuss menu features delicious staples with dairy and gluten-free options readily available. Everything on and off the menu is sourced from Weston Farm, with bottled Rosehip syrups, olive oils and coffee rubs purchasable on site.
Peruse Hobart’s most frequented attraction—the Salamanca Markets—and visit over 300 vibrant stalls, where you can sample the Market’s famed street food. Hearty offerings like gourmet pies, sweet crepes and oven baked potatoes are made to order and go down well with the bespoke jewellery, wines and spirits and delicate ceramics also on show.
Enjoyed this? Read our Insider's Guide to Puglia.