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Hobart: The Low Down

Why Do People Go There?

Home base: For most visitors who come to Tasmania by air, Hobart is where their journey begins and ends. As a result, most organised tours of Tasmania, and specifically those covering the island's south, begin and end here. It's a great place to get a feel as to what Tasmania is all about and a holiday destination before heading off into the wild blue yonder.

Regional centre: Tasmania's south has many interesting places to see, including picturesque Georgian era towns and villages, Australia's most intact and well known convict era remnants and some of Australia's most spectacular coastal scenery. Hobart is central to all of it, and while few of these uniquely Tasmanian places are in Hobart itself, all are no more than a few hour's drive away.

History: Sydney and Hobart are Australia's oldest cities, being established long before the rest of Australia's capitals. As Hobart never grew to the size of Sydney, much of its links to its convict and colonial past, particularly its buildings, remain largely intact. Hobart has the closest links to the nation's past than any other capital city. Those links are tangible - they can be seen and felt, particularly by Australians, many of whom leave here feeling they have somehow tapped into their national roots.

Salananca Place

Why Do We Go There?

We go to Hobart for all the reasons above. Also, having grown up in Perth in the 1960s but now living in Australia's largest city (Sydney), coming to Hobart is like stepping back in time to a place that feels very much like Perth was back then - a friendly community, unhurried by the pace of modern living that has no quarms about shutting up shop on weekends to allow families to share quality time together and the community to get out and enjoy the fresh air and pleasant countryside.

Where Do We Stay?

When I am by myself, I usually stay at the Leisure Inn Hobart Macquarie in Macquarie Street. There I can get a room for under $100 a night with undercover parking (Budget Car Rental is a block away if I need to hire a vehicle) that is just 2 blocks away from the city centre as well as the restaurants and cafes of Salamanca Place.
Salamanca Inn All Suite Hotel is where we stayed as a family a few years ago. They have suites and fully serviced apartments catering from one person up to a family that felt very much like home away from home for us. Salamanca Place and the city centre were all just around the corner.
OEver the years I've also stayed at a number of motels on Sandy Bay Road in the vicinity of Wrest Point Casino, when I wanted to be out of the city.

Hobart from Mt Nelson

What Do We like To Do There?

I love history so I am in my element walking around the streets and lanes of Hobart, particularly those around Constitution Dock and Battery Point. I think everyone who goes to Hobart loves to visit the weekly Salamanca Markets, I always make sure I'm in Hobart on at least one of my weekends in Tasmania to ensure I don't miss out on a visit there. The food (both to eat there and the gourmet produce to take home with me) is a highlight and I could stay for hours - I often do - listening to the highly talented musicians who entertain the crowd.

Sullivans Cove

About Hobart

Hobart At A Glance: Capital city of Tasmania, the hub of business and public administration of Tasmania, and the focal point of Tasmania's southern region.

A city with a population of around 200,000, Hobart is located on the estuary of the Derwent River in the state's south-east. The Central Business District is located on the western shore, adjacent to Sullivan's Cove, with the inner suburbs spread out along the shores of the Derwent and climbing up the hills at the foot of Mount Wellington (1270 metres). The Port of Hobart occupies the whole of the original Sullivan's Cove.
The suburban areas cover a significant amount of both the western and eastern sides of the river. Apart from the city, the main commercial centres are Glenorchy (the northern suburbs) and Rosny (the eastern shore). The satellite town Kingston, south of the city, is fast becoming an outlying suburb of Hobart. Hobart is a busy seaport, notably serving as the home port for Australia's (and France's) Antarctic activities. It supports several other industries (notably including a high-speed catamaran factory and a zinc smelter) as well as a vibrant tourist industry. Hobart is internationally famous among the yachting fraternity as the finish of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race which starts in Sydney on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas Day).

The arrival of the yachts is celebrated as part of the Hobart Summer Festival, a food and wine festival beginning just after Christmas and ending in mid January. Hobart is also the finish point of the Targa Tasmania rally car event held annually in April. Australia's first legal casino was the 17-storey Wrest Point Hotel Casino in Sandy Bay, opened in 1973. It is still the tallest building in the city, despite being several kilometres out of the CBD, and a nationally recognised icon.
Popular restaurant strips include Elizabeth Street, in North Hobart and Salamanca Place near the waterfront. Several pubs and nightclubs can be found concentrated in the city and waterfront area. Hobart is home to Australia's oldest theatre, the Theatre Royal. It also has three Village Cinema complexes, one in the city, and two relatively new centres in Glenorchy and Rosny.

Climate; Best Time to Visit

The state of Tasmania and the city of Hobart lie in the path of the 'Roaring Forties', a strong band of wind that circles the world, producing fairly changeable weather. Being part of a large island and the southern most tip of Australia, Hobart features a typical maritime climate, with extremes in temperatures. Hobart tends to have fairly hot summers and some cold winters, although temperatures in Hobart always stay well above freezing.
Hobart's climate is generally quite mild, with fine weather all year round and less rain than many other parts of Tasmania. The sunny city of Hobart is comfortable to visit at any time and Hobart's summer months of December, January and February are very pleasant, with fine weather and only occasional downpours of rain.
Autumn (March to May) is a particularly good time to visit southern Tasmania. The weather is generally quite mild - not hot but generally not too cold apart from the odd day - and whenever I've visited then I've managed to avoid rainy days. During Autumn, seas are generally calmer than at other times, making it one of the best times to cruise the spectacular coasts of Bruny Island and Tasman Peninsula. Autumn is also off-peak so there is plenty of accommodation available, but there is a down side. Some tour operators (particularly the coastal cruises) shut down for winter, so be sure to visit before the end of April if you wish to engage in outdoor activities, cruises and tours and book ahead as some cruises end up being cancelled for lack of trade during the quiet months.

Special Feature: Salamanca Place

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