One of the fabulous things about ‘Tassie’ is that you can practically visit anywhere in the state on a day trip. It takes around three and a half hours to drive from the north to the south or the east to the west so you’re never really far away from what you want to do.
If you’re looking at Tasmania as a place to live, study or holiday, you’ll love its size because it means you can access all of Tassie’s rich attractions within hours.
Free activities Hobart visitors usually do first
Visitors to Hobart usually check in to their hotel, drop off their bags and make a beeline for these star attractions first.
- Start at the very top – Since Mt Wellington is such a visible and iconic sight in Hobart, it makes sense that lots of visitors to the city make the trip up there first. At the 1,270-metre summit, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views over the entire city, so you can get your bearings. For several months of the year, there is snow on the mountain and depending on how far down the snow has fallen, there may be restrictions to how high up you can drive. Be sure to take a warm jacket, even in summer! There is no fee to drive up the mountain although you can take guided tours if you want.
- Organ Pipes walk – For the adventurous, a half day’s hiking on Mount Wellington is packed with exhilarating vistas. The uphill walk to the Springs takes around 40-50 minutes. If you want, you can continue up the small track which leads to a loop road and from there, you embark on Pinnacle Track. The Organ Pipes were formed out of dolerite rock back in the Jurassic era and are so named because of their literal resemblance to actual organ pipes.
- Wander around Constitution Dock – Pass a couple of hours breathing in the fresh air and looking at the boats at Constitution Dock, not far from Hobart’s CBD. It’s where the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race concludes in December and it’s also the focal point of the city’s New Year’s Eve fireworks. But on any given day, there’s plenty to see. It’s the mooring home of fishing boats, yachts and pleasure craft and if you look into the water, you can often see starfish!
- Visit Mt Nelson – If Mt Wellington is closed off or if you’d just rather a smaller version, Mount Nelson is just 10 minutes’ drive from the CBD. Back in 1811, a signal station was built by convicts and was used to relay messages between Hobart and Port Arthur. When telegraphs came along, the station was closed. Today, you can visit for beautiful views out to Bruny Island or enjoy the picnic facilities. If you’re a bushwalker, you could take the well-maintained Loop Track and look for wild flowers, ducks and native birds.
Free stuff to do in Hobart CBD
You don’t have to go far to find free things to do!
- Free wine tastings – You can get free wine tastings at pretty much any Tasmanian winery but if you’re in the City and you fancy trying a drop, head to Cool Wine in the CBD. Follow their Facebook page to be advised of what’s coming up.
- Stretch it out – Lululemon (yes, that Lululemon) hold free yoga sessions in the CBD. Their Facebook page has all the details.
- Boogie in Salamanca – Every Friday night, Rektango livens up the courtyard of the Salamanca Art Centre. There’s free live music provided by a rotating line-up of bands. Sometimes, it’s reggae or funk, other times it’s soul or blues. The Centre’s ‘What’s On’ page has tons of free events you can go along to!
- Get techy in the Gardens – Technology is alive and kicking at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. A local 12-year-old tech whiz kid put together an iPhone app that allows you to get information about all the attractions. Download it to your phone and follow along as you make your way through the Gardens. But even if you have an Android, or don’t want anything to do with apps and technology, the Gardens are of course a wonderful place to visit anyway. Explore 14 hectares including the lily pond, the herb garden, the conservatory, the French Memorial Garden and more.
- Explore Battery Point – Invest about an hour and a half in the suburb of Battery Point which was established in the 1830s and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time, or you’re visiting an English village. Heritage-listed sandstone buildings and gardens festooned with roses and lavender are all around and there are lovely restaurants and cafes to tempt you. Download the Battery Point Walk booklet that explains various points of interest and take a self-guided tour around this historic neighbourhood.
Free things to do in Tasmania outside the city
Venture a little further out and the scenery changes but is every bit as beautiful.
- Visit Kingston Beach – Around 16 kilometres south of the CBD, Kingston Beach is a little suburban paradise you wouldn’t expect to see. Hobart is built on the shores of the Derwent River but to look at the water, it seems like proper ocean. In fact, you can even spot dolphins and whales from Kingston Beach! Go for a swim if the weather is warm or build sandcastles if it’s too chilly.
- Watch the ducks at Richmond – 25 kilometres north-east of Hobart is the little village of Richmond, a picturesque, quiet hamlet that’s home to Australia’s oldest span bridge – Richmond Bridge – built by convicts in 1825. The Coal River flows beneath it and gorgeous families of ducks, and even a few swans live among the reeds.
- Go inside Australia’s oldest Catholic church – Richmond is also where you’ll find John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, established in 1836 and the oldest still-functioning Catholic Church in Australia. Its architecture is Early Gothic Revival style which harks back to medieval England. It’s cool, quiet interior and absolutely beautiful stained-glass windows offer welcome respite after wandering around sightseeing for hours. Outside, you may like to visit the old graveyard.