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The Top Things to do in Hobart

Hobart is best known for its heritage architecture, spectacular scenery and gourmet experiences at the iconic waterfront precinct. Browse through our range of the top things to do in Hobart including a Hobart city tour with entry to the award-winning MONA gallery, join a Mount Wellington morning tour or purchase your tickets to the Port Arthur Historic Site here to uncover Australia’s convict history. Then there are the rugged landscapes and incredible animal encounters on a Bruny Island Cruise to tick off your Hobart must-do list. If you are unsure where the best places to visit are then our catalogue of the top things to do in Hobart will help you to map out an extraordinary Tasmanian adventure.

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Top 10 Things to do in Hobart

Tasmania's capital makes for a wonderfully relaxed and laid-back escape from the mainland of Australia. If you have time to do the most popular Hobart attractions then let it be these top 10 things to do in Hobart.

Hobart, the capital of the State Tasmania, is an hour's flight away from the Australian mainland. This picturesque city has some spectacular views and is dominated with Mount Wellington as a charming backdrop to the city. Hobart is a popular holiday destination for many reasons.

Hobart's cool climate makes it easy to unwind and relax without working up a sweat, its streets and laneways are picturesque and filled with little intricacies that give the city its character, and there are a variety of shopping options and mouthwatering cuisines incorporating the fresh local seafood simply waiting to be sampled.

Of course, you couldn’t visit Hobart without stopping by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) which ranks high on travellers’ Hobart bucket lists and escaping the city for a day to visit the Port Arthur Historic Site and the magnificent Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park. Hobart tours are a great choice if this is your first time and you don't fancy driving- your driver will guide you every step of the way showing you all the must-see attractions in Hobart. We also could not let you visit Hobart without experiencing a breathtaking Bruny Island Cruise or paying a visit to Mt Wellington.

Hobart is a charming port city guaranteed to give you an unforgettable holiday in Tassie; to ensure you get the best of your time here, here's our list of the Top 10 Things to do in Hobart

Top 10 Things to do in Hobart - Climb Mt Wellington

1. Climb Mt Wellington

Location: Wellington Park, West Hobart, Tasmania

One of Hobart's most obvious highlights also ranks amongst its best, and there are few spectacles that can compare with Mount Wellington in Tasmania – both in terms of the view from afar and offered atop it. Sitting just to the west of central Hobart, the mountain makes for an impressive sight, with its seasonally snow-dusted peak making for a wonderful contrast with the greenery of its slopes.

The summit of Mt. Wellington – and its incredible lookout points – can be reached via a roughly 25 minute drive from the city CBD, with both tours and regular shuttle buses making the trek from the centre of Hobart on a consistent basis via its main Pinnacle Road.

The trip to the top is well worth the time investment, as upon reaching the summit and disembarking you'll be presented with one of the most awe-inspiring vistas in Australia; Hobart's famously clear skies couple with near-360 degree views to form a panorama that's truly impressive.

The view covers a variety of landscapes including Hobart itself, the boat-covered harbour extending to the Southern Ocean, the waters of the Derwent River and the vibrant green of the Derwent Valley, and makes for perhaps the best overall photography point in the region.

There are a variety of quality lookout points on offer at the top, all lead to by stable, scenic boardwalks that each provide their own aspect on the landscape, all wrapped up in a serene and peaceful atmosphere. The environment at the top is entirely different to that below, with the vegetation changing the closer you come to the summit; largely a result of the decidedly different climate to be encountered high up.

Join a Hobart city tour and you’ll be taken to Mt Wellington- the best vantage point in the city with spectacular views of the boat covered harbour extending to the Southern Ocean and Derwent Valley.

And what a difference this climate is; the summit of Mt Wellington sits at an official altitude of 1271m above sea level, and as a result the temperature difference at the summit compared to the base can be drastic. In the colder months of the year, it's not uncommon to have a temperature gap of 10 degrees or more compared to that down below!

Thus, it's important to dress appropriately warmly even if you're feeling comfortable at the base; you don't want to have the views and walking tracks spoiled by a lack of warmth.

The greater ranges of Mt Wellington and its surrounding national park also offer a bevy of other outdoor things to do if you're the active type, and those looking to partake in a spot of hiking, mountain biking, bush walking, or even horse riding will all be presented with such options.

If you're looking to see all of its essentials in the most efficient and convenient way possible, tours – with both half and full day options – of Mt. Wellington are available for reasonable prices that take you directly to the lookout points while also encompassing other regional highlights on the itinerary.

Whether you're grabbing a snapshot of it from ground level or ascending to the top for a scenic experience unmatched anywhere else in Hobart, Mount Wellington is likely to be one of the focal points of your trip to Hobart – and one of the strongest lingering memories of your time spent there.

Top 10 Things to do in Hobart - Mueseum of Old and New Art

2. Mueseum of Old and New Art

Location: 655 Main Road, Berriedale, Tasmania

If there's a single item that's done a significant amount to put Tasmania on the international map in recent years, this is it. One of the newest - and most highly-acclaimed - additions to the "must-do in Hobart" list is the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) which has received international attention for its progressive and sometimes controversial exhibits and exhibitions.

Perched on the shore of the Derwent River and featuring some of the most prominent and up-and-coming artists of today, the Museum of Old and New Art has been listed by multiple respected media and travel outlets from around the world as one of the true must-visit spots in Australia for both 2013 and beyond.

Much more than a simple old-time art gallery, MONA is a slick, modern display that expertly blends both the old and the new into a visually stunning yet minimalistic package that seamlessly incorporates technology to enhance the visit as well.

Most first-time visitors to MONA who aren't sure exactly what to expect describe the experience as “confronting”, and with good reason: the art on display here isn't afraid to cross the line over to risque and controversial, so if you're the overly-conservative or easily-offended type you may want to give it a miss.

There's a definite fascination with the human body, with nudity sometimes on display as well as occasionally violent imagery. If you're willing to come with an open mind, however, you'll find some of the most inspiring and talented examples of art created in Australia that will be sure to leave an imprint on your memory for a lot longer than visits to many other museums or galleries.

If there is a single item that has put Hobart on the international map in recent years, it would be MONA. Perched by the waterfront, you’ll need to travel by ferry to MONA and you can even combine a visit with a Hobart city tour.

Aside from the many impressive works on display, the overall architecture and theming of the gallery itself is an adventure - creative, exciting and utterly vibrant, it's sure to leave you with an impression that will last a long time if buildings are something that strikes your interest.

As MONA sits on the waterfront, getting there is done by ferry transfer several times a day, and it's a popular choice to combine a MONA visit with a general Hobart tour to get a comprehensive sightseeing experience of the city's core highlights at a reasonable price.

For a truly world-class experience in what otherwise might be quite an unexpected place, be sure to pay visit to the Museum of Old and New Art.

Top 10 Things to do in Hobart - Bruny Island Cruises

3. Bruny Island Cruises

Location: 56km south of Hobart, Tasmania

Bruny Island is another immensely popular natural highlight in the greater Hobart area, so much so that it was voted one of the Top 100 Greatest Trips in the World and Australia's best tourism attraction for the years 2008 - 2011.

As a prime example of coastal Tasmanian wilderness, it's the prime spot for various wildlife and sightseeing cruises that allows you to get up close with the likes of seals, dolphins, albatross and even whales during their annual migratory period all set amongst a stunning oceanic backdrop that remains relatively untainted from human influence despite its popularity.

These various kinds of marine life thrive along the rocky and wild Bruny Island coastline and is a must if you're travelling to Hobart - just a little bit of effort to get there comes with a whole host of visual and natural rewards. The wildlife is great to be sure, but the island itself is also nothing to sneeze at, with amazing natural rock formations jutting out of the water and plenty of on-shore offerings to keep visitors occupied as well.

The island isn't some tiny speck in the ocean, either; at nearly 100km long, it's home to plenty of attractions such as its iconic lighthouse at Cape Bruny, its newly-opened art gallery at Dennes Point in the north, and accommodation offerings that allow guests to immerse themselves in one of Australia's true wilderness retreats.

Bruny Island is a popular natural highlight in the greater Hobart region and a prime example of coastal Tasmanian wilderness. Encounter seals, dolphins, albatross and even whales amongst a stunning coastal backdrop on a Bruny Island cruise.

Getting to Bruny Island is done by boat, with transfers available from Hobart if necessary. Cruises are available with operator Bruny Island Cruises that will take you out onto the waters surrounding Bruny Island that come in both slower and adrenaline-pumping high speed varieties, with the turbo-jet powered engines allowing you to experience a combination of thrills and sightseeing all amongst one of the most unique environments in all of Australia.

Akin to being “4WD vehicles of the sea”, these specially-designed vessels allow memorable twists and turns through rocky outcroppings between water and coast that have to be experienced to be believed, and encountering geological formations from the water will give you an entirely new perspective on this rugged and untamed part of Tassie.

Breathtaking rock blended with spectacular wildlife, great wines, picturesque coastline and more – that's just some of what makes Bruny Island a must-visit.

Top 10 Things to do in Hobart - Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and ZooDoo

4. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and ZooDoo

Location: Bonorong: 593 Briggs Rd, Brighton, Tasmania; ZooDoo: 620 Middle Tea Tree Rd, Richmond, Tasmania

Wildlife is always an enjoyable go-to entertainment option when visiting a new destination - particularly if you're bringing kids along - and Hobart is no exception in this regard as its greater area is home to two quality wildlife facilities that come highly recommended: Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and ZooDoo, each of which offers something slightly different.

Tasmania is home to a wide array of diverse and fragile wildlife, and both of these facilities to an admirable job of showcasing creatures from all over the animal kingdom while keeping both conservation and a reasonable price in mind wherever possible.

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary lies just to the north of Hobart (roughly a 30 minute drive) and is one of Tassie's premier animal attractions, home to plenty of Aussie animals and with a focus on hands-on experiences – such as feeding – that adults and children alike will love.

The passion of the sanctuary's staff is obvious here, and they go the extra mile to entertain and educate about the animals and their habitats. What truly sets Bonorong Sanctuary apart, however, are their outstanding night tours – as the vast majority of the most intriguing animals on offer are nocturnal, it's a great and intimate way to see some of these natural beauties at their most active.

"Tasmania is home to a wide array of diverse and fragile wildlife, and Bonorong Sanctuary does an admirable job of showcasing creatures from all over the animal kingdom while keeping both conservation and a reasonable price in mind wherever possible."

Extraordinarily cute creatures such as sugar sliders, Tawny Frogmouths, possums and – of course – Tasmanian Devils all take on a whole new life at night, and are all done with a sense of delicacy and care that you simply don't find often at larger and more commercial facilities.

Tickets to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary start from $30 per adult and from $15 per child, which is more than reasonable given the quality of the facility, while night experiences require prior bookings and come at an additional cost.

ZooDoo, meanwhile, sits slightly east of Bonorong Sanctuary and offers a wider arrange of exotic animals, leaning more towards the typical “zoo” rather than the “wildlife sanctuary” end of the scale. It's here that you'll want to head if you're more interested in the likes of lions, tigers, llamas and more all set out amongst an expansive property that sits somewhere between a farm and a savannah/safari type theme.

Safari bus tours – which are included in the cost of entry – run throughout the day and take visitors around the grounds to see all the various animals in the open air, which is a nice touch and helps alleviate tired legs from walking from one animal to the next.

Hand-feeding the big birds and cats is always a joy and a favourite with children, with optional face-to-face animal encounter experiences available at an extra charge.

So which Hobart wildlife park is best for you? They're both quality facilities, and given their similar distance from the Hobart CBD it will largely come down to personal preference: If you're wanting to see examples of rarer Aussie wildlife at their best, particularly Tassie Devils, then Bonorong is your choice.

If, however, you're after a more standard zoo-like day out with a more international-animal flavour, then you can't go wrong with ZooDoo, either (and there's nothing preventing you from visiting both!).

Top 10 Things to do in Hobart - Scenic Flights with Par Avion

5. Scenic Flights with Par Avion

Location: 115 Kennedy Drive, Cambridge, TAS

Hobart and its natural surrounds are charming and beautiful enough in and of themselves, however the region takes on a whole new aspect when viewed from the air.

The majesty of Mt. Wellington, the harbour and more can be even more fully appreciated from this vantage point and that's where local operator Par Avion come in, offering travellers the chance to get a new lease on Hobart itself as well as a variety of trips further afield to other iconic Tassie locations such as Wineglass Bay, Cradle Mountain, Bruny Island and more.

The Hobart city flight makes for a highly memorable way to take in all of its essential landmarks – boarding a seaplane and taking off from the surface of the Derwent River, once up in the air you'll be able to see the likes of Government House, the Botanic Gardens, the Tasman Bridge and more before continuing further along a spectacularly scenic route.

Heading down along the coastline, the flights soar above the landscape and out over the spectacular, wildlife-rich waters surrounding nearby Bruny Island; keep your eyes peeled during the flight as it's possible to spot dolphins and even whales during their annual migratory season.

Whether you are a first-time visitors looking for Hobart's ultimate sightseeing experiences, or a local looking to get a new perspective of your hometown, a scenic flight over Hobart ticks all the boxes.

It's an excellent chance for keen photographers in particular to come away with some unmatched aerial shots, and along the way their flights are accompanied by commentary that is detailed without being intrusive – which is enhanced by their specially-designed, noise-cancelling headsets that make commentary from and communication with the pilots very clear; a welcome addition.

It's little touches like this that go a long way to enhancing the experience beyond the wonderful sights themselves; service here goes above and beyond the usual requirements to make everyone feel special from booking through to landing.

Other benefits – such as smooth flights and landings due to the pilots' extensive degree of experience and knowledge of the local area, accompanying flights with snacks including delicious Tasmanian-style cheeses and wines, and a reasonable cost per person compared to similar offerings round out the experience here.

Whether you're a first-time visitor looking for one of Hobart's ultimate sightseeing experiences or a local looking to get a new perspective on your lovely hometown, a flight with Par Avion checks all the boxes.

Top 10 Things to do in Hobart - Tahune Airwalk

6. Tahune Airwalk

Location: Arve Rd, Geeveston, Tasmania

Experience the Huon Valley from the tips of the treetops on a tranquil stroll along the Tahune Airwalk. With an average height of 30 metres, the cantilever offers spectacular scenery of the river and lush forest surrounds.
Top 10 Things to do in Hobart - Kayak Around The City

7. Kayak Around The City

Location: South Hobart, Tasmania

Take in the history and scenery of Hobart’s historic waterfront precinct during a city kayaking tour. See the Battery Point, Hobart Wharves, resident seals and stop by the local floating fishing punts for fresh fish and chips.
Top 10 Things to do in Hobart - Craft Brewery Tour

8. Craft Brewery Tour

Location: Hobart, Tasmania

Hobart’s craft brewery scene is one you don’t want to miss out on. Make some new friends and treat the tastebuds to locally brewed beers on a guided tour to some of Hobart’s best breweries and cosy pubs.
Top 10 Things to do in Hobart - Day Tour to Port Arthur Historic Site

9. Day Tour to Port Arthur Historic Site

Location: Arthur Hwy, Port Arthur, Tasmania

Retrace the footsteps of Australia’s colonial history during a visit to the world heritage listed Port Arthur Historic Site. Dating back to the 1800s, the landmarks gives insight into the lives and times of early Australia.
Top 10 Things to do in Hobart - Explore Freycinet National Park

10. Explore Freycinet National Park

Location: 20 Davey Street, Hobart, TAS

Get out of Hobart for the day on a day tour to Freycinet National Park. The region is rich in natural landscapes, pink granite mountains, easy walking trails and the stunning emerald waters of Wineglass Bay.