First Stop: Hobart, Tasmania
Honestly, before this trip, there is no way I could have put Tasmania on a world map. During my time in Australian quarantine, I spent quite a bit of time watching kindergarten Australia geography videos, and I learned about Tasmania.
Tasmania is the smallest Australian state and the only island state. It’s located southeast of the Australian mainland and is technically the 26th largest island in the world. Tasmania is a highly sought-after island destination known for its diverse geography, breathtaking views, and hiking opportunities.
Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world, with a total population of about 540,000 people. Tasmania is also well known for its wildlife, such as the notorious Tasmanian Devil.
Coronavirus in Hobart
At the time of writing (January 2021), there are zero new COVID cases in Tasmania. The small island state has been pretty much unscathed by COVID 19. There are no mask mandates.
The island is doing an excellent job of having guests check-in to destinations to contact trace. It is like stepping back into 2019. I visited packed museums and markets, and no one blinked twice!
Why I’m Touring Australia
Right now, I am traveling around Australia with Rasmus and his basketball team. His team, the NZ Breakers, have been displaced this season by COVID 19; they are typically based in Auckland, New Zealand. But for the time being, we are nomads, and so is the team headquarters.
So far, it’s been Melbourne and Hobart, but next on the schedule is potentially Adelaide, Perth, or Cairns. And lucky me, I’m just along for the ride. I’m using my downtime wisely and planning to use this as an opportunity to tour Australia!
Although it’s not fun to be without a home base, I enjoy the chance to travel. And I have to say; hotel life has been spoiling us. I haven’t cooked the last few weeks, cleaned, or even washed or folded laundry -- hello, silver lining! I spent the last week in Tasmania’s capital Hobart, and here are some fun things we found to do.
Mt. Wellington, also known by its aboriginal name, Kunanyi, is at the top of the list of things to see in Hobart. You can see it’s pinnacle point from anywhere in the city. If you want, you can hike up it or take a drive.
We opted for the sunrise drive, and we saw oodles of baby wallabies and their mums! The wallabies were an adorable surprise and a great start to our trip.
From the top, you can see the Derwent River and Coal River valley, which are stunning. The road up is tight and winding, and the weather can be finicky. As soon as we got to the top, the clouds engulfed us. Keep a close watch on the weather!
Stroll About the City
Hobart is the second-oldest European settlement in Australia, established in 1804. The city is filled with colonial architecture and time-stamped descriptions. Walking about the city is enjoyable; we visited the town hall, Franklin’s square, the post office, and various churches.
Tasman bridge dates back to 1977 and is an icon in Hobart. You can walk the bridge or drive across.
Either way, you’ll enjoy the views of the Derwent River. You have to cross it to get to the center of Hobart. We went up to Rosny Lookout to get some well-positioned photos.
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is one of Hobart's main attractions. MONA is a privately owned museum and art gallery. It features modern, unusual findings kept in the underground museum. Much of the art is awe-inspiring and jarring, described somewhere as a “subversive adult Disneyland.”
The museum is built on the water and is a don’t-miss if you have time. You can take a ferry from downtown Hobart for a $15 round trip to the museum and back, which is affordable and you get to tour Hobart by water.
This market is a Saturday morning treat! Not to mention, it was exceedingly singular, being surrounded by hundreds of people un-masked in early 2021. This market is well-known in Australia and for good reason.
It is vast and offers all the unique and eclectic things you expect in a good market. The smells of lavender, fresh crepes, and kangaroo leather waft around! It’s right along the waterfront, so it’s a refreshing morning walkabout. Enjoy some tasters, fill a bag of fresh fruit, and grab a locally crafted kombucha or coffee.
On Sunday there is a smaller local market called Farm Gate Market. This is a great market to get local produce as well. Back in 2020, it was deemed essential, and never shut down for COVID.
St. David’s Cathedral
This cathedral is a neo-gothic style cathedral from 1868. Inside, the church is welcoming and filled with fresh flowers and stained glass. It’s a beautiful symbol in the city and a comfortable place to stop if you're out exploring.
I always try to stop in local churches of every denomination and say a prayer, something my mom regularly did when we traveled. I love to think about the people and blessings that may have come before me.
Constitution Dock is a lovely harbor right in the city center. You’ll find lots of good restaurants and cute shops in the marina. It is probably most famous for its role in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, which departs Sydney on boxing day and arrives in Hobart two days later.
We had the pleasure of being assigned the Crowne Plaza as the team living quarters. Crowne Plaza is a centerpiece of the downtown Hobart skyline. This luxury hotel is perfect if you want to spoil yourself and center your trip around Hobart.
They have a sunny deck on level four with exceptional afternoon drinks and a fancy restaurant on the top floor overlooking the sea. You should stop by for dinner or drinks, even if you aren’t staying at the hotel.
Cascade is Australia’s oldest brewery, dating back to 1824. The brewery is at the base of Mt. Wellington and is a sight for sore eyes at the end of a long day’s adventures. Enjoy locally brewed beer and a couple of other local appetizers like smoked wallaby.
Up Next: Adelaide
Tasmania has set the bar super high for the rest of Australia. Rasmus and I enjoyed our time in Hobart, Australia. Hobart’s city is nestled right into the bay, and it is built into the sides of the mountain. Just walking around and taking in the sights is enjoyable.
Currently, many Australians are traveling to Hobart on vacation, and I can see why! Tasmania is a place I’d come back to explore. I would have loved to drive around the island and do some hiking. In Hobart, there is good shopping and food.
Hobart is the perfect place to kick back and relax or go out and adventure into the wild. The Hobart weather was nice, but not quite warm enough. It is pretty far south, so it’s known for getting cold.
Ras and I are reunited at last, and now, we are off to Adelaide tomorrow! Summer is just setting in, and I am ready. Next week looks like it’ll be in the 70s and 80s.
Stay tuned for more little updates from around Australia! All the best to my friends around the world,