Tuesday, March 11, 2014

There's WAY more than 20 reasons to visit Hobart - from a local

[ed: I realised all the links were messed up, so i've fixed them - along with some of the text!]

Recently a number of colleagues and I read this article about Hobart and found it disappointing in places , with some out-of-date information or simply inaccurate suggestions.

For example: restaurants - Ethos is not in North Hobart; Piccolo has been re-named, together with some real highlights simply ignored.

Don't get me wrong - the article got lots right about our beautiful home town, too.

But I felt compelled to give something of a counter, a more local viewpoint - with some personal favourites.

So here goes, in no particular order (except the first, to make a point about the other article)....

1. Mt Wellington (and I'm NOT opening with a gratuitous comment about some South African mountain here - because guess what? It's Tasmania, not RSA): for the beautiful drive/ride/walk up the mountain, and the stunning views of the bush all around you, and the alpine rainforest as you get higher up; when clear weather, the gorgeous shining Hobart city below from the lookouts; and the stunning 360deg panorama at the pinnacle. Kunanyi has a definite 'spirit of place' about it and engenders a special kind of emotional bond for locals - especially when you see it for the first time after an absence. (if you don't want to go all the way up there you can still get a great view of Hobart from the Mt Stuart lookout).

2. MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Berriedale. Its effect on Hobart and the tourism industry generally has been nothing short of startling, transformational. everyone is talking about it. Quite apart from the art and the owner's story (and the mystique surrounding David Walsh), the thing that will stop you in your tracks is the sheer beauty and innovation of the construction itself. MONA is a must-see. Get the ferry: a brilliant way to see Hobart from the river.

3. Cascade Brewery, Woodstock heritage house, Cascade gardens: a glaring omission in the Fairfax piece among some glaring omissions, the oldest still-working brewery in Australia runs engaging (and tasty) tours. Severely damaged by wild bushfires in 1967, the iconic stone facade which has adorned so many great beer labels sits next to the great brews' water source, the Cascade Rivulet - also known to harbour platypuses! The nearby gardens are a lovely place for a picnic.

4. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (aka TMAG for locals). Hobart's public museum has just had a brilliant refurb and is absolutely worth a visit Separately, the Narryna Heritage museum housed in the 1830s building is fascinating

5. Get there (and plenty of other places) on a free hired ArtBike from Arts Tasmania Elizabeth St Hobart. You need a credit card and ID. You can even hire ArtBikes overnight or for weekend for low prices. If you're really keen you could ride or walk (or bus) to MONA via GASP - Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park (with free bbq sites!)

6. Battery Point Sculpture Trail - interpretative and interesting walking tour of one of Hobart's earliest colonial districts It's a fantastic insight to the history of early Hobart.

7. Hobart's parks - from significant spaces like the Botanical Gardens and St David's Park to smaller recreational parks really suited to young families like 'The Boat Park' at Long Point ('Sandy Bay Beach') and historical parks like Arthur's Circus in Battery Point - Hobart has some lovely parks.

8. Hobart waterfront & Salamanca Place - a self-guided tour of the locality will find you discovering a range of points of interest like the historic Hunter Street, the School of Fine Art campus of the University of Tasmania; fresh and cooked seafood outlets along the Sydney-Hobart-famous Constitution Dock; beautiful King's Pier and Waterman's Dock, and then over to Salamanca past well-loved pubs like the Telegraph, Customs House, and historic Knopwoods ('Knoppies') and cafes like Retro and Zum (with the famous market on a Saturday) iconic tourism experiences from Pennicott Wilderness Journeys and Tasmanian Air Adventures seaplane trips that take off and land from the waterfront itself!

9. Farm Gate Market: hugely popular with locals - produce market at Bellerive on a Saturday and Hobart Melville St carpark on a Sunday. An extraordinary range of fresh local produce, artisan and fine products, free range meats, dairy products, some really interesting food-to-go or eat there

10. Bruny Island and the D'Entrecasteaux Channel: the SMH got this partly-right. No trip to Hobart should miss a drive through the enchanting Channel (or way, waaay better - by boat!) and a ferry (check the timetable!) over to Bruny. It's a very special place with a swag of things to do and see - including a history littered with visits from explorers like Cook, Bligh and the Frenchman Captain Bruni D'Entrecasteaux himself (There's a small museum about Bligh at Adventure Bay). Bruny also has a strong Aboriginal culture and history and abounds with stories and dreamings. Some of our favourite spots are Barnes Bay, Conley's Beach, history-laced Adventure Bay and the Lunawanna Hall where last Friday of every month, Hoppy's Jamboree happens.

And the best pub meal South of Hobart is at Dave and Rachael's Hotel Bruny at Alonnah. The free range Nichols chicken parmie is big and delicious, and there's heaps of local produce on the menu (sometimes local free range pork which is awesome) and they have Tassie ciders in the fridge, including the astounding cherry 40% apple 60% Cerise by Pagan Cider

11. Cathedrals: again, a glaring omission from the 'other' list. St David's (Anglican) and St Mary's (Catholic) are fine examples of 19th Century design and engineering.

12. Theatre Royal: take a guided tour of this charming space: Australia's oldest working theatre.

13. State Cinema North Hobart: a meeting place for so many Hobartians, 'The State' has been born again in recent years with wonderful additions including a licensed cafe-bar, bookstore and rooftop cinema/bar !
Check out the North Hobart precinct before and after your movie. It features a wide range of restaurants, bars and cafes along Elizabeth Street. The Republic Bar (previously the Empire Hotel, delicious irony) Cnr Burnett & Elizabeth Sts features live music all nights of the week @republicbarcafe

14. Blundstone Arena: (Bellerive Oval) a world-class sporting facility featuring international cricket matches and, during the winter hosting top-class AFL home games for North Melbourne. It's going through a really exciting development phase at present. Roos supporters - come to Hobart and watch the team play at their home-away-from-home. @NorthKangaroos

15. Great Tasmanian wine: half to three-quarter an hour's drive from Hobart there are many fine wineries, most providing tastings and cellar door sales. Some favourites are Frogmore Creek and Clemens Hill (Coal Valley) Stefano Lubiana and Derwent Estate (Granton) and Home Hill Wines and Kate Hill in the Huon Valley. Cool Wine is a terrific wine store providing a real level of personal service and advice right in Hobart's CBD. What Tim and his team can't tell you about their products probably isn't necessary. Grape (Salamanca) & T42 (Elizabeth St Pier) are really nice wine/spirit &food bars with a comprehensive list of wines many of which they will serve by the glass. The 9-11 bottle shop at the Gasworks has a strong Tasmanian wine range too.

16. Burgeoning cider sector: Couldn't believe the SMH missed this one - the tiger in the local food and beverage manufacturing economy. Tasmanian cider is growing strongly, with new producers and products popping up everywhere. And Hobart venues (and their patrons) are fervent supporters too, like The New Sydney Hotel and West End Pumphouse; and Jack Greene at Salamanca. Willie Smiths organic apple cider a French style cider from the Huon Valley is now being served in Hobart's traditional Athenaeum Club. Local producer Dickens has recently opened a dedicated cider bar in Salamanca @DickensCH Follow Tassie's cider trail

17. Hobart's cafes: Hobartians are really passionate about their hot drinks! There's some great cafes around - some of my personal favourites are Raincheck Lounge (North Hobart) Pilgrim, Kara (CBD) Zum, Tricycle (Salamanca) and Georgie the barista at The Deep in Mures Lower Deck on Constitution Dock makes fantastic coffee, too...(ok I'm her dad, so I'm a tad biased).

18. Food: Hobart has a great range of good quality food from moderately-priced to higher end. Cargo Bar in Salamanca has a well-priced and yummy wood fired pizza menu. Written On Tea on Sandy Bay Rd has simple, delicious Chinese meals (byo bottled option!) the pan-fried dumplings are popular. I like Charcoal in the city for lunch; West End Pumphouse is a vibrant venue with an exciting menu. My favourite Hobart restaurant is Smolt in Salamanca - with daylight between it and others. The location, the room, engaging dishes with small plate options, a broad exciting wine list - always good service. Smolt is an absolute standout reason to come to Hobart.

19. The Wolfe Brothers: one of Australia's most promising country rock acts, The Wolfe Brothers, is from Hobart. Come and experience the region that has inspired Nick, Tom, Brodie and Casey - who rock, by the way.

20. Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO): Resident in Hobart’s purpose-built Federation Concert Hall, the TSO has a full complement of 47 musicians and really is one of the world's best small orchestras.
With more than 60 CDs in its catalogue the TSO is known and heard nationally and internationally.