There’s no question Hobart is a cracking destination, famous for its weekend markets, whisky and wine scene, and thought-provoking venue that is MONA. But what if you want to get out of Tassie’s capital for a day and explore the countryside? Easy. Hire a car and pick your adventure from the list below.
Richmond and the Coal Valley
The historic town of Richmond sits 20 kilometres north-east of Hobart, offering picture perfect heritage buildings, Australia’s oldest bridge and a charming selection of boutiques. Built in the 1820s, the town played an important role in Australia’s colonial era, a fact which is evident in local attractions such as the Richmond Gaol and History House. After walking through the town centre – and making a pit stop at the famous Richmond Bakery – jump in your car and explore the Coal Valley, a region famous for its food and wine. Where you stop is up to you, but some of our favourites include Pooley Wines, Puddleduck Vineyards and Coal River Farm where you can pick your own berries, indulge in hand made chocolates and sit down to a seasonal feast in the beautiful restaurant.
Port Arthur and Pirates Bay
Surprisingly beautiful, World Heritage listed Port Arthur is the best preserved convict site in Australia. A guided tour is included in the entry price and we strongly suggest you take it – you’ll discover just how important the gaol was in shaping modern day prison practices. If you’re after a tour with a little extra intrigue, try the Isle of the Dead Cemetery Tour where you’ll hear the surprising life stories of some of the gaol’s former inhabitants. On your way back to Hobart make sure you take the time to explore Pirates Bay, turning off just before you cross Eaglehawk Neck. Here you’ll find one of the world’s most impressive tessellated pavements (a type of natural rock formation), the breathtaking Tasman Arch, a fully-fledged blowhole and a long stretch of sandy beach, perfect for sunny days.
Freycinet National Park
Home to Wineglass Bay and the spectacular pink granite Hazards Range, this wild corner of Tasmania sits just over two hours’ drive from the centre of Hobart. You can easily spend a whole day here, tackling different walking tracks and meeting various wildlife (especially potoroos, who are surprisingly friendly) but if you want to split your time between exploring the park and enjoying the drive back to Hobart, we suggest opting for the Wineglass Bay Walk, which takes two to three hours and gives you spectacular views of and direct access to one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. On the drive home, stop at Freycinet Marine Farm for freshly shucked oysters or Devil’s Corner Cellar Door for a glass of bubbles and a wood fired pizza. If you love wine, make sure you do a tasting at Spring Vale Cellar Door, just a little further on from Devil’s Corner. If you’re not the designated driver, save some room for a nip of their house made gin at the end of the tasting: we promise you won’t be disappointed.
A trip to Bruny Island is a must do for any gourmand who finds themselves in the region. The island’s ferry leaves from Kettering, a 40 minute drive south of Hobart, and takes guests on a picturesque 20 minute ride across the Tasman Sea. Once you’re on the island you’re spoilt for choice, with everything from fresh oysters to handmade cheese and scallop pies on offer. There’s also a vineyard, complete with cellar door, and a whisky house, which offers fantastic tastings of some of Tasmania’s best single malts. If you feel like breaking your feast up with some physical activity, the island is also home to some spectacular bush walks and a windswept lighthouse that towers 114 metres above the ragged coastline. Wildlife on the island is also abundant and you’re likely to come across penguins, wallabies, seals and a whole host of birdlife.