Tasmania is special. It’s always been special. Wild and untamed, its coastline is wrapped around rugged mountains, ancient rainforests, highland lakes and bucolic countryside. It’s the perfect place for adventure travellers.
But these days Tasmania is also special for its food and wine, distilleries, galleries, cultural attractions and festivals. National Geographic included Tasmania in its annual Best Trips list, Condé Nast named it “a must-see” and Monocle magazine listed Hobart fourth in the world’s top small cities.
Hobart’s transition to Capital of Cool was forged in 2011 when billionaire art collector David Walsh opened the Museum of Old & New Art (Mona), a showcase of contemporary art and international treasures. Mona hosts impressive events including Mona Foma in summer and Dark Mofo in winter.
The unique celebration of the southern winter solstice returns this year with an action-packed Dark Mofo program of avant-garde art performances, live music and its emblematic Winter Feast.
As well as its fascinating long-term exhibitions, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery has some great upcoming exhibitions including one showcasing the work of nationally renowned Tasmanian furniture maker, sculptor and artist, Gay Hawkes.
One of the best things about Tasmania is that, by Australian standards, nothing is very far away. You can be bushwalking or rafting in wild rivers by day and sipping Tasmanian Pinot in a slick Hobart bar by night.
The rich soil, clean air and pure water produce world-class food and wine, and it’s very easy to have a “paddock to plate” experience in cafés, restaurants and even local pubs. It’s even easier at farmers markets and roadside stalls, many still with honesty boxes.
Salamanca Market is one of Tasmania’s most visited tourist attractions, with a great vibe and an enormous number of stalls selling high quality Tasmanian crafts, jewellery, gourmet food and organic produce.
Kick back in slick waterfront bars and restaurants but also explore the city’s laneways and side streets. The CBD and historic Battery Point are easy to walk around, and you’ll find great places to relax, browse and buy.
Seasonal and regional produce is the star attraction at gastro-pub Tom McHugo’s and at hot restaurants like Templo and its pint-sized wine bar offspring, Sonny.
Another favourite is Lucinda Wine Bar whose wine list spans more than 130 varieties from around the world. Tasmania itself produces world-class wine, especially its sparkling whites. Pinot Noir also attracts a lot of interest, as does the island’s cider, whisky and gin, produced by award-winning distilleries such as Sullivan’s Cove and Lark.
Transforming Hobart’s skyline, the gorgeous Vibe Hotel Hobart is conveniently located for visiting the CBD, waterfront and Salamanca Place. It’s also a great base for exploring Tasmania.
East of Hobart, visit historic Richmond and the Coal River Valley wineries, or head south-east to World Heritage listed convict sites, including Port Arthur.
Learn to cook with the Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans, at Fat Pig Farm south of Hobart, or head north-west to the picturesque Derwent Valley to experience seasonal cooking at its finest in The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery, complete with its new one-acre walled kitchen garden.
Artists, authors, craftspeople, designers, cooks, food and beverage producers, musicians and performers, all find inspiration in Tasmania. Living on an island at the end of the world brings out the creativity in people.
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