Hobart, Australia - Stein Travel
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Hobart

Tucked between Mt Wellington and the River Derwent 12 miles (20km) upstream of the river mouth, Hobart is the capital of Tasmania, and boasts one of the world's most secure deepwater harbours. The city is the essence of Australia's only island state and represents the fountainhead of white island settlement. It was established in 1804 and is saturated in colonial history.

The main historical district, Battery Point, is characterised by colonial stone cottages, tearooms, antique shops, restaurants and pubs. The Narryna Van Diemen's Land Folk Museum at Battery Point depicts 19th-century pioneer life. Here one also finds the Maritime Museum of Tasmania. Like most Australian cities Hobart has plenty of green space; the largest here is the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, which are known for English-style plantings and trees, and a Japanese garden dominated by a miniature Mt Fuji.

Other amusements for visitors include steam locomotive rides, guided tours of a former women's prison, tours of the Cascade Brewery, gaming at Australia's first legal casino at Wrest Point, taking a cruise of the harbour, or sampling the delights of the fudge factory at Island Produce Tasmania. Mount Wellington, which is a 13-mile (22km) drive from the city, offers extensive views across alpine shrubs of the city below.

Information & Facts

Climate

Hobart is characterised by a mild and temperate oceanic climate with four distinct seasons and the second fewest daily average hours of sunshine in Australia with 5.9 hours per day. Snow is not common during the winter months, but it is normal to see adjacent Mount Wellington with a snowcap. January and February are the warmest and driest months and the best time to visit.

Getting Around

Hobart is small and compact, therefore it is easy to explore on foot or bicycle. There is an efficient local bus service, the Metro, for which day passes are available. Ferries run between Franklin Wharf and tourist spots around the harbour.

Language

English is the official language of Australia.

Money

The Australian Dollar (AUD) is divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Travellers cheques are also welcome everywhere, but banks take a small commission and it is better to take cheques in major currencies (e.g. US dollars or Euros) to avoid additional charges. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.

Shopping

Hobart may not be the largest city in Australia but it has plenty of great unique shopping opportunities for visitors to enjoy. The main shopping area in the CBD is centred round the pedestrianised Elizabeth Street, where the Cat and Fiddle Arcade provides the perfect splurging arena for shopaholics. Nearby Collins Street is also a good place to browse the numerous shops, boutiques and speciality stores.

Downtown Hobart features a good mix of stores, from fashion outlets and souvenir stores selling the usual tourist tat to art and craft galleries and department stores and Sandy Bay is the where fashionistas can be found in their designer clothing picking up more of the latest trends. Northgate at Glenorchy and Eastlands on the eastern shore are the two main suburban shopping centres housing independent and chain stores as well as food halls and supermarkets.

One of the greatest shopping markets in Hobart has to be the Salamanca Market which takes place every Saturday from 8.30am to 3pm. Here, shoppers can enjoy browsing through everything from fresh fruit and vegetables and confectionaries to Tasmanian arts and crafts, clothing and leather goods. There are great food stalls too to keep hungry shoppers energised, and the nearby cafés and restaurants along the Salamanca Place offer respite from the maze of stalls.

Sightseeing

The second oldest city in Australia, Hobart is indeed a fascinating place to visit. Dating back to 1804 when it grew out of the penal settlement on the island, Hobart boasts many beautiful historical buildings and areas all beneath the majestic backdrop of the often snow-capped Mount Wellington.

There are many rewarding ways to spend your time in Hobart. Take a stroll along the riverfront and admire the Georgian and Victorian architecture, then visit Battery Point to see buildings made out of Hobart's golden sandstone, which gives parts of the city a warm, golden glow. On a Saturday, visit Salamanca Place where the sandstone warehouses date back to the 1830s and stalls line the maze of streets selling everything under the sun, while the surrounding art galleries, theatres and cafés will cater to your every need.

Check out the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery to see the stuffed Tasmanian Devil and the extinct Tasmanian Tiger, or head to the Maritime Museum of Tasmania to learn about the whaling industry, see early aboriginal boats and even shipwrecks. Hobart's wine industry has exploded in recent years and a day out in the Coal River Wine Region and D'Entrecasteaux Channel sampling some of the region's wines and gourmet cuisine at Moorilla, one of Australia's most awarded vineyards, is not to be missed. Travellers should look into buying the See Tasmania Card which grants access to over 60 attractions across Tasmania, as well as tours and discounts. The card is available for either three, seven or 10 day validity periods.

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