Port Review: Hobart, Tasmania

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Founded in 1804 as a British penal colony, Hobart, formerly known as Hobart Town or Hobarton, is Australia's second oldest capital city after Sydney, New South Wales. And this makes it a popular port of call on Australian cruise itineraries.

The Facts

Location: On the south east coast of Tasmania.

Language: English.

Currency: Australian dollar. 

Docking/anchoring: Ships dock at Constitution Dock which is just minutes from the CBD.

Transport: Taxis are usually available outside the cruise ship terminal, and some cruise lines offer free shuttles into the city centre, although it’s easily walkable. 


It’s the main gateway to Tasmania and the state capital, and Hobart is a small city which is set on a beautiful harbour with the imposing Mount Wellington at 1270 metres as a dramatic backdrop. The city, like much of Tasmania itself, is a combination of beautiful architecture, scenery and strong colonial heritage. In the early 1800’s, Tasmania was settled as a British penal colony when it was known as Van Diemen’s Land, and today much of the original architecture from that period remains intact.

Don’t Miss

The 21 kilometre drive from Hobart to the summit of Mt Wellington is popular with both locals and visitors and the view from the lookouts at the summit are spectacular. No other city in Australia has this and there are bushwalking trails and picnic areas nearby as well.

Salamanca Market is held every Saturday right next to Constitution Dock and this is a lively celebration of all things Tasmanian from local produce, arts and crafts and buskers performing original music. Set against the classic sandstone buildings of Salamanca Place, with yachts and fishing boats moored nearby, there are more than 300 stalls selling mostly Tasmanian-made items.  

Best Photo Op

From the top of Mt Wellington, the summit takes in the temperate rainforest and sub-alpine flora, and ends in breathtaking, panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula. 


Salamanca Market is the one-stop shop for all things Tasmanian, but if you’re not there on a Saturday, there are still stores nearby selling jewellery and high end fashion. Most of the best shops are located around the CBD. Elizabeth Street is a good starting point with a few good arcades and some interesting local shops while some of the nearby suburbs such as Sandy Bay and Bellerive have a good concentration of shops including some outstanding fashion boutiques. 

Food and Drink

The locals are proud of the quality of Tasmanian produce and justifiably so and you’ll be hard pressed to find better seafood and some of the wines are gaining recognition around the world. Eating out can range from anything between fish and chips down at Constitution Dock, to upscale restaurants with menus featuring local deer, lamb and vegetables, and outlets offering seafood caught by fishing boats owned by the restauranteur. All of these are within easy strolling distance of where ships dock, and are just a few of the good options around the area.

Pick of the Excursions  

Port Arthur is a World Heritage listed historic site and it combines the best of the Tasmanian landscape with a fascinating insight into the important convict heritage of the region. The drive along the Tasman Peninsula is stunning and includes the narrow Eaglehawk Neck, an isthmus which connects to the peninsula. The destination is Port Arthur which housed 12,000 convicts between the 1830’s and 1870‘s, and is now a collection of around 30 restored buildings which capture Tasmania’s colourful past.

Bonorong Wildlife Park is the best way to see the endangered Tasmanian Devil up close and many cruise ship travellers book this tour simply to see the cute little animals in their natural habitat. There’s also koalas, wombats, kangaroos and wallabies and they let visitors interact with some of the animals, which makes for some great holiday happy snaps.

Tasmania produces some world class wines and has some quaint colonial towns and tours will often combine the two to provide a nice little cross section of sightseeing and wine tasting. Richmond’s historic village is a favourite because of its well preserved Georgian buildings and its famous jail, and the nearby Meadowbank Estate produces some fine riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir.


Joanna Hall


  • 5
    Devils A Must

    Posted by Kath Orwell on 5th Feb 2019

    We enjoyed a long weekend in Hobart and went to see the devils at Bonorong Wildlife Park - that was really a highlight for us. There are some nice bars and restaurants too with great food. Love the artisan cheeses and organic fare.

  • 4
    Nice City

    Posted by Ally Kat on 5th Feb 2019

    We've cruised to Hobart now a couple oftimes and visited with friends for 5 days and loved it. I only mark it down because the weather is so flaky! But Tassie in general is a great place to explore, with many things to do. And yes see the devils!