Culture

10 Things To Do In Hobart That Aren’t Mona

Walks in nature, incredible local food and the cutest Airbnb around.

Dreaming of a visit to Mona, and its infamous toilet? You’re not alone. Last year, more than 300,000 people visited what has been named the best modern art gallery in the world. MONA has certainly changed travel to Tasmania.

But Hobart has much more to offer than a gallery carved into 240-million-year-old Triassic sandstone (no jokes), as any good taxi driver will tell you. Here are 10 places the locals say you shouldn’t miss on your trip.

Little Missy
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Little Missy Patisserie

The visit to any new town has got to involve good coffee and a delicious, preferably pastry-based start to the day, right? You’re in luck. This North Hobart gem is the perfect place for brunch before hitting the road. Tucked away towards the top of Argyle Street in a neighbourhood you’re unlikely to stumble across, when you step inside you’ll likely be greeted by owner Oonagh and her incredible display of sweet and savoury pastries. If you’re in luck, a local artist-run initiative may even be holding a makers market in the alleyway to the side of the shop the weekend you’re visiting, offering everything from local fashion and to graphic novels and delicious burgers.

Fern Gully Airbnb
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Fern Gully Falls Chalet Tiny House

A living room couch with a view of your own private waterfall? Yep, that’s the Fern Gully Falls Chalet Tiny House, the Airbnb with a long name and an even longer list of recommendations from locals and visitors alike. Built on a property that doubles as a wildlife refuge, owner David has made several beautiful walks so you can wander right down to the waterfall, or up to the ridge if you’re feeling more adventurous. There’s a deep claw-foot bath to luxuriate in, right next to a wood-fired combustion heater which you can cook on (there are hotplates, too). Climb up the antique ladder to the loft bed and you’ll fall asleep under a window looking onto the stars. Local tip: stock up on provisions for your tiny house stay at Hill St Grocer in West Hobart before you head out of town, if it’s not a market day.

Mt Field NP
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Mount Field National Park

About an hour’s drive from your tiny chalet and private waterfall is one of the most spectacular alpine hikes around. Mount Field National Park has a bunch of walks, but the ones you’ll want to embark on are the alpine ones. They’ll take you up through twisted snow gums and eventually onto a boardwalk that leads through a series of turns, with the cleanest water you’ve ever drunk (and drink it you should). If you’re lucky, there may even be a snow shower while you’re up there. Just make sure to pack for all weather, as it can change quickly up on the mountain. Plan to have lunch at one of the huts along the way, and squeeze in the Tall Trees walk on your way out of the park.

willow court
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Willow Court

Have you ever visited an antiques shop in a former mental asylum? Tasmania really does have it all. Nestled in the heart of New Norfolk, Willow Court houses several local shops as well as the still-abandoned Ladies Cottage which has been used as part of Dark Mofo for performance artist Mike Parr’s piece Asylum.

salamanca
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Salamanca Markets and Salamanca Arts Centre

Huon pine pepper grinder, anyone? You’ll have no doubt already heard of the Salamanca Markets, which pip MONA as Tasmania’s most visited tourist attraction. Yes, they’re touristy. But for good reason – they’re well worth a visit. Go on, grab yourself a scallop pie (or wallaby, if you’re feeling like something even more different) and have a chat to the friendly Wilderness Society stallholders about their latest environmental wins. When in Rome, after all. The nearby Salamanca Arts Centre houses a number of galleries, and look out for the antique shops and second-hand bookshops in the laneways and arcades around the market for some excellent finds, too.

Farm Gate
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Farm Gate Market

If you regretted not buying a bunch of incredible peony roses on Saturday at Salamanca Markets, you’ll get a second chance on Sunday at the Farm Gate Market. Plus, there’s even more delicious food and coffee – espresso or Aeropress, all preferences are catered for here. The lovely Franklin Square gardens are only a few blocks away if you’re looking for somewhere peaceful to enjoy your food.

IMG_6873
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Wellington Park

No trip to Tassie is complete without at least one bushwalk. Even if you haven’t got a car, there are some great walks close to Hobart. Jump on a bus from Franklin Square out to Fern Tree, about half an hour’s ride from the centre of town. The bus stop where you alight is right at the entrance to Wellington Park, where you can hike up Mount Wellington for breathtaking views of Hobart. And choose one of the paths that lead up to The Springs and you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise – from Wednesday to Saturday there is a food truck (well, converted 60s campervan to be precise) waiting and ready with coffee, pies, pastries and other snacks.

pipeline track
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Pipeline Track

If you’re feeling energetic, you can walk back to Hobart via the stunning Pipeline Track. Look out for the signs across the road from the bus-stop. If we had to pick between walking up Mount Wellington and this, we reckon the Pipeline Track might win. The walk will take you about two hours.

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Republic Bar

One of Hobart’s best-loved and prettiest art-deco pubs, Republic Bar serves up a mouth-watering menu of fried goodies, including southern fried chicken and southern fried broccoli. Yep, you read that right. They also pull a good beer, naturally. We couldn’t spy MONA’s Moo Brew on tap, but Republic’s house pale ale is worth a try. You might wait a while to get a seat, particularly if it’s the weekend, but loiter around the bar and a friendly local is sure to offer you their table when they leave. Check out their gig guide if you’re looking for live music, along with The Homestead, another North Hobart local favourite that’s not far down the road.

Photo: Republic Bar/Facebook

cat cafe
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Hobart Cat Café

Because, who can resist a cat café

(All other images: author’s own)