Hobart is the new Melbourne. It’s this very chic city increasingly known for its art and creative industries, its excellent locavore cuisine and its quaint, picturesque architecture. Only Hobart is better. It’s small, it’s easy to navigate, and it’s surrounded by some serious wilderness. If you’re heading to the Apple Isle even for a short weekend, be sure to take a morning or day out to get to one of these pristine places.
Time from Hobart: 1 hour
On the day we had planned to go to Mount Field it was pouring. Usually when you’re setting off on a hike that’s not the best, but when you’re headed for a rainforest, it couldn’t be more perfect. Just outside of Hobart the road winds through pretty hamlets and cherry plantations and eventually starts to climb into the wooded mountains. An hour in the car and you find yourself in an incredible rainforest, surrounded by giant ferns, moss covered boulders and mushrooms sprouting in every slither of sunlight. There are three waterfalls you can walk to at Mount Field, Russell Falls being the most accessible a 20 return minute walk from the car park. A two and a half hour loop walk will also take you past Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls.
Mount Eliza Trail
Time from Hobart: 2 hours 40 minutes
If you’re looking for a fairly challenging hike, this is the one for you. The entirety of the hike is steep and demanding, so depending on your fitness level and timeframe, you have three options. The first is to hike all the way to the summit of Mount Anne, which will take you basically all day, but is recommended to complete over two days. The second is to hike to Mount Eliza, a return hike of about six hours. And the third is to head up over the first couple of ridges to the High Camp Hut just below the track to the summit of Mount Eliza, which will take about 2.5 hours return and is the best option for a day hike. Once you reach the first knoll, after a steep 200 metre climb, you’ll have sweeping views of Lake Pedder and the Franklin Range, as well as up to the rocky peaks of Mount Eliza and Mount Anne ahead.
To reach the start of the track, you’ll need to head north west out of Hobart toward Strathgordon, then south on a gravel road toward Edgar Dam.
Time from Hobart: 1 hour
An hour east of Hobart, Eaglehawk Neck is where a narrow piece of land connects the Tasman Peninsula to the rest of Tasmania. During convict times, a row of savage dogs were stationed across the 30-metre-wide isthmus to prevent prisoners from escaping the Port Arthur convict settlement. Today however, this tiny town is more well known for its natural coastal formations.
The Tessellated Pavement is an incredibly symmetrical, natural rock formation formed by water erosion, and popular with photographers as sunrise and sunset. It’s also a great spot for surfing, bird and wildlife watching. Further south along the coast you will also find the Tasman Arch, Devil’s Kitchen and the Blow Hole, all formed by water erosion of sea caves along the rocky coastline.
Time from Hobart: 2 hour 45 minutes
Arguably the most famous natural sight in Tasmania, Wineglass Bay, in Freycinet National Park is well worth a trip from Hobart. Get up early as the drive is on the longer side, however once you’re there, you have a couple of options for how to experience the pristine bay. The Wineglass Bay lookout is a half an hour walk from the carpark and provides a good, but not amazing view of the bay. If you’re got a decent level of fitness, we’d recommend climbing Mount Amos, the trail for which shoots off to the left of the main lookout trail. This walk will take about 3 -4 hours return and involves a bit of scrambling over boulders to read the peak. The views, however are of not only Wineglass Bay, but 360 degrees to the surrounding areas.
The best view of the bay is of course from a helicopter above. Flights usually leave from Coles Bay, and provide incredible views of the rugged mountains and pristine coastline all around.
Coal River Valley
Foodies and nature lovers unite with a day trip to the Coal River Valley. Just a 20-minute drive out of Hobart, this valley is dotted with vineyards and wineries, restaurants and cheese stores. There might not be any hikes to do here, but it’s an excellent place for a bike ride, or a meander amongst the grape vines.