By Avril-Ann Braganza
Intriguing art museums, challenging hikes and stunning sceneries. Ara Daquinag explores the city of Hobart in Tasmania
Compared to the well-thronged tourist destinations of Australia, the city of Hobart is a well-kept secret. The capital of Tasmania is surrounded by soaring mountainous peaks and luscious green nature. Step out of the Hobart International Airport and you'll find that even in summer the temperature is cool and pleasant. Nature lovers can go gaga over the different kinds of flowers including banksias, black wattle and the sprengelia incarnata (pink swamp heath) as well as eucalyptus trees and Dicksonia antarctica (thick-trunked tree ferns).
The Port Arthur historic site
There are a variety of things to do that can easily fill up your time–from perusing the art galleries like the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and Carnegie Gallery. If you're a history buff, you can explore the Maritime Museum of Tasmania and the Military Museum of Tasmania. Alternatively, you can delve into Australian history by visiting the Port Arthur Historic Site, the actual site of the penal colony, which provides a fascinating look into the convict era of Australian history.
The lookout point from Mount Wellington
If you love the great outdoors, there are breathtaking road trips and hikes. You can hike to or drive to the top of Mount Wellington. A 20-minute drive from Salamanca Place and the Victoria and Constitution docks, Mount Wellington's summit is snowcapped in winter, balmy in summer and cool in spring and autumn. The scenery en route is great, with winding slopes albeit dizzying heights and views of the rain forest and the vertical rock formation known as 'Organ Pipes', so named, because of their similar appearance to church organ pipes. There are no green meadows or fields, but climb to the top and from an enclosed lookout you'll be privy to beautiful panoramic views and a dramatic backdrop to the city of Hobart, the World Heritage Tasmanian Wilderness, the Derwent River and Storm Bay. Clear skies meeting pristine waters surrounded by natural wilderness make for a truly impressive view. While it does not offer any skiing facilities, it's great to drive up to make snow angels and to throw snowballs at each other, in winter. You can also plan a road trip to the Tasman Peninsula, in the south of the state, where you can see remarkable natural landmarks like Devil’s Kitchen, an interesting rock formation in the cliff; Tasman's Arch; Tasman Blowhole and the Tesselated Pavement.
If you are eager for more outdoor adventures, you might want to try the Tahune AirWalk. Climb 112 gradual steps uphill till you reach the AirWalk and then walk on a metal structure 20m above the ground. The highlight is the cantilever at 48m above the river level, which provides fantastic views of the forests and the junction of the Picton and Huon Rivers. The Adventure Forests Tasmania, in which the Airwalk is located also contains many forest walks, challenging hikes and swinging bridges to walk on.
'Snake', a piece of art by Sidney Nolan, at MONA- Museum of Old and New Art
The spectacular $75 million art museum nicknamed ‘MONA’ (Museum of Old and New Art) is quite unlike any museum Australia has known. It is Australia’s largest privately-funded museum and has an eclectic collection of antiquities as well as modern and contemporary exhibits. It has also more than 400 artistic works including 'Snake' by one of Australia’s best known artists, Sidney Nolan.
For shopping enthusiasts, the trendiest place to shop in Hobart is in the famous Salamanca Market in Salamanca Place. This market held on every Saturday throughout the year, attracts thousands of locals and tourists alike. Besides fresh fruit, crisp organic vegetables, you can also buy accessories, fabrics, food, clothes, as well as quality Tasmanian pieces such as jewellery, woodwork, glassware and ceramics.
With something for almost everyone, a trip to Hobart will truly be a memorable one.
Images by Ara Daquinag