Good things come in small packages and sometimes that ‘thing’ is a tiny island with an environment perfect for amazing produce, beautiful scenery and a heart-warming culture. Australia’s island state, Tasmania is like a dream you never want to wake up from. Even in the colder months the beauty is inescapable, as is the realisation of just how tiny you are in comparison to the mountains surrounding the small towns.
Since the opening of MONA in 2011, Tasmania has upped its tourism game and is now famous for unique experiences and fresh local produce that celebrates the state’s love of the land. In the midst of a busy time of the year I could not have imagined a better destination to escape to than Hobart.
For five short days we stayed in a room above a sweet little pub right near Salamanca Place and treated ourselves to hearty meals, mulled cider and gourmet cheese. Our gluttony was balanced with day hikes through the stunning Freycinet National Park, Mount Wellington and of course, MONA and Port Arthur. Every day was memorable, but two parts really stood out.
Salamanca Place, aka foodie heaven has everything from Indian to Italian to gourmet burgers on offer along the strip. However, my favourite piece of Salamanca (besides the market on Saturday) was Knopwoods Retreat. This local watering hole was complete with a fireplace, cheap mulled cider and chess boards built into the tables, so basically the dream pub.
Since MONA opened I’ve followed the controversy and the varied opinions surrounding the awe-inspiring space. My expectations were high when we set out to spend a day at the museum my mother described as “pornographic, lazy and perverted”. It did not disappoint (eccentric, billionaire curators are OK with me). Throw in a surprisingly inspiring tour of the Moo Brew brewery and MONA is without a doubt, the perfect day.
Every time I visit somewhere I usually come back to Melbourne to say “I will definitely be back” and well…that never really ends up happening. When it comes to Tasmania though, I am sure I will be back and it will be sooner rather than later (see you next year for the football Hobart!).
If you’re a food lover, have a budget ready to spend on fancy meals alone.
Next to Knopwoods Retreat is a strange nightclub, don’t accidentally walk into this nightclub.
The ferry to MONA is worth every penny, as is the Moo Brew tour.
Hire a car. The size of Tasmania means that hidden gems are only a few hours drive away.
According to my travel partner, eat scallop pie.
Fellow bridge nerds, visit Richmond to see the oldest bridge in Australia.