Winter wonderland in Hobart

HOW do you deal with chilly Melbourne conditions in the middle of Winter? Embrace a much cooler climate in Tasmania.

I’ve never made the trip across the Bass Straight to Van Demons land (prior to this trip) but I always knew it would be icy-cold during Winter. I laughed at my partner (and then told him to not be silly) when he asked,”how socially acceptable would it be to wear a balaclava when we get there?” If it didn’t have a negative stigma I would’ve purchased one at Salamanca Market in a heartbeat.  The chilly bite made me appreciate Melbourne’s weather.

Welcome to Hobart!

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Salamanca Market is the perfect first stop, if you have an early weekend flight, when you arrive in Hobart. Stallholders relentlessly set up their stalls and began trading – rain, hail or shine – from 8am until 3pm. You will find everything from fruit and veggies to beautiful handmade accessories from about 300 stallholders.

Strolling between the rows of marquees, a number of stalls tickled my fancy but my top three (not food related) are:

  • Sashiko Design – Founder and designer Kiyomi describes her style as “a marriage of  contemporary Australian design and traditional Japanese craftsmanship”. Kiyomi makes bags and clutches with Japanese patterns and said she could not make more than five per week.
  • Pili Pala Pieces – Former paediatric speech pathologist Helen Mansbridge created the Pili Pala Pieces brand, which is Welsh for butterfly, six years ago. Ms Mansbridge’s handmade pieces include everything from jewellery to homewards and are inspired by vintage nursery rhymes.
  • Made in Tasmania – Soft woven merino scarves to throw rugs in various colours were on display at the Made in Tasmania stall. They aren’t cheap but simply devine. The brand also sells hand crafted jewellery, rustic sculptures and chocolates in its shop at 25 Salamanca Place.

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Mount Wellington provides a great platform to absorb spectacular, panoramic, views of Hobart. Less than 30 minutes from the city-centre it’s a great place to soak in the great outdoors too. During summer you can hike, cycle or run while in Winter you can frolic in the snow and build a snowman on the mountain.

Hidden paths with snow lining the tree tops makes it a stunning winter wonderland worthy of exploration. Wear comfortable shoes, if possible, hiking boots just to make sure you don’t slip while walking along the paths.

We weren’t able to enjoy the  21-kilometre drive to the summit because it was closed due to snow but below is the view from the half-way point of Mount Wellington. Breathtaking to say the least.

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IMG_5238Moorilla Winery is located a stone throw away from Mona Gallery and under a 30-minute drive from the city. The winery caters for fancy city-slickers in their restaurant, with meals cooked by Philippe Leban, to your average joe in the cellar door. We opted to visit the cellar door.

Like all good wineries, Moorilla had a tasty cheese board for us to enjoy (pictured right) while we sipped on a glass of red (2013 praxis pinot noir – definitely recommend) before lunch.

Scanning the room there were families with young children, large groups and couples enjoying what Moorilla Winery has to offer. For the full winery experience, at a reasonable price, I would return to the estate within a heartbeat.

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IMG_5309Crowds of people filed into Jackman and McRoss (pictured above), located in Hobart’s Battery Point. A vacant table was impossible to find, customers blocked the glass cake display, trying to decide which one will satisfy their tastebuds. Once I devoured my berry flan I understood what all the fuss was about. It was scrumdiddlyumptious! Their vanilla slice also had a twist – strawberries. Check it out.

Breweries cannot be forgotten, especially one with a rich history like Cascades. The beautiful historic building (pictured left) houses the current machinery used to brew Cascades Beer and believe it or not, only five people are required to run the entire operation.

We did a brewery tour which took us inside the building (no photos allowed) and received three free pot-sized drinking tokens for taste-testing. I’m not a huge fan of beer but there was cider for me to indulge instead.  The tour costs $25 for an adult and operates twice a day all year round.

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Battery Point is one of Hobart’s oldest and most historic areas -connected to Salamanca by Kelly’s Steps – which needs to be absorbed on foot to get a good feel for the place. It was constructed in the 1830’s out of massive sandstone blocks. PICTURE: Brittany Shanahan

Looking for a great place to eat seafood? If you’re going to splurge on only one dinning experience – it has to be Mures Upper Deck restaurant! It’s the ultimate seafood experience paired with stunning waterfront views. Everything is caught by restaurant staff and prepared in their on-site kitchen. I shared the Mures mixed dozen oysters (Kilpatrick, smoked ocean trout and caviar, almond crusted and Tasmanian mornay, pictured right) and also enjoyed the huon atlantic salmon with a glass of red wine. Port Arthur

The first thought that comes to mind when you mention Hobart’s Port Arthur is not its convict history, well, for me anyway. My heart sinks when I think about the 35 people killed and 23 wounded at the site when Martin Bryant opened fire on April 28, 1996. The massacre is not mentioned by staff members during walking tours and I’ve been told there were once signs asking patrons to refrain from talking about it.

Nonetheless it’s a solum experience walking through the historic sites and learning about the history that unfolded many decades ago. Site entry tickets cost $35 for an adult, which include a 40-minute guided walking tour and a 25-minute harbour cruise on the MV Marana. Additional tours are also available.

Hobart is a great place to get away during winter, yes, you read correctly, winter. There isn’t any point going to a cooler climate during summer, is there? It’s a great location to explore when you’re time-poor or penny-pinching. Trust me.

Have you got any suggestions on where to travel in Hobart? Let me know about it in the comments below.


Brittany Shanahan travelled at her own expense. All photographs are taken by Brittany Shanahan unless otherwise stated.


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