Hobart is an excellent place to base yourself while exploring the stunning attractions of Tasmania, so today we are going to take a look at some ideas for great day trips from Hobart so you can see the best of what the region has to offer.
The historic city of Hobart is one of Australia’s great tourist attractions. Settled along the Derwent River in 1804, Hobart is the second-oldest capital city in Australia and is home to an intriguing blend of convict heritage and modern style.
It’s the capital of Tasmania, Australia’s island state, and with a population of 250,000 people it’s small enough to feel very cosy and welcoming, but still large enough to have fantastic things to do.
Hobart City Historic Sites: Salamanca & Battery Point
- Hobart City Historic Sites: Salamanca & Battery Point
- Kunanyi / Mount Wellington
- Cradle Mountain Day Trip
- Bruny Island Day Trip
- Tasman Peninsula Cruise
- Port Arthur Convict Site
- Mount Field National Park
- Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
- Wineglass Bay Day Tour and East Coast
As one of Australia’s oldest cities, it’s no surprise that Hobart is home to many fantastic old buildings with incredible history. Many of these are found in the Salamanca Place area, clustered around the central port area of Hobart.
Here you’ll find a large number of old sandstone buildings lining the waterfront, many of which were built by convicts from stone quarried nearby. These buildings have all been carefully restored, and these days are home to offices, art galleries, restaurants, cafes and shops.
Just on the hill behind Salamanca Place is the Battery Point neighbourhood. As the name suggests, it was originally the location of Hobart’s defensive garrison, and home to hundreds of sailors and soldiers. These days, the defences are long gone, but the gorgeous Victorian and Georgian style houses constructed for the officers still remain.
The entire suburb is now home to beautiful cottages and grand mansions and is a fantastic spot to wander around on a quiet afternoon. Particular highlights include Arthur’s Circus, St George’s Anglican Church, and Narryna Heritage Museum.
You can explore much of Hobart on foot but if you would prefer not to have to plan out your day then the Hobart HOHO bus is a great way to get around. With 20 stops over a 90-minute loop valid for 24 hours. Alternatively, you can book a 48-hour ticket that includes a tour at the Cascade Brewery.
Tip: Salamanca Market takes place every Saturday in Salamanca Place. With over 300 stalls selling everything from fresh produce to hot food, designer clothes and artisan handicrafts, it’s one of the biggest drawcards in Hobart. While you’re in Battery Point, be sure to grab a coffee and a snack from one of the many chic cafes along Hampden Road.
If you are a foodie you might want to check out these tours
Kunanyi / Mount Wellington
Located just outside the city of Hobart, Mount Wellington rises to a height of 1,271 metres and absolutely dominates the city’s skyline. Kunanyi, as it’s known in the local Aboriginal language of Palawa kani, is both an incredible sight and a great spot for a day trip. It’s about 30 minutes’ drive to the south-west of central Hobart, and accessed via a narrow road winding up from Fern Tree.
On a clear day, the view from the summit is jaw-dropping, with the whole of Hobart and the Derwent River spread out below you. Once you’ve enjoyed the view, there’s a huge number of activities available like bushwalking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and even horse riding!
One highly recommended option is a short 2-kilometre return hike from the Chalet lookout (just below the summit), to the amazing Organ Pipes rock formation. After your hike, relax with a coffee at Lost Freight Cafe, partway up the mountain, or visit Australia’s oldest brewery – Cascade, located just off the main road back to Hobart.
You can take a public bus to Fern Tree or join a one-way tour that will allow you plenty of time to explore Mount Wellington before you walk back down. Alternatively, a return tour that includes 5 HOHO stops in Wellington Park is also available.
Tip: Be sure to check the weather before heading up Mount Wellington. Snow and ice are quite common thanks to the elevation, and summertime also brings the risk of bushfires.
Cradle Mountain Day Trip
Another fantastic day trip from Hobart is to visit the amazing Cradle Mountain National Park, in north-western Tasmania. It’s about four hours drive from Hobart, and is absolutely worth it! Cradle Mountain National Park is one of the most stunning areas in all Tasmania and is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness UNESCO World Heritage site, famed for its pristine landscapes and rich biodiversity.
The main highlight here is Cradle Mountain itself, a challenging six hour return hike that involves quite a bit of boulder scrambling to reach the summit – not for the faint hearted!
The beautiful Dove Lake area, just below Cradle Mountain, is also excellent and affords fantastic views of the mountain along with much more relaxing walk options. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wombats, wallabies, echidnas, quolls, and Tasmanian devils, as these animals all live in the park and are frequently spotted!
The nearby Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary (known as Devils @ Cradle) is also highly recommended.
Tip: Be very careful driving around the Cradle Mountain area, particularly at dawn and dusk. Animals can step out onto the road without warning, and fatalities are depressingly common.
Bruny Island Day Trip
Bruny Island is a large island, located about 40 minutes drive south of Hobart. With huge areas of pristine wilderness, Bruny Island makes for an ideal day trip from Hobart. Bruny Island is technically two large islands, joined by a narrow sand isthmus known as The Neck. Access to the island is only available via ferry from Kettering, though boats cross the channel quite frequently.
Once on Bruny Island, there’s a huge range of things to do and see. Hiking trails are plentiful, especially in the south near Adventure Bay, while Lunawanna on the western coast is a beautiful sheltered spot for swimming, boating and kayaking. On the far southern tip of the island, you’ll find Cape Bruny Lighthouse, one of Australia’s oldest lighthouses.
There’s also excellent food to be had on Bruny Island: particular highlights are the cheeses, fresh oysters, berries and honey.
Tip: Be sure to visit The Neck and climb to the Truganini Lookout for a spectacular view of the narrow isthmus! See if you can spot the optical illusion that makes the sea levels appear different on either side of the land.
Bruny Island Day Tours we recommend
If you don’t have a car there are some great day tours to Bruny Island from Hobart and even if you do letting someone else help you make the most of the island in one day is a good idea.
Tasman Peninsula Cruise
The Tasman Peninsula is a large peninsula located directly east of Hobart and is about an hour’s drive from the capital. The peninsula is separated from mainland Tasmania by an extremely narrow strip of land called Eaglehawk Neck and is home to absolutely spectacular scenery.
Although the peninsula is home to impressive Port Arthur and has some fantastic wilderness areas, one of the best ways to really appreciate the coast is by taking a boat cruise from Port Arthur. A number of cruises also include transfers from Hobart.
Cruises usually last around 3-4 hours and showcase the incredible Tasman Peninsula. The highest vertical sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere tower over you, while waterfalls, caves, arches, stacks, and other rock formations are all on display. And of course, there’s the incredible bird and sea life in the area: whales, dolphins, seals, eagles, falcons, cormorants and many more.
Tip: Make sure you rug up for the trip, as it can get mighty cold out on the water – even in summertime!
Roaring 40s Kayaking offers a Tasman Peninsular Kayak Tour is also a great way to explore the area and get up close to the amazing marine life.
Port Arthur Convict Site
One of the most popular day trips from Hobart is a visit to Port Arthur Convict Site, located on the Tasman Peninsula about 90 minutes drive south-east of Hobart. Port Arthur is the remains of a large prison complex that was set up in the 1830s to house misbehaving convicts.
If you don’t have a car you can take the Port Arthur: Shuttle Express Round Trip From Hobart – which gives you four hours to explore the site and arrives back in Hobart at 5.30pm.
Port Arthur had a notorious reputation as a harsh prison, where inmates were heavily secured and forced to work hard labour jobs like construction, quarrying stone, and felling trees. Boys as young as nine were held at Port Arthur before the prison closed in the 1870s.
These days, it’s on the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of the Australian Convict Sites, and is an excellent state of preservation. Highlights here include the mill building which dominates the landscape, but the ruined hospital and imposing stone church remains are also impressive sights. Other smaller buildings like administration offices, officers’ quarters and a guard tower still stand, and it’s a very rewarding place to spend a day exploring Australia’s unique convict heritage.
Tip: Your entry ticket will include a free cruise around the harbour at Port Arthur. It’s a great way to see the prison settlement from a distance, and really appreciate how remote and forbidding it was.
You can combine a visit to Port Arthur with a Tasman Peninsular Cruise if you want to kill two birds with one stone.
Mount Field National Park
Another excellent day trip from Hobart is visiting gorgeous Mount Field National Park. On an island blessed with amazing scenery, Mount Field is definitely one of the most impressive places to visit. Located just an hour to the north-west of Hobart, Mount Field is home to beautiful waterfalls, rugged mountain slopes, and an incredible variety of forests from temperate eucalypts to alpine groves.
Established in 1916, Mount Field is Tasmania’s joint-oldest national park, and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. It’s a truly special place. Start your journey with comfortable hikes to magical Russell Falls, gorgeous Horseshoe Falls and stunning Lady Barren Falls, or head deeper into the park for one of the longer hikes around Lake Dobson. Skiing and snowboarding are possible in winter, and the alpine autumn colours in the park are breathtaking.
Tip: Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife! Many of Tassie’s iconic animals like wombats, platypus, quolls, bandicoots, possums and of course Tassie Devils live in the park, and are quite commonly spotted. Maximise your chances of a wildlife encounter by staying alert and keeping quiet – some of these animals are quite shy!
You can combine a visit to Mount Field National Park with a trip to Richmond and Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary on this 9 hour day tour with iWander Tasmania.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in Brighton, about 30 minutes north of central Hobart, the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is a great day trip from Hobart. As the name suggests, Bonorong is an animal centre that specialises in rescuing and rehabilitating native Australian animals.
All of the favourites are here, including Tasmanian devils, koalas, quolls, wombats, blue-tongued lizards, echidnas, birds, and many more. There’s even a large open area where kangaroos roam freely, happy to be patted, scratched or fed.
Entry tickets to Bonorong include a 45-minute guided tour, where a keeper highlights various enclosures with information and a brief feeding demonstration. In-person feeding experiences are also available for an extra fee, where you can feed some animals yourself, and maybe even have a cuddle!
Tip: Many Australian animals are nocturnal, so a night feeding tour can be a great way to really see animals in their natural environment. Group sizes for these tours are intentionally kept small, to minimise disturbance to the animals, and maximise interactions for guests.
You can take a half day tour from Hobart to the wildlife sanctuary that includes a stop in Richmond
Wineglass Bay Day Tour and East Coast
Bay of Fires, Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park
Finally, last but certainly not least of the great day trips from Hobart is a visit to Tasmania’s spectacular eastern coast. Featuring famous spots like the beautiful Bay of Fires, Insta-perfect Wineglass Bay, and fabulous Freycinet National Park, heading to the north-eastern coast of Tasmania is an incredible way to spend a day. Head first to Freycinet National Park, founded in 1916 and the joint-oldest of Tasmania’s national parks. It’s about 2.5 hours drive from Hobart to the entrance, in Coles Bay.
Scramble up the walking track to Wineglass Bay lookout, where the turquoise water laps against brilliant gold sand in a perfect crescent shape, while rugged granite peaks tower in the background. It’s one of Tassie’s top Instagram spots for a reason! If you’re feeling energetic, push on further into the national park to Wineglass Beach itself, and maybe even carry on to remote Hazards Beach – just as beautiful, but even more isolated.
From Coles Bay, it’s another 90 minutes to another highlight: the Bay of Fires Conservation Area. With pristine white beaches, clear water and very few crowds, it’s a spectacular spot and well worth a visit. Be sure to keep an eye out for the incredible orange lichen that grows on granite boulders in the area, which gives the Bay its name!
Tip: Start early when you’re heading for Freycinet National Park. It’s one of Tasmania’s most popular spots and can get quite crowded during the day, while early mornings are the quietest period. The climb up to the viewpoint is about 45 minutes of moderate uphill, so be sure to bring water and a hat!
You can join a well planned day tour from Hobart to these East Coast that will allow you to cover the highlights in a long but really satisfying day. If you plan to drive yourself, we suggest two drivers or an overnight stay.
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