I read so many things about Hobart before we visited, and truth be told, it did not disappoint. Hobart’s population of 218,000 people makes it a small, desirable place. Hobart is easy to navigate, traffic is light, and while our accommodation and rental car were by no means cheap, Hobart is worth the trip!
Here is my guide for travel in the city of Hobart- with kids.
The main tourist centers in Hobart are Battery Point, Salamanca Place, and Franklin Wharf. The city is walkable. Your best bet may be to secure parking near Salamanca Place and spend the day on foot (just don’t get a parking ticket like us).
We were visiting as a 3-generation family- my parents, my husband and I, and our three kids- so we parked at Battery Point and explored and then drove down to Salamanca Place and parked again. This allowed us to walk the length of Salamanca Place and through the Wharf area.
Battery Wharf is a darling part of the city. Evoking the Australia of old, the stone homes and quaint shops feel like a little like you’ve gone back to England. Battery Point takes up the southern part of the city’s harbour where the houses were built by the owners and sailors of the shipyards.
We strolled up and down Hampden Road to get a good look at the Federation and colonial style cottages and shops. The Jackman and McRoss bakery looked ah-mazing (we had just eaten!) and the there were plenty of lodging options. My mom is a florist, so we enjoyed all the blooming hydrangeas and roses, while noticing all the minute details of each property- if you go, pay special attention to the door-knockers and fence colors.
Walking through Salamanca Point, it was easy to see why people love Hobart. I’m a sucker for a view with water AND history, and this gives you both.
This is the place to shop and eat, although the shopping was a little out of our price point! Pubs were-a-plenty and we settled upon a wonderful Irish Murphy’s pub, and not just because they had this hilarious sign!
Once you walk the length of Salamanca Place (going north), head east toward Franklin Wharf. This is a winsome walk on a sunny day. THIS is when I was ready to give up life in Ohio (not a hard decision) and move to the edge of the southern hemisphere.
If the kids have anything left, go all the way to Hunter St.
If you make it this far, they’ll get to see statues of penguins and seals and a dog. This is something to promise! Or at least promise chips (french fries) from Mures Fish Centre. They were cheap, and the view can’t be beat. Just watch for the blood-sucking, french-fry eating seagulls. We saw a few servers trying all they could to remove patron’s food without a bird strike.
**We actually did not walk the full length on the first day. (You know that point when the kids have hit THE POINT). But we came back a few days later and parked next to the Tasmanian Museum (Davey St), so we could walk to the Old Wharf near Victoria Dock (see map below which is titled, “Why Leah shouldn’t do graphics. ever.”)**
Enough of the walking tour: Here are my best tips for visiting Hobart with kids
Getting there: Hobart airport is itty-bitty. If you’re coming from Melbourne or Sydney, you’ll be sure you’ve stepped back in time! Hobart only offers domestic flights, and is serviced by Qantas, JetStar, Tiger Air, and Virgin Australia. We flew in on JetStar on a one-way ticket from Melbourne and left the island with Qantas, who was also our international carrier. Our one way flight from Melbourne on JetStar was approximately $90 USD per person, this included a prepaid checked bag for each of us and a $5 credit toward a snack onboard.
Boarding JetStar at Melbourne is not very convenient with kids. The JetStar terminal is a long walk from security and you’re not allowed to take a stroller because you board on the tarmac. Just something to think about. For us, the cost savings in flying to Hobart was worth it. The price of Tiger Air was comparable, but Tiger Air definitely has a bad reputation Down Under.
Getting around: You must have a rental car in Tasmania! Hobart has plenty of rental car choices right at the airport. We chose Europcar for it’s affordability. We needed a 7-passenger vehicle and so, just like home, we reserved a minivan! Renting a minivan for 5 days was almost as expensive as the flights, we paid about $800 AUD ($610 USD), which included the cost of the GPS unit. The GPS unit was a worthwhile expense, we would have been lost without it (pun intended)! If you’re looking at a smaller vehicle, you’ll find much better deals.
Getting some sleep: I want to go back to Hobart just to rent the same house. No joke. We stayed in a rental just south of Hobart in Sandy Bay. I found the place on airbnb and it was even better than expected. Our rate for 5 nights was $1600 USD, which is a LOT, but we shared some of that expense with my parents AND we had a full backyard with a playset for the kids!
We definitely saved money on eating out by having sandwiches for lunches and having a bbq for dinner one night. The view was unbeatable, too. Here’s a picture from my phone of the view from the dining room table, looking out over the Derwent River:
Now I’m off to buy this shirt.
Have you been to Tasmania? What did you think of Hobart?
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