I never saw Hobart as a 'holiday destination'. Now it's my favourite place to visit.

I know we've only just met, but I need to get you familiar with a stereotype of my people immediately. 

You see, I'm British, and as a UK passport holder, it is bashed into us from infancy that the only thing that constitutes a 'proper holiday' is one in a hot country, where you lie by the pool and leave with patches of raw red skin from not being diligent in the sunshine.

This was a norm I thought everyone was across, until about eight years ago when I moved to Australia.

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You see, when you live in a hot country (like Australia), the desire to escape to the sunshine to binge on the vitamin D you've been starved of is somewhat unnecessary. Because you have heaps of vitamin D, and new doses of it arrive every damn day. 

Despite this revelation, it took a while for me to unravel the classification wedged in my head of 'what counts as a holiday' – clinging on to resort-style getaways for much longer than necessary. That was until I jetted off to Tasmania, and I realised how much of an idiot I had been.


Tassie was definitely not on my travel bucket list, because of aforementioned idiocy, but when I was offered the chance to go and explore Hobart for the weekend, I took it. And boy, did it change the game for me.

Here's exactly how Hobart went from 'eurgh, is that even a holiday spot?' to 'holy s**t, everyone needs to visit here' in a mere 48 hours.

Firstly, the fresh air.

It blows my mind that Tasmania hasn't done a whole tourism campaign on their air quality, because GOOD LORD SHE'S FRESH.

Even as I was stepping off the plane and onto the airport tarmac (an area not usually synonymous with fresh air), I sucked in and my lungs literally tingled with happiness. It is so glorious to breathe in Tasmania. Highly recommend taking in some big puffs and trying not to cry when you leave because you know it's not gonna be as good anywhere else.

Breathing in that fresh, fresh air. Image: Supplied. 


Is Hobart the cutest city on earth? Absolutely yes.

I knew approximately nothing about Hobart as a city, but before arriving there people told me these three things on repeat:

  • There's an art museum with a wall of vulvas.
  • You simply have to eat a scallop while you're there.
  • Did we mention the vulvas? GO SEE THE VULVAS.

Beyond that very helpful information, I was going in blind. But I quickly realised on arrival that you can do almost everything by foot in Hobart – strolling around the city, snooping at the markets and guzzling down some food and booze. The only thing that required transportation was to the art museum, MONA, which has a handy (and very jazzy) ferry that scoops you up from the city and takes you up the river. 

Now I've done the trip, I can confirm that the vulvas and the scallops are sensational. 

Your hotel will dictate your vibe, so choose wisely. 

I'm a firm believer that the hotel you stay in on holiday dictates the tone of your whole trip. Staying in a swampy hostel with 11 other snorers in your room? That's gonna set the vibe of the trip, making you resist hanging out in the room and stopping you from truly relaxing. But staying in a swanky hotel with a view you can't stop staring at? That's a whole other deal...


Luckily, for my trip to Tassie, I was firmly plonked in the second camp. 

For the first night of my stay, I had a room at the Henry Jones Art Hotel, nestled in a bank of historic sandstone buildings on a wharf of the main harbour in the city. As its name indicates, this hotel ain't messing around when it comes to the art hung around the place. There are floor-to-ceiling installations, sculptures, photography and paintings dotted throughout.

On the art tour outside Henry Jones Art Hotel. Image: Supplied. 


The hotel actually offers an art tour around the hotel (that comes with complimentary champagne to sip on while you're ogling the art – a touch I very much appreciated). The resident art expert talks you around the art and gives you an insight into the history of the building itself, which was potentially the most impressive part.

As a mini-recap, the Henry Jones Art Hotel started its life as a factory, where the Peacock family built up their jam empire – meaning the now-hotel rooms were once home to giant vats of bubbling preserves, making jars and jars of blueberry, strawberry and raspberry jams. 

Once I learnt this fact I immediately realised what the smell was I was trying to identify in my room – it was a gentle waft of jam! And if you look closely at the old wooden beams across the hotel you can even see dribbles of petrified raspberry goo.

The Henry Jones Art Hotel. Image: Supplied.


For my second night, I stayed (literally) across the road in the MACq 01 – which is a fancy schmancy modern hotel built upon the historic wharf in the city centre.

But then you get to your room... and whoa. It. Is. Massive. 

There's an incredible bathroom with a double sink and mahoosive shower space, a walk-in changing room and then a bedroom that I'm pretty sure is the size of my first apartment – which I shared with three other people. The bedroom has its own private balcony that stares out to sea, and a spot where I would happily sit with a cocktail in hand every damn night of the week.


On the balcony of my MACq 01 hotel room. Image: Supplied. 

The food. 

I would be more specific in that subtitle, but the thing is, I can't. Because all the food I ate was delicious. 

There's an extreme freshness, crispiness and zingyness that comes with any produce from Tasmania. And while everything is tasty, these adjectives are best put to use when describing their seafood.


Tasmanian scallops are the plumpest, yummiest things I've ever eaten. I had them first at the Salamanca Markets in town, on a simple skewer alongside sweet potato and drenched in miso butter. I had them a second time in a traditional scallop pie served up at the Old Wharf Restaurant, and let me tell you about this pie...

It's in my top three meals of the year. Easily. 

It's a buttery shortcrust pastry enveloping a handful of plump lil scallops and succulent veggies, and the pie itself has a tiny hole at the top of it so you can pour in a creme fraiche sauce. Deceased. It was so freaking YUM.

THE SCALLOP PIE. Image: Supplied.


I also scored a table at Landscape Restaurant & Grill and treated myself to a set menu that promised the promotion of Tassie's finest produce. It delivered. Particularly on the Cape Grim beef tartare – which you can see me awkwardly grinning over below.

Little snack for a happy lass. Image: Supplied.

 So my advice here is just to eat as much as you can while in Hobart. You won't regret it.


The whisky.

Sticking very much in the stomach region, I simply have to talk about Tassie whisky. 

I've always been a whisky drinker – much to my parents' confusion, who are exclusively rosé swiggers. I just love the warm sting a swig of whisky brings and there is so much variety across different years, distillers, barrels, smokers, that there's a whole world of them to taste.

Tasmania has become quite the whisky destination, which is funny because I learnt on this holiday that prohibition was in place in the state til 1992. That means that distilling spirits for sale have only been legal for the last 20 years, which, in whisky terms, is not a lot of time.

But, impressively, the whisky here – despite being incredibly young – is super complex and tasty. 

I was lucky enough to have a whisky-tasting flight at the MACq 01's very fancy spirits bar, Evolve, that saw me sampling three of Tasmania's boujie's drams. I tasted whisky's by Overeem, Sullivan's Cove (Tassie's oldest whisky) and Spring Bay – and trying to pick a favourite would be impossible, but I tried to by guzzling up every last drop.


It is such a genuine treat to spend time in Tasmania. I've never had a weekend trip where I've jetted home more relaxed, more satisfied and with happier lungs.

So go and explore for yourself, and let me know if you can pick a favourite whisky. (You can't. It's impossible.)

The writer stayed as a guest of MACq 01 and the Henry Jones Art Hotel.

Image: Supplied.