Greater Hobart is the region surrounding the Tasmanian capital of Hobart, taking in the commuter towns to its north, south and east, the diverse landscape around the River Derwent and D'entrecasteaux Channel, as well as the offshore of Bruny Island. With a population of 247,086 (2021), it is the most populous area in Tasmania and home to nearly half of Tasmanians.
- 1 Hobart – the historic state capital and the state's oldest city
- 2 Kingston – Australia's gateway to the Antarctic
- 3 Margate – home to the Channel Museum
- 4 Snug
- 5 Kettering
- 6 Richmond – home to Australia's oldest bridge and jail, dating from the convict era
- 7 Brighton
- 8 Fern Tree
- 9 Woodbridge
- 1 Bruny Island – picturesque island full of sheep farms, eucalyptus forests and hilly landscapes. Also has some historic structures from Tasmanian maritime history, as well as plentiful wildlife including rare white wallabies.
Greater Hobart takes in a diverse area that roughly correlates to the local government areas of Hobart City, Glenorchy City, Brighton, Clarence and Kingborough. The regional towns were once independent but many have grown closer as urban sprawl connected them. Hobart is Australia's second oldest city, settled in 1804 by Colonel David Collins. The first settlement was at Risdon Cove, 8km up the river, but this site was abandoned as it was marshy and wet and proved difficult to build on and prone to disease outbreaks.
Each of Greater Hobart's towns have a unique history, and many are nearly as old as Hobart itself.
Kingston was once called Brown's River, and was settled by colonists evacuated from Norfolk Island in 1808. For decades, Kingston's contact with Hobart was irregular and it had no church, school or post office until a road was built in 1835. It was officially named a town in 1851. It became a popular holiday village for Hobart's elite in the 20th century - some of Tasmania's wealthiest still own homes on Kingston Beach's esplanade - and it wasn't until after the World War's that it began to develop as a significant economic center of its own. Today it has strong ties to the Dutch diaspora, as a significant site of Dutch immigration after World War II.
Richmond was founded by Governor George Arthur as a penal district, and served as the center for court hearings for the agricultural regions east of Hobart. Its extensive Georgian architecture is owed to this time, when convict labour was used extensively. Today it has Australia's oldest bridge still in use, Richmond Bridge.
Margate was discovered in 1792 when Bruni D'entrecasteaux sailed up the channel, which would later be named for him, and charted the coastline. In 1802, another French explorer Nicolas Baudin anchored here to collect wood, water and wood, and setup an observatory to observe a solar eclipse. Margate was settled first as an agricultural region, with its neighbouring smaller towns of Woodbridge, Snug and Kettering it also played host to boat building and fishing. In the 1940s, Yates Seeds opened seed production facilities here. According to local myth, during World War II, the operator - a German immigrant - was accused of planting the flowers in code to send intelligence to the Germans.
Greater Hobart features a diverse range of architecture, including some of the best preserved Georgian and Victorian streetscapes in Australia, extensive Art Deco public buildings, and many suburbs in the classic Australian weatherboard federation style. Hobart has a restrictive building code with strict height restrictions, maintaining a small city skyline even during periods of growth, and as a result has enormous suburban sprawl comparable to a much larger city. Greater Hobart was the birth place of many of Australia's first architects, including Henry Hunter - who designed many of the state's churches and colonial schools, and whose architectural firm is still in business today. Richmond in particular is nationally known for its well preserved Georgian streetscape.
Greater Hobart can easily be reached from all other areas of Tasmania by car. Driving from Launceston via National Highway 1 takes around 2.5 hrs. Hire cars are available in Hobart, Launceston, at Hobart International Airport, and Devonport. You can also take your car from mainland Australia via the Devonport car ferry.
Cruise ships stop at Macquarie Wharf during the cruise season.
Greater Hobart is well connected by road. Some of its road networks may be confusing, as they follow Victorian era routes and may require a roundabout route to get where you're going. An arterial highway, the Southern Outlet, connects Hobart center to Kingston center.
Bus services are provided by several regional operators - the public bus company Metro Tasmania services the inner urban area and Kingston and Margate. RedLine Tasmania and TassieLink also provide some services connecting the region. Outside of Hobart and Kingston proper, buses may be expensive and unreliable. Several tour companies offer bus tours departing the city to the outer towns. Tasmanian Tours offers a tour to Bruny Island, while Experience Tasmania offers a half-day tour to Richmond. Other operators may focus on a particular attraction - such as touring local wineries, food, whiskey, historic sites or natural attractions.
A public ferry operates from Hobart's Brooke Street Pier to Berriedale Pier on the eastern shore of the River Derwent. River cruises connect Hobart city to its outlying attractions, often terminating at a restaurant. Some of these include Peppermint Bay Cruises, which depart Hobart and head to the far end of the Channel, stopping at Woodbridge, Hobart Historic Cruises which loop the River Derwent, and Bruny Island Cruises.
Greater Hobart has a decent collection of bike rides that connect many of the outlying suburbs and towns. An old railway line has been converted to a bike and walking path that runs from Hobart city to Claremont in its northern suburbs, bike paths connect Sandy Bay and Taroona to the city proper. A further 10km along the same route will take you to Kingston, though the return journey is quite steep. A bike lane also connects Kingston to Huntingfield. Several bike hire businesses operate in Hobart, including Hobart Bike Hire. Bicycle Network Tasmania provide advice and resources for keen cyclists.
Greater Hobart has a range of boutiques and small shopping centers. Consider visiting the unique Margate Train, where a converted steam train has boutiques inside the former train carriages; Richmond town center boasts a range of boutiques and antique shops along the main street. For quick access to big box stores, Cambridge Homemaker Center includes many national chain stores.
Buildings and landmarks
- Cape Bruny Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse built in 1836, at the far end of Bruny Island. Visitors can climb the steps to the lighthouse base and the overlook over Cape Bruny. A small museum exhibition is open to the public in the nearby cottage. A great place to see a echidna too.
- Richmond Bridge, Richmond. The oldest stone span bridge in Australia and oldest bridge still in use, and perhaps Tasmania's most photographed location - well worth a wander by the river to take it in, and a perfect picnic spot.
- Taroona Shot Tower, 318 Channel Highway, Taroona. A historic shot tower and attached house that now hosts a tearooms. It is the only circular stone shot tower open for visitors to climb in Southern Hemisphere, and one of only 3 shot towers left in Australia at all.
Museums and art galleries
- Lady Franklin Gallery in Hobart. Built by Lady Franklin, wife of the governor, in 1842 at her own expense in the style of a Greek temple, the Gallery was entrusted to a local society but neglected for decades after Lady Franklin departed Tasmania, until it was handed to the Art Society of Tasmania and since 1948 it has been lovingly restored by the Art Society of Tasmania and now hosts rotating exhibitions of local art.
- Moonah Arts Centre in Moonah, Hobart, is a state-of-the-art regional art centre showing rotating local art exhibitions and hosting community arts activities.
- Bligh Museum of Pacific Exploration is a collection of artifacts relating to exploration of the South Pacific. The building was built from convict bricks from North Bruny Island, and the foundation stone laid on the 200th anniversary of Captain William Bligh's birth, in 1955.
- 1 Longley International Hotel, 1678 Huon Road, Longley, email@example.com. M-Th Sa 11AM-9PM, F Su 11AM-11:45PM day. Founded 1861, the local pub of country act the Wolfe Brothers, the Longley International Hotel has become a great local music venue, with blues, country and indie acts music almost every Friday and Sunday. It also hosts the Southern Blues Music Festival, and serves local and international beers and wine. It boasts the "longest huon pine bar in the world". Free.
- Bruny Island Bird Festival: , Dennes Point Hall. An annual exploration of conservation, science and local art in late March, including market day, bird watching tours, art exhibition, expert talks from conservationists, and a comedy evening. (date needs fixing)
- Festival of Voices: . Taking place across the state in early July, with many venues in Greater Hobart, the Festival of Voices is a winter festival dedicated to local music including pop-up events, a performance by over 600 local school students, and other performances. (date needs fixing)
- Oliebollen Festival: . The Oliebollen festival has grown from a school fair into a celebration of the local Dutch community of Kingston in early September. It includes the opportunity to get your hands on the namesake Oliebollen - Dutch fruit doughnuts. Other features are a bake sale of Dutch cakes, white elephant stall, vintage car exhibition, kid's rides, and plant sale. (date needs fixing)
- Local markets can be found in many towns in Greater Hobart - particular stands outs include Sandfly Market (first and third Saturday of the month), Richmond Village Market (every Sunday) and Kingston Beach Handmade Market (2nd Sunday of the month).
Greater Hobart has a diverse range of local eateries, combining the heritage of the strong local migrant communities with colonial British traditions.
- Moes Cafe, 180 Brighton Road, Brighton. Voted Best Cafe in Greater Hobart by local radio listeners in 2021 - an all-day lunch cafe with traditional Aussie meals like parmi and chips, burgers, and their own in-house range of tea blends.
- Robbie Brown's in Kingston is a recipient of Tasmania's Best Bar and Best Cocktail Bar, a local cozy artisan venue that showcases local wine, spirits and beer, as well as international and national craft producers.
- Old Kempton Distillery, 26 Main St, Kempton. Daily 10AM-4PM. 40 minutes north of the city, inside an 1840s mansion, a whisky distillery has found new life creating small batch malt whisky. The cellar door is open, along with a providore, tasting tours, and daily history tours of the historic house.
- Carry a registered EPIRB if boating and wear life jackets.
- Always notify someone if you are going bushwalking and carry a mobile phone.
- Drive carefully at night, as wildlife are likely to be found even on major highways.
- Be aware of your accommodation's bush fire plan.
- Weather can change quickly in Tasmania, so make sure you have warm clothing, especially if hiking - even on a normally warm day, it can change quickly.
Greater Hobart is central to the neighbouring regions of Tasmania, which offer many beautiful destinations, and offer enough for both day trips or extended visits.
- Huon and Far South - Foodies shouldn't miss the Huon Valley's world class cuisine, local produce, and history as Australia's most important orcharding region.
- Tasman and South East - The remote Tasman Peninsula has stunning and unique geography like much-photographed Tessellated Pavement, a storied convict history, and unusual tourism experiences tucked away in the rolling hills of the South.
- Freycinet National Park - Wineglass Bay and the surrounding Freycinet National Park offer some of Tasmania's most rugged natural beauty and best hiking tracks.
- Derwent Valley - Historic Georgian architecture, one of Australia's most diverse natural environments and an old fashioned main street shopping experience just a day trip away from Hobart.
- Southwest National Park - Tasmania's largest national park accounting for 10 percent of the state, covered in wilderness