hobart, tasmania, australia
We are living in a great age for travel; the world is so much more accessible than it has ever been and it is so great to think nothing of taking off for a night across the ditch. Tasmania is a singular experience; the only place like it I have been is the Orkney Islands in Scotland. The landscape is breathtaking and communities remain close to their historical roots in many ways.
One Autumn It transpired that the wonderful Camille O'Sullivan was playing at the Spiegeltent for Hobart's 10 Days Festival, so we nabbed a ticket and went south for a night of the long weekend. Being the beginning of autumn the weather could have been horrible but the sun came out for both days and it was a lovely swan song to summer. There are some brilliant blogs out there that recommend food and drink itineraries for short trips to Hobart and we drew our selections from Stone Soup and The Urban List. There were so many good looking places on these lists but with less than 48 hours in town and three meals tops we had to prioritise.
Being so easy a destination to reach, we've been back to Hobart for a winter mini-break. This is our second time experiencing a Tasmanian winter and when you love the cold as much as we do you can't help but be excited about what the weather has in store once you land. Sadly no snow on Mount Wellington on this trip but the evenings and blustery days certainly has us wrapping up in our down-filled jackets! This trip was an indulgent, foodie delight from start to finish.
Arguably Hobart's most famous breakfast, Machine Laundry Cafe doesn't disappoint. We've tried to get a table at this brunch hotspot on two separate trips and third time's a charm. After tasting their Old New Egg Dish we're off poached and back into scrambled eggs! Silky scrambled with beetroot relish, crisp sourdough and a cheeky side of bacon and haloumi, a bunch worth waiting a few years for.
A winter mini break finale in Hobart is best enjoyed in a historic, cosy pub with a hearty loaded parma; The Brunswick Hotel in downtown Hobart, the second oldest pub in Australia, is the perfect location for transitioning back to mainland life or the UK just as easily. With a cocktail list that features an espresso martini and a parma piled high with mushy peas and yorkshire pudding and an open fire to boot, your evening will be complete once you polish off a deconstructed lemon meringue for dessert.
It doesn't take long to sussed out the doughnut sitch in Hobart, just look for the shop on the way to North Hobart with the line out the door! Pastry chef April Matusik of Small-Fry whips up amazing batches of gourmet wonders and, taking their pairing seriously, fab Ritual espressos to match - here's salted caramel and chocolate and lemon meringue to inspire you to a quick trip across the Bass Strait.
Argentinian delight, Frank, on the Hobart waterfront is a foodie destination not to be missed. Spectacularly kitted out, the restaurant closes in around each table to create a hushed, intimate experience for each customer. We were welcomed warmly by front of house - without a reservation! - and attended indulgently throughout our stay. We excitedly introduced our companions to a white fish ceviche and thanks to Frank they are now converts, too. Our choices also included a serve of pork and chipotle empanadas, sides of greens and rumbled pumpkin, and a succulent serve of lamp rump from the grill. When it comes to eating out in Hobart, we can't stop raving about Frank.
We stumbled across Artizan while wandering around waiting for the shops to open up at 11am. In fairness to Hobart it was a public holiday but having to wait until 11am to go shopping is not very 'Melbourne'. We chatted to the two young men running the shift and it came out that they were brothers taking their turn to man the family-run cafe. They were great guys and made an excellent brew - probably the food stop I most appreciated over my short time in Hobart.
Melburnians love festivals so one that runs for 10 days with all sorts of arts and entertainment is a winner. We were only in town for a short time, so the Ten Days Spiegeltent was our home for drinks and a fabulous concert from Camille O'Sullivan. The festival runs annually in March.
My Aunt insisted we stop at Lark Distillery on our way back from MONA and it was such a pleasant surprise. With about 40 mins from closing time, we had the bar pretty much to ourselves and we fell into easy conversation with a visitor from Sydney who had been spending some time with the bartender on a taster session. We tried a sweet dram from Lark's range that really hit the spot.
The Museum of Old and New Art is magnificent, a real experience from Ferry to museum floor. I didn't necessarily like everything I saw but I did like the provocative nature of the collection. The grounds were incredible and the building's architecture, art in itself, made to blend with the natural surroundings.