Hobart has often been referred to in the past as a sleepy town and whilst there are still sections of the city that maintain its quiet charm, the city is coming of age with world class festivals, art galleries, food venues and natural attractions that are drawing visitors from all over the world. The city is now starting to buzz with activity and is likely the reason why it was included in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 cities to visit in the world in 2013.
We have done the research for you and have compiled a list of things that you can see and do in Hobart after dark when you are not quite ready to head back home or to the hotel.
Salamanca Place Waterfront Dining
Image Credit: Tourism Tasmania
Location: Salamanca Place, Hobart CBD
Salamanca Place was once a robust wharf filled to the brim with sailors and workmen but now you are more likely to find markets, art galleries, restaurants and bars. What adds to the ambience of this part of the city is that the historical warehouses remain. The cobblestone square in Sullivans Cove along the waterfront is reminiscent of European dining and adds character to this vibrant centre.
Friday evenings and weekends is when you will find this part of the city at its busiest with crowds seeking a meal and a few cheeky drinks. Foodies should pay a visit to Rockwall Bar and Grill, Maldini Italian, Jack Greene Bar or Mezethes Greek Taverna.
Get your sport fix at Blundstone Arena
Location: 15 Derwent St, Bellerive
The Blundstone Arena is the premier sporting destination in Hobart. The venue holds Australian Rules games throughout the season from February to September and Cricket during the summer months. Sporting fans will love spending a night out here watching an Australian football game or a fast 20/20 cricket game on a warm summer’s night.
Catch a movie at the historic State Theatre
Location: 375 Elizabeth St, North Hobart
The State Cinema is a well loved local treasure that was built during the early 1900’s. The theatre is believed to be the first during the Federation period and has gone through enormous transformation and renovations throughout the years but has maintained its pre-1970 external façade.
The cinemas has several modern indoor theatres that play local and international films, however, it is the rooftop cinema and bar that makes this venue unique. Whether it is a warm summers night or you want to rug up and enjoy a movie on a clear winter’s night there is an outdoor theatre, licensed bar and a café serving light meals and screening the latest movies and the old classics.
Twilight Markets at Sandy Bay
From October to March twilight markets are held at Long Beach, Sandy Bay. The markets are held on the first and third Friday of the month from 4.30pm-9pm. This is fast becoming the place to be on a Friday with a number of food outlets selling gourmet and local artisan produce. Stallholders also sell a number of fashion, art, home décor and crafts that make a perfect gift or souvenir for a loved one.
Credit: Discover Tasmania
Location: 65-77 Salamanca Place, Hobart
Rektango is a free live music event held every Friday evening in the courtyard of the Salamanca Art Centre. The music session kicks off at 5.30 pm to 7.30pm. The venue is surrounded by a cliff face at Battery Point and is melting pot of activity and culture. You will find locals here catching up with friends as well as visitors seeing what the local music scene is like. The event is organised and run by the musicians who play a variety of music from gypsy swing to latin samba. Drop in for a wine or sangria and dance yourself into the weekend.
Head to the MONA and DARK MOFO Festivals
Credit: Tourism Tasmania
Hobart hosts a number of festivals throughout the year but the most notable ones that receive the most attention and patronage are the ‘MONA FOMA’ in summer and ‘DARK MOFO’ in the winter.
Mona Foma also commonly referred to as ‘MOFO’ is a music and art festival held in January in Hobart. 2018 is the last year that Hobart will host the event as it moves to its new location in Launceston from 2019. The event showcases contemporary music and art often fused together. The annual programme includes sound, noise, dance, theatre, visual art, performances and new media and light installations and projections.
Dark Mofo is the winter version of the music and art festival held in June. The idea of the festival is that it celebrates the winter solstice and centuries old mythology and traditions based on darkness and light. The fortnight long festival also has exhibits at the Museum of Old and New Art and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. Highlights of the festival include the winter feast, the parade and the annual Nude Solstice Swim- if you dare to bare! Keep in mind it is the middle of winter.
Port Arthur Ghost Tours and Paranormal Investigations
It takes a certain kind of person to walk around a historic jail that has witnessed many events and is known to be haunted in darkness. Whether you are a believer or a sceptic, a ghost tour or paranormal investigation is an experience that will either confirm or question your understanding of the after life.
Port Arthur is a world heritage listed historic site that was used as a convict site 1.5 hours drive from Hobart. The site has over 30 buildings, ruins and period homes spread over 40 hectares. The Port Arthur Ghost Tour is a 90 minute lantern lit tour through one of Australia’s most haunted sites whilst hearing many stories about the site’s disturbing history.
The Paranormal Investigation Experience gives you a deeper glimpse into the supernatural side of a historic site. On a paranormal investigation you can take advantage of ‘ghost-hunting’ equipment to discover whether there is really is something supernatural within the buildings walls or grounds.
Credit: Theatre Royal
Location: 29 Campbell St, Hobart
This historic theatre has been entertaining crowds since the mid 1800’s. The Tasmanian beauty is open to patrons during the day for tours and is an exquisite venue for local productions and international musicals and dramas.
Over the years the theatre has been refurbished and restored but it still retains its history and its love from the locals ensures its survival. The theatre has withstood damaging fires and threats of demolition but locals have come to its aid to ensure that the historic theatre remains open to the public. The Theatre Royal is considered to be one of the oldest working theatres in Australia and its annual program of live theatre, dance, music and entertainment ensures it continues to be a part of Tasmania’s history dedicated to performing arts.
When you are visiting Hobart make sure that you take time to visit the historic Theatre Royal.
Aurora Australis-Australia’s Southern Lights
Credit: Tourism Tasmania
Many people have heard of the Northern Lights and have travelled as far as Norway to try and capture it on film and but here in Australia we can see the southern lights or ‘Aurora Australis’. Auroras are a natural phenomena that occurs when particles burst and create a solar wind which is then drawn to the North and South Poles producing a light show in the evenings.
Experts say that winter is the ideal time to see it, however, they can be seen at any time of the year. Auroras are not an exact science and you can never know when it will occur but helpful apps forecast when it is likely to occur.
Tasmania is the best place in Australia to witness the aurora because you need to be looking as far south as possible. Mt. Nelson lookout is located 10 minute’s drive away from Hobart CBD and attracts crowds year round. You can also try your luck further south away from the city centre at Mount Wellington or at various locations within Southern Peninsula. Don’t forget the winter woollies as it is cool and windy in the evenings.
Even if you don’t get to see the Aurora Australis it is still a great opportunity to enjoy the evening lights of Hobart or the Southern Cross on a clear night .