Hobart typifies Tasmania’s laidback island lifestyle -steeped in history, close to wilderness and offering the indulgence of fine food and wine. Set on a beautiful river estuary, few places rival Australia’s second oldest city, with white beaches on its outskirts and historic buildings at its heart. Tasmania’s South is an area covering the southern region of Tasmania, with its main centre being Hobart. Hobart, with a deep-water port and a maritime history, is the capital of Tasmania and Australia’s second-oldest city. Founded in 1804, it straddles the Derwent River, with Mount Wellington as a magnificent backdrop to the city.

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There are a number of attractions to visit in the Hobart area. These include Salamanca Place, adjacent to Constitution Dock in the city centre, which features beautifully preserved sandstone warehouses from the city’s first settlement, specialty shops, arts and crafts, cafes and restaurants. The Salamanca Market is held every Saturday morning and is renowned for local craft and fresh produce. Nearby Battery Point, a waterfront precinct, was first settled in 1804. It remains largely residential, with more than 40 historic buildings still in use. There are early fishermen’s cottages, fine townhouses and old pubs. The best way to explore it is on foot. The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery has an outstanding collection of colonial art and exhibitions displaying the cultural and natural history of Tasmania. Visit Cascade Brewery, Australia’s oldest brewery. The restored 19th-century Gasworks Village includes restaurants and cafes, art and craft shops, art gallery, children’s toy shop, and whisky distillery.

Activities in the area include taking a leisurely stroll in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens situated only 2km from the centre. These outstanding gardens were established in the early 1800s and feature a fine collection of plants, a Conservatory, tropical glasshouse, herb garden and various water features. Mt Wellington’s 1,234-metre peak provides panoramic views of the city and estuary beyond. It’s a 20-minute drive from the city.

In the way of a great night out, try your luck at the West Point Casino. The gaming facilities of this harbourside casino include roulette, craps, blackjack and the Australian game of two-up. Amenities include a revolving restaurant with views over the Derwent River, Asian restaurant, coffee shop, 11 bars and entertainment areas, nightclubs and convention centre. For a small city, Hobart has a surprisingly large number of eating places, from the casual to the upmarket and caters for all tastes, from takeaway meals to sophisticated restaurants specialising in seafood and other traditional fare. Dinner cruises are popular, as are cruises taking you to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. There are also numerous pubs well worth a visit. North Hobart, about three kilometres from the city centre, has good restaurants serving anything from Mediterranean and Asian food to modern Australian cuisine.

Richmond, 27 km north-east of Hobart, is a delightful Georgian village with Australia’s oldest bridge. The best of Tasmania’s art and crafts are on sale in the many sandstone buildings.

New Norfolk, 38 km north of Hobart is famous for its hop fields and turn of the century architecture. The town was first settled in 1807 by convicts brought from Norfolk Island. Take an exciting devil jet boat ride on the Derwent river, bushwalk in the magnificent Mount Field National park area and find out how an Australian sheep property works at the Hamilton Sheep Centre.

Visit the Huon Valley about 45 minutes south of the city. Visitors can explore the area stopping by apple, berry and cherry orchards, oyster and salmon farms. Roadside stands sell fresh produce. Tours leave Hobart daily.

Port Arthur Historic Site is located 100 km south of Hobart and is one of Australia’s most significant historic sites. Port Arthur offers a combination of convict history, spectacular scenery and magnificent waterways. Visitors have access to a wide range of activities including 40 hectares of grounds, 30 buildings and ruins, historical walking tours, harbour cruises, museums and audiovisuals. Evening Ghost Tours operate year round, with guides giving an insight into the mystery of Port Arthur as you explore the site by lantern light.

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