Sometimes it feels like I'm Tasmania's number one fan. Which is kinda funny, given that I have a distinct memory of my mum trying to suggest a family holiday there back in the Nineties and me rolling my eyes in a very teenager-ly fashion. Tasmania was not cool. Tasmania was lavender fields and old ladies. I wanted to go to the GOLD COAST, MAN. Anyway, then I met a boy from Hobart - Tassie's largest "city" - and I fell in love with both him and his home town. We even got married at Hobart's beautiful town hall. I've visited a bunch of times over the years we've been together - including once when we did a road trip to Launceston, Cradle Mountain, St. Helens and Coles Bay, which was amazing - and I love going back each time.
In fact, every time we visit Hobart - most recently in October - I'm overwhelmed with the need to look at real estate and dream of a life involving a wood fire, chickens and a weatherboard cottage overlooking the Derwent River. It's a seriously beautiful city, and it's having it's moment in the sun - in the five years since I've been visiting it's slowly but surely become a super cool destination, and even in the year since we were last there a myriad of hip cafes, bars and restaurants have opened up. The locals call it the MONA effect (and that crazy museum is a must-see), and the mainlanders who've migrated to the island call it 'a better life'. When we're not soaking up intensive family time, here's what I love to do in Hobart.
Wander around Battery Point, which feels like something out of a Jane Austen novel, particularly Arthur Circus. So. Freaking. Cute.
Buy Bruny Island cheese at A Common Ground, a tiny shop owned by cookbook author Matthew Evans.
Visit Salamanca Markets. Touristy, yes, but then I guess I'm a tourist. Lovely leatherwood honey and antiques.
Have breakfast at Betsey, a new cafe we just discovered at 100 Argyle St. The guys who run it came down from Byron Bay and brought their fresh, yummy, unpretentious food and good coffee with them.
Our favourite lunch spot this time around was Berta, a new addition to the North Hobart strip, which also boasts Sweet Envy, a patisserie filled with world-class sugary things (and pies. Don't forget the pies).
Dinner has to be Garagistes, the inventive, delicious restaurant run out of an old mechanic shop, which has been transformed into a moody, elegant space. The food is always surprising.
Do a day trip out to Freycinet National Park, two hours out of Hobart and home to the beautiful Wineglass Bay. There's a 40-minute walk that takes you to a great viewing point and back, or you can keep going and enjoy the bay.
Visit Hobart Town Hall, which is beautiful. But really, for us, it's all about the happy memories (that was our wedding reception, below).
Photographs copyright Naomi Chrisoulakis; Garagistes photograph courtesy of theage.com.au