Mantra PortSea Resort
Tropical North Queensland
We flew from Sydney to Hobart to test the ultimate 12-hour itinerary.
Hobart is an extremely accessible city, and if time is of concern, you can get a true feel for the place in just one day. Follow our journey below for an action packed adventure.
This involved a 4:30am alarm and a double shot flat white before breezing through airport security and boarding our flight. Those who balk at an early wake up call can make up for it with an in-flight snooze.
After arriving at Hobart Domestic & International Airport, we took a 20-minute, traffic-free taxi ride (a real treat for us Sydneysiders) to just west of the town centre. Everything seemed a little greener, a little cleaner. And no, it wasn’t just that we’re-on-holidays-buzz – Tasmania legitimately has some of the freshest air in the world. While your average cubic centimeter of air contains 5,000 to 500,000 particles, this island’s air contains 10 to 600.
Time for coffee number two and a hearty, homegrown breakfast at Pigeon Hole. This quaint cafe showcases local, seasonal produce grown and harvested by Weston Farm in a variety of creative dishes. The owner, Belinda, recommended we go with anything egg-related, emphasising the quality of their free range source. We settled on the slow cooked beans with salsa verde with wholemeal flat bread and the green eggs and ham, despite the appeal of the gingerbread granola with stewed fruit, organic yoghurt and Manuka honey. Although our willpower held when checking out the pastry cabinet, we had to stock up on housemade jam for our friends and family back home.
Next, it was an easy stroll down to Salamanca Square. Hobart’s historic trade hub has become the cultural heart of the city, distinguished by its stunning colonial architecture and range of eclectic boutiques. It’s the ideal spot to disregard your latest credit card statement and go to town on local art and craft. Head to the The Maker for a new wardrobe designed and made in Tasmania using high-quality linens, wool and cotton. For stunning ceramics, jewellery, furniture and artwork, Aspect Design has stocked over 100 Tasmanian artisans since 1978 making it the longest running store in the area. If you’re in town on a Saturday, the markets are a must-see.
Taking a sandstone staircase behind the storefronts, we made our way around Battery Point to eye our real estate options. This dreamy part of town is full of picturesque cottages with overhanging apple trees and bees buzzing around lavender bushes. You’ll feel like you’re walking through a nostalgic movie set.
We managed to get an outdoor seat at this busy bakery and cafe to try their cult-favourite creation – the scallop pie. Flaky pastry and a moreish filling get this one two thumbs up.
Founded by affluent businessman David Walsh, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is the largest privately funded museum in the country. Walsh has described it as a “subversive adult Disneyland” housing confronting and controversial collections themed around sex, death and evolution. The space itself is a sight to behold featuring three dark and twisting subterranean levels located in the Moorilla vineyard on the Berriedale peninsula. A 25-minute ferry is certainly the most picturesque way to get there. Upgrade your ticket to the Posh Pit to kick back in the exclusive lounge and private deck with complimentary bubbles and canapés.
A thorough debriefing is essential after your experience at MONA and what better way to do so than over a tasting selection of Moorilla’s best drops. For $10 (redeemable upon your an inevitable purchase) you can try their renowned sparklings, Sauvignons and Syrahs with John Olsen’s The Source above you and views of the River Derwent around you.
The Tasmanian landscape makes for world-class whisky thanks to its pure water supply and aforementioned fresh air. These winning conditions were underutilised until 1992, when the family-run Lark Distillery was the first to be licensed in Tasmania in over 150 years. They’ve been crafting their range of premium single malt ever since. We sat down in their harbourside courtyard to try a couple of their creations, which included the Lark Single Malt Whisky, their flagship product, the Lark Single Malt Whisky Liqueur ‘Slainte’ and an Overeem Single Cask, Single Malt Whisky.
While you’re here you can also squeeze in a tour of Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum next door. As the title suggests, it is a replica of the historic huts that the Australian Antarctic Expedition, led by Dr Douglas Mawson, constructed in Cape Denison, Antarctica.
For our final fuel before the leg home, we stopped at Templo. Tiny in stature, huge in satiety – this 20-seat spot in the back streets of Hobart offers beautiful handmade pastas, unique wines and a communal dining experience. Owners Matt Breen and Chris Chapple have a hands-on approach, running the back and front of house respectively. From your light-flooded table by the exposed brick wall you’ll be able to see Breen working away on drool-worthy dishes like the pici zucchini and gnocchetti with pork sausage. Two selections we can strongly endorse should they be on the ever changing blackboard when you’re in town.
Heading home from a holiday can often be a stressful experience, but after our adventurous day the process was seamless. With a taxi waiting outside, five minutes to get through security, and the ability to walk straight through the boarding gate onto the waiting plane, we were back home in Sydney for a 11pm bedtime.
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