Why holiday in Hobart? The difficulty here will be trying to choose only the top five reasons. As I write this, the sun is shining and there’s a great, festive spirit in the air. We’ve been promised summery weather and the very thought of a holiday in Hobart is a reason to celebrate. Here goes.
Summer Holiday in Hobart
I can’t pretend to know the first thing about sailing. But what I do know is this: when you see the leader in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race appear at the South Arm Peninsula and head towards the finish line… it’s exciting! Tuned to the international media coverage of the event, the anticipation builds from the time the entrants leave Sydney Heads until they arrive in Hobart later in the week.
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Challenged by the will of the Southern Ocean for more than 600 nautical miles down the east coast of Australia, there’s no wonder the crews are pleased to arrive and ready to holiday in Hobart. They are welcomed by a flotilla of craft on the water and accompanied to the finish line, with news helicopters buzzing overhead. Once safely moored at Constitution Dock, the party really starts.
The Taste Festival
Saving the biggest annual event until last, the Taste of Tasmania has been held in Hobart for over 20 years. Housed in the waterfront shed on Princes Wharf, the Sullivans Cove location has had a glamorous make-over. Always looking to introduce innovative ways to present Tassie’s famous produce, the council-run program promises a focus on new food and beverage products, and interactive features this year.
Sensational new experiences… okay. Just so long as the House of Anvers will still be demonstrating their chocolate waffle-making process. I was very attentive last year, but still feel I could do with another lesson. And a tasting of course!
Not forgetting the kids, the lawns of Parliament House will be taken over by family entertainment and games. Roving performers will compete with buskers for the crowd’s attention during the day, while the Forecourt Stage is dedicated to emerging Tasmanian talent at night.
Hobart International Tennis
No one can deny the appeal of a close encounter with an elite athlete. The Moorilla Hobart International offers an opportunity to see some of the world’s best female tennis players at work. And with the Queens Domain Tennis Centre also undergoing a recent renovation, the venue now has much more to offer. All the seats put you right among the the action while the facilities are first rate.
High-class players are attracted to the tournament as preparation for their tilt at the Australian Open title later in the month. This year’s headline act is Dinara Safina. The Russian former world No 1 player will be launching her comeback from injury, and will be challenged by a contingent of highly ranked players. Jarmila Groth will be leading the charge of local contenders, giving the crowd an Aussie to support.
Museum of Old and New Art
Talking of the Moorilla, the Museum of Old and New Art at Berriedale in Hobart’s northern suburbs will be unveiled in January. Owner David Walsh has thrown $75 million at the creation of MONA, a home for his (obviously) extensive private collection of artworks. The elaborate venue will be Australia’s largest private museum and be available to the public (with free entry) from January 22.
The official opening will be heralded by the staging of the third MONA FOMA (I know, they love their acronyms). For the record, the FOMA part stands for the Festival of Music and Art, which starts in Hobart on January 14. The curator, Brian Ritchie, lives at Opossum Bay and owns a tea-house in Hobart. Oh, and he’s also a founding member of the Violent Femmes! An alternative rock musician perfectly placed to organise the wildly eclectic mix of performers, workshops, stalls and other entertainment that make up the festival.
Not everyone loves MONA FOMA; and the Moorilla Art Museum has certainly drawn some critics, but the David Walsh show is nothing if not intriguing. Time will tell if the multi-million dollar project achieves the aim of Australia’s newest must-see destination. It’s certainly up against some tough opposition, but maybe another good reason to holiday in Hobart.
Holiday in Hobart: Market Scene
Rounding out the top five reasons to holiday in Hobart: a visit to the local markets. Can’t give you definitive dates for this one, but if you are in Tasmania over a weekend, there will be a market somewhere. The iconic Salamanca Market is held every Saturday in Salamanca Place adjacent to Castray Esplanade on the Hobart waterfront, combining food, buskers and a huge variety of stalls. If you want fresh, seasonal goods that are definitely produced locally, Sunday Farm Gate Market in Melville Street is for you.
Without exhausting the supply by any means, you can visit Island Markets in Moonah for an indoor experience, or head to Hobart Showgrounds in Glenorchy for a trash and treasure hunt. For a more up-market approach to art, craft and design: The Market in Sandy Bay Road is held in the Masonic Lodge once a month on Sundays.
Wouldn’t it be great to have some sort of directory listing all the markets and cross-matching all the artists? Might have to think about that one and get back to you. In the meantime, enjoy your holiday in Hobart, while I get back to work on that fabulous idea. So many good ideas!