The natural scenic beauty of Hobart attracts many travellers, but like any island destination where you are somewhat of a captive tourist, it’s not the cheapest holiday you can find. Still, with so much to see and do, Hobart is well worth a visit and it can be done on a budget.
Plan Your Holiday in Advance
You can save plenty of money on your Hobart holiday by planning it well in advance. High season for Hobart is October to April. Hobart’s cooler climate means it’s not exactly your first pick go-to destination for a beach holiday, so why not travel outside of peak times to make some great savings on travel and accommodation? While you might not be able to spend time sunbathing, you can still enjoy many of Hobart’s attractions – and even add it to a Tasmania itinerary where you’ll be able to see many of the island’s best nature spots!
Work Out the Cheapest Travel Option
Travel options include flights from major cities or sailing from Melbourne on the Spirit of Tasmania, which is an 8-hour crossing from St Kilda’s port to Devonport.
The cheapest option will depend on flight deals available from your city and on your planned method of getting around once you arrive in Hobart.
If you plan on hiring a car to get around the island, consider whether it is cheaper to take your own car on the ferry service or fly over and organise your transport when you are there.
Hobart isn’t too difficult to get around on foot, or you can hire a bicycle if the weather permits. Public transport options include a good bus service and water taxis are also available.
Find the Right Deals for Accommodation
When you plan your trip with plenty of time up your sleeve, you give yourself more opportunity to find excellent accommodation deals. Hobart accommodation options include cabin and caravan parks, B&B’s, motels, apartments and apartment hotels, budget hotels, boutique hotels and luxury hotel chains.
Excellent deals can be browsed on Hotels.com, with substantial savings made if you book well in advance, or opt for last-minute deals on offer which you may find when you travel off-peak.
Visit Markets and Prepare Your Own Food
While the fresh local produce served in Tasmanian restaurants and cafes is super tasty, it can be expensive to eat all your meals out. You can save huge amounts of money and still eat delicious food by shopping and preparing your own. Try visiting the popular Farm Gate Market held every Sunday morning in Bathurst Street, Hobart.
The friendly vibe and excellent coffee is a good reason to go in the first place, but it is also a fantastic place to buy locally grown, farm-to-table produce. There are plenty of options for all diets at the markets, including vegetarian and vegan food. Throw a tasty picnic or a divine platter together later on and lunch or dinner – or both – is covered.
Make the Best of the Free Things to do in Hobart
There are many beautiful sights to see in Hobart which are free. Here are just a few…
Markets in Hobart
While your Sunday morning is scheduled for a trip to the Farm Gate Markets, every Saturday the Salamanca market offers a wide variety of locally made Tasmanian crafts, fashion, homewares and produce, with many great souvenirs to be found. You can also kick back and enjoy a drink at any of the local bars, or a great café lunch.
There are some great vantage points to take in the full vista of the Derwent River and the city of Hobart. Walk the length of the Tasman Bridge for memorable views over the city. The bridge was actually made famous in 1975 for collapsing, so a walk across can be rather hair-raising – but it’s worth it for the view at the end. From the other side, you can take a bus back to the city.
Walk Around the Suburb of Battery Point
The suburb of Battery Point is one of the most historical places in Hobart, with houses dating from the 1800s, when Hobart was first settled in. While it has become one of the more trendy neighbourhoods of Hobart, it still retains a lot of its historic buildings and atmosphere. Walking around here is free of charge and one of the best ways to enjoy Hobart’s history.
Mt Nelson Signal Station
Take a bus up to Mt Nelson Signal Station for another amazing view of the beautiful Tasmanian capital and the Derwent River. There are some cafes and bars near to the top.
You can also drive to the summit of Mt Wellington, which is a must on any Hobart itinerary – you may even discover some snow at the top and, on a clear day, you can see a quarter of the island! I’d highly recommend visiting for either sunrise or sunset – the views are incredible and it will without a doubt be one of your most memorable Australian experiences.
It can be 10 degrees colder here than in Hobart centre, so don’t forget your jacket, and take some hiking boots if you want to make the most of some of the best bushwalks in the region.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
This free museum has both a fantastic selection of local art and one of the most moving exhibitions on Australian history I’ve ever seen – it details thoroughly the tragedy that befell many Indigenous Tasmanians when Europeans arrived at their island. It’s incredibly moving, and well worth seeing to learn a bit more about Tasmanian history. There are other exhibtions about the history of Hobart and Tasmania, as well.
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens are one of the best free things to do in Hobart. Featuring a Japanese Garden, a lily pond, a Subarctic Plant House and much more, you’ll love experiencing walking around the amazing features of this delightful slice of nature, close to the city centre. You can drive here or even take a bus from the city centre.
MONA – An Attraction Worth Splurging On
Of course, a trip to Hobart isn’t complete without venturing out to Berriedale to see the world-famous Museum of Old & New Art (MONA).
Visitors under 18 years of age can get in for free, while concession tickets are available for approved cardholders.
MONA offers endless art and interactive activities along with restaurants, wine bars, a brewery, library and more. There is so much to see and do at MONA, so the cheapest option is to buy a double-day ticket offering great savings on two full days’ worth of mind-blowing entertainment. While MONA is certainly not one of Hobart’s free things to do, it’s worth spending a bit of money on it.
Cheap Day Trips from Hobart
To visit any of Tasmania’s national parks, you need a parks pass – but these are actually quite affordable. For $60, up to 8 people travelling in one vehicle are covered for 8 weeks. So if you and your travel companions do a few day trips from Hobart, the cost per person per day is quite small.
Some of the best day trips from Hobart include…
Mount Field National Park
Mount Field National Park is home to lots of waterfalls and very tall trees. A 2.5 hour trail will take you to the best, and Lake Dobson is the perfect place to relax and swim in the calm waters.
Cradle Mountain National Park
If you’re feeling brave, summit Cradle Mountain for amazing views over this part of Tasmania. The climb up is a little bit hair-raising, but definitely worth it when you get to the top. There are also plenty of other circuit walks to enjoy views of Cradle Mountain itself and viewpoints over the park to enjoy.
Freycinet National Park
Home to the famous ‘Wineglass Bay’, Freycinet National Park has a variety of short walks and hikes with stunning coastal views. My favourite was Mount Amos, which was a challenging hike to a really impressive vista of Wineglass Bay. There are other easier hikes and lookouts throughout the park.
This one isn’t a national park, but it’s worth checking out – it was one of Australia’s largest convict prisons, and also the sighting of the country’s largest mass shooting. It’s a sombre place to visit, but very educational. Nearby are the beaches and hikes of the Tasman Peninsula, as well.
Visiting Hobart on a Budget
When you consider the savings that can be found, Hobart on a budget is definitely a holiday worth planning. If you make sure that you book your accommodation and transport early, make the most of the free things to do in Hobart and save some money for costlier attractions, you’ll be able to save big when visiting Tasmania’s capital.
This article was written in collaboration with Hotels.com