If you’re planning a trip to Hobart, Tasmania, I have rounded up the very best things to do in Hobart with kids.
Amid a city full of history, culture, and supreme grandeur, there’s a child-friendly activity around every corner, and don’t be misled into thinking that all cities are expensive to visit. There are plenty of free things to do in Hobart to satisfy an adventurous spirit.
A family trip to Australia’s second oldest capital city may include visiting historical landmarks and museums but also range to visiting leafy parklands and sampling delicious fresh produce. It is the diversity of sights that attracts visitors each year to a city that fuses old world charm with a modern-day lifestyle.
How you choose to spend your time in the city will depend on your interests, timeframe, and the ages of your children. Whether you prefer slow or fast-paced travel, you can use this guide to create your itinerary of what to do in Hobart with kids.
The below includes the top Hobart attractions for families, along with all the best day trips you shouldn’t miss.
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Post was updated in June 2020
- Getting Around Hobart
- Family Accommodation Hobart
- Things to Do in Hobart with Kids
- Day Trips from Hobart for Kids
Getting Around Hobart
Hobart is a city that can easily be explored on foot or via public transport, mainly if your accommodation is near the city centre. Due to the small size of the city and as many attractions are within walking distance of each other, it makes moving around Hobart very simple.
Public buses depart from the main streets of Hobart and travel to some of the attractions. Or for a full tourist experience, jump on board the Red Decker hop-on, hop-off bus that offers 24 & 48 tours of all the main sights.
Alternatively, if you are limited for time, have young children who may not enjoy walking all day, or want to continue on a road trip around Tasmania, I recommend a car. Check the best car rental prices with Rentalcars.com
Family Accommodation Hobart
If you want to be close to the main attractions and dining areas, then I’d suggest staying nearby to Hobart CBD and Salamanca Place. There are many choices for family friendly accommodation in Hobart, and you can find great deals for Hobart here.
I have also compiled a list of some popular accommodation suggestions for travelling with kids in Hobart.
Salamanca Inn | 4.5* all-suite hotel located in walking distance from all the attractions of Salamanca Place
The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel | Popular 4* hotel in Hobart’s CBD
Sullivans Cove Apartments | Boutique self-catering apartments, located in 5 different locations around Hobart’s waterfront area.
Hotel Grand Chancellor | 4.5* star hotel overlooking the Derwent River, and located a short distance from Salamanca Wharf
Somerset on the Pier Hobart | Contemporary style accommodation offering one and two-bedroom apartments close to Hobart CBD and attractions.
Click on the hotel name above to check the latest prices and read guest reviews here!
Things to Do in Hobart with Kids
Note: Hobart and the surrounding area has many top traveller experiences. To save you money and time, I have included in this guide links to all the top-rated tours and things to do through Experience Oz, Viator, and GetYourGuide.
1. Salamanca Waterfront Area
Take a stroll along the picturesque Salamanca waterfront area that stretches from Salamanca Place to Hunter Street. Home to fishing vessels, yachts, and many other boats, it’s a treat for the kids to watch them set sail into the open water. Whether you are a boating enthusiast or not, this port has been made internationally famous by the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race that starts on Boxing Day each year.
If you are searching for somewhere to try some mouth-watering Tasmanian seafood, then you will find many cafés and restaurants at Constitution Dock that will satisfy your tastebuds, or purchase a live seafood feast from the local fisherman.
The appealing aspect of this area is how it retains its old-world charm while catering for modern-day essentials, which is evident by the number of historic buildings that remain. Looking towards Salamanca Place, you’ll notice the towering warehouses that played an essential part in Hobart’s history.
These 19th-century Georgian sandstone warehouses that were once used to store whale oil and grain have been beautifully converted into some of Hobart’s most popular café’s, markets, shops, and restaurants.
2. Museum of Old and New (MONA)
While in the vicinity of the waterfront area, you have a number of choices if you would like to experience a culture hit during your time in Hobart. From Brooke Street Pier, you can catch a camouflaged catamaran to travel over to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), taking around twenty-five minutes one way.
The edgy collection of ancient, modern, and contemporary art belongs to David Walsh and is one of Hobart’s famous attractions. Wondering if you can visit MONA with kids? Staff will point out the rooms that are not suitable for children, so you can enjoy your time in the museum while not being worried about them witnessing adult themes.
3. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
The other option is the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery adjacent to the waterfront area and the second oldest museum in Australia. The museum is one of the free family things to do in Hobart as there are no admission costs to enter and view the various collections on display.
It is dedicated to offering a range of interactive exhibits and hands-on programs to attract every one of all ages, whether you are searching for an educational activity, a place to learn about Tasmanian history, or somewhere to admire art. Browse the unique displays at your own pace or take a free guided tour.
More Family Activities in Hobart
If you are excited to learn more about Tasmania’s history, find more things to do in Hobart for families below:
- Mawson’s Hut Replica Museum
- Maritime Museum of Tasmania
- Hobart Convict Penitentiary
4. Salamanca Markets
If you are in Hobart on a Saturday, a stop at the famous Salamanca Markets is not to be missed, with nearly 300 licensed traders; it is one of Australia’s largest markets and now a local institution. It is easy to lose track of time as you wander Salamanca Place.
It is not surprising to know these markets are one of the most popular attractions in Tasmania, bringing thousands of visitors every Saturday.
Open from 8.30 am – 3.00 pm, the markets draw visitors and locals searching for art, craft, home-made delights, fresh fruit and vegetables, second-hand books, Tasmanian wood products, jewellery, toys, and much more.
The grassy area alongside the markets is a perfect retreat as you can sit and listen to the local buskers. Salamanca Markets are the perfect place to stock up on delicious local fresh produce and some sugary treats.
GETTING TO THE MARKETS
On Saturdays, Salamanca Market is closed to traffic from 5.30 am to 6.00 pm, which is why the council encourages public transport. You have the option of parking in a nearby city car park and walking to the markets. After a long morning on your feet, return to your car by catching a free shuttle that runs in a continuous loop every 10 minutes from 9.00 am to 2.00 pm between the Hobart city centre and Salamanca Place.
5. Battery Point
One of the prettiest and well-preserved historical areas in Hobart is Battery Point. The quaint streets are lined with original cottages and delightful gardens. Once a military outpost in the 19th century, this area is now an affluential suburb of Hobart filled with transformed guest houses and a popular café scene.
Depending on which streets you choose to explore, Kelly’s Steps are a historical landmark in this area. Constructed in 1839, the sandstone quarried to create these steps were used to build the warehouses that line Salamanca Place today.
When travelling with children, there is always a need for a playground, kids activities, fun things to do, and wide-open space. You’ll find that leafy escape if you walk towards the water in Battery Point. Princes Park is a beautiful haven with a nautical-themed playground with lots of activities that children will enjoy.
Surrounded by lush green grass, colourful flowers, and large shady trees, it is a perfect way to relax and tuck into any takeaway goodies purchased from the markets.
6. Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
Established in 1818, nestled in Hobart’s heart, the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens are the second oldest botanic gardens in Australia and one of our favourites. A short walk or drive from the city centre, explore the 14 hectares of gardens at your own pace or opt for a guided tour and learn more about the displays and how many are unique to Hobart.
When you are feeling peckish, a café and restaurant are available on-site near the main gate serving lunch, snacks, and coffee, or pack a picnic and find a shady spot on the grounds.
If your time is limited, tailor your walk around the displays that appeal to you the most. You can find my four recommendations below:
- Conservatory | The Conservatory at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens opened in 1939, and each year upwards of 10,000 plants are grown in the Conservatory to use in their four seasonal displays.
- Lily Pond | Formed in 1840, water lilies have grown here for over 100 years. The Nymphaea lilies are planted in pots on the bottom of the pond, and if you are visiting throughout summer, you’ll be lucky to witness their beauty covering the entire pond.
- Japanese Garden | White pebbles, water displays, stepping stones, vibrant flora, and bridges are just some of the unique aspects of the Japanese garden display. The ducks encountered in this part of the gardens quite literally jump out of the water to greet you.
- Subantarctic Plant House | This is a garden display you will not encounter anywhere else! Enter into the World’s only subantarctic plant house where plants from subantarctic islands grow. The Tasmanian gardens have been able to create such a display by mirroring the COLD (very cold!) foggy and wet conditions in a climate-controlled environment.
7. Mount Wellington | Kunanyi
Mount Wellington is an imposing sight to look upon as it casts a commanding presence over Hobart’s city, but even more impressive is being on top of this giant, which stands 1,270 metres high.
Located in Wellington National Park, adventure enthusiastic can enjoy a full of activities from bushwalking, bike riding, horse riding, and rock climbing. The national park caters to anyone wanting to spend a day in nature or admire views from atop Mount Wellington Summit.
Sitting on the doorstep of Hobart being only a mere half-hour drive from the city, the views from the summit are spectacular. On a cloudless day, it gives a brilliant aerial view over Hobart, Bruny Island, and the Tasman Peninsula.
Tip: If you don’t have a form of transport, opt for the Explorer Bus, which offers transfers between the summit and Hobart.
There are many short walks on the summit, and the Pinnacle observation shelter is available for when the weather conditions are not ideal. Wellington Park is never closed (except in extreme weather conditions), which gives visitors the chance to experience the magical views at sunrise or sunset.
Practical Information: It is best to prepare for all conditions when you reach the summit as it can change suddenly from calm conditions too windy, wet, and cold. Always take layers as the mountain can be substantially cooler, and don’t forget the hats and sunscreen as the Tasmanian sun packs a punch.
You May Also Like: Find out the Best Places to Visit with Kids Around Tasmania
Day Trips from Hobart for Kids
With Hobart being one of the main destinations in Tasmania for visitors due to the number of things to do and the ease of accessing the city, it also makes for the perfect hub to discover many other places in the area.
Tip: Typically, most day trips have limited numbers on each tour. Book in advance, so you don’t miss out on a fantastic Tasmanian experience. You can find many of the top-rated day trips from Hobart here.
Read more about some of the best day trips from Hobart below.
1. Richmond Tasmania
Distance – 30 minutes
The historic village of Richmond (which was once Tasmania’s 3rd largest town) is an easy 30-minute drive from Hobart. Richmond was initially established as a military staging post and convict station linking Hobart with Port Arthur. It is now a popular tourist destination famous for its galleries, tea shops, craft boutiques, and sweet shops that fill the historic Georgian buildings lining the streets.
Take a walk around the charming town, making sure to stop at Sweets and Treats, an old school style lolly shop filled with old and modern-day sweets. The variety would make Willy Wonka’s eyes bulge.
One of the most photographed landmarks within the town is the Richmond Bridge, Australia’s oldest surviving large stone arch bridge, completed in 1825.
Another one of the best things to do in Richmond, Tasmania, is to visit one of the best-preserved colonial gaols, built-in 1825. The gaol offers insight into the life of the men and women who served their time during the convict era.
2. Tasman National Park
Distance – 1 hour
On your way to Port Arthur, take a short detour, and stop at Tasman Park Lookout. Join the many other tourists who stop to admire and take photos of the remarkable rock formations and towering sea cliffs of some 300 metres high.
Visitors can choose to admire the spectacular coastal landforms of the Blowhole, the Tasman’s Arch, and Devils Kitchen from afar or inspect them more personally on one of the many bushwalks.
Cubed Espresso Bar and Food is a cute caravan perched on the lookout, offering the perfect refreshment or snack for your rest stop.
3. Port Arthur Lavender Farm
Distance – 1 hour 17 minutes
The Port Arthur Lavender Farm is a family-owned business set on 18 acres and has been supplying visitors with a quality range of lavender products since 2014. A scenic drive from Hobart, the farm is open seven days and is free to enter. The lavender flowers are in peak bloom from December through to February, and openings times change based on the season, so visit their website before the trip.
Try handmade lavender products, indulge on lavender ice creams, and take a free, self-guided tour that describes the lavender farming process. While at the farm, enjoy a meal at their café, offering savory and sweet delights, with many drink options featuring their hero ingredient – lavender.
4. Port Arthur Historical Site
Distance – 1 hour 25 minutes
If you are after a lesson in history, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site of Port Arthur is a must-visit location. Walk around the 40 hectares of manicured grounds exploring the ruins while learning about the lives of the inmates that passed through Port Arthur.
With over 30 historical buildings to explore at your own pace, a free guided walking tour to join and a Carnarvon Bay cruise to enjoy, you can easily spend a full day or more at Port Arthur.
Related: Full Guide to a Day at Port Arthur
5. Russell Falls
Distance – 1 hour 11 minutes
Russell Falls is within Mt Field National Park, a little over an hour from Hobart. It is one of the most photographed places in Tasmania, and many say the loveliest waterfall. There are two visitor sections in the National Park. The first, near the main entrance, is where you will find stunning walks through vegetation with some of the tallest trees in the world. This is also where you access the falls 600m circuit. Its easy track through the lush rainforest is suitable to reach for those with strollers.
Practical Tip: You will need to purchase a parking pass for entry into the national park, and there are hefty fines if you are caught without one. The money raised from the fees goes directly towards the upkeep of the parks and reserves.
6. Bruny Island
Distance – 1 hour 50 minutes
One of Tasmania’s sort after and premiere destinations for spectacular bushwalks, incredible flora, and fauna, beach strolls, and picturesque natural scenery is Bruny Island.
Tip: Book a day trip to Bruny Island, including lunch and an exclusive lighthouse tour. This tour is one of the most highly-rated and popular things to do in southern Tasmania.
A short 20-minute ferry ride connects Bruny Island with Kettering on the mainland. Fifty kilometres long north and south Bruny are joined by a narrow isthmus of land called “The Neck”. Climb the wooden stairs to the viewing deck where you can witness 360-degree views. A food lovers paradise, sample the produce on a self-guided walk around the island, or join a tour to sample fresh seafood, creamy cheeses, and delicious chocolates.
If you have more time in Hobart, then you can find more popular day trips from Hobart below:
- Bonorong Wildlife Park | Distance – 30 minutes
- Salmon Ponds Heritage Hatchery and Gardens | 45 minutes
- Tahune Adventures | 1 hour 30 minutes
- Hastings Cave and Thermal Pool | 1 hour 40 minutes
Tip: For a full-day tour, including lots of adventure, check out the Tahune Airwalk and Hastings Cave Tour.
Tell me in the comments, what is going to be on your Hobart Itinerary?
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