36 Hours in Hobart (and Environs)

Tasmanians have heard all of the drained jokes from mainland Australians. The nation’s remoted southern island state has been so ignored in the previous, it’s even been left off maps of Australia. In latest years, nevertheless, Australians have modified their tune. Tasmania is experiencing a surge of weekenders and property consumers, pushed by a newfound curiosity in its pristine nature, unhurried lifestyle and an more and more numerous meals and artwork scene that basically began to take off with the arrival, in a Hobart suburb, of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in 2011. The largest transformation has taken place in the once-sleepy capital of Hobart, which now boasts a plethora of inventive new eating places and an edgy spirit, notably throughout the winter Dark Mofo pageant. (A spotlight: the nude solstice swim in the chilly River Derwent.) Tasmania’s profile is rising abroad, as effectively. International guests jumped by 21 % from mid-2017 to mid-2018 — the most important rise by far of any Australian state. Tasmanians have at all times identified how good the life is right here. The remainder of the world is simply now beginning to discover out.

While MONA has put Tasmania on the worldwide artwork map in latest years, Hobart’s gallery scene has truly been showcasing the very best of Tasmanian artwork for many years. Both Despard and Handmark galleries — set in renovated 19th-century Georgian sandstone warehouses on the waterfront — exhibit works by well-known native artists just like the panorama painter Geoff Dyer and the animal portraitist Michael McWilliams, in addition to dozens of rising artists. And Bett Gallery, which not too long ago relocated to a 1950s modernist workplace constructing with superbly restored parquet flooring and coffered ceiling, has rotating exhibitions of up to date artists from Tasmania, mainland Australia and overseas. Entry is free in any respect galleries.

The Museum of Old and New Art (entry 30 Australian Dollars), founded by David Walsh, an art collector who built a fortune from gambling, has become much more than an art institution. It’s spawned two popular (and more than a little subversive) art and music festivals — MOFO and Dark MOFO — in addition to art-filled luxury pavilion accommodations (from 750 Australian dollars a night) and, coming soon, a 172-room hotel (as yet unnamed after several controversial choices). The museum itself is a lot to take in, so arrive early and plan to get lost in the cavernous space showcasing Mr. Walsh’s outlandish collection. Be sure to check out the four fantastically disorienting James Turrell light installations commissioned for the new Pharos wing (separate tickets and advance booking, 10 to 25 Australian dollars), as well as the newly opened underground network of tunnels and chambers filled with works by Ai Weiwei and Alfredo Jaar. On a pleasant day, take a break on the lawn with a glass of Moorilla sparkling Riesling (10 Australian dollars) or a Moo Brew Pilsner (9 Australian dollars) — Mr. Walsh owns the winery and brewery, too. A fast ferry offers 25-minute connections to the museum from downtown Hobart (from 22 Australian dollars roundtrip).

Long before Tasmania became a foodie destination, Rodney Dunn and Severine Demanet ditched city life to set up a farm and cooking school in the Tasmanian countryside. Nearly a decade later, the couple completed the farm-to-table circle with the opening of The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery in a rather unlikely location: a sprawling asylum in the town of New Norfolk (about 20 miles from Hobart), which operated for over 170 years before closing in 2000. A tour of the grounds reveals glimpses of the institution’s notorious history, but inside, the focus is on the seasonal menu, which highlights ingredients from the farm and other local producers: sugarloaf cabbage with lovage seed mayonnaise and preserved fish (23 Australian dollars) and slow-roasted Derwent Valley lamb (a sharing dish for 140 Australian dollars). It’s a glimpse of the present-day potential of the island, risen from a painful past.

Hobart is an extremely walkable city if you base yourself centrally near the wharf on the River Derwent. Check out the Battery Point neighborhood, which is accessible to Salamanca Place via the 19th-century Kelly’s Steps; apartments here on Airbnb rent for 200 to 250 Australian dollars per night.

From the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman (the first European to land on Tasmania) to the cricket hero Ricky Ponting, each of the 114 rooms at the new MACq 01 Hotel is devoted to a different character in Tasmanian history, with illustrations on the door and their full stories and other artifacts featured prominently inside. Doubles from 240 Australian dollars.

The nearly 150-year-old Lenna of Hobart was once the mansion of a wealthy Tasmanian whaling merchant, Alexander McGregor, who oversaw the largest individually owned fleet of ships in the Southern Hemisphere. Doubles from 208 Australian dollars.

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