The capital of Tasmania, Hobart is the smallest Australian state capital. And as the city was founded in 1808, it doesn't have the wealth of history to draw on that Asian and European cities do. However, Hobart is home to nearly half of Tasmania's entire population, and so it is undoubtedly the cultural hub of this unique region. If you're planning to take a culture trip to this part of Australia, Tasmania's capital city is a place you should definitely check out. And thanks to Hobart's extensive range of outdoor activities and the great street food scene, you'll find plenty to do here once you've visited all the museums and art galleries in the city, too.
Museums are often not the best places to bring heavy bags with you. Thankfully, Bounce offers luggage storage in Hobart. Drop off your bags safely at a convenient Bounce luggage storage, and get ready to take a dive into the history and culture of the Tasmanian capital.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Located close to the downtown heart of Hobart, this extensive museum and gallery is one of the city's top attractions. Any art lover will have a great time exploring the exhibitions on display at this Tasmania institution, and it's one of the best places in the city to learn more about the unique place Tasmania occupies in the story of Australia's past. Established in 1846 by the Royal Society of Tasmania, the first such Royal Society outside of the UK, this impressive museum has been at the heart of Hobart's cultural life ever since. You'll learn all about the geology, ecology, natural history, and prehistory of Tasmania, along with the story of colonization that made this island part of modern Australia. The extensive art gallery also celebrates Tasmanian and Australian artists, and you may well come away with some new favorites after you explore this impressive collection.
Perhaps best of all, this impressive state museum is completely free, so you can explore one of the best art museums in the country without spending a penny.
Museums don't have to be stuffy. The Cascade Brewery Bar is the oldest brewery in Tasmania, and offers tours of the brewing facilities that will teach you more about the early history of drinking in Tasmania. Located in the foothills of Mount Wellington, the brewery is the perfect place to learn more about history while enjoying classic Australian pub culture. The brewery still produces some of Australia's best-loved craft beers, and you get the chance to taste them on an informative and entertaining tour. Plus, the brewery's beautiful garden is the ideal place to enjoy a beer and an incredible view of Hobart's natural surroundings in the Tasmanian sunshine.
Museum of Old and New Art
No prizes for guessing what's on offer at this museum. Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art, also known as MONA, is one of the best places to visit in the city if you're a fan of the arts. A 20-minute drive from downtown Hobart will bring you to the museum, but you'll have more fun if you take the 25-minute ferry ride from the city to visit this outstanding collection. As the private collection of one man, David Walsh, this art gallery displays an eclectic range of art from different periods. If you've ever wanted to see the remains of a suicide bomber cast in dark chocolate or a machine designed solely to eat food and turn it into feces, this is the place to do it. The collection also includes photographs, sculptures, paintings, and other works of art, but it tends toward the darker side of life, so it's probably not the best place for young kids. But if you like your art on the unconventional side, MONA is well worth a visit while you're in Hobart.
Maritime Museum of Tasmania
Naturally, Australia owes its existence to maritime exploration. That's especially true of an island like Tasmania. Located on Hobart's waterfront along the Derwent River, this museum is the best place to learn more about Australia's maritime history and the exploration and colonization of Tasmania. Photos, paintings, and artifacts tell the story not only of exploration but of whaling, trading, and all the other facets of maritime life in Tasmania. The Maritime Museum also manages a historic ship, a trading ketch known as the May Queen, which is moored outside on Constitution Dock and makes a fantastic place to explore.
Tasmanian Transport Museum
If you have an interest in transport or engineering, it's well worth making the short journey from Hobart to explore this quirky but fascinating museum. The Tasmanian Transport Museum is home to an impressive collection of railway locomotives dating back to the 19th century and the earliest days of Tasmania's transport infrastructure. You'll also see buses, trams, and firetrucks, making this one of the best things to do in Hobart with kids. Many of the lovingly restored locomotives are in working condition and take short trips on the museum's demonstration line, so you can get a feel for how travel was in the early days of Tasmania's settlement.
Mawson's Hut Replica Museum
Located close to Franklin Wharf and the Maritime Museum, this unusual museum lets you take a trip to Antarctica without leaving Hobart. These replica huts are based on those used by Australian explorer Douglas Mawson, who set out from this point to explore Antarctica. The huts contain an exhibition on the hardships faced by Mawson and his team, and you'll get a glimpse into what life was like for explorers in the early 20th century in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet. If nothing else, it will make you appreciate all the creature comforts that are available in Hobart even more.
Markree House and Garden
Located close to Battery Point and the Hobart Waterfront, Markree House offers a glimpse back in time to the lives of Tasmanian nobility. The house was originally built in 1926 for the Baldwin family, wealthy merchants who were among the most prominent of Hobart families during the early 20th century. The house and its beautiful garden have been preserved much the way they were back in the 1920s and 1930s, making it a fascinating place to explore and get a better understanding of the life of the wealthy in the early days of Australian history. You'll learn fascinating stories about the family and the impact they had on the city, and you'll also get to stretch your legs as you wander through the beautiful garden. Plus, there are tons of waterfront parks in the area, making this a great neighborhood to visit on any trip to Hobart.
Salamanca Arts Centre
Salamanca Place and its bustling market are some of the best places to visit in Hobart. But while you're there, why not check out the equally impressive Salamanca Arts Centre? This arts hub offers a combination of galleries and performing arts spaces to provide an ever-changing selection of art for both local and international artists. The Arts Center also hosts workshops throughout the year so you can get in touch with your own artistic side. If you're a fan of what's new and exciting in the world of art, you won't regret taking the opportunity to explore the exhibitions at this vibrant arts center. And if you manage to catch a show while you're in town, even better!
Narryna Heritage Museum
This museum, located in an 1830s merchant house not far from downtown Hobart, is now Australia's oldest folk museum. The house has been preserved much as it was during its 19th-century heyday, but it also contains exhibits that explore the culture and crafts of early Hobart. Collections here include art and photography, textiles, jewelry, school materials from the 19th century, and even an impressive collection of scrimshaw artwork that is a testament to the importance of whaling in Tasmania's early history. This is an important museum in Hobart to visit if you want to get a better understanding of how the city grew from its early days as a trading and whaling port into the vibrant town it is today.
Australian Army Museum Tasmania
Based in a former military jail, the Australian Army Museum Tasmania celebrates the achievements of the Australian military with a special focus on soldiers and regiments from Tasmania. You'll learn more about Australia's role in conflicts such as the two world wars, the Korean War, Vietnam War, and the war in Afghanistan, among others. These conflicts have shaped the country Australia is today, and understanding these stories is key to understanding more about Australian life and culture.
John Elliot Classics Museum
The classical civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome may be a long way away from Tasmania, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some of their impressive artwork. The John Elliot Classics Museum is located on the campus of the University of Tasmania, and contains over 300 artifacts from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Mesopotamia. As out of place as these ancient artifacts may seem in such a young and vibrant city, this small but intriguing museum makes a great place to go to get a glimpse into the past and learn about how these civilizations continue to inform the cultural life of Tasmania to this day.
The Female Factory
It's no secret that Australia began its recorded history as a British penal colony. This former workhouse for women has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list for its importance to Australian history. Between 1828 and 1856 when it was closed, the Female Factory was the home of hundreds of imprisoned women who were forced to work long hours as punishment for often relatively minor crimes. As the best-preserved Female Factory in Australia, this historic site is of huge cultural importance to the entire country, and it provides a fascinating glimpse into the unpromising beginnings of Australia as a country.
What are the best free museums in Hobart?
Because some of its top museums are completely free to visit, Hobart is a great destination for culture lovers on a budget. In fact, many of the city's museums are some of the best free things to do in Hobart. For instance, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is totally free, and offers one of the best collections of art and artifacts in Australia. Also, the Museum of Old and New Art is free for Tasmanians and those under 18. Visitors to the state will have to pay for admission, but the museum gardens are free for everyone, and there are often outdoor art shows and live music to keep you entertained without spending a penny.
Which are the best museums in downtown Hobart?
Downtown Hobart is home to some of the city's best museums. The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Maritime Museum, and Mawson's Huts are all well within walking distance of downtown. And you only need to go a little further to explore locations like Narryna Heritage Museum and the Salamanca Arts Centre.
Are there any cheap museums in Hobart?
Australia can be an expensive place to visit. If you're looking to save a few dollars on visiting some of Hobart's top attractions, the free museums make excellent options. However, you can also find some bargains among those museums that do charge an admission fee. The Maritime Museum is a very reasonable AU$12 for an adult admission, and the Transportation Museum is only AU$10.